Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Secondary Names:



Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Firewise:
plum_mexican150.jpg
Tree Description:

A small tree to 25 feet tall and a short trunk 8" to 10" in diameter, with a short, irregular crown of dull green foliage.

Range/Site Description:

In East and Central Texas, on moist slopes, creek bottoms, fencerows, and canyons, usually as a solitary tree. Also planted widely in Texas as a landscape tree.

Leaf:

Simple, alternate, 2" to 4" long and 1.5" to 3" wide, oval, often cupped at the edges, abruptly pointed at the tip and rounded at the base, and finely toothed (sometimes double-toothed) along the margin. The upper surface is smooth, thickened, and textured, yellow-green; lower surface lighter, hairy along the veins; leaves turn yellow or sometimes red in the fall.

Flower:

Numerous clusters of white, five-petaled flowers, 0.75" in diameter, appear in March before the leaves.

Fruit:

A plum (actually a drupe) that ripens in late summer, 1.25" in diameter, dark purple-red with a bluish "bloom", with a smooth stone 0.75" long under the juicy flesh.

Bark:

Dark gray to nearly black, smooth when young with horizontal lenticels, developing broad plates with curled edges when older.

Wood:

Fruits are used to make jams and jellies. Widely available as a drought-hardy landscape tree in commercial nurseries.

Similar Species:

Flatwoods plum (Prunus umbellata) has smaller fruits and is found along sandy riverbottoms in East Texas.

Interesting Facts:

Mexican plum is usually the first tree to flower in March, marking the end of winter in Texas.

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