Prunus pumila L. - Sand Cherry


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Prunus pumila - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Rosaceae


Common on dunes facing Lake Michigan, occasionally further inland in sandy prairies. Also in dry to mesic prairies.


In dry prairies with Andropogon scoparius, Erynium yuccifolium, Helianthus mollis, Opuntia humifusa, Parthenium integrifolium.


Quebec west to Manitoba, ND, WY, south NJ, PA, KY, TN to CO


Small deciduous shrub, usually multi-stemmed and irregularly shaped. Leaves alternate, simple, narrowly oblanceolate to obovate, glabrous, teeth reduced or absent below the middle, widest above the middle. Stems reddish-gray with lighter horizontal lenticels. Flowers white, less than 1" across; sepals glabrous; pedicels less than .5" long. Fruit an oval drupe, to .5" in diameter, almost black, astringent.


Flowers mid April to late June

Wetland indicator: Upland

These pictures are of var. pumila, which occurs along the shores of the Great Lakes and some areas inland. Several other recognized varieties exist and are separated based on growth habit and leaf shape. The fruit is edible but...I couldn't eat one.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005