BESSEY’S SANDCHERRY
File Size: 130 KB
 
Prunus pumila  L.
Riley County, Kansas
Height: Shrubs, to 28 (-40) inches
Family: Rosaceae - Rose Family
Flowering Period:   April, May
Also Called: Western sandcherry, dwarf cherry.
Trunks: Stems prostrate to decumbent or ascending; branches unarmed; sometimes forming colonies by root-suckers; bark reddish gray, smooth; wood white, white.
Twigs: Reddish brown to grayish brown, flexible, glabrous; leaf scar crescent-shaped; buds reddish brown, ovoid, .06 to .08 inch, apex obtuse, scales glabrous.
Leaves: Deciduous, alternate, simple; stipules caducous, linear, .16 to .4 inch, margins laciniate; petiole .02 to .05 inch, glabrous, eglandular or with 1-2 glands distally; blade oblanceolate, obovate, elliptic, 1 to 3.2 inches long, .4 to 1 inch wide, base cuneate, margins crenulate-serrulate to serrate, apex obtuse to acute, lower surface light green, glabrous, upper surface dark green, glabrous.
Flowers: Inflorescences terminal on short shoots, flowers 1 or sometimes umbel-like fascicles, 2-4-flowered, appearing with leaves; pedicels .12 to .52 inch, glabrous.Flowers bisexual, radially symmetric, .5 to .6 inch diam.; hypanthium bell-shaped, .08 to .14 inch, glabrous; sepals 5, erect to reflexed, broadly triangular to oblong, .05 to .1 inch long, margins glandular-toothed; petals 5, white, elliptic to nearly round, .28 to .55 inch; stamens 25-30; pistil 1, ovary superior, 1-locular, glabrous; style .2 to .24 inch; stigma capitate.
Fruit: June-August; drupes, dark purple, nearly spherical, .3 to .55 inch long, .28 to .5 inch wide, glabrous, not glaucous; stone 1, tan to light brown, globose to more or less compressed-spherical, .28 to .35 inch long, .2 to .3 inch wide, surface more or less rough.
Habitat: Sandy to rocky mixed-grass prairies, sand prairies, rocky sites in tallgrass prairies.
Distribution: Principally north half of central 1/3 of Kansas
Origin: Native
Comments: Prunus pumila is a highly variable species occurring throughout much of eastern North America. Kansas plants belong to var. besseyi (L.H. Bailey) Waugh, the only one of four varieties in the Great Plains. This small shrub is easily overlooked when vegetative, especially in dense vegetation.

Bessey’s sandcherry flowers
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Riley County, Kansas
Bessey’s sandcherry leaf
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Riley County, Kansas
Bessey’s sandcherry buds
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Riley County, Kansas
Bessey’s sandcherry flowers
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Riley County, Kansas
Bessey’s sandcherry leaves
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Riley County, Kansas
Bessey’s sandcherry habit
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Riley County, Kansas