A deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft). It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
The fruit be it raw, cooked or dried is often used in ice creams, pies, jams etc. When fully ripe, the fruit of the best forms are very juicy with a rich delicious flavour. The size of fruit varies widely between cultivars and the wild form, it can be up to 7cm in diameter.
They requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone but best not grown in acid soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but it is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Requires shelter from north and north-east winds and also from spring frosts. Widely cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate areas and continental climates, there are many named varieties. There are numerous divisions of the varieties according to skin colour etc. Perhaps the most useful from the eaters point of view is whether it is free-stone (the flesh parts easily from the seed) or cling-stone (the flesh adheres to the seed). Trees are normally hardy in southern Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c when they are dormant, but they require some protection if cropping is to be at all reliable. This is not due so much to lack of cold hardiness, more to the cooler summers in Britain which do not fully ripen the wood and the fruit, plus the unpredictable winters and springs which, in a mild spell, can excite the tree into premature flowering and growth which is then very liable to damage in any following cold spell. Hand pollination at this time can improve fruit-set.