Prunus angustifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: chickasaw plum 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Southern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Erosion

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Promptly remove root suckers to prevent any unwanted spread. Adaptable to wide range of growing conditions and soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Prunus angustifolia, commonly called Chickasaw plum, is a deciduous Missouri native multi-stemmed shrub or small tree which occurs in thickets, pastures, fields, fencerows, stream banks and disturbed areas scattered primarily in central and southern Missouri south of the Missouri River. Most often seen in the wild as a 4-10' tall, thicket-forming shrub which freely suckers to form large colonies. Infrequently seen as a small short-trunked tree growing to 25' tall. 2-4 flowered clusters (umbels) of 5-petaled white flowers (1/2" diameter) appear along the stems in March before the foliage emerges. Flowers are followed by small, cherry-like, edible, red to yellow plums (to 1/2" diameter) which ripen in early to mid summer. Although the plums may be eaten raw, they are somewhat tart and acidic, and are perhaps best used in preserves and jellies. Toothed, narrow, oval-lanceolate, bright green leaves (1-3" long). Branches and twigs are an attractive reddish-brown and sometimes have thorny lateral branchlets. Native Americans regularly consumed the fruit fresh or dried it for winter.

Genus name from Latin means plum or cherry tree.

Specific epithet means narrow-leaved.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problem. Plum curculio and brown rot can affect the fruit. Other potential disease problems include leaf spot, canker and black knot. Other potential insect problems include aphids, scale, borers and tent caterpillars.

Garden Uses

Best in sunny woodland areas, hedgerows, informal screens or wild areas where it can naturalize by root suckering into colonies or thickets. Also effective along stream banks for erosion control. Also may be used in shrub borders.