En EspaŅol
Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) | NPIN
Share

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    
See a list of all Plants





Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Prunus mexicana

Prunus mexicana S. Watson

Mexican plum, Bigtree plum

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Prunus americana var. lanata, Prunus lanata, Prunus mexicana var. flutonensis, Prunus mexicana var. polyandra, Prunus pensylvanica var. mollis

USDA Symbol: PRME

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Bigtree or Mexican plum is a single-trunked, non-suckering tree, 15-35 ft. tall, with fragrant, showy, white flowers displayed before the leaves appear. Mature trunks become satiny, blue-gray with darker, horizontal striations. Leaves up to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide, ovate to narrower with serrate margins; minute glands on the petiole near the base of the blade. Plums turn from yellow to mauve to purple as they ripen from July through September.

The common wild plum of the forest-prairie border from Missouri and eastern Kansas to Texas. The fruit is eaten fresh and made into preserves and is also consumed by birds and mammals. This species has served as a stock for grafting cultivated varieties of plums.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: 15-35
Fruit:
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MO , MS , NC , NE , OH , OK , SC , SD , TN , TX , WI
Native Distribution: Extreme s. OH to s.e. SD, s. to SC, AL, TX & Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry to moist thin woods, river bottoms & prairies. mostly in northeast and north central Texas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Dry to moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Bigtree or Mexican plum is a single-trunked, non-suckering tree with fragrant, showy, white flowers displayed before the leaves appear. Mature trunks become satiny, blue-gray with darker, horizontal striations. Plums turn from yellow to mauve to purple as they ripen from July through September.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Attractive, Aromatic, Showy, Fall conspicuous, Accent tree or shrub
Use Wildlife: Plums attract birds. Nectar-bees, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Use Food: Fruit used for preserves and cooking.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Tiger Swallowtail, Cecropia moths
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: No

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Propagation

Propagation Material: Softwood Cuttings
Description: Prunus species may be rooted from dormant hardwood, softwood, semi-hardwood, or root cuttings. Semi-hardwood and softwood cuttings taken in summer root easiest. Seeds of P. mexicana require a period of after-ripening followed by cold stratification.
Seed Collection: Collect fruit when it is filled out, firm, and its ripe color. Clean seeds from pulp. Storage viability is maintained at 31-41 degrees. Loses viability rapidly if allowed to dry out after collection and cleaning.
Seed Treatment: For spring sowing, stratify seeds in moist sand for 30-60 days in a greenhouse, then cold stratify (36-41 degrees) for 60-90 days. Plant well before high temperatures.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
October 12, 2009
Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and ...
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for South Austin.
January 25, 2008
I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wildlife and trees for shade.
September 29, 2007
We live in Kempner Texas, our land has mostly cedar trees. We would like to make a wildlife habitat on the back side of our property. Can you recommend plants that will grow in shade to partial sun,...
view the full question and answer

Variety of native tall plants for a screen in shady area near Ft. Worth
June 12, 2007
Hello, we live west of Ft Worth. We are looking for tall plants to form a visual screen along a chain link fence we share with a neighbor. We have post oaks there and it is very shady and the ground ...
view the full question and answer

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX
Far South Wholesale Nursery - Austin, TX

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge - Wimberley, TX
Native Plant Society of Texas - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Fredericksburg Chapter - Fredericksburg, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0834 Collected May 6, 1994 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-MLE-5 Collected 2009-08-26 in Lampasas County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.2 - Berry Browsing in the Backyard, Director\'s Report, Essays on Trillium\'s, Natio...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Prunus mexicana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Prunus mexicana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Prunus mexicana

Metadata

Record Modified: 2011-04-02
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center