Rosaceae (Rose family) Prunus

Prunus ilicifolia subsp. lyonii Catalina cherry

Catalina and nearby islands
P. lyonii (syn.)
Prunus ilicifolia subsp. lyonii at the northern tip of the east ear of the Oval, showing leaves and fruit. Sairus Patel, 28 Oct 2018
Prunus ilicifolia subsp. lyonii (integrifolia was a former subspecific epithet) leaves and fruit. From Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope, George B. Sudworth, USDA, 1907

Catalina cherry has toothed leaves that are not prickly like those of P. ilicifolia and in fact mature leaves may be practically smooth-edged. The flowers are in long spikes as with P. ilicifolia; the fruit is a black edible cherry with large stones. The tree regenerates freely on campus, with the help of birds.

Catalina cherries line the bike path from Santa Fe Avenue to Stanford Avenue and more were planted in the ears of The Oval in 2002. There are some nice examples – growing with coast live oak – where the north end of East Ear path intersects The Oval (view map).

Named P. lyonii 1911 by Harold Lloyd Lyon, a Hawaiian sugar expert, the tree was soon assigned subspecies status under P. ilicifolia with names such as integrifolia and occidentalis. Since the toothed- and smooth-leafed forms cross readily in cultivation the common names need to be taken with a grain of salt.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Name updated from P. lyonii to P. ilicifolia subsp. lyonii Jan 2018 (SP).