Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Prunus rivularis

River plum, Creek plum, Hog plum

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Prunus rivularis (River plum)
Marcus, Joseph A.
A thicket forming shrub on stony upland sites, in wooded canyons, and in valley bottoms. Leaves up to 2 1/2 inches long, ovate to narrower, with small gland tipped teeth on the margins. Flowers in clusters of 2 to 4 along the branches, white, up to l/2 inch wide; very noticeable in early spring in a drab countryside before many woody plants have put out new leaves. Fruit fleshy, as much as 3/4 inch in diameter, yellow to bright red or crimson.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Normally around 6 feet high
Leaf: Blue-green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flower 1 cm wide
Fruit: Usually yellow with reddish tinge. Occasionally red. Up to 2 cm
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar


Native Distribution: Central Texas north to Oklahoma
Native Habitat: Limestone woodlands, creeksides, and canyons

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Soil Description: Limestone-based woodland soils. Sandy okay.
Conditions Comments: In full sun, will colonize more densely and attain a fuller, denser form. In light woodland shade, will be lighter and airier in appearance and colonize less aggressively. Like many plants in the rose family, it is susceptible to webworms.


Use Ornamental: Blooms ornamental and fragrant.
Use Wildlife: Fruit consumed by birds and mammals. Flowers visited by pollinating insects. Thicket/colony forming, so provides cover.
Use Other: Good for erosion control.
Warning: The seeds of all Prunus species, found inside the fruits, contain poisonous substances and should never be eaten. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes

Last Update: 2016-04-18