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Cherry: Prunus besseyi

Botanical name: Prunus besseyi

Common name: western sand cherry

also known as (sand cherry, Rocky Mountains cherry, Bessey cherry, dwarf cherry)

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created by:
chief cultivator

Mercer island, Wa

at a glance

Soil: dry, acidic, sand
Zones: 3a thru 6b

fall interest, bird attracting, bee attracting, edible, drought tolerant

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description for "Cherry: Prunus besseyi"

Western sand cherry is attractive to look at and edible too. Prunus besseyi is a self-fruitful cherry producing large, black fruit that is sweet and flavorful. Eat them right from the bush. A multi-purpose plant, many gardeners select this variety for use as wildlife food and habitat as well. This variety has silvery-green foliage that turns red in the fall. Attractive white blossoms open in the spring and may yield delicious fruit the first year it's planted. Growing just 4 to 5 feet tall it can be trimmed to a smaller size though it flowers and bears best when allowed to grow to its full size. Space plants 3 to 4 feet apart at planting. Plants are 1 to 1-1/2 feet when shipped. Needs at least one other western sand cherry for pollination. Tolerates hot and dry conditions. -- edited by dtd pbcouchman


Prunus besseyi is native to central North America, and was introduced to gardeners by Dr. N.E. Hansen of the South Dakota Experimental Station.

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