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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Sunday - May 23, 2010

From: Santa Fe, NM
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Information on cherry trees from Santa Fe
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

1.does the purple leaf sand cherry have edible fruits? size, flavor, cross pollinator necessary, fruiting time? cultivars? zone, soil, light, water? 2. fall foliage color of 'Meteor" cherry tree?

ANSWER:

We went first to our Native Plant Database to see if the plant you are asking about is native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which it is being grown. There is one plant with the common name "sandcherry" in our database,  Prunus pumila var. besseyi (western sandcherry). This plant, however, is not shown on this USDA Plants Profile as growing in New Mexico, although it apparently does grow in states north of New Mexico.

So, since that really didn't sound like what you were asking about, we went looking a little further and found this Arbor Day Foundation website on Prunus x Cistena. You will notice the "x" between the genus (Prunus) and species (Cistena). This mean it has been hybridized which puts it out of the range of our expertise, so we will not have the answers to your questions in our Native Plant Database. From this, we learned that it is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7. Since Santa Fe County seems to be in Zones 5b to 6a, the plant could probably grow there. The next website we found is from Ohio State University, Prunus cistena, where we found out that the parents of this plant are from western Asia and the Caucasus. It looks like this site answers most of your questions, or will give you clues of other places to look online.

Concerning the Meteor cherry, we searched on that, and found this Bachman's Landscaping site Prunus 'Meteor. '

Pictures of Prunus cistena from Google

Pictures of Prunus 'Meteor' from Google

 

 

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