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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 9 | Rosaceae | Prunus

2. Prunus myrtifolia (Linnaeus) Urban, Symb. Antill. 5: 93. 1904.

West Indies or myrtle laurel cherry

Celastrus myrtifolius Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 196. 1753; Lauro-cerasus myrtifolia (Linnaeus) Britton

Trees, not suckering, 60–120 dm, not thorny. Twigs with terminal end buds, glabrous. Leaves persistent; petiole 8–16 mm, glabrous, eglandular; blade elliptic to broadly elliptic, 4–10 × 2–4.5(–6.5) cm, base cuneate, obtuse, or nearly rounded, margins undulate, entire, apex acute to acuminate, ˂apicula obtuse˃, surfaces glabrous, ˂abaxial glandular, glands 2, proximal, flat, circular to oval˃. Inflorescences 12–30-flowered, racemes; central axes (11–)20–50 mm, ˂leafless at bases˃. Pedicels (2–)3–6 mm, glabrous. Flowers ˂usually bisexual, proximal sometimes staminate˃, blooming before leaf emergence; hypanthium cupulate, 1.5–2.5 mm, glabrous externally; sepals spreading, semicircular, 0.5–0.8 mm, margins usually entire, occassionally with a glandular tooth, surfaces glabrous; petals white, obovate to suborbiculate, 1.5 mm; ovaries glabrous. Drupes purple-black, globose to ± ovoid, 8–12 mm, glabrous; mesocarps leathery; stones subglobose, not flattened.

Flowering Nov–Jan; fruiting Mar–Jun. Hammocks, pinelands; 0–10 m; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America.

Prunus myrtifolia, when compared with P. caroliniana, has flowers more widely spaced on longer rachises and pedicels, and flowers in the winter rather than the spring. The leaves of P. myrtifolia are broader on average, and their apices are blunt at the tip; the fruits are more rounded at the apices with smaller apicula.


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