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Trees of Iowa: An Interactive Key

Wild Plum
(Prunus americana)


Leaves  are alternate, simple, single toothed, and oval or oblong shaped.


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When grown in the open, the common wild plum is a low-branched, rounded   tree, but becomes shrubby when grown in thickets or in crowded  conditions.  It is found throughout the state along fence rows, borders  of woodsand waste places. It is a valuable wildlife tree.

Hardiness: zones 3 through 10

Growth Rate:
medium to fast

Mature Shape:
varies by species

Height:
20 to 30 feet high

Width:
15 to 25 feet wide

Site Requirements:
Adaptable but prefers moist, well-drained soils.  In the right conditions, it will grow like a weed.  Withstands heavy pruning and prefers full sun to partial shade.

Flowering Dates: March - May

Seed Dispersal Dates: June - October

Seed Bearing Age: 4 years

Seed Bearing Frequency: Every 1 to 2 years

Seed Stratification: Prechill for 3 to 5 months at 34F to 40F
Wild Plum FruitWild Plum Leaves

The leaves are similar to cherry leaves in shape, but are thinner, less firm, lighter green and less shiny above; light green beneath and with a wrinkled appearance.  The leaves are 3 to 4 inches long with long  pointed tips.

The twigs are slender, orange-brown, turning dark reddish brown  and marked with tiny raised light dots.  The short side twigs are often  spiny.  The fleshy fruit is sweet, round to oval, about 1 inch in diameter with a rounded seed.  It is red to yellowish red when mature in late August.  It is used for jams and jellies.

On young stems the bark is orange-brown to dark red-brown and  is smooth and shiny. On older stems it is darker colored and breaks into large, thin scales or plates.

 

Click on a thumbnail image below to view a larger picture.
Wild Plum Fruit Wild Plum Leaves