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, Latin Padus, longest river of Italy, c.405 mi (650 km) long, rising in the Cottian Alps of Piedmont, NW Italy. It winds generally east in a wide valley, past Turin, Pavia, Piacenza, Cremona, and Ferrara, to enter the Adriatic Sea through several mouths.
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a genus of low trees and, rarely, shrubs of the family Rosaceae. The simple, alternate leaves have early-falling stipules. The white flowers are gathered into racemes. The fruit is a drupe.
There are about 15 species (according to other data, as many as 27), distributed in Eurasia and North America. The USSR has four native species and several others under cultivation. The bird cherry or cluster cherry (P. avium, formerly P. racemosa), a tree reaching 17 m in height and 40 cm in diameter, is found in the European USSR, Western Siberia, the Caucasus, and certain regions of Middle Asia. The tree grows mainly on rich soils, often in river forests. It is cultivated in orchards and parks. The flowers have a strong fragrance; the plant is a good nectar-bearer. The fruits are used as food and for coloring alcoholic beverages. Teas or infusions made from the fruits are used as binding agents to treat diarrhea. The bark yields dye, and the close-grained wood is used in the production of various articles. The closely related P. asiatica grows in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. P. ssiori and P. maackii grow in the Far East; the latter was used by I. V. Michurin to develop Cerapadus. The American chokecherry (P. virginiana)and wild black cherry (P. serotina)are commonly cultivated.
The genus Padus is closely related to the genus Cerasus and somewhat related to the genera Laurocerasus, Prunus, and Amygdalus. The five genera are often united in the single genus Prunus.