Prunus mexicana, commonly known as Mexican plum, is a small, upright, non-suckering, usually single-trunked, small tree that may grow to a shrubby 8-15’ tall but most frequently matures 15-25’ tall. It is native from the southeastern corner of South Dakota to Ohio, south to Alabama, Texas, and northeastern Mexico. Trees are also widely cultivated on the West Coast.
The main features of this tree are fragrant, showy white flowers in small clusters which bloom in spring (April – May) before or as the leaves appear, ovate to elliptic, leaves are yellow-green above and soft hairy beneath with double-toothed margins. Edible plums emerge yellow but ripen on the tree from July to September to rose, lavender, or purple. They are covered with a gray-glaucous bloom, smooth reddish-gray bark that matures over time to blue-gray with a rough texture, darker horizontal striations, exfoliating patches, and yellow, but sometimes a more attractive orange and red, fall foliage color.
This tree is a larval host for the tiger swallowtail butterfly and cecropia moth. Birds and mammals consume fruit.
Winter hardy to USDA Zone 6 is best grown in rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Drought tolerant once established.
Light: Full sun, Partial Shade, Dappled Shade
Zone: 6, 7, 8
Origin: United States