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Prunus americana

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Common Name: American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; grows in a wide range of soils including deep black loams, moderately coarse loamy sands to moderately fine clay loam as well as gravelly or sandy soil; neutral pH.

15-25 feet height by 15-25 feet spread; white flowers in early May before leaves emerge; fruits are fleshy, dull red to purplish, plum-like berries, 1 – 1 ¼ inch diameter, in late summer to early fall.

Growth Rate: Fast. Spreads by root suckers.

Maintenance: Suffers from a variety of diseases such as leaf spot, canker, brown rot and also a variety of insect problems but generally they are not serious. Remove suckers to prevent unwanted spread.

Propagation: Moderately easy from seed

Native Region: Statewide

Easy to grow as either a single-trunk tree or multi-trunked shrub. Usually occurs in large, spreading colonies or thickets and is armed with thorn-like spur branches. Typically grown for its ornamental qualities or for its wildlife value. Flowers profusely. Flowers occur in rounded to flat-topped clusters and have a strong, sickly sweet fragrance. Showy, edible fruit which can be used for making jams and jellies, but overall quality is somewhat poor. Foliage turns yellow to red in fall. Tends to thrive with neglect and is often found forming large colonies along roadsides and other uncultivated areas. Intolerant of shade and drought. Cultivars available.

Highly important as wildlife cover and food. Forms a thicket valuable for bird nesting, loafing and roosting and for animal loafing and bedding. Attracts butterflies. Preferred larval host plant for Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Alternate host plant for Viceroy, Admiral, and Spring Azure butterflies and for Cecropia moth.

American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum - Prunus americana 2
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center http://www.wildflower.org/
American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum - Prunus americana 3
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center http://www.wildflower.org/
American Red Plum, Wild Plum, American Plum - Prunus americana
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center http://www.wildflower.org/