Cherry Plum Tree Identification

Written by joan reinbold
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Also known as the purple leaved plum tree or the myrobalan cherry tree, the cherry plum tree (Prunus cerasifera) is a fruiting deciduous tree that belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae). It grows moderately to rapidly, is short lived and has several cultivars.

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Leaves

The leaves of the cherry plum tree are dark purple and have pointed tips. They can be 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and are shaped like a longitudinal cross section of an egg (obovate). In the fall the leaves turn reddish-purple.

Flowers

The cherry plum tree produces dark pink or white flowers with five petals that bloom in early spring before the leaves start to show. The flowers have a strong scent.

Fruit

The fruit of the cherry plum tree is a small, red to reddish purple plum-shaped drupe (a fruit that has a single seed covered by one or more protective layers). Cherry plum tree fruit matures in late summer and is edible; it often attracts birds.

Height, Branches and Bark

The maximum height of the cherry plum tree is 15 to 30 feet tall. It has a round shaped crown with spreading branches, and the bark of the tree is red brown.

Habitat

The cherry plum tree prefers full sun and moist, well-drained acidic loam soil, however, they can be grown in mildly alkaline soil. Cherry plum trees can be grown in USDA zones 4b to 9a. They can be found in Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Tennessee, Oregon, California, Georgia, Montana, Ohio, Utah, Idaho and Massachusetts.

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