Prunus tomentosa
Common Name: downy cherry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Caucasus, China, Japan, Russian Far East, West Himalaya
Zone: 2 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White to light pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion


Best in moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have good drought tolerance. Propagate by cuttings, root suckers or seed. Will naturalize in the landscape by self-seeding, but is not considered invasive. Excellent winter hardiness to USDA Zone 2. Plants generally perform poorly in the heat and humidity of the deep South, and are not recommended for planting south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Prunus tomentosa, is native to northern and western China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Kashmir and the Himalayas. It is commonly called downy cherry in recognition of its downy leaves, downy stems and downy fruits. This is a dense, twiggy, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 6-10' tall but spreads to 15' wide. It infrequently grows as a small tree. Slightly rugose, serrate, obovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (2-3" long) with pointed tips are pubescent above and densely lanuginous (greater pubescence) beneath. White to light pink flowers (3/4" across) are solitary or in pairs. Flowers bloom in early spring (April). Flowers are followed by red fruits (to 1/3" across) which ripen in June-July. Fruit is edible but of variable quality ranging from tart to sweet. Fruit may be used in pies, jams or jellies. Birds love the fruit.

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.

Specific epithet means thickly matted with hairs.


Borers can be a problem, particularly with trees under stress. Brown rot fungus. Watch for mites.


Shrub border. Mass plantings. Windbreaks.