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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.

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Prunus rivularis (River plum)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Prunus rivularis

Prunus rivularis Scheele

River Plum, Creek Plum, Hog Plum

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Prunus reverchonii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

41 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 25 feet tall.
Leaf: Blue-green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flower 1 cm wide.
Fruit: Usually yellow with reddish tinge. Occasionally red. Up to 2 cm.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


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: Dry , Moist
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

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 Material: Hardwood Cuttings , Root Cuttings , Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , 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. Germination of most seeds requires cold stratification.
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: According to horticulturist Benny Simpson, 70% of the seeds of this species taken from ripe fruit are likely to be ready to plant, already fully mature. Stratification is still recommended for maximum viability, however. 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.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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...
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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...
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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
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0196 Collected Mar. 28, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0185 Collected Feb. 25, 1992 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps
NPSOT 0197 Collected Mar. 28, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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