Prunus x cistena - Purpleleaf Sand Cherry
Family: Rosaceae

Hear the scientific name

Prunus x cistena is a small shrub known for its upright and spreading habit and red-purple to maroon foliage that does not fade much during the summer. Purpleleaf Sand Cherry has white-pink solitary spring flowers directly pendulous from the previous year's wood.

F   E   A   T   U   R   E   S
  form Form

-medium shurb

-to 8' tall x 8' wide

-upright oval, spreading with age

-rapid growth rate

foliage2 foliage Foliage

-emerging bright reddish-purple and remaining crimson-purple throughout most of the summer, slowly changing to a bronzy-green autumn color

-leaves are alternate, elliptical, serrated, about 2" long, and with dual glands at the top of the young petiole

-foliage will change quickly to bronzy-green in summer if it is sited in a semi-shady spot




-solitary and directly pendulous from previous year's wood

-emerging with the foliage as pink buds




-the few that are present are not effective and seldom noticed, due to small size and poor contrast with the purple foliage


-red-brown, becoming dark gray with age

-rapid growth at apex and from basal suckers

-medium growth elsewhere

-buds small

-stems and branches lenticeled


-multi-branched from base

-gray to gray-brown

-prone to fissures that ooze sap

C   U   L   T   U   R   E


-full sun to partial shade

-urban tolerant in general, especially drought hardy

-serious pest and disease problems plague cherries (aphids, borers, cankers, leaf spots, etc.)


-zones 3b to 7


-native to Western Asia and the Caucasus

U   S   A   G   E


-maroon to red-purple foliage all spring and most of the summer

-spring white-pink flowers emerging with the foliage

-rapid growth


-most cherries and plums are subject to cankers, borers, and frost cracks (leading to cambial necrosis and wood rotting) and caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and other insects (leading to defoliation and leaf cosmetic unsightliness), and as a result are often dead after 10-20 yrs. of growth


-specimen shrub, borders, entranceways, formal or informal hedges


-medium teture in foliage and when bare

-average density in foliage and when bare

S   E   L   E   C   T   I   0   N   S

Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-red-, maroon-, or purple-foliaged shrubs (Berberis thunbergii cultivars, Cotinus coggygria cultivars, etc.)


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