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Taxon: Prunus mahaleb L.

Genus: Prunus subgenus: Cerasus section: Cerasus
Family: Rosaceae subfamily: Amygdaloideae tribe: Amygdaleae
Nomen number: 30034
Place of publication: Sp. pl. 1:474. 1753
Typification: View record from Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum of London.
Name verified on: 02-May-2011 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 02-May-2011
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Davis (DAV).
Accessions: 21 in National Plant Germplasm System.

Common names:

  • Gandhi cherry   (Source: Genet Res Crop Evol ) – English
  • mahaleb cherry   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – English
  • perfumed cherry   (Source: Hortus 3 ) – English
  • rock cherry   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – English
  • St. Lucie cherry   (Source: F BritStace ) – English
  • yuan ye ying tao   (Source: F ChinaEng [as Cerasus mahaleb]) – Transcribed Chinese
  • amarel   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – French
  • bois-de-Sainte-Lucie   (Source: L Noms French ed6 ) – French
  • cerisier de Sainte-Lucie   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – French
  • Felsenkirsche   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – German
  • Steinweichsel   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – German
  • cerezo de Santa Lucía   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Spanish
  • vejksel   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish

Economic importance:

  • Food additives: flavoring   (leaves & seeds are used in Mid. East fide Cornucopia)
  • Environmental: ornamental   (fide Krussmann)
  • Environmental: revegetator   (fide Krussmann)
  • Environmental: shade/shelter   (fide Krussmann)
  • Gene sources: graft stock relative for sour cherry   (fide J Environ Hort 12:138. 1994)
  • Gene sources: graft stock relative for sweet cherry   (based on hybrids with Prunus fruticosa fide J Amer Soc Hort Sci 132:672. 2007)
  • Gene sources: secondary genetic relative of sweet cherry   (based on hybrids with Prunus avium fide Acta Hort 190:134. 1990)
  • Weed: potential seed contaminant   (fide Rep NCEPPC)

Distributional range:

    Northern Africa: Morocco
    Western Asia: Iran; Iraq; Turkey
    Caucasus: Armenia; Azerbaijan
    Middle Asia: Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan
    Indian Subcontinent: Pakistan [n.]
    Middle Europe: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Germany; Hungary; Slovakia; Switzerland
    East Europe: Moldova; Ukraine [incl. Krym]
    Southeastern Europe: Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Greece; Italy [incl. Sicily]; Macedonia; Montenegro; Romania; Serbia; Slovenia
    Southwestern Europe: France [incl. Corsica]; Portugal; Spain

  • also cultivated


  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman & M. Hjertson. 2009. Våra kulturväxters namn - ursprung och användning. Formas, Stockholm (Handbook on Swedish cultivated and utility plants, their names and origin).
  • Bortiri, E. et al. 2001. Phylogeny and systematics of Prunus (Rosaceae) as determined by sequence analysis of ITS and the chloroplast trnL-trnF spacer DNA. Syst. Bot. 26:797–807.
  • Bortiri, E. et al. 2006. Phylogenetic analysis of morphology in Prunus reveals extensive homoplasy. Pl. Syst. Evol. 259:53–71.
  • Bouhadida, M. et al. 2007. Chloroplast DNA diversity in Prunus and its implication on genetic relationships. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 132:670–679. [this study examined one sample of Prunus mahaleb and another of a hybrid with P. fruticosa, the latter used as a graft stock for cherry].
  • Cai, Y. L. et al. 2007. Studies on genetic variation in cherry germplasm using RAPD analysis. Sci. Hort. 111:248–254. [this study included Prunus mahaleb as one of the wild species used as an outgroup].
  • Campbell, F. T., ed. 1995. Report of National Coalition of Exotic Plant Pest Councils. (unpublished draft)
  • Demilly, D. et al. 1996. Liste alphabétique des principales espèces de plantes cultivées et de mauvaises herbes. Noms latins et noms français, ed. 6.
  • Encke, F. et al. 1984. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage.
  • Euro+Med Editorial Committee. Euro+Med Plantbase: the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity (on-line resource).
  • Facciola, S. 1990. Cornucopia, a source book of edible plants.
  • Gleason, H. A. & A. Cronquist. 1963. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada.
  • Huxley, A., ed. 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening.
  • Iezzoni, A. et al. 1990. Cherries (Prunus). Acta Hort. 190:111–173.
  • Jahandiez, E. & R. Maire. 1931–1941. Catalogue des plantes du Maroc.
  • Krüssmann, G. 1984. Manual of cultivated broad-leaved trees and shrubs (English translation of Handbuch der Laubgehölze. 1976).
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third.
  • Mouterde, P. 1966–. Nouvelle flore du Liban et de la Syrie.
  • Pandey, A. et al. 2008. Genetic resources of Prunus (Rosaceae) in India. Genet. Resources Crop Evol. 55:91–104. [this review included Prunus mahaleb locally used in India for its kernels].
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource).
  • Ranney, T. G. 1994. Differential tolerance of eleven Prunus taxa to root zone flooding. J. Environm. Hort. 12:138–141. [mentions "grafted sour cherry (P. cerasus L. "Montmorency" on P. mahaleb)"].
  • Rechinger, K. H., ed. 1963–. Flora iranica. [= Cerasus mahaleb].
  • Rehm, S. & G. Espig. 1991. The cultivated plants of the tropics and subtropics.
  • Rehm, S. 1994. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants.
  • Rohrer, J. R. 2011. Prunus (Rosaceae). In: FNA Editorial Committee, Flora of North America. 9: in press. [introduced].
  • Shimada, T. et al. 2001. The genetic diversities of 4 species of subg. Lithocerasus (Prunus, Rosaceae) revealed by RAPD analysis. Euphytica 117:85–90. [cites].
  • Stace, C. 1995. New flora of the British Isles.
  • Stewart, R. 1972. An annotated catalogue of the vascular plants of West Pakistan and Kashmir.
  • Steyermark, J. A. 1977. Flora of Missouri.
  • Townsend, C. C. & E. Guest. 1966–. Flora of Iraq.
  • Tutin, T. G. et al., eds. 1964–1980. Flora europaea.
  • Walters, S. M. et al., eds. 1986–. European garden flora.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition). [= Cerasus mahaleb (L.) Mill.].


Check other web resources for Prunus mahaleb L.:

  • Flora Europaea: Database of European Plants (ESFEDS)
  • Flora of North America: Collaborative Floristic Effort of North American Botanists
  • Flora of China: Online version from Harvard University
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ICRA: International Cultivar Registration Authority (on-line resource). for Prunus mahaleb cultivars
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.


  • Stone: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (06 October 2015)

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