Content Detail

A large deciduous shrub or small, 20-foot-high, understory tree often forming a dense colony. Slender twigs form an oval to rounded crown.  Clusters of drooping white flowers are followed by dark purple fruit. Native throughout most of the United States but difficult to find in the nursery trade. Susceptible to many insect and disease problems.

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Compact tree (10-15 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Dry soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Irregular, Oval, Round, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Form:

An irregular, dense large shrub to small suckering tree that reaches 20 to 30 feet high.

Native geographic location and habitat:

C-Value: 3. It is found throughout most of U.S.. in woodlands, bluffs and ravines.

Attracts birds & butterflies:

Flowers and fruit attract birds and butterflies.

Bark color and texture:

Bark is brownish-gray with white lenticels.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Dark green 5 inch long elliptical shaped leaves with serrated margins. Underside of the leaf is gray-green. Fall color ranges yellow to orange.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Fragrant 3 to 6 inch long slender clusters of white flowers in late April to early May.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit is a pea-sized purple drupe.

Plant care:

Best in full sun to part shade.Tolerant of drought and dry to medium soil.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Susceptible to many diseases and insects. Black knot, mildew, rust, root rots, fire blight, borers, mites and tent caterpillars.


Canada Red (Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’):

Foliage emerges green, then changes to purple and, finally, red in autumn. More intense color than ‘Schubert’ and faster growing.

Schubert (Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’):

Foliage emerges green, then changes to purple and, finally, red in autumn.


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