En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 19, 2013

From: McKinney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Problems with fruit of Mexican Plum from McKinney TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


MY Mexican plum tree (about 5 years old) has small fruit on it. Some of them are severely deformed, and look rotten almost. They are bumpy and ragged looking. Or they are pasty white,rotten and dried in appearance. This is the case for more of the fruit than not. What could it be?


We are very puzzled by your description of the fruit on your Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum); according to this article on the plant from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture it should not even have fruit on it yet:
"Fruit: The yellow-red to red-purple plums have a noticeable waxy bloom and ripen in summer to early fall; these ¾ in. to 1¼ in. long drupes have a fleshy pulp over   a hard seed; fleshy portions of the fruits are edible and are popular for use in preserves, jams, jellies; fruits are also valued as wildlife food."
Perhaps you are referring to something that occurred last Fall, but if this is last Fall's fruit still on the plant, the fruit has simply dried up and died. Since it is good wildlife food, we are surprised nothing found it and ate it.
Beyond that, about all we can tell you is that this plant is a member of the Rosaceae family, and could be susceptible to some of the same problems as garden roses. We will scratch around and see if we can find out what might be going on.
According to this USDA Plant Profile Map it does grow naturally in Collin County, so your soils should be appropriate. The only thing that we did note is that sometimes members of the Rosaceae family can be subject to Cotton Root Rot, which is a soil-borne disease. We would suggest you contact the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office for Collin County to find out if there have been similar problems in your area.

From the Image Gallery

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

More Trees Questions

Identification of white flowering bush with lovely scent
May 17, 2015 - Please identify the sweet smelling white flowering bush/tree blooming now,May, in western Massachusetts. The flowers are tiny 4(?) petals in small clusters. The scent is wonderful.
view the full question and answer

Wild native trees with orange blooms
March 30, 2012 - What is the wild native tree that is blooming orange blooms - as you drive down the road thru Chappel Hill, and Brenham area. I've never seen these before when we went viewing bluebonnets - however,...
view the full question and answer

How to Identify Male and Female Texas Persimmon Trees
October 07, 2014 - I have just learned that Texas persimmon trees are either male or female. Is it possible to tell which is which when buying one? I am planting on 50 acres near Blanco. Do I need one of each? I'd ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen thorny bush for California
May 01, 2010 - I need to find an evergreen thorny type bush, shrub or tree that will grow with about 3-4 hours of morning sun only. Prefer CA native, inland/semi coastal. Purpose: To provide a deterrent for "tag...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center