Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Western Sand Cherry, Sandcherry, Bessey Cherry, Rocky Mountain Cherry, Hansen's Bush Cherry
Prunus pumila var. besseyi 'Pawnee Buttes'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Prunus (PROO-nus) (Info)
Species: pumila var. besseyi
Cultivar: Pawnee Buttes

Synonym:Prunus besseyi

One vendor has this plant for sale.

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Good Fall Color

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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No positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral PermaCycle On Feb 5, 2013, PermaCycle from Indianapolis, IN (Zone 5b) wrote:

For me, the jury is still out on this plant. I planted several 3 years ago to provide food for wildlife in an area where a black walnut tree had grown. This was one plant that I identified as being tolerant to juglone.The plant is a vigorous grower, producing lots of new branches with early spring blossoms on second year growth, but only a modest amount of cherries in the 3rd year, quickly consumed by the squirrels.

A couple of the plants developed powdery mildew during the heat of summer. I cut them right to the ground, applied treatment to the soil around the plants and they came right back. Since then, I water the plants at soil level to keep water off their leaves and added pine straw mulch around them.

The plant needs plenty of room, as the branches will grow about 5-6 feet in length and if they are allowed to stay on bare soil when its moist, such as during the spring and fall rains, the branches can set root and extend beyond that distance, so it's best to prune the lower branches off the ground and train the other branches upward or use a pine bark mulch which permits the water to quickly drain off. In fact, the plant can be trimmed so that the branches grow in a columnar manner. If you like this style, rather than the mounded one that the plant defaults to when allowed to grow without gardener intervention, it's best to shape the plant no later than the second year before it establishes a rather thick trunk for its size.

pH does not appear to be a problem. However, the soil around them is somewhat neutral where mine are growing, so it's not an issue.

I'm anxious to see what the 4th year brings. To increase fruiting this 2013 season, I plan to feed the plants a higher phosphorus diet with increased calcium (a combination of rock dust, gypsum, and soft rock phosphate) and less nitrogen.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Denver, Colorado
Caldwell, Idaho
Indianapolis, Indiana

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