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The genus Prunus includes the almond, apricot, cherry, peach and plum, all of which have cultivars developed for commercial fruit and nut production. The edible part of the almond is the seed; the almond fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. Many other species are occasionally cultivated or used for their seed and fruit.
There are also a number of species, hybrids, and cultivars grown as ornamental plants, usually for their profusion of flowers, sometimes for ornamental foliage and shape, occasionally for their bark. These ornamentals include the group that may be collectively called flowering cherries (including sakura, the Japanese flowering cherries).
Other species such as blackthorn are grown for hedging, game cover, and other utilitarian purposes.
The wood of some species is a minor and specialised timber (cherry wood), usually from larger tree species such as the wild cherry.
Many species produce an aromatic resin from wounds in the trunk; this is sometimes used medicinally. There are other minor uses including dye production.
Pygeum is a herbal remedy containing extracts from the bark of Prunus africana. It is used as to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by inflammation in patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Because of their considerable value as both food and ornamental plants, many Prunus species have been introduced to parts of the world to which they are not native, some becoming naturalised.
Prunus species are food plants for the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths); see List of Lepidoptera which feed on Prunus.
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Additional Photos by Daniel Draghici (dkmurphys) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5825 W: 83 N: 11937] (78847)
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