A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Chickasaw Plum, Sand Plum, Mountain Cherry, Sand Hill Plum
Full to part sun; medium to dry moisture level; occurs naturally on sandy soil but performs well on heavier clay loam soils; pH adaptable except not on strongly alkaline soils.
10-20 feet height by 10-20 feet spread; white, 5-petaled flowers, ½ inch in diameter, in groups of 2-4, before leaves emerge in spring; fruits are red to yellow, ½ inch diameter plums in late summer.
Growth Rate: Moderate. Spreads by root suckers.
Maintenance: Insects and diseases occasionally attack this species but are not a serious problem in conservation plantings but would require controls if tree is grown for commercial fruit production. Requires little maintenance once established.
Propagation: Seed germination code C(60) at 36-48 degrees F.
Native Region: Concentrated in Coastal Plain and in Ridge and Valley provinces
Large multi-stemmed shrub to small tree with showy, fragrant flowers. Most often seen as a thicket-forming shrub and less often as a small, short-trunked tree. Sometimes has thorny, lateral branches. Best used in sunny, woodland edges or wild areas where it can naturalize by root sucking into colonies or thickets. Useful along stream banks for erosion control and very effective in stabilizing blowing soil. Full sun will create a fuller, more dense planting that colonizes more quickly. Part sun will result in a planting that is more airy and delicate in appearance and one that colonizes more loosely. Drought tolerant. Fruit is somewhat tart and acidic and probably best used in jams and jellies. Cultivars available.
Popular plant for use in developing wildlife habitat on sandy soils and should be considered for any native landscape planting. Thicket provides valuable opportunities for songbird and game bird nesting, loafing and roosting as well as shelter for various other animals. Numerous species of birds and other animals consume the fruit. Attracts butterflies and bees.