By Besa Schweitzer
Webmaster, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
Photos by Darla Preiss
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.
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.