Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Mexican Plum, Bigtree Plum, Inch Plum

Mexican Plum, Bigtree Plum, Inch Plum

Prunus mexicana

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; prefers rich loamy soil but tolerates clay, clay loam, sandy, and sandy loam soils; slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH.

15-30 feet height by 12-20 feet wide; white or pale pink flowers in May; fruit is yellow to mauve to purple in late summer to fall.

Growth Rate:  Slow

Maintenance:  No serious insect or disease problems.  Develops a strong structure with little pruning. Best to locate the tree where falling fruit litter will not cause a problem.

Propagation:  Germination Code E.  Seeds rapidly lose viability if allowed to dry out after collection.

Native Region: Occurs in Coastal Plain, Highland Rim, and Central Basin provinces in Tennessee.

This small, upright flowering plum is considered to be an ornamental tree.  In addition to being non-suckering, it is a show stopper when in bloom with its fragrant, showy white flowers.  It produces edible fruit that can be eaten fresh or made into preserves.  It has thorns and a single trunk, with a blue-gray bark with darker, horizontal striations.  Drought tolerant once established.  The species serves as a stock for grafting of cultivated varieties.  Occurs naturally in thin woods, river bottoms and prairies.  Flowers attract bees and butterflies.  Fruit attracts birds and mammals.  Larval host to the tiger swallowtail butterfly and cecropia moth.

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