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Western Sand Cherry, Sandcherry, Bessey Cherry, Rocky Mountain Cherry, Hansen's Bush Cherry 'Pawnee Buttes'

Prunus pumila var. besseyi

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


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Denver, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado

Caldwell, Idaho

Indianapolis, Indiana

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 17, 2015, dduff from Fort Collins, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

We have two of these in a dry, full sun spot. They've experienced some severe rabbit damage, but are coming back this spring. The blooms are nice, but we didn't have any berries set last year.


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... read more