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Prunus americana

Common Name(s):

  • American Plum
  • Wild Plum
Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus ah-mer-ih-KAY-nah
Description

Prunus americana, commonly called American plum, is a small, deciduous, single trunk tree or multi-stemmed shrub which occurs in rocky or sandy soils in woodlands, pastures, abandoned farms, streams and hedgerows throughout the State. As a tree, it typically grows to 15-25' tall with a broad, spreading crown. As a shrub, it suckers freely and can form large colonies. 

The branches and twigs are an attractive dark reddish-brown and sometimes have thorny lateral branchlets.  The bark is smooth and reddish/gray with numerous horizontal lenticels.  As the tree ages, the bark becomes rough with irregular ridges and exfoliating curling strips.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:  Early spring            Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late summer

Wildlife Value:  This plant is suseptable to damage from deer.  Its thickets provide good cover for songbirds and small mammals year round.  It is a host plant for the Coral Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-Spotted Purple, Spring/Summer Azures, and Viceroy butterflies.  Adult butterflies nectar from the spring flowers.  The fruits are eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, white-tailed deer, and small mammals.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Plum curculio and brown rot can affect the fruit of the American Plum. Other potential disease problems include leaf spot, canker and black knot. Other potential insect problems include aphids, scale, borers and tent caterpillars.

Cultivars:
  • Fairlane
Tags:
#fragrant#thorns#butterflies#deciduous#songbirds#low maintenance#host plant#showy fruit#rapid growth rate#low flammability#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • Fairlane
Tags:
#fragrant#thorns#butterflies#deciduous#songbirds#low maintenance#host plant#showy fruit#rapid growth rate#low flammability#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds