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Prunus ilicifolia ilicifolia

Holly-Leaf Cherry
Rosaceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Shrubs

PRUNUS

This rich genus includes everything from English laurel to flowering apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums. (For edible varieties, see individual listings for apricot, cherry, peach, plum, and plum hybridss.)

Ornamental species and forms can be divided into two categories: evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen types are used chiefly as hedges, screens, shade trees, street trees. Deciduous flowering trees and shrubs, closely related to the fruit trees mentioned above, are valued for their winter or spring floral display as well as for attractive shape and for foliage form, texture, and sometimes even fall color. Many of these deciduous kinds offer a bonus of edible fruit.

Prunus ilicifolia ilicifolia

Native to California Coast Ranges. To 10–25 ft. high and wide. Glossy, oval to elliptical leaves to 2 in. long are light green when new, maturing to a rich deep green; they are spiny edged like holly (Ilex) leaves but not as prickly. Blooms at leafout, bearing fragrant, 1/2-in., creamy white flowers in narrow, 3–6-in.-long spikes. Round, 3/4-in.-wide, dark red or reddish purple fruit is edible but has a large pit and not much flesh.

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