From a distance, white blooms draw your attention when a lot of other trees are still bare. A closer look reveals clusters of fragrant whitish flowers. Bloom appear in early spring prior to, or with, leaf flush. Prunus angustifolia prefers well drained soils. Slight of stature but packed with character, this native plum is tolerant of wide range of soil pH. Drought tolerant once established, if it likes the site, expect new sprouts to arise from its roots. Trees may have thorns or be thornless.
Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw Plum) is related to American plum and flatwoods plum (UF publication ENH-663):
Look for it at edge of clearings, along disturbed sites. Underside of leaf is dull green and matte, creating a nice contrast with shiny, dark green upper surface. The bark is a distinguishing characteristic.
Nesting birds seek refuge among the boughs. Half-inch to inch long summer fruit is consumed by deer, bear, fox and racoon. Early peoples dried fruit for winter consumption. According to Trees: North & Central Florida (Koeser, Hasing, Friedman & Irving, UF) wines were produced from fruit. The man-of-the-mower fondly tells of eating fruit fresh from the tree or bringing home for “Ma” to put up into jam.
A member of the Rosaceae (rose family), view the pressed specimen in UF/IFAS Extension Levy County Portable Herbarium (Jan-March, Volume II, specimen courtesy: Kristine S.). Until next month – Stay well, Spread Joy!