Capulin Cherry (Prunus salicifolia), a member of the Rose family and the Prunus
genus, is closely related to apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and almonds. Some nurseries
sell a Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium) cultivar named 'Capulin'.
That is not the species discussed here.
Semi-deciduous tree with umbrella shape.
Evergreen except frost-deciduous.
30' high and 15' wide.
Five white petals, conspicuous tuft of stamens, in pendulent clusters.
Late winter to early spring. Under favorable conditions, the tree may have a second bloom
Years before fruiting:
3 from seed.
Round, 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter, deep glossy maroon to dark purple, thin, tender skin. The
flesh is pale green, firm, juicy and sweet, with astringency varying by cultivar from none
to overmuch, with a large pit. The fruit are bad tasting until very ripe.
Months for fruit to ripen:
Storage after harvest:
The fruit can be refrigerated 4-6 weeks in an uncovered container.
Aromatic, slender, serrated edges, deep glossy green above, pale grayish-green beneath. New
leaves can be reddish.
Its normal roots are shallow, so it may be grafted onto a more vigorous rootstock.
The flowers attract bees. The fruit attracts birds and mammals.
Toxic / Danger:
All parts of the plant are poisonous except the ripe fruit.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones:
9-10. This tree withstands 19°F with only small branch damage.
None, unusual for a Prunus species.
Extra water is needed above 90°F.
Locate this tree in well draining soil where it will receive full sun above 4000' elevation.
It may need afternoon shade at lower elevations. It will do better near a pond or other
water source if it is not in a high rainfall area. This tree does not perform well in a
Well drained, low organic content, pH 5.6-6.5 (acidic to slightly acidic). The tree is not
Apply organic fertilizer late winter.
Water after becoming established:
weekly when fruiting, every 3-4 weeks
when not fruiting. Abundant water improves the flavor of the fruit.
Spread organic mulch inside the drip line and 8" away from the trunk to minimize moisture
evaporation and heat stress.
First Year Care:
Deep water frequently to develop a strong root system. Protect from frost. Stake carefully
to prevent damage from strong winds.
This tree can be pruned into a fruiting hedge. Remove damaged branches after the danger of
freezes is past.
Low except unharvested fruit and seasonal leaf changeover.
Softwood cuttings grown in an enclosure with higher humidity. Cuttings of desirable varieties
grafted onto seedling rootstock. Seed, cold stratified for 3 months. Seed does not breed true
and the seedling may produce poor quality fruit.
This tree is less prone to disease than other stone fruit trees, especially sweet cherry.
Ornamental, edible fruit.
This plant is popular where it grows naturally in Mexico and South America
between 4000 and 9000 feet in elevation. It is considered difficult to establish below 4000 feet
Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would
like to share? Email info@GardenOracle.com. All contributions are welcome and appreciated.