Prunus emarginata (Douglas ex Hook.) D. Dietr.
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
USDA Symbol: PREM
This is the most common western cherry. The scientific name describes the notched petals. As the common name indicates, the fruit is not edible; like the bark and leaves, it is intensely bitter. However, the fruit is consumed by many songbirds and mammals and the foliage is browsed by deer and livestock.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 50 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: British Columbia, Washington, and W. Montana south to S. California and SW. New Mexico; to 9000' (2743 m) in south.
Native Habitat: Moist soils of valleys and on mountain slopes; in chaparral and coniferous forests.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
BenefitUse Wildlife: Seeds contained in the bright red cherries are eagerly harvested by Evening Grosbeaks in early autumn.
Warning: The seeds of all Prunus species, found inside the fruits, contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable be
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Admiral, Azure, Swallowtail (larval), orange tip, elfin, and blue (nectar) butterflies.
Nectar Source: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Pale Swallowtail |
Learn more at BAMONA
Adult Food Source
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Prunus emarginata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Prunus emarginata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Prunus emarginata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff