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Taxon: Prunus pumila L.

Genus: Prunus subgenus: Prunus section: Penarmeniaca
Family: Rosaceae subfamily: Amygdaloideae tribe: Amygdaleae
Nomen number: 30083
Place of publication: Mant. pl. 1:75. 1767
Typification: View record from Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum of London.
Name verified on: 24-Feb-2006 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 24-Feb-2006
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Davis (DAV).


See also subordinate taxa:

Common names:

  • Bessey cherry   (Source: L. Gilbert, p.c.) – English   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • dwarf cherry   (Source: F GPlains ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • dwarf cherry   (Source: Websters Dict ) – English
  • dwarf sand cherry   (Source: NRCS Cons Pl Mat ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. depressa]
  • eastern sand cherry   (Source: Pl Dis ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. depressa]
  • Great Lakes sand cherry   (Source: F NAmer ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. pumila]
  • prostrate dwarf cherry   (Source: Taxon 48) – English   [Prunus pumila var. depressa]
  • Rocky Mountain cherry   (Source: Cornucopia ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • sand cherry   (Source: F GPlains ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • sand cherry   (Source: Glea Cron ed2 ) – English
  • western sand cherry   (Source: Cornucopia ) – English   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • cerisier des sables   (Source: F NAmer ) – French (Canada)
  • Sandkirsche   (Source: Zander ed14 [as P. pumila]) – German   [Prunus pumila var. besseyi]
  • Sandkirsche   (Source: Zander ed14 ) – German
  • sandkörsbär   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish   [Prunus pumila var. depressa]

Economic importance:

  • Gene sources: graft stock relative for plum   (fide Acta Hort 290:261, 264. 1991; Breed Pl Tree Crops 214. 2009)
  • Gene sources: secondary genetic relative of Japanese plum   (based on affinities to Prunus salicina fide Mol Phylogenet Evol 76:41, 43. 2014)
  • Gene sources: secondary genetic relative of myrobalan plum   (fide Acta Hort 290:261. 1991)
  • Gene sources: secondary genetic relative of peach   (fide Temp Fruit Cr Breed 267. 2008)
  • Gene sources: tertiary genetic relative of apricot   (based on affinities to Prunus armeniaca clade fide Mol Phylogenet Evol 76:41, 43. 2014)
  • Gene sources: tertiary genetic relative of plum   (based on affinities to hexaploid Prunus domestica fide Mol Phylogenet Evol 76:41, 43. 2014)

Distributional range:

      Native: (links to other web resources are provided for some distributions)
  • NORTHERN AMERICA (Check conservation status in U.S. & Canada in NatureServe Explorer database)
    Eastern Canada: Canada - New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec
    Western Canada: Canada - Manitoba, Saskatchewan
    Northeastern U.S.A.: United States - Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia
    North-Central U.S.A.: United States - Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin
    Northwestern U.S.A.: United States - Colorado, Montana, Wyoming
    Southeastern U.S.A.: United States - Arkansas [c.], Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee [s.-c.], Virginia
    Southwestern U.S.A.: United States - Utah


  • Bouhadida, M. et al. 2007. Chloroplast DNA diversity in Prunus and its implication on genetic relationships. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 132:670–679. [this study examined graft stock hybrids and parental species].
  • Catling, P. M. et al. 1999. Rank and typification in North American dwarf cherries, and a key to the taxa. Taxon 48:483–488. [this treatment recognized Prunus pumila with three varieties: besseyi, depressa and pumila, while P. susquehanae was treated as a distinct species].
  • Chester, E. W. et al. 1993–1997. Atlas of Tennessee vascular plants.
  • Chin, S.-W. et al. 2014. Diversification of almonds, peaches, plums and cherries - Molecular systematics and biogeographic history of Prunus (Rosaceae). Molec. Phylogenet. Evol. 76:34–48. [it examined Prunus pumila var. besseyi (as "P. besseyi")].
  • Encke, F. et al. 1984. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage.
  • Encke, F. et al. 1993. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 14. Auflage.
  • Gleason, H. A. & A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada, ed. 2.
  • Hancock, J. F. et al. 2008. Chapter 9. Peaches. Pp. 265–298 in: Hancock, J. F., ed., Temperate fruit crop breeding: germplasm to genomics. [cited both Prunus pumila and P. besseyi].
  • Hartmann, W. & M. Neumüller. 2009. Plum breeding. Pp. 161–231 in: Jain, S. M. & P.M. Priyadarshan, eds., Breeding plantation tree crops: temperate species.
  • IPGRI. New World Fruits Database (on-line resource).
  • Iezzoni, A. et al. 1990. Cherries (Prunus). Acta Hort. 190:111–173.
  • Kartesz, J. T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third.
  • Mowrey, B. D. & D. J. Werner. 1990. Phylogenetic relationships among species of Prunus as inferred by isozyme markers. Theor. Appl. Genet. 80:129–133.
  • Ramming, D. W. & V. Cociu. 1991. Plums (Prunus). Acta Hort. 290:235–290. [this review cited both Prunus pumila and P. besseyi commenting on their closer affinities to plums than to cherries].
  • Reighard, G. & F. Loreti. 2008. Rootstock development. In: Layne, D. R. & D. Bassi, eds., The peach: botany, production and uses 8:193–220.
  • Rohrer, J. R. 2011. Prunus (Rosaceae). In: FNA Editorial Committee, Flora of North America. 9: in press.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978–1979. The flora of Canada, 4 vol.
  • Smith, E. B. 1978. An atlas and annotated list of the vascular plants of Arkansas.
  • Webster's third new international dictionary.


Check other web resources for Prunus pumila L.:


  • Stone: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (07 October 2015)

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