Prunus maritima Marshall
Rosaceae (Rose Family)
USDA Symbol: PRMA2
Beach plum is a rounded, dense, suckering shrub growing 6 ft. tall or more. White, single or double flowers occur in small clusters before the dark-green, glossy leaves. Fruits are dull purple to crimson, ripening from Aug. to Oct.
The Beach Plum is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae) which includes about 2000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide; approximately 77 native and 9 naturalized tree species and many species of shrubs and herbs in North America; including service-berries (Amelanchier), hawthorns (Crataegus), apples (Malus), plums and cherries (Prunus), and mountain-ashes (Sorbus).
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Usually shrub-like, up to about 8 feet tall. Rarely grows more tree-like, up to about 12 feet tall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: CT , DE , MA , MD , ME , MI , NH , NJ , NY , PA , RI
Native Distribution: N.B. to NJ, occasionally extending some distance inland
Native Habitat: Dunes, sandy soil near the coast
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy or gravelly soils.
Conditions Comments: Salt tolerant.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Birds and other wildlife eat the fruit.
Warning: The partially wilted foliage contains hydrocyanic acid, which has been known to kill livestock that have browsed upon it. 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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: Prunus species may be rooted from dormant hardwood, softwood, semi-hardwood, or root cuttings. Semi-hardwood and softwood cuttings taken in summer root easiest. Germination of most seeds requires cold stratification. Some species need a period of after
Seed Collection: Collect fruit when it is filled out, firm, and its ripe color. Clean seeds from pulp and briefly air dry. (Seeds to be sown immediately in fall do not need drying.) Storage viability is maintained at 31-41 degrees.
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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America - beta site (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Prunus maritima in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Prunus maritima in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Prunus maritima
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff