Prunus munsoniana: goose-plum [or Mississippi plum]

Family: Rosaceae [subfamily Prunoideae], part of the rosoid group.

Form: usually becoming a small tree, potentially 15-25 feet tall, but with running roots often forming shrubby thickets as well.

Range: centered in central North America, especially the Ozark region and central Mississippi drainage; scattered across Kentucky, especially on some western lowlands and in hills of the Bluegrass.

Habitat: woodland edges, thickets, old gardens (of Native Americans or Virginians); usually on fertile base-rich soils; not at dry or wet extremes.

Consumers: large fruit highly palatable to larger mammals (with some human selection and propagation); somewhat thorny but often browsed by deer; susceptible to variety of insect pests and diseases.

Growing notes: seed germinates well after a winter, if protected from small mammals; deserves much more cultivation for blossom and fruit.

Goose Plum branches with fruit
Goose Plum branches with fruit. Image: Julian Campbell


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