Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’, commonly known as the Purple-Leaved Cherry Plum or Pissard’s Plum, is a distinct member of the Prunus genus known for its vibrant, deep-purple foliage, and fragrant white or pink blossoms. This unique tree offers a delightful blend of ornamental charm and practical benefits that make it a standout selection among cherry trees and a valued addition to any garden.
While Cherry Plum shares the Prunus genus with many cherry trees, it offers several distinguishing features. Unlike most cherry trees that are celebrated for their delicate blossoms and small fruits, Pissard’s Plum stands out for its stunning foliage that remains a deep, vibrant purple throughout the growing season, creating a striking contrast with the surrounding greenery.
In terms of size, Cherry Plum is a relatively small tree, typically reaching about 4-8 meters in height. This makes it an excellent choice for British garden designs, particularly those with limited space, as it can provide a striking focal point without dominating the garden landscape.
Pissard’s Plum is a highly adaptable tree that is tolerant of many soil conditions, making it a hardy choice for British gardens. It thrives in well-drained soil and can adapt to both full sun and partial shade, although the foliage colour is most vibrant in full sun. In spring, before the leaves emerge, the tree is smothered in a blanket of small, fragrant, pale pink to white blossoms that offer an early hint of the spring to come.
From a wildlife perspective, Pissard’s Plum offers great benefits. Its blossoms are a valuable source of nectar for bees and other pollinating insects. Birds, in turn, are attracted to its small, cherry-like fruits that ripen in late summer, providing a nutritious food source.
While the fruit of the Pissard’s Plum is generally too tart for most people’s tastes when eaten raw, it can be used to make flavourful jellies, jams, and sauces, or to add a unique flavour twist to baked goods.
An interesting fact about Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’ is that it was named after Monsieur Pissard, the gardener to the Shah of Persia in the late 1800s. Pissard sent specimens of the tree to France, and from there, it spread throughout Europe and eventually to other parts of the world.
In conclusion, the Purple-Leaved Cherry Plum is a fantastic addition to a British garden. Its unique, deep-purple foliage, early-spring blossoms, and wildlife-friendly attributes create an enticing spectacle, and its hardy, adaptable nature makes it a practical and appealing choice for a range of garden designs. Whether you desire a dramatic focal point, a source of homegrown ingredients for preserves, or a haven for local wildlife, Prunus cerasifera ‘Pissardii’ can deliver.