Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs, deciduous. Branches unarmed. Axillary winter buds 1 or 3, lateral buds flower buds, central bud a leaf bud; terminal winter buds present. Stipules soon caducous, margin serrulate, teeth often gland-tipped. Leaves simple, alternate or fascicled on short branchlets, conduplicate when young; petiole usually with 2 apical nectaries or nectaries sometimes at base of leaf blade margin; leaf blade margin singly or doubly serrate, rarely serrulate. Inflorescences axillary, fasciculate-corymbose or 1-or 2-flowered, base often with an involucre formed by floral bud scales. Flowers opening before or at same time as leaves, pedicellate, with persistent scales or conspicuous bracts. Hypanthium campanulate or tubular. Sepals 5, reflexed or erect. Petals 5, white or pink. Stamens 15–50, inserted on or near rim of hypanthium. Carpel 1. Ovary superior, 1-loculed, hairy or glabrous; ovules 2, collateral, pendulous. Style terminal, elongated, hairy or glabrous; stigma emarginate. Fruit a drupe, glabrous, not glaucous, without a longitudinal groove. Mesocarp succulent, not splitting when ripe; endocarp globose to ovoid, smooth or ± rugose.
The Himalayan species Cerasus rufa (J. D. Hooker) T. T. Yü & C. L. Li (Prunus rufa J. D. Hooker) was reported from Xizang by both T. T. Yü et al. (Fl. Xizang. 2: 693. 1985) and T. T. Yü & C. L. Chao (FRPS 38: 80. 1986). However, it is now believed that this species does not occur in Xizang.
The present authors have seen no material of the following species described from Taiwan: Prunus matuurae Sasaki, P. taiwaniana Hayata (P. itosakura Siebold var. taiwaniana (Hayata) Kudô & Masamune), P. takasagomontana Sasaki, and P. transarisanensis Hayata. Their status is uncertain and they are not included in this treatment.
Many species of cherry are cultivated for their edible fruit or as garden ornamentals.
The following taxa have been described from China, but we have seen no specimens and are therefore unable to treat them in this account. Further revision is necessary.
Prunus bonatii Koehne (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 11: 265. 1912), described from Yunnan: Maire 3719.
Prunus canescens M. Vilmorin & Bois (Frutic. Vilmor. 66. 1904), described from Hubei: E. H. Wilson 65.
Prunus carcharias Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 267. 1912), described from Chongqing: A. von Rosthorn s.n.
Prunus concinna Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 210. 1912), described from Hubei: E. H. Wilson 2825.
Prunus giraldiana C. K. Schneider (Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 1: 65. 1905), described from Shaanxi: G. Giraldi 3789.
Prunus phyllopoda Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 257. 1912), described from Shaanxi: G. Giraldi s.n.
Prunus plurinervis Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 208. 1912), described from Sichuan: E. H. Wilson 907.
Prunus pulchella Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 197. 1912), described from Hubei: E. H. Wilson 2827.
Prunus rossiana Koehne (in Sargent, Pl. Wilson. 1: 223. 1912), described from Hubei: E. H. Wilson 182.
About 150 species: temperate Asia, Europe, North America; 43 species (29 endemic, five introduced).
(Authors: Li Chaoluan (Li Chao-luang), Jiang Shunyuan; Bruce Bartholomew)