Cherry paperbark Prunus serrula

Also called birchbark cherry, paperbark cherry, cellophane bark cherry or red bark cherry, this deciduous tree is a member of the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes prunes, lady’s mantle, and pyracantha. The tree grows 20-30′ tall and has outstanding mahogany brown bark with a glossy texture. The lanceolate , willow-like, dark green leaves are up to 4″ long and have serrated margins. In spring attractive white flowers appear but they are not as showy as those of many other varieties of cherry so if flowers are what you want pick another species. The cherry-like fruits are attractive to birds. This tree is not for everyone as it is susceptible to a large number of pests and diseases, especially viral diseases where the climate is warm and humid. That being said, the bark is so outstanding that it is worth a try if you are a connoisseur or lover of beautiful bark. The genus name, Prunus, comes from the Greek word  προύνη meaning plum, a prominent member of this genus.  The specific epithet, serrula, is from the diminutive of the Latin word serra, meaning saw, and refers to the leaf margins.

Type: Deciduous tree.

Outstanding Feature: Glossy red brown bark.

Form: Pyramidal to rounded.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Bloom: Umbels of 2-4 small (3/4”) white flowers are produced as the leaves appear in April to March.

Size: 20-30’ H x 20-30’ W.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Soil: Well drained; organically rich.

Hardiness: Zones 5-8.

Care: Low maintenance.

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to a large number of pests and diseases including leaf spot, powdery mildew, fireblight, cankers, leaf curl, aphids, scale, tent caterpillars, Japanese beetles, borers, leafhoppers, caterpillars and spider mites.

Propagation: Seeds; softwood cuttings in spring.

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By Karen