Sand Cherry (Prunus pumila)

A familiar low shrub of coastal dunes, this creeping plant can be found along most of Michigan's shores and in several other habitats throughout the state. It occurs throughout open dune areas and typically colonizes foredunes, serving as an important sand stabilizer. The plump, roundish cherries, which are substantially larger than those produced by black cherry, choke cherry or pin cherry, are mature when they turn a deep blackish purple. The fruits are edible and a favorite wildlife food, sweet but somewhat astringent tasting, and usually much more suitable for making jellies and jams than eating directly from the bush.