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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Buckeye, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Fruit trees for Buckeye AZ
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am moving to Buckeye Az from Utah and would like to know what type of fruit trees I can grow. Thanks!


With the exception of a few members of the Prunus species, which grow wild in North America, most of the "food" plants, like fruits and vegetables, that you would ordinarily find in a grocery store, are not native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. The foods you find in your produce market are mostly native to other parts of the world, and/or have been so extensively hybridized their parentage would be unrecognizable.

There are two species of the Prunus genus native to Arizona. The first is Prunus americana (American plum). The plums are eaten fresh and used in jellies and preserves, and are also consumed by many kinds of birds. The other is Prunus emarginata (bitter cherry); as the common name indicates, the fruit is not edible.  The seeds of all Prunus species, found inside the fruits, contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. In addition, the leaves, especially withered ones, twigs and branches are toxic, making it not a very good landscape tree.

So, since we can't help you, we suggest you contact the Arizona Cooperative Extension Office of Maricopa County, Arizona. Extension offices usually have lists of plants that do well in their area, including food plants, and do not restrict themselves to native plants. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Prunus americana

Prunus emarginata





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