Virginia Tech Dendrology

American plum Rosaceae Prunus americana Marsh. Listen to the Latin symbol: PRAM
Leaf: Alternate, simple, ovate to elliptical, finely serrated margin, sharply pointed tip, 3 to 4 inches long, green above, and slightly paler beneath.
Flower: White, 5 petals, 1 inch across, long filaments, yellow anthers, appear in small clusters in early spring with the leaves.
Fruit: Fleshy drupe, nearly round, 1 inch across, reddish purple to yellow-brown, some glaucous bloom, ripen in mid to late summer.
Twig: Slender, reddish brown, later developing an exfoliating gray film, leaf scars raised; buds reddish to gray and sharp pointed, some twigs becoming thorns.
Bark: Initially reddish gray, smooth with numerous horizontal lenticels, later becoming rough with irregular ridges and exfoliating curling strips.
Form: A multi-stemmed, shrubby, small tree with a spreading crown, reaching up to 30 feet tall with numerous rigid spiny branches; readily suckers from the roots.
Looks like: Mexican plum - Chickasaw plum - black cherry - chokeberry
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information: Prunus americana is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting American plum.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson