Sunday, 2 March 2014

The first blossom..

The parkways round Peterborough are swathed with the snowy blossom of cherry-plum Prunus cerasifera, which was widely used in landscaping by the Peterborough Development Corporation.  It's  widely naturalised and may occurs in hedgerows and in scrubby areas. It's easiest to identify at this time of year, as it comes into flower a couple of weeks or so before its close relative, blackthorn Prunus spinosa.

It tends to be taller than blackthorn, growing to 8m and has a more lax appearance. It's never as spiny and the young twigs are hairless and glossy green. Although both have white flowers, I always think that Prunus cerasifera is a purer white, and that blackthorn has a more creamy-tinge, especially when it's young. The other good time to record this species is in the autumn as the fruits of Prunus cerasifera are like small yellow or red plums, compared with the typical sloe of Prunus spinosa.

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