Winter is a brilliant time of year to admire bark on trees and Prunus sp can be some of the best. P.serrula with its polished mahogany bark is certainly a true gem of the speices but there’s another one that also maybe should be pushing for that crown and that’s the rare and sort after P. Himalaica! This tree has the darkest colour bark of any tree I have had the delight to see growing in our gardens. The red-brown colour is almost black in places and does tend to peel more than other Prunus as well. It makes a small tree that would be ideal for small gardens, it tends to be multi stemmed tree with soft hairy leaves. The flowers aren’t particularly stunning, pale and borne in the spring. It will grow in most soils and loves a bit of sun. It was only discovered in 1965 by Tony Schilling while plant hunting in the Langtang Valley, Nepal and then grown from seed in the U.K. Tony Schilling is one of the great modern plant hunters, who has introduced many great plants into the modern garden.
I first discovered P.himalaica growing at RHS Wisley growing on Battleston Hill, The Sir Hillier Gardens also do list it on the plant search tool they have. It’s well worth visiting either garden and see this beautiful tree growing, my photos don’t give enough justice to the tree itself.
There are a few nurseries that do sell it, Pan Global Plants list it as well as some other beautifuL plants