Overview

Comprehensive Description

During nesting season it is known to play an important role in grassland bird ecology (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 151). In north-central Oklahoma, Bell’s vireos (Vireo bellii), brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum), field sparrows (Spizella pusilla), northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) and painted buntings (Passerina ciris) nest in Prunus angustifolia stands and inferred nesting by blue grosbeaks (P. caerulea), greater roadrunners (Geococcyx californianus), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 151). The average age of Prunus angustifolia individuals in the study was 14-17 years, suggesting the importance of maintaining older stands for protecting shrub-nesting bird diversity (Dunkin & Guthery 2010: 155).

Prunus angustifolia is thought to have been cultivated by indigenous peoples of North America. Bartram (1955) reported “The Chicasaw plumb I think must be excepted, for though certainly a native of America, yet I never saw it wild in the forests, but always in old deserted Indian plantations: I suppose it to have been brought from the S. W. beyond the Missisippi, by the Chicasaws.”

References

Bartram, W. 1955. Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida. Dover Publications, New York.

Dunkin, S.W. & Guthery F.S. 2010. Bird Nesting in Chickasaw Plum Related to Age of Plum in Oklahoma. The American Midland Naturalist 164: 151-156.

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Prunus angustifolia or Chickasaw plum is a shrub or small tree that can reach heights 4-6 m and widths ranging between 5-6 m (Gilman & Watson, 2012). It has flowers and fruits that are borne in umbels meaning that its 1 cm long pedicels grow out form the same point. Its flowers are also sub-sessile meaning that the pedicels are attached near the base. Its leaves are more than 4 cm long, nearly straight, and it has glands at their tips that fall off at the end of its season (Wunderlin & Hansen, 2011: 579).

References

Gilman, F.G.; Watson, G.D. 2012. Prunus angustifolia: Chickasaw Plum, available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st504; accessed on: Oct 17, 2012

Wunderlin R.P. & Hansen B.F. 2011. Prunus, 579. In: Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida, Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

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Plum pox is the most common virus to the Prunus species and is a biological disease of stone fruit trees in Europe and the Mediterranean province (Damsteegt, et al., 2007, p. 18). Plum pox virus is the only plant virus known to infect Prunus species and is spread by aphid species (Damsteegt, et al., 2007, p. 18). When inoculated by the virus via aphids, P. angustifolia showed relatively mild transient symptoms on a few leaves and branches (Damsteeg et al., 2007: 22).

Crown gall caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens affects the roots and stems of many Prunus species as well (Bliss et al., 1999: 326). When inoculated on the main stem, P. angustifolia showed medium to large galls where inoculated (Bliss et al., 1999: 328).

References

Bliss, F. A., Schuerman, P. L., Almehdi, A. A., Dandekar, A. M. & Bellaloui, N. 1999. Crown Gall Resistance in Accessions of 20 Prunus Species. HortScience 34: 326-330.

Damsteegt, V. D., Scorza, R., Stone, A. L., Schneider, W. L., Webb, K. & Demuth, M.2007. Prunus host range of Plum pox virus (PPV) in the United States by aphid and graft inoculation. Plant Disease 91: 18-23.

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Chickasaw Plum in Illinois

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw Plum)
(bees suck nectar or collect pollen; information is restricted to Andrenid bees; observations are from Krombein et al.)

Bees (short-tongued)
Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena andrenoides andrenoides, Andrena nigrae, Andrena wilmattae

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T4 - Apparently Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Prunus angustifolia

Prunus angustifolia pronounced (PROO-nus an-gus-tih-FOLE-ee-uh)[citation needed], known commonly as Chickasaw Plum, Cherokee plum, Florida sand plum, sandhill plum, or sand plum,[2] is a plum bearing tree native to North America. It was originally cultivated by Native Americans before the arrival of Europeans. While Prunus is the classical name for European plums, angustifolia refers to its narrow leaves. It is listed by the USDA as an endangered species in the state of New Jersey.

Prunus angustifolia flowers and fruit
Ripening Chickasaw Plum

Description[edit]

Chickasaw plum grows 12 to 20 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide in an irregular shape. It is "twiggy" in nature, and has a scaly, almost black bark. Its branches are reddish with a thorn-like, small side branches. In February, March, April and May, small white flowers blossom, 8–9 mm wide, along with red plums, up to 25 mm long. The flowers have five white petals with reddish or orange anthers. The plums are cherry-like and tend to be quite tart until they fully ripen.[3] They ripen in late summer. It requires low to medium amounts of water to grow, and dry, sandy or loose soil. It grows best in areas with regular sunlight or areas of partial shade. In sunny areas, it will be more dense and colonize for thickly. In areas of partial shade, it will be thinner and less dense, and each plant will be more spread out.

Thicket of Chickasaw Plums

Location[edit]

Prunus angustifolia is native to the United States and can be found in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. They grow in dry and sandy soils, such as open woodlands, woodland edges, forest openings, savannahs, prairies, plains, meadows, pastures, and roadsides.

Uses[edit]

Chickasaw plums tend to bloom early in the spring. Because they bloom early in the spring, before many other plants bloom, and require very little maintenance, they are often used in horticulture for ornamental use. They are found along many highways, especially in the southern part of the United States. The fruit is eaten by various animals. It also provides cover for nesting sites. Ripe fruits are slightly tart, but can be eaten or are sometimes made into jellies, desserts and preserves. Because of its attractive bark, small leaves and thin branches, Chickasaw plum is also sometimes used for bonsai.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ USDA GRIN entry for Prunus angustifolia
  3. ^ Boning, Charles R. (2006). Florida's Best Fruiting Plants: Native and Exotic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. p. 77. ISBN 1561643726. 
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