Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 13, 2014

From: Abington, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Are Chickasaw plums evergreen?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are Chickasaw Plums evergreens? I've been very interested in planting a few but some websites say they are evergreens while others say the opposite. Furthermore, would I have to plant a male and female to get fruit?

ANSWER:

On our Native Plant Database the Leaf Retention for Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) has been corrected from "evergreen" to "deciduous".  Thank you for pointing out the error to us.  Indeed, Chickasaw plums are deciduous according to the following experts:

Also, University of Florida IFAS Extension and North Carolina State University Extension say that it is deciduous.

Chickasaw plums have perfect flowers (i.e., with both male and female reproductive structures); but it is possible that they are not completely self-fertile.   You can read an interesting article about pollination, pollinators and pollinziers, Plums on the Prairies by Rick Sawatzky.  Many of the commercial plum trees and home garden plum trees are hybrids of Japanese plums and Prunus americana (American plum).  Recently, breeders in the South have been using Prunus angustifolia to make the hybrids more adaptable.  Sawatzky's article indicates that the hybrid cultivars are most fruitful when the pollinizer tree is a wild plum. I couldn't find any indication, however, in that article about whether the wild trees such as P. angustifolia are self-fertile.  In the article Testing and Evaluation of Plum and Plum Hybrid Cultivars,  Jerome L. Frecon and Daniel L. Ward from Rutgers University in New Jersey name some hybrids that are self-fertile and some that are not.   Although Apalachee Hills Landscape says that the cultivar, Prunus andgustifolia 'Guthrie' is self-pollinating, there are conflicting opinions in the Eat the Weeds website's Chickasaw Plum: Yum article by Green Deane.  Deane says they are self-fertilizing; but a commenter says that not until she got a second tree did her Chickasaw plum produce fruit.  So, without a definitive answer about the self-fertilization of Chickasaw plums, I guess you have two choices:

  1. Buy one tree and hope that it really is self-fertile and produces lots of plums; or
  2. Buy two and be absolutely sure that your trees will produce fruit.
 

From the Image Gallery


Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

Chickasaw plum
Prunus angustifolia

More Trees Questions

Need help with a misshapen Monterey Oak in Austin, TX
March 11, 2010 - In the Fall of 2008, I purchased a very tall Monterey Oak from TreeFolks at the Burger Center Sale. Since the wind was so high, all the tall trees were on the ground, and I guess that is why I did no...
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Anacacho Orchid in Smithville TX
January 24, 2011 - What conditions (soil type, sun/shade, understory? etc.) to grow a healthy Anacacho Orchid tree? And what is the best size tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel and Desert Willow in pots or ground in Brady, TX
May 09, 2006 - I would really appreciate your advice if a Texas Mountain Laurel (now a 1 gal. size) and a Desert Willow (now a 3 gal.) are good candidates for planting in containers and, if so, what size for each? ...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant trees for planters in San Diego
August 09, 2012 - We need some ideas for a drought tolerant tree that will provide shade (4 foot raised planters in sunny location) not get too big when mature, and not too messy. San Diego
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.