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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Genus: Prunus (Almond, Apricot, Cherry, Nectarine, Peach and Plum genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Order: Rosales > Family: Rosaceae

About 200 species, found mainly in the northern hemisphere. Prunus africana is the only species native to southern Africa and an additional two species are naturalised and 23 species and at least three hybrids are cultivated in the region including important commercial crops such as almonds, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums. 

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Prunus africana (Red stinkwood)

Rooistinkhout [Afrikaans]

[= Laurocerasus africana]

Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Prunus persica (Peach & Nectarine)

Native to north and central China.

Prunus serotina (American cherry, Black cherry, Rum cherry, Capulin)

Native from Canada to Mexico.


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum)

Native to southeastern USA.


Prunus armeniaca (Apricot)

Native to northern China.

Prunus avium (Cherry, Sweet cherry, Gean, Mazzard, Hagberry)

Native from Europe to western Siberia.

Prunus cerasifera (Cherry plum, Mirabelle, Myrobalan)

Native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia.

Prunus cerasoides

Native to the Himalayas.

Prunus cerasus (Sour cherry, Morello cherry)

Native from southern Europe to northern India.


Prunus dulcis (Common almond)

Almonds are believed to have been domesticated about 5000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region. Almonds are an excellent source of calcium, iron, riboflavin and Vitamin E. Calcium levels are higher than in any other nut. Almonds are eaten as a snack and used in many recipes.

Prunus glandulosa (Dwarf flowering almond)


Prunus hirtipes

Native to central China.


Prunus ilicifolia (Holly-leaved cherry)

Native to California.


Prunus japonica

Native to China and Korea.


Prunus laurocerasus (Cherry laurel)

Native to eastern Europe and southwestern Asia.


Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel)

Native from Spain to the Azores.


Prunus mahaleb (Mahaleb, St Lucie cherry)

Native from eastern Europe to central Asia.


Prunus mume (Japanese apricot, Mei)

Native to southern Japan.


Prunus munsoniana (Goose plum)

Native to south-central USA.


Prunus padus (Bird cherry, Hagberry)

Native from Europe to Japan.


Prunus salicifolia

Native from Mexico to Peru.


Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)

Native to China and Korea.


Prunus serrulata (Japanese flowering cherry, Sato zakura)

Native to China, Korea and Japan.


Prunus subhirtella (Kohiganzakura)

Native to Japan.


Prunus tomentosa (Nanking cherry, Downy cherry)

Native from the Himalayas to Japan.

Prunus triloba (Flowering almond)

Native to China.


Prunus x blireana


Prunus x domestica (Plum)

Prunus x yedoensis (Yoshino cherry, Yoshino-zakura)



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.