Miyama Cherry Tree – Prunus maximowiczii

Miyama Cherry Tree – Prunus maximowiczii
Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees

Miyama cherry is also commonly called Korean cherry.

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Miyama Cherry bark
Outstanding bronze – green exfoliating bark
Range and habitat: Korea, China (Heilong Jiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Zhejiang), Russia (Khabarovsk, Primorye or Sakhalin), and Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu or Kyushu), often in mountainous, woodland regions and in clay soil.

 Miyama cherry is useful in many ways; aside from eating the fruit, the flowers can be used as a condiment, preserved in brine. The wood is very hard, heavy, and close grained, making it excellent for carving and furniture making. Green dye is produced from the leaves.  [5]

Miyama Cherry
Miyama Cherry, from seed, is 10 years old
In the U.S. the majority of cherries are produced in the Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon and California with the greatest volume of production in the north. The five year average, ending in 2000 shows Washington averaging 86,000 metric tons, Oregon a distant second at 50,000 tons and California at 36,000 tons. The only other significant cherry production region in the United States is Michigan in the north-central region with 18,000 tons, most of which is grown for the processing market. [3]

Prunus maximowiczii, known as the Miyama cherry or Korean cherry (not to be confused with P. japonica, also called Korean cherry), is a small (about 7.5m), fruiting cherry tree that can be found growing wild in northeastern Asia and Eurasia.

The species was first described in 1857 by Franz Josef Ruprecht. It was treated in the genus Cerasus (now accepted as a subgenus of Prunus) by Vladimir Leontyevich Komarov in 1927, but the original P. maximowiczii remains the accepted binomial [5].

The root system of most cherries are predominantly spreading and shallow, even in well-drained soils. Most roots are restricted to the upper 60 cm (24 in) of soil or less, with occasional sinker roots extending to depths of 90 to 120 cm (36 to 48 in). On wet sites, the tendency toward shallow rooting is especially pronounced. Because of this tendency to grow taller than associated species in mixed stands, cherry is vulnerable to windthrow, especially on poorly drained soils and at older ages.

Miyama Cherry Foliage
The most important defoliating insects attacking cherry trees include the eastern tent caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) and the cherry scallop shell moth (Hydria prunivorata). Infestations of these insects are sporadically heavy, with some apparent growth loss and occasional mortality if heavy defoliations occur several years in a row.Attacks by numerous species of insects cause gum defects in cherry, resulting in reduced timber quality. Gum spots in the wood are often associated with the Agromyzid cambium miner (Phytobia pruni), the peach bark beetle (Phloeotribus liminaris), and by the lesser peachtree borer (Synathedon pictipes). A wide variety of insects can cause injury to terminal shoots of black cherry seedlings and saplings, resulting in stem deformity. Archips spp. and Contarinia cerasiserotinae are among the more important.

White-tailed deer, rabbits, and hare feed on black cherry seedlings. Cherries are an important source of mast for many nongame birds, squirrel, deer, turkey, mice and moles, and other wildlife. The leaves, twigs, and bark of black cherry contain cyanide in bound form as the cyanogenic glycoside, prunasin. During foliage wilting, cyanide is released and domestic livestock that eat wilted foliage may get sick or die. Deer eat unwilted foliage without harm.

Cherry bark has medicinal properties. In the southern Appalachians, bark is stripped from young black cherries for use in cough medicines, tonics, and sedatives. The fruit is used for making jelly and wine. Appalachian pioneers sometimes flavored their rum or brandy with the fruit to make a drink called cherry bounce. To this, the genus owes one of its common names, rum cherry. [2]


  1. Miyama Cherry – Prunus maximowiczii, Morton acc. 35-2000*3 photograph: Bruce Marlin
  2. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program,  (GRIN) Prunus ×juddii E. S. Anderson
  3. Lynn E. Long, Oregon State University Extension Horticulturist, Growing Quality Cherries  PDF
  4. Wikipedia, Prunus maximowiczii
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.

Family Rosaceae – Rose Family; Fruit Trees
Containing Hawthorns, Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Peach, Almond, Mountain-Ash and Whitebeam. Rosaceae is a large family of plants with about 3,000 species in ~100 genera. Crabapple and other fruit trees provide some of our most outstanding flowering ornamentals, as well as food for birds and other wildlife.
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