American Plum
Prunus americana
Rosaceae (Rose) Family

American Plum is also known as Red Plum and River Plum.

Plant is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree with a short trunk, many spreading branches, broad crown, large white flowers and red fruit. Height is usually no more than 25-30 feet with a trunk diameter less than 10 inches. Its preferred habitat is moist soils of valleys and low upland slopes. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are 2 to 4 inches long and less than 2 inches wide; widest at the middle, long-pointed at the tip, sharply and often double saw-toothed, slightly thickened; dull green with slightly sunken veins above.

Flowers are about 1 inch broad with 5 rounded white petals in clusters of 2 to 5 on slender stalks; odor is unpleasant. Flowers appear in early spring before the leaves emerge.

The plums are eaten fresh and often used in jellies and preserves. They are also consumed by many kinds of birds. The outer skin on the fruit is red and leather-like, thus the common name. Numerous cultivated varieties with improved fruit have been developed. American Plum is also grown for erosion control; spreading by root sprouts.

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