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Prunus subcordata

Prunus subcordata, known by the common names Klamath plum, Oregon plum, and Sierra plum, is a member of the genus Prunus, native to the west coast of the Western United States in California and western and southern Oregon.[1] It grows in forests, most often at low elevation near the coast, but it is also in the Sierra Nevada and Cascades; it grows at altitudes of 100–1,900 m.[2][3] P. subcordata var. subcordata, Klamath plum, is also found in Washington.[3]

Its range surrounds the San Joaquin Valley, especially the western flank foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, but avoids the coast mountains of the southwest San Joaquin Valley.[4] For other Pacific coastal Prunus species, P. emarginata is also found in the Pacific Northwest states; P. fremontii and P. ilicifolia are found in coastal or mountain areas of southwest California and northern Baja California.[5]

Plant description[edit]

It is an erect deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 8 m in height. It sprouts from its roots and can form dense, spiny thickets. The bark is gray with horizontal brown lenticels, similar in appearance to that of the cherry tree. The leaves are 2.5–5 cm long with a 4–15 mm petiole, dark green, turning red before falling, and are faintly serrated. The flowers are white or pinkish, appearing in the spring in clusters of one to seven together. The fruit is a small, plum-like drupe, variable in appearance, 15–25 mm in length, and may be red or yellow; they mature in late summer. The plums are small and tart but edible.[2][6]

The three main common names are related to the plum's mountain ranges and locales.

The Concow tribe call the tree gos’-i (Konkow language).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Little. Atlas of United States Trees, Volume 3, Minor Western Hardwoods, Map 126, Prunus subcordata.
  2. ^ a b Jepson Flora: Prunus subcordata
  3. ^ a b USDA Plants Profile: Prunus subcordata
  4. ^ Little, Map 126, Prunus subcordata.
  5. ^ Little, Maps 121, 122-N, 122-W, & 123, P. fremontiii, emarginata, & ilicifolia.
  6. ^ Casebeer, M. (2004). Discover California Shrubs. Sonora, California: Hooker Press. ISBN 0-9665463-1-8
  7. ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 405. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  • Little. Atlas of United States Trees, Volume 3, Minor Western Hardwoods, Little, Elbert L, 1976, US Government Printing Office. Library of Congress No. 79-653298. Map 126, Prunus subcordata.


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