Prunus pumila

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Prunus pumila
Prunus pumila, South Ste. Marys Island.JPG
Fruit in late July.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus[1]
Species: P. pumila
Binomial name
Prunus pumila

Prunus pumila, commonly called sand cherry with eastern, western, Great Lakes and Susquehana varieties, is a species of Prunus native to eastern and central North America, from New Brunswick west to Ontario and Montana, south to North Carolina, and southwest to Arkansas.[1]

It is a deciduous small shrub that grows to 10–40 cm (rarely to 180 cm) tall, forming dense clonal colonies by sprouts from the root system. The leaves are leathery, 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) long, with a serrated margin. The flowers are produced in small clusters of two to four together, 15–25 millimetres (0.59–0.98 in) diameter, with five white petals and 25–30 stamens. The fruit is a small cherry 13–15 millimetres (0.51–0.59 in) diameter, ripening dark purple in early summer.[2][3]

Systematists recognize four varieties:

- Prunus pumila L. var. besseyi (Bailey) Gleason, western sand cherry (also called Bessey or Rocky Mountain cherry)
- Prunus pumila L. var. depressa (Pursh) Gleason, eastern sand cherry
- Prunus pumila L. var. pumila, Great Lakes sand cherry
- Prunus pumila L. var. susquehanae (hort. ex Willd.) Jaeger, Susquehana sand cherry [4]

Prunus cistena (purple leaf sand cherry) is a hybrid of Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum) and Prunus pumilla. [5] It was developed by Niels Hansen of South Dakota State University in 1910.[6]