The American Plum is a wildlife tree that can alternatively be cultivated as shrub; little and lovely, it’s also a true little trooper with great resilience and adaptability. It has the ability to survive even when planted beyond its natural range and makes animal friends easily, given that its flowers and fruit attract a variety of wildlife. The American Plum has an understated beauty, contributing to the splendor of any landscape throughout the year with its pale spring blossoms, graceful summer canopy, and ruddy fall foliage.
Native to eastern North America, this specimen has also been found in sporadic populations that have cropped up in Midwestern regions including New Mexico and Utah. It flourishes in dry or rocky soils, frequently found along streams, in pastures, within woodlands, and around abandoned farms. Also known as “Wild Plum” and “Large Yellow Sweet Plum”, the pioneering Prunus Americana is a member of the Rosaceae botanical family. This species has also produced a number of various cultivars.
With both a height and spread ranging from 15-25 ft., the American Plum is resilient in numerous soil and site conditions, with a 3-8 hardiness zone rating. It is partial to medium to dry, well-drained soils, and flourishes in full sun to partial shade. Though winter hardy, it shows less tolerance for shade, excessive drought, or fire. It propagates primarily by its seeds, though its shallow roots can enable the creation of multiple stems and suckers.
Above all, the American Plum is cherished as an ornamental and wildlife shrub. Its thorny branches spread out broadly, adorned with deciduous dark green foliage that evolves to autumnal shades of gold and fiery crimson. Its bark is dark reddish-brown, complimented by the tree’s small snow-white March flowers, five-petaled with golden anthers, blossoming either singly or in clusters. In the early summer, the flowers are replaced by fruits: edible reddish-orange plums with an intense yellow pulp, which attract a variety of wildlife and contribute to the American Plum’s attractiveness. Since they are not particularly sweet, these plums are usually savored in preserves, jams, and jellies, though they can certainly also be eaten raw.
Photos Copyright © Horticopia, Inc. 2017
This Tree's Zone: 3 to 8
Your Growing Zone:
|Fall Foliage||Yellow to red|
|Shape||Broad and spreading|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
|Size||15 to 25 feet|
|Spread||15 to 25 feet|