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Prunus grayana (syn. Padus grayana (Maxim.) C.K.Schneid., Prunus padus var. japonica Miq.; Japanese bird cherry or Gray’s bird cherry; Japanese ウワミズザクラ Uwa-mizu-zakura; Chinese 灰叶稠李 hui ye chou li) is a species of cherry native to Japan and China, occurring at medium altitudes of 1,000–3,800 m in the temperate zone. It prefers sunshine and moist (but drained) soil.[2][3][4]

It is a small deciduous tree reaching a height of 8–20 m. The trunk is slender with smooth grey to purple-grey bark marked with horizontal brown lenticels, with a strong smell when cut. The leaves are elliptical to ovoid, 4–10 cm long and 1.8–4.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin with aristate tips to the serrations. The lowest teeth of a leaf feature two glands. The flowers are produced on 5–8 cm long racemes, each flower 7–10 mm diameter, with five white petals; they are hermaphroditic, and appear in mid-spring after the leaves. The fruit is a small drupe, about 8 mm in diameter, green at first, then red and finally ripening black in mid summer.[2][3][5][6]

It is very closely related to Prunus padus (Bird cherry), differing in the aristate tips to the leaf serration (blunt-pointed in P. padus), and the longer style in the flower.[6][7]


The flowers, fruit and seed are all edible and are prepared and eaten in Japan. The fruit can be preserved with salt to make a dish called Anningo. The bark and roots are the source of a green dye. The wood is very hard and fissable. It is used in various cabinet-making and various other ornamental applications.[3][8]


The taxon was described in 1864 by Miquel as Prunus padus var. japonica, on the basis of specimens collected by Siebold.[9] After a review of the previous literature, Maximowicz in St. Petersburg decided in 1883[10] the tree was a distinct species, and named it Prunus grayana after Asa Gray.

Written on April 23rd, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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