Learn all about the Saint Lucia cherry tree (Prunus mahaleb)

Prunus mahaleb

Today we are going to talk about a rather curious and beautiful shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is close to the cherry trees that are usually grown in the fields and is found in many areas of Europe and North Africa. Is called cherry tree of Saint Lucia. His scientific name is prunus mahaleb and it is characteristic in the areas where it grows. It grows on dry hills in the mountains and is able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. In this article we are going to tell you about all its characteristics and the care it needs if you want to plant it in your garden.

Do you want to know more about the Saint Lucia cherry tree? Read on and you will learn everything.

Key features

Prunus mahaleb flowers

flores de Prunus mahaleb

It is a tree that resists both cold and droughts very well. Because of this, you can see the hardness of its bark used to withstand extreme temperatures. Living in North Africa, it has a distribution area close to deserts. As we know, in deserts there is a great contrast between daytime and nighttime temperatures. At the end of the day it can be about 40 degrees on average, while at night it can reach 10 degrees or less.

The cup blooms in spring in a very abundant way and produces small cherries. The prunus mahaleb It has several dry parts due to the areas in which it lives and its environmental conditions. It is attacked by some parasites and diseases. The dry parts become over time one of the most attractive points of this tree, since it has a very good quality.

The flowers are very small in size and this is the reason why this tree is used for the formation of bonsai. The cherry trees of Saint Lucia have something to stand out in front of his other relatives of the family in Japan and it is that they produce a large quantity of these small fruits. When the bush is blooming and producing the fruits, it acquires a great beauty due to the garnet color of the cherries. At this time, it is when the most attractive and most ornamental value is given to the Prunus mahaleb.

But not only is the fruit and its flowers beautiful, but also the bark is worth seeing. The color of the wood has dark tones close to black and causes a quite striking color difference to be generated when it is in bloom and when the fruits are ripening.

Land where it grows

detail of the Saint Lucia cherry tree

detail of the Santa Lucia cherry tree

Its attractiveness and perfect characteristics to be bonsai, they make it spread more and more in Europe. It has been observed over time that they are capable of developing in many areas, both stony and unstable due to powerful erosion. This ability to be able to develop in places with adverse environmental conditions makes it have powerful roots to be able to capture the necessary nutrients in its development. It is impossible to see these trees in developed forests, since the largest specimens tend to block the sunlight and do not allow them to photosynthesize properly.

What usually happens with this tree also happens with much of the vegetation of other forests. Unlike them, the prunus mahaleb It has been able to adapt to other types of terrain where it does not have as much competition and can develop better. Other plants simply decide to look for holes in the part called undergrowth.

The cherry tree of Saint Lucia must be extracted from its natural environment in the month of February if we want to have it at home. This is done because it has not yet flowered and has the ability to adapt to the new environment before the flowering season in which most of its energy will be used for it.

Uses and requirements of the Saint Lucia cherry tree

Prunus mahaleb bonsai

Prunus mahaleb bonsai

As we have mentioned before, it is a shrub up to 4 or 5 meters high, perfect for turning it into a bonsai. Its branches are young and smell good. In the crown it usually has many branches and during the winter it is left without leaves.

The flowers are white and perfumed. They bloom in spring, which is when temperatures are most pleasant and temperature contrasts are not so pronounced. The fruits are used in industry to make colorants and the flowers to make perfumes.

There are times when it can be seen in public lands planted with a purely ornamental use. It is used to form hedges and is usually used to plant it in calcareous soils that do not support other types of vegetation. This counts as a perfect use of urban and interurban land to be able to develop the vegetation well and benefit from all the advantages.

We can meet these specimens without forming large masses of shrubs. They can also be found in gall oak forests, fresh holm oaks or even pinsapares.

Prunus mahaleb which

fruits of Prunus mahaleb

fruits of Prunus mahaleb

If you want to have this beautiful shrub and turn it into a perfect bonsai for the spring decorations of your garden, you must take into account some aspects in its care. This tree needs full sun exposure. It can survive well in semi-shade, but direct sun is ideal. This is how it uses more energy to develop its flowers and fruits that really make it look attractive and gain an extra touch of ornamentation.

It does not matter if your garden does not have good soil. Take advantage of the poorest and stony parts to plant your Saint Lucia cherry tree there. What you should keep in mind is that the soil must be well drained. One thing is that it survives well in calcareous and poor soils and another thing is the waterlogging. In the area from which the rainfall comes, it is scarce. Therefore, it does not resist the accumulation of water well.

Irrigation should be moderate and you have to wait for the soil to dry well before watering again. It does not need pruning or special fertilizing, unless you want to turn it into a bonsai. As they have a very hard wood, they are quite resistant to pests and diseases.

We can multiply it from seeds and cuttings. Using the first technique, we will do it in spring and with the second in summer.

I hope you liked this beautiful bush.

Learn all about the Saint Lucia cherry tree (Prunus mahaleb)

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