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Prunus ilicifolia ilicifolia

Holly-Leaf Cherry
Rosaceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Shrubs

PRUNUS

Discussed here are ornamental members of the genus Prunus. Fruit trees belonging to this genus—collectively known as stone fruits—are described under their common names. See Almond; Apricot; Cherry; Peach and Nectarine; Plum (includes Prune); and Plum Hybrids.

Ornamental species and forms can be divided into two categories: evergreen and deciduous. Evergreen types are used chiefly as hedges, screens, shade trees, and 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. Grows to 10–25 ft. tall 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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