Skip to main content

Prunus maackii - Amur or Manchurian cherry


The Amur cherry can’t compete with the native bird cherry (Prunus padus) with regard to flowering, but is nevertheless a showy tree due to the bark on branches and trunk. This is a beautiful shiny yellow-coppery colour and exfoliates attractively.

It is a rapid grower, non-suckering and thornless, not particularly tall but with a very broad crown in maturity. Characteristically of many species and cultivars of the Prunus genus, it produces several branches from a single point in the stem, which leads to a tendency to breaking in storms and under heavy snow. On the other hand, even the twisted ruins of an old tree look rather sculptural well beyond the showiness of youth. The autumn leaf colour is a handsome yellow, though the leaves fall early.

In Finland, Amur cherry was long limited to collections until plant production began in the early 1970s. The earliest trees at Mustila were planted around 1910 or soon after, and the largest of these had a trunk 30cms in diameter in 1959. Nowadays there are specimens of several different provenances growing in the Arboretum which differ slightly from each other, for example in the colour of the trunk.

The Russian plantsman Mitšurin crossed the Amur cherry with sour cherry (P.cerasus), producing a tree whose fruit are intermediate in size between those of the parents.