Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs. Stipules present. Leaves simple; leaf blade margin serrate or rarely entire. Ovary superior; carpels 1(–5), with 2 pendulous anatropous ovules per carpel. Fruit a drupe; mesocarp succulent, fleshy, or dry, not splitting or more rarely splitting when ripe.
The genera Amygdalus, Armeniaca, Cerasus, Laurocerasus, Padus, and Prunus are often treated at the subgeneric or sectional level within the genus Prunus. Pygeum is usually treated as a distinct genus but has sometimes also been included within Prunus. The three cherry genera (Cerasus, Laurocerasus, and Padus) are probably more closely related to each other than they are to the other genera in the Prunoideae. Recent phylogenetic studies based on molecular data show that none of these three cherry genera are monophyletic, and their separation is probably not justified (Bortiri et al., Syst. Bot. 26: 797–807. 2001).
Ten genera and ca. 400 species: Africa, America, Asia, NE Australia, Europe, Pacific Islands; nine genera and 115 species (69 endemic, nine introduced) in China.