Prunus americana Marshall - American Plum


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Prunus americana - (image 1 of 5)



Family: Rosaceae


Thickets, open woods, woodland borders.


On woodland borders with Aster sagittifolius drummondii, Carex blanda, Crataegus punctata, Cryptotaenia canadensis, Fragaria virginiana, Galium aparine, Osmorhiza claytonii, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Potentilla simplex, Prunus serotina, Quercus macrocarpa, Ranunculus abortivus, Rubus occidentalis, Sanicula gregaria, Silere stellata, Solidago ulmifolia, Viburnum lentago, Viola sororia, Vitis riparia.


NH west to Manitoba and MT, south to northern FL and OK.


Small deciduous tree. Leaves alternate, simple, ovate, usually widest below the middle, to 4" long, more than twice as long as wide, rounded at base, glabrous or slightly hairy, coarsely serrate with sharply acute, glandless teeth. Young stems dark, smooth, with gray horizontal lenticels, often with thorns; mature bark splitting vertically, edges curling back, somewhat scaly. Flowers white, to 1" wide, pedicellate, in small umbels. Fruit a rounded drupe, to 1" in diameter, yellow to red-purple, sometimes glaucous.


Flowers mid April to late May

Wetland indicator: Upland

The fruits can be pitted like cherries and used for preserves. The flavor is very much like apricots.



Dirr, Michael A. 1998. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.
5th ed. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing L.L.C.


Farrar, J. L. 1995. Trees of the Northern United States and Canada.
Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005