Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera)

The purple leaf plum, also called the cherry plum, is a small tree that today only exists in cultivation. This tree has red-purple leaves and beautiful, 5-petaled, fragrant, white flowers that have pink centers with long stamens. These flowers give way to sweet, though somewhat tasteless, small fruits. These fruits attract birds.

Family: Rosaceae (Rose)

Characteristics: The 2.5-inch-long leaves are red-purple and vary in shape. Leaves do not change color in the fall. In early spring, 5-petaled, fragrant, white flowers, with pink centers begin to bloom. These flowers are followed by sweet, but somewhat tasteless, small fruits. This tree has a rounded and spreading shape and is often shrub-like. It grows 15-30 feet high and 15-25 feet wide.

Foliage: Deciduous (leaves lost seasonally)

Geographic Origin: Western Asia, Caucasus (non-native)

Cultivation Notes: Requires medium maintenance. Does best in full sun to part shade, though flowers best when grown in full sun. Prefers medium moist and well drained soils.

Number on Campus: 1

Sources: Dirr, Morton Arboretum, Missouri Botanical Garden