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Plants from the Ground Up

Prinsepia sinensis CHERRY PRINSEPIA

Prinsepia sinensis flower

Cherry Prinsepia makes for a wonderful and unusual edible landscaping plant. I love how the branches bend and cascade giving this shrub a slightly weeping form. Prinsepia sinensis makes a very dense 6′ x 6′ bush that is perfect for creating a privacy hedge or part of a mixed hedgerow. Since it one of the very earliest plants to leaf out it can provide a very welcome sight to winter-weary eyes! In April-May small pale yellow single rose type flowers appear running along it branches and in July these turn into small half inch cherry-like fruits. These fruit is sweet-tart and can be eaten out of hand or used for baking and preserves. The ‘cherries’ are very high in ascorbic acid which gives them their sour flavor, it also makes them very popular with the birds. The young bark is grey-brown and ages to a beautiful dark brown and is ornamental in its exfoliating quality.

prinsepia sinensis fruit

Native to Manchuria, China, it has been in western cultivation since 1896. In their native habit, they grow in mixed forests, stream sides and open slopes, they are very adaptable and can grow very well in most garden situations. They perform best in moist soils with dappled shade, but can take full sun and are drought tolerant. The flowers are hermaphrodite (meaning they have both male and female flowers) and are pollinated by insects. Incredibly hardy they can tolerate cold down to -40 degrees! USDA winter hardiness zones 3-7.

For more photos and information, see Prinsepia sinensis at the Forestfarm Store.

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