Prunus americana- little giants

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Will Blozan
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Prunus americana- little giants

Post by Will Blozan » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:11 am


For a brief time each year the presence of the diminutive and elusive American plum is known. The showy flowers indicate where these uncommon trees are growing as they do not boldly present themselves during the rest of the year. In fact, I only have seen these trees in about a half-dozen locations in my 26 years in the area. I am sure there are more but the point is- they are an elusive target.

It has long been my mission to give the “little guys and (gals)” the credit they deserve. So this year I decided after many lost springtime chances to visit the known larger specimens and do an initial documentation of what they can do here in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Two sites caught my interest as having large specimens; Montreat College’s “In-The-Oaks” campus in Black Mountain, and the Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville. After six years of seeing the trees bloom I finally laid the laser on ‘em.

This post will set the bar for the species as I have seen no NTS data posted to date. Before this trip I have but one tree measured; a tree Jess Riddle and I measured 1/31/2006 at the North Carolina Arboretum. I do include two trees Jess Riddle measured at Warren Wilson College below.

So, here are the results of measurements at four sites listed as girth, height, average spread, (max spread).

1) North Carolina Arboretum 1/31/2006

19” X 27’ X 25’ (27.5’)

2) In-The-Oaks Campus 8/12/2012 with Brian BeDuhn

23” X 42.5’
20” X 42.9’
17” X 45.1’
35” X 46’ X 22’

3) Warren Wilson College taken by Jess Riddle 2/1/2006

20” X 30.8’
18.5” X 37.4’

4) Western NC Nature Center 9/23/2012 (pictured below)

26” X 40’ X 24’
Bark-1.jpg (291.75 KiB) Viewed 855 times
Bark-2.jpg (283.24 KiB) Viewed 855 times
So, based on this limited sample max dimensions for this little tree are currently known to be:

Girth 35”
Height 46’
Spread 27.5’

I have spotted a very large tree in Fletcher, NC but it is on the side of an interstate and not very enticing to visit. Since I have only seen it once it will have to wait until next spring for relocation- and it may be a clump.


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Re: Prunus americana- little giants

Post by bbeduhn » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:41 am

The In-the Oaks specimens are are still going strong. I passed by them 20 times on Saturday while running loops on the campus. They grow in a white pine/invasive plantation right next to a Greenway. The pines are young (30-35ish).

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Prunus americana- little giants

Post by Larry Tucei » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:01 am

Will- Way cool! Is this the Plum tree that is refered to as the Chickasaw Plum? I remember reading that the Native Americans grew these and are throughout the Southern States. Larry

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