What’s blooming in my yard? Mexican plum

By Besa Schweitzer
Webmaster, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Photos by Darla Preiss

White flower

Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)

My Mexican plum just started to bloom around March 1. The flowers continue…

Plant name: Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)

Description: Height: 15-20 feet, width: 10-15 feet
A small tree that refuses to grow straight and will form a colony from suckers if you let it. White fragrant flowers in early spring turn to a medium size plum in late summer. This tree has orange fall color with reddish grey peeling bark on the main trunk.

Why I chose this plant: This plant is edible, native, and beautiful! Plums make an excellent chutney if you can get them before the birds.

Tree bark

Bark of the Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)

Visitors: The flowers are an important nectar source for early spring flies and bees. This tree is a larval host for the tiger swallowtail butterfly and cecropia moth. Fruit is consumed by birds, opossums, and squirrels.

Last year I noticed I had an aphid infestation on my plums but it wasn’t long after that I saw lacewing eggs dangling from the leaves and a few weeks later there was not an aphid to be found. It is very exciting to watch the tiny drama of the lacewing larva hunting the aphids.

Environment: Full to part sun.
This tree likes woodland edges. Grows best with average soil moisture.

Favorite reference: Missouri Botanical Garden 

Available to purchase: Find this tree at the Shaw Wildflower Market.

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