The attractive bark of the Tibetan cherry brightens this corner of the Winter Garden.
Comprising 200 species the genus Prunus is widely admired for its spring blossom, though in P. serrula (Tibetan cherry) it is the mahogany-coloured bark which is the main feature. In this species the bark is most attractive on young growth, when it is smooth and glossy, and as the tree matures the bark peels and loses its sheen, and becomes much more rugged. In young specimens it is hard to resist stroking accessible branches as you pass by. A native of western China, the Tibetan cherry was first introduced to our gardens by the plant collector Ernest Wilson in 1908, and this was followed by a second introduction into cultivation from Sichuan in 1981 by Roy Lancaster. P. serrula can exceed 10m in height, and has slender, toothed foliage, which can produce good autumn colour.