Prunus mexicana

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Prunus mexicana
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus subg. Prunus
Section: Prunus sect. Prunocerasus
P. mexicana
Binomial name
Prunus mexicana
Generalized natural range of Prunus mexicana
  • Prunus lanata (Sudw.) Mack. & Bush
  • Prunus mexicana var. fultonensis (Sarg.) Sarg.
  • Prunus mexicana var. polyandra (Sarg.) Sarg.
  • Prunus pensylvanica var. mollis (Douglas ex Hook.) B.Boivin
  • Prunus americana var. lanata Sudw.
  • Prunus palmeri Sarg.
  • Prunus polyandra Sarg.
  • Prunus reticulata Sarg.

Prunus mexicana, commonly known as the Mexican plum,[1] Inch plum, and Bigtree plum,[3] is a North American species of plum tree that can be found in the central United States and Northern Mexico.


Prunus mexicana has a single trunk, an open crown, and reaches a height of 15–38 feet (4.6–11.6 m).[3] It has dark green, simple ovate leaves 2–4.5 inches (5.1–11.4 cm) long and 1.25–2 inches (3.2–5.1 cm) wide.[3] In the early spring it is covered with five-petaled fragrant white or pale pink flowers 0.75–1 inch (19–25 mm) wide.[3] Its dark gray bark is banded with horizontal lenticels.[4][verification needed] The dark red or purple fruit ripens late in the fall.[5][6]

Prunus mexicana is very similar to Prunus americana, and they intergrade along a broad contact zone centered around Arkansas and Missouri. These intermediate individuals may be impossible to assign to a specific species.[7]


Prunus mexicana is included in the section Prunocerasus.[8]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The native range of the species stretches from South Dakota east to Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, and Georgia, and south to the Mexican states of Coahuila and San Luis Potosí.[1][9]

It is usually found on woodland edges or in open fields. It is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH and is drought-tolerant. The trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 7 to 9.[4]


The fruit is eaten fresh by both mammals and birds.[3]


The fruit is made into preserves, and the tree can serve as a rootstock for grafting on other plum cultivars.[3]



  1. ^ a b c "Prunus mexicana". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Little, Elbert L. (1980). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region. New York: Knopf. p. 502. ISBN 0-394-50760-6.
  4. ^ a b Arnold, M. (2002). Landscape Plants for Texas and Environs. Stipes. ISBN 1-58874-153-2.
  5. ^ "Mexican Plum, Big Tree Plum, Inch Plum". Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Flora of North America, Prunus mexicana S. Watson, 1882. Mexican or bigtree plum
  7. ^ Flora of North America, Prunus americana
  8. ^ Shaw, J.; Small, R.L. (2005). "Chloroplast DNA phylogeny and phhylogeography of the North American Plums (Prunus subgenus Prunus section Prunocerasus, Rosaceae)". Am. J. Bot. 92 (12): 2011–30. doi:10.3732/ajb.92.12.2011. JSTOR 4125535. PMID 21646120. S2CID 207658064.
  9. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map

External links[edit]