- Deciduous tree, small, 15-20 ft (4.5-6 m), similar width, shrubby, twiggy and rounded. Single pale pink to white flowers, appear before leaves. Flowers a few days later than 'Atropurpurea'. Coppery-purple foliage through growing season. Often does not set a crop of fruit (hopefully!).
- Sun. Any average soil, well-drained. Prune after flowering to keep trees vigorous.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5
In 1919 Luther Burbank, the innovative and renowned plant breeder of Santa Rosa, California, named a purpleleaf plum he selected as ‘Thunder Cloud’. Arthur Lee Jacobson in his monograph, Pupleleaf Plums (1992), reasons that we can’t be sure that it is the “same clone that in recent decades has become the most widely planted purpleleaf plum in North America”. The early history of ‘Thundercloud’, now written as a single word, is incomplete and the name was not widely used in the 1920s and 30s. Furthermore comparing catalog descriptions of ‘Thundercloud’ and exanimating trees so named, it is obvious that more than one clone has been marketed under this name. In addition, Jacobson states that, “at present, based upon leaf characteristics alone” some 10 named clones of purpleleaf plums, including ‘Thundercloud’, are “veritably indistinguishable”.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: near the SW corner of Withycombe Hall, Campus Way and 30th St.