Scientific Name:
Prunus L., Sp. Pl. 473 (1753)
  • = Cerasus Mill.
  • = Armeniaca Scop., Meth. Pl. (Scopoli) 15 (1754)
Vernacular Name(s):
cherry; Peach; Plum

Perennial shrubs or trees, often deciduous, sometimes evergreen, unarmed or spiny;  stems erect to wide-spreading, often with well developed trunk;  young shoots glabrate to tomentose.  Lvs distributed along long shoots, sometimes ± in clusters, simple, entire, crenate or 1–2-serrate; stipules free, frequently deciduous.  Infl. an umbel, corymb, raceme or cluster, sometimes fls solitary or paired, usually on short shoots and subtended by many imbricate bracts.  Fls 5-merous, ☿, often showy, usually preceding lvs in deciduous spp.  Hypanthium concave or  ± campanulate to cylindric.  Epicalyx 0.  Sepals very variable in length, deciduous.  Petals usually 5 (sometimes many in cvs), usually spreading, occasionally the lower parts appearing to form a ± campanulate tube, white or pink to red.  Stamens 15–50.  Ovary superior; carpel 1;  style 1; ovules 2 but 1 usually aborting.  Fr. a drupe with fleshy pericarp enclosing a hard, stony endocarp;  seed usually 1.

[From:  Webb et al. (1988) Flora of New Zealand. Volume 4.]

Number of species and named hybrids in New Zealand within Prunus L.
Exotic: Fully Naturalised10
Exotic: Casual5
Connor, H.E.; Fountain, J. 2009: Plants that Poison: A New Zealand Guide. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Linnaeus, C. 1753: Species Plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Scopoli, J.A. 1754: Methodus Plantarum. Toannis Petri von Ghelen, Vienna.
Stewart, J. 1971: Plants in New Zealand Poisonous to Man. New Zealand Department of Health, Wellington.