Prunus is a large genus of more than 400 species of flowering trees and shrubs in the family Rosaceae that are spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Most species in this genus have simple, usually toothed leaves and beautiful five-petaled flowers in various colors. These species can offer not only beautiful flowers, but also drupes as fruits, known as stone fruits. The genus contains many fruit tree species of global economic importance. They are mostly deciduous trees known by their common names such as plum trees, cherry trees, peach trees, apricot trees, almond trees, and collectively as the stone fruit trees.

Name meaning

The genus name is derived from the Latin “prunus”, which means “plum tree”.

Prunus symbolism

Prunus celebrates the hope of a spring, and is also a symbol of endurance.

Interesting facts about Prunus

The Blooming History of Cherry Blossoms

When we talk about Prunus, the first thing we think of is Cherry blossom. Cherry blossoms are flowers of several different types of trees belonging to the Prunus genus. The most popular species are “Prunus serrulata” (also known as “Sakura”) and “Prunus x yedoensis”, one of the most popular natural hybrids.

Cherry Blossoms as a Living Symbol of Friendship Between the United States and Japan

The Cherry blossom is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japan and also an unofficial symbol of the country. It is the ultimate sign of spring and the coming of new life. Cherry blossoms are celebrated in Japanese art, poetry and songs. They are an iconic feature of the Japanese springtime landscape and it’s impossible to think of springtime Japan without them. They are so popular that festivals are celebrated in their honor.

Since the early 20th century, the Cherry blossom trees were given as a diplomatic gift to other countries. In 1912, Japan sent over 5000 Cherry blossom trees to the U.S. capital to symbolize the friendship between the two sides. Since then, the Cherry blossoms are also an integral part of the history of Washington, D.C.

The Origin of Cherry Blossoms

It’s also worth mentioning a controversy over the origin of Cherry blossom trees. In recent years, China has joined the controversy claiming that Cherry blossom trees originated from the Himalayan region in what is today China. Besides that, there have been claims that these trees originated not in China or Japan, but in Korea. Korea claims that Cherry blossoms originate from Korea, and that the Japanese only told the United States that they came from Japan because Korea was under their colonial rule at the time. Unfortunately, these beautiful plants have not been immune from political bashing.

Prunus Benefits and Uses

The genus Prunus has many economically important species, such as the cultivated plum, peach, cherry, almond and apricot. They are popular because they produce edible and delicious stone fruits. Stone fruits, also called drupes, are cultivated all over the world, occupying an area of 5 million ha. And many of the species are grown as ornamentals.

Prunus Plant Data