Friday, August 13, 2010


A genus of only 4 species that are related to the larger Rose family that are native to the Himalayas and China.
They are thorny and arching in habit and have attractive glossy foliage.
All species prefer moist well drained soil in partial to full sun. Propagated from seed in autumn or softwood cuttings taken in summer. The seed should be soaked in water before either sowing outdoors during autumn or cold stratifying for 2 months then sown 0.25 inches deep during early spring.

Prinsepia sinensis ( Cherry Prinsepia )
A rare, moderate growing, long lived, spiny, dense spreading shrub reaching up to 10 x 10 feet in size, that is native to northeast China. It makes a great dense hedge or screen for cold climates.
The alternately arranged, lance shaped, bright green foliage is up to 3.5 x 0.5 inches in size.
The Cherry Prinsepia is one of the first shrubs to leaf out in spring ( as early as mid March in Boston )
The fragrant flowers are 5 petalled, bright yellow, around 0.5 inches in width and are produced in spring along the entire stem length.
Tasty, edible, red cherry-like fruits up to 0.5 inches in length follow. Up to 5 pounds of fruit per year can be borne on a shrub. The fruits are very rich in vitamin C.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 tolerating as low as - 40 F. Extremely hardy and drought tolerant. Pest free.

* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

Prinsepia uniflora ( Hedge Prinsepia )
An rare, moderate growing, arching, sharp spined shrub up to 10 x 10 ( averaging half that ) feet that is native to mountain valleys in northwest China.
The narrow, oblong, very shiny, deep green leaves are up to 2.5 x 0.5 inches in size.
It is one of the first shrubs to leaf out in spring and among the last to drop their leaves in the fall.
The small, fragrant, white flowers are borne along the stems through the spring and are followed by edible, cherry-like fruits, up to 0.5 inches, that can either be red or purple-black.
Hardy zones 2 to 5 in full sun on any fertile soil. Very pest free.
Requires a hot sunny site to fruit well.

Prinsepia utilis
A spiny, very fast growing shrub, similar to the above, but reaching up to 17 x 12 ( rarely over 9 ) feet. It is native to valley in the Himalayans Mountains ( Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet and southern China ).
The lance-shaped to narrowly-oblong leaves are up to 4 x 1.2 inches in size.
The blackish-purple fruits, up to 0.3 inches wide, appear during late summer, persisting into early autumn.
Hardy zones 7 to 9, it has not been fully tested in North America.

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