A tree of Mongolian cherry
Synonyms: Prunus cerasus var. pumila, Prunus chamaecerasus
Other names: Dwarf cherry, ground cherry, steppe cherry.
Mongolian cherry is native to Ciscaucasia or western Siberia. It is a one of the most winter hardy plants. It is aldo xerophtic in nature. This fruit has, however, spread with time to several European countries.
Three fruits of Mongolian cherry
A spreading bush, 60 – 120 cm high with slender glabrous branchletsbark dark brown with lenticels.
Leaves varying from obo-vate to oblanceolate and lanceolate, 12 mm by 6 mm, apex acuminate or sometimes almost obtuse, closely serrulate, thickish, shining above, the petiole short.
Flowering shoots of a Mongolian cherry tree
Flowers white, in nearly or quite sessile umbels, hermaphrodite
Mongolian cherry flowers
Fruit small, globular, purple-red, very sour.
Fruit light to dark red, globose to pyriform, about 8-25 mm in diameter, ripening in August. The taste is sour-sweet, or tart.
As a sour tasting cherry, the fruit is used in cooking, and for jams and jellies.
The roots of the shrub stabilize soil. It is planted in hedgerows as an ornamental windscreen
The plant requires full sun; that is, it is a steppe rather than a forest plant, although it does form thickets at the edges of open forest.
Multiplication is mostly by seed. But at times it is also grafted on Prunus avium to get a round plant.