Prunus ussuriensis

This Far East species is something of a mystery, whose description isn’t easy to find in the literature. Nevertheless, it has long been known in its native range. It – and other similar plum species – has been grown from seeds by the Chinese and Koreans especially in the Ussuri and the Yalu River valley areas. It resembles the Japanese plum (P. salicina). The American have taken into cultivation a Japanese plum variety called ‘Mandshurica’, whose description is very close to P. ussuriensis.

According to the literature and information on its natural range, the species is extremely cold hardy. There are statements from the early 1900s claiming that it had survived several winters and even flowered on the extreme Irkutsk plateau and Transbaikal in Russia. More recently it has been used in hybridising to produce hardy plum varieties.

The specimens growing at Mustila haven’t really thrived. It may be that the species is too continental, and the local climate here, with its rapid weather changes in spring and autumn, doesn’t really suit it. However, elsewhere in Finland it has even produced fruit but all-in-all, experience so far is very limited.


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