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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Prunus lyonii - Catalina Cherry

Catalina Cherry is a small CA native tree or large shrub growing 10-25' tall. Upright to lightly spreading, they attract birds for the fruit. Considered to be a botanical variety of Prunus ilicifolia by some and a distinct species by others. I have even seen multiple LL's in the name…..




Evergreen leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to broadly ovate, entire or lightly serrated margins, glossy green above 3-5" long.



Stems are green or brown, buds more pointed than P. ilicifolia.



Flowers white, early spring in upright racemes. Look very much like so many other Prunus species in this group but are longer than P. ilicifolia.




Fruit is a red drupe turning bluish black when mature.



 Trunk silver gray colored.


Misidentification:
Prunus ilicifolia as this one does not always have the holly like leaves and the fruit is black not red like the species.

Heres what I have been able to come up with to distinguish these 2 closely related species:
Las Pilitas Nurseries suggests that its very unlikely to find true P. lyonii, most are hybrids.
P. lyonii has larger leaves, up to 5" and mostly entire (no teeth) mostly flat without rolled over margins, thinner and a longer petiole as well as longer inflorescences, up to 5" long.

Prunus laurocerasus is the type species for the subgenus Laurocerasus or the cherry laurels. Others in this group include P. ilicifoliaP. ilicifolia lyoniiP. laurocerasusP. lusitanicaP. carolinana. They all have flowers that look and smell like these.

P. lusitanica has narrow long leaves with nice teeth, and very long inflorescences.
P. laurocerasus has very wide leaves, except the dwarf cultivars like 'Otto Luyken'.
P. carolinana has smaller leaves and the shortest inflorescences, about 1-2" maximum.

Location
Aptos
Corner of Clubhouse Dr and St. Andrews Dr., both sides of the street on St. Andrews Dr.

Capitola:
Center St and Bay Ave along the property line of the Nob Hill Shopping center.

Santa Cruz
304 Grant St.

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