Wild Plum – Identification

Q: I have a question that centers around a pleasure from my pre-teen years. Growing wild near my Dad’s garden plot and near the county road were small plums. The fruit were about twice the size of a cherry and seemed to be growing on a small bush. They were light yellow when ripe. Are you familiar with the plum I am referring to? Can you tell me if someone sells that plant anywhere?

A: My guess is that you are remembering either the hog plum (Prunus americana) or the Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia). It is difficult to describe the slight difference between the two but both have fruit like you remember. When I was a child plums were a staple of my early summer diet. The yellow and red fruit, when consumed to excess, guaranteed a technicolor stomach ache. I notice them growing along country roadsides when their fragrant white blooms appear in spring but I don’t know of a specific retail source for the plants. Perhaps the best way to find a plant for yourself is to cruise the backroads next April and ask permission from the landowner to dig one. The Georgia Native Plant Society keeps a list of native plant suppliers.

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