Virginia Tech Dendrology

purple leaf plum Rosaceae Prunus cerasifera Ehrh. Listen to the Latin symbol: PRCE2
Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, serrated margin, most widely planted varieties have a deep reddish purple color, some are dark shiny green; paler below with some hair in axils of veins.
Flower: Perfect, most commonly pink (may be white), 1 inch across; very pretty and fragrant; appear in early spring.
Fruit: Round drupe, 1 1/4 inch across, reddish; ripen in mid to late summer; edible.
Twig: Slender, dark reddish brown to gray, spur shoots present, buds small.
Bark: Thin, reddish brown to dark gray and smooth, horizontal lenticels with vertical splits with age, eventually becomes shallowly and irregularly ridged and furrowed.
Form: Small trees with a symmetrical, vase-shaped crown; can reach heights and spreads up to 25 feet.
Looks like: apple
leaf flower twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Prunus cerasifera is planted in the USDA hardiness zones shown above and may seed into the landscape. See states reporting purple leaf plum.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson