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Black fruited (with stones), alternate pinnate tree - anyone recognise this? (photo attached)

Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom Gb

I have a tree in my garden which has burst forth with fruit and I would like to try and identify it to see whether I can use the fruit for jam :)

It is a pinnate, alternate leaves, smooth leaves with mostly straight edges. Leaves are roughly 4-6" long and 2-3" wide, being wider towards the end of the leaf. The leaves have a sharply shaped tip but no protrudance from the tip. The terminal leaves are large, as the with the rest of the leaves at any given point. The leaves are waxy with a single central vein from which smaller veins radiate, pointing towards the leaf tip end.

The fruit on the tree is small, the size of small cherries and has a black fleshy skin with a stone in the middle. I've not tasted one yet for obvious reasons!

I'd really appreciate help with this if anyone knows the answer :)




Prunus padus? the 'bird cherry'. Take a look at this website
If so the fruits will be bitter to the taste but make good jam

20 Sep, 2009


I ate one once - enough - ugh.

20 Sep, 2009


Looks more like the evergreen Prunus laurocerasus. The fruits are incredibly bitter. Best just left to the birds that love them.

Incidentally, what appear to be pinnate leaves are not, they are the whole stem with simple obovate leaves running down each side. :-)

At least you are using the correct words to describe something which 99.9% of the customers I deal with have never come across.

20 Sep, 2009


Looks suspiciously like laurel to me - in which case, don't eat it.

20 Sep, 2009


Your suspicions are correct, Prunus laurocerasus.

20 Sep, 2009


Hi Fractal can you talk me through how to i.d. the two to recognise the difference. I could have asked this as a PM but thought others might be interested too.

20 Sep, 2009


Hi Moon grower.

There are a few pointers but first I must say that I see both these species almost every day working where I do.

P. laurocerasus generally has a glossier leaf and (as you will know) thicker in the flesh as it were. P. padus is much more matt and almost always has an obvious drip point at the tip.

The leaves of both differ on close inspection too with the veins of P. lauro. being either flush or slightly raised above the leaf surface whereas P. padus has the veins recessed, almost as if the leaf has been quilted with stitches made of veins.

See my photos, I have added the two leaves there for comparison.

The poster also mentioned that the leaves were waxy which rules out padus too.

20 Sep, 2009


Thanks Fractil... I really love learning something new on the growing front!

20 Sep, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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