Monday, May 16, 2011

Prunus andersonii

Desert peach

A relative of our stone fruits, Prunus andersonii is a small to large shrub found in the canyons of the Sierras. Thorny and tenacious, this species is quite spectacular when in bloom, bursting with pink "cherry-blossom" type flowers. After the blooms have been pollenated, the plant will produce small, fuzzy, reddish fruits, which will be fleshy in wet years, and dry in dry years. These are a food source for rodents, who eat both the fruit and seeds.

These plants also reproduce asexually, spreading by rhizomes to form large clone patches. Like many desert perennials, these plants are armed. In this case, the plant has true thorns (sharp, hardened branch tips), which create a formidable barrier against both herbivores and botanists.

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