Prunus ilicifolia. HOLLY-LEAF CHERRY. California Coast Ranges, Channel Islands, Mexico
ROSACEAE (Rose family)

Native to the immediate neighborhood of the campus, including Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, this evergreen shrub or small tree can be seen growing as a thicket at the northeast corner of the Cantor Center and on Serra Street between Campus Drive East and Pampas Lane. Two of the finest examples are under a coast live oak canopy 30 yards south of the California Native Garden (Lomita Drive and Roth Way, east of the Keck Building). The shiny dark green leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and have prickly edges. They are paler underneath. The small white flowers come in spikes a few inches long and later develop into dark red sweet juicy cherries. The roots and leaves are used in cooking in Mexico. The pits furnish an edible mush that must be leached in running water for several hours to remove traces of cyanide. This widely distributed plant was named in 1843 by Thomas Nuttall of Philadelphia, who collected on the Mexican coast. See P. lyonii.

Holly-leaf cherry is widespread and locally abundant at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. More information about Jasper Ridge's flora and plant communities.

Illus.right: George B. Sudworth. Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope. USDA, 1907. Click for larger image

Other campus Prunus: Prunus armeniaca | Prunus caroliniana | Prunus cerasifera | Prunus ilicifolia | Prunus laurocerasus | Prunus lusitanica | Prunus lyonii | Prunus serrulata | Prunus subhirtella | Prunus × blireiana | Prunus × yedoensis

Illustrations: Jasper Ridge photo archive Prunus ilicifolii


Name derivation, genus | species

Related material:

Botanical name index | Common name index | Family home