A deciduous shrub or small tree 12 to 15 ft high, young shoots usually glabrous. Leaves ovate or obovate, 1 to 21⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. wide; tapering at both ends, irregularly, doubly, and rather coarsely toothed; slightly hairy beneath. Flowers pinkish white, 3⁄4 to 1 in. across, produced singly or in pairs (sometimes more) from each bud of the previous year’s shoots; calyx glabrous, 1⁄5 in. long, with shallow, rounded lobes. Fruits covered with pale down when quite young; not seen mature by me, but said to be red, 1⁄2 in. wide, globose and downy. Bot. Mag., t. 8061.
cv. ‘Multiplex’. – flowers 11⁄2 in. across, of a delicate rose, very double. leaves more obovate than in the type, often more or less three-lobed towards the apex. a.g.m. 1935.
Prunus triloba is a native of China, and the double-flowered variety was introduced by Fortune in 1855; it was upon this that Lindley founded the name.
It is the most popular and beautiful form of the species, flowering in the greatest profusion about the end of March or early in April. It is seen at its best against a south wall, where it should be pruned once a year as soon as ever the flowers are faded, cutting the blossoming twigs close back. Shoots 1 to 21⁄2 ft long are then made, which flower the following year. It may be grown in the open ground, but does not flower so profusely there; it is also very extensively used for forcing early into bloom for greenhouse decoration. The single-flowered wild plant was of later introduction, but is by no means so exquisite a shrub as the other, neither do the flowers last as long. The form known in gardens as ‘Petzoldii’ has ovate, not trilobed leaves.
Propagated by cuttings of firm wood or by layers. Plants worked on the plum stock are often troublesome because of suckers.
P. × arnoldiana Rehd. – A hybrid raised at the Arnold Arboretum from the wild form of P. triloba pollinated by P. cerasifera. It is of interest as a plum-almond cross.