Emerald Charm™ Cherry -- Prunus x 'Morgenson’ (RFM-57)



In the mid-1980's, Greg Morgenson, manager of Lincoln-Oakes Nurseries, Bismarck, ND, collected seed from a planting of Mongolian Cherry (Prunus fruticosa) in the Northern Plains. Some authors list the common name as European Dwarf Cherry or European Ground Cherry Bush. This species is native in central and eastern Europe to Siberia and typically grows as a multi-stemmed suckering, dense shrub 4 - 6 feet tall. Emerald Charm™, a unique seedling selection, grows into an attractive small tree reaching 20 - 25 feet by 15 - 18 feet wide. It grows upright, multi-branched, and vase-shaped in form with a uniformly spreading crown. It may be grown as a single or multi-stemmed specimen similar to Japanese tree lilac. A collaborative release by NDSU, Emerald Charm™ is a putative hybrid between P. fruticosa and an unknown cherry species. It has good vigor under clean cultivation, averaging 1¼ feet of growth annually over a 16-year period. Growth is most rapid in earlier years. Emerald Charm™ produces masses of small, white flowers in spring, followed by dark green, very lustrous leaves, which are smaller than other cherry species. The thick-textured foliage holds up well during summer heat stress, becoming attractive yellow in autumn color. Emerald Charm™ is apparently sterile, having produced no fruit after 16 years, even though planted in proximity to five other cherry species. It has been very hardy in zone 3, one to two zones colder than the hardiness of many cherry species and cultivars. Bark color is dark brown with a reddish tinge. Unlike Amur Chokecherry (P. maackii), no winter bark splitting has been observed. Propagation by mid-August budding on P. maackii and P. cerasus Meteor (Meteor Sour Cherry) seedling rootstocks was very successful and eliminates suckering. Budding on P. avium (Sweet or Mazzard Cherry), a somewhat less hardy rootstock, was not as successful. This small tree offers an attractive landscape alternative with superior foliage to most crabapple and other smaller tree species.

Potential Uses or Applications

Nursery stock, shade, boulevard, and specimen landscape tree

Development Stage

Plant propagation material can be obtained from NDSU Plant Sciences Department or trees from licensed nursery subject to availability.

Patent Status

U.S. Trademark Emerald Charm™


This cultivar is available for non-exclusive licensing.

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