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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prunus subhirtilla - Higan Cherry

The Higan Cherry is a very popular smaller flowering cherry that brightens up the spring landscape beautifully. Its interesting to note that they bloom later in the sequence of spring flowering trees here in SC than in colder climates. 

Several variations are found including those with single or double flowers, light pink to dark pink and upright spreading to weeping habits. Growing 20' if upright, and wider than tall.

Here is a dark pink weeping variety. 

 And a light pink weeping variety.

Leaves are alternate, simple, 3" long, deciduous, narrowly ovate - lanceolate to elliptical in shape, with coarsely 2X serrated margins. Like most cherries, they have one or more gland at the base of the leaf blade. This image also shows leaf-like stipules.

Flowers are light to dark pink, single or double, about 1/2" wide and not fragrant. They are held in umbels of 2-5 flowers. Individual flower stalks are pubescent. (Flowers of the Japanese cherries are held in racemes not umbels.)

Small little cherry, ripens dark.

Younger stems light tan with reddish buds. Lots of lenticles.

Potentially great fall color. Oranges and yellows. This is the cultivar 'Autumnalis'.

The bark of cherries can be pretty confusing and variable. Generally speaking they have horizontal bands of lenticles but since most of the trees are grafted you can find trees with P. serrula bark (see below) or other unknown species. Don't be misled, you can actually find this bark on many trees, Kwanzan, and Weeping cherries.

Other cherries. Flowers of the Japanese cherries are held in racemes not umbels. Leaves tend to be narrower and usually smaller than the Japanese cherries.


411 Clubhouse Dr. Single Pink upright
518 Clubhouse Dr. Double Pink Weeping
433 Los Altos Dr. Single Pink Weeping

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