Wild cherry (Prunus avium) and ornamental cherries ('flowering cherries')

This is a source of many mistakes (would be much less so if people did not submit observations of planted trees). Here are a coupe of things to look out for:

  1. with flowers: the first thing one should look at (or take a picture of) with this kind of blossoms (but almost nobody does) is look at the backside of the flower. In Prunus avium the sepals are very soon reflexed, the hypanthium is cupshaped (or bowlshaped if you like) with an obvious constriction at the top (this constriction is not visible anymore as soon as the petals are reflexed) and glabrous. The pedicels are glabrous too and the inflorescence never has a central stalk. In ornamental cherries, sepals are not reflexed and there are always others things that do not fit: E.g sepals strongly triangular, hypanthium or pedicels hairy, hypanthium narrowly cylindrical, inflorescense compound with central stalk etc. etc…
    2.Without flowers but with leaves: Although highly variable, the leaf serration in Prunus avium is characteristic: rather blunt and in part unequal leaf teeth (a bit sloppy looking). There are many pictures of P. avium on inaturalist.org . Use them to get a little practice or for comparison. In ornamental cherries, the leaf serration always looks very different (in many possible ways, depending on the species/hybrid).
    3. No flowers, no leaves: let it be.

There are numerous ornamental cherries (belonging to various species and their hybrids). Exactly ID’ing them is a job for a specialist (and if you found an escaped ornamental cherry, it could even be a hybrid of different horticulture varieties), so be careful.

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Maybe it is an idea to create a guide for Prunus?

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Prunus is a crazy Genus -totally agree , it would be great to have a key.

It would be a huge undertaking. There are more than 400 species in the genus plus innumerable hybrids and cultivars.

this is great information and I wish it could be attached to the taxon page somehow.
I know that this idea has been raised in the forum before.

One thing that can be done now is to add a flag (flag for curation). It wouldn’t be that obvious, but some people would find it. You have the space to add text so maybe you could even link to this page here?
This has been done before, see:
(you could also add p. avium to the wiki)

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Yes, that is true

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