Wild Plum – Prunus americana
The wild plum tree, also known as the American plum, is a decorative as well as edible fruit-producing species. This member of the Rose family has a bushy appearance, with red to brown bark, thorny branches, and slim twigs. It typically flowers from April to May, producing attractive, dainty white blooms that range from three-quarters of an inch to just under two inches in size, with five petals each. These beautiful blooms form in clusters of two to five flowers each. The wild plum’s dense flower production creates an impressive, round and bushy appearance, almost as though a pristine snowfall has covered the tree.
From late summer to early fall the tree produces red or yellow fruit with distinctive tiny pale spots. The fruit is edible, with juicy yellow flesh inside, and the flavor varies among cultivars. These plump delights grow in groups of one to five fruits. The dark green leaves accompanying the fruiting phase are up to two inches wide by four inches long, causing the tree takes on a rugged, untamed look.
Prunus americana thrives in USDA hardiness planting zones 3 to 8, and prefers thicket, open field, or woody habitats which get at least 16” of rain per year, and is often seen along roadsides and in pastures. It does best in well-draining soil, and is a good choice for windbreaks and general landscaping beautification. Due to its bushy, slightly tangled foliage structure, this tree is a great choice to add visual interest to any yard. The wild plum may gain up to two feet of growth per year, reaching a mature height of 15 to 25 feet. This species may live approximately 12 to 15 years, and typically requires little maintenance, offering the ability to withstand heavy pruning when necessary. Prunus americana takes easily to transplanting, making it simple to give it a healthy start in the ground once it arrives at your home.