This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
There are three groups of Cherries, viz.: (1) the Cherries proper, (2) the Bird Cherries, and (3) the Laurel Cherries, all put under the genus Prunus by botanists. Amongst the first group is C. Avium, the British Wild Cherry or Gean, a fine tree 20-30 ft. high, with white flowers and black fruits. C. vulgaris, another British tree, has several forms, including flore pleno and multiplex, both double white; and lutea flore pleno, semi-double, tinted with yellow. C. serrulata, a splendid Chinese Cherry, has clusters of pale-white or rose-tinted double flowers. G. Pseudo-cerasus, another Chinese species, has single and double varieties with white or rose-pink flowers, Watereri and Jas. H. Veitch being among the best doubles.
Among the Bird Cherries are the native C. Padus, with several varieties, like argentea, aucubcefolia, and flore pleno - the latter a fine double form. C. Mahaleb is largely used for stocks for budding and grafting.
The Cherry Laurel (C. Lauro-Cerasus) is grown in thousands, and has many varieties, the best known being caucasica, colchica, rotundifolia, macrophylla, Ottini, etc, all of which stand clipping well. Zabeliana is a very distinct and pretty variety, with smaller and narrower leaves, closely arranged.
The Portugal Laurel (C. Lusitanica) is also largely grown for hedges and game coverts. The variety myrtifolia has smaller leaves, while azorica has larger leaves than the type.