American plum

Silhouette - American plum
  • Latin name: Prunus americana Marsh.
  • French name: Prunier d’Amérique
  • Synonym(s): Wild plum
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 24763
  • NA3 , C3
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf with detail of sharp non-glandular teeth - American plum

Form

  • Ovate
  • Usually widest slightly below the middle
  • Narrowing abruptly to a long, slender tip
  • Fully rounded at the base or with a slight taper toward the petiole
  • Hairless or slightly hairy
  • Thin, fragile
  • Midvein prominent
  • Lateral veins slender

Length

  • 6–10 cm

Colour

  • Upper surface dull dark green
  • Lower surface slightly paler

Margin

  • Double- or single-toothed
  • Teeth sharp, prominent, rounded, not gland-tipped

Petiole

  • Stout with large, dark glands

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - American plum

Form

  • Appressed against the twig
  • Pointed
  • Scale tips thin, frayed

Length

  • 3–8 mm

Colour

  • Greyish
  • Scales 2 shades of pale greyish-brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig with thorn-tipped dwarf shoot - American plum

Form

  • Slender, smooth
  • Shorter shoots often end in a thorn
  • May bear leaves and flowers
  • Bitter almond flavour

Colour

  • Greyish-brown to reddish-brown

Flowers

Form

  • Showy, fragrant
  • On short, slender stalk
  • In small clusters (umbels) of 2–4 flowers on previous year’s twigs

Width

  • About 25 mm

Colour

  • White
  • Stalk greenish-brown

Structure

  • Synoecious

Floral timing

  • As the leaves expand

Fruits

  • Fruit (left); stone (right) - American plum

Form

  • Somewhat elongated
  • Skin thick, surface slightly powdery
  • Flesh sweet or sour

Length

  • About 20–25 mm

Colour

  • Skin orange or reddish
  • Flesh yellow

Timing

  • Ripen from mid-August to early September

Bark

Form

  • Slightly elongated lenticels
  • With age splitting vertically, the 2 separated parts curling back slightly to reveal the inner bark
  • Gradually becoming scaly

Colour

  • Reddish-brown or dark grey to nearly black
  • Lenticels greyish

Size

Height

  • To 9 m

Diameter

  • To 25 cm

Tree form

  • Silhouette - American plum

Open-grown

Trunk

  • Short, crooked
  • Often divided about a metre above the ground into several stiff, upright, crooked branches

Crown

  • Irregular, flat-topped

Habitat

Site

  • River valleys, pastures and along fencerows, especially on lime soils
  • Widely scattered individual trees

Range

Central North America, southern Ontario, southern Manitoba, and the extreme southeastern portion of Saskatchewan

Photos
  • American plum
  • American plum
Distribution map
Distribution map - American plum
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