Prunus mexicana

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Prunus mexicana
Prunus mexicana-fruits-leaves.jpg
Scientific classification edit
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
Prunus mexicana range map 1.png
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] 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 and reaches a height of 4.6–11.6 metres (15–38 ft). It has dark green, simple ovate leaves, fragrant white or pale pink flowers, and dark gray bark banded with horizontal lenticels.[3][verification needed] Early in the spring it is covered with clouds of white fragrant flowers that are up to an inch wide. The dark red or purple fruit ripens late in the fall.[4][5]

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.[6]


Prunus mexicana is included in the section Prunocerasus.[7]

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][8]

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.[3]


The fruit is eaten fresh by both animals.[9]


The fruit is made into preserves.[9]

The tree is widely cultivated, such as on the west coast of the United States.



  1. ^ a b c "Prunus mexicana". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  2. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Arnold, M. (2002). Landscape Plants for Texas and Environs. Stipes. ISBN 1-58874-153-2.
  4. ^ "Mexican Plum, Big Tree Plum, Inch Plum". Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  5. ^ Flora of North America, Prunus mexicana S. Watson, 1882. Mexican or bigtree plum
  6. ^ Flora of North America, Prunus americana
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  9. ^ a b 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.

External links[edit]