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House with native plants and animalsGoing Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants
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American Plum (Prunus americana)

American Plum is a deciduous tree that may grow 10 to 20 feet tall. The leaves are alternate with a finely toothed margin. The bark is smooth and reddish gray with numerous horizontal lenticels. As the tree ages, the bark becomes rough with irregular ridges and exfoliating curling strips. In spring, 5-petaled, white flowers mature in clusters. The small tree produces a 1-inch, reddish purple to yellow-brown drupe that matures in late summer.


Thickets provide good cover for songbirds and small mammals year round. Host plant for Coral Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-Spotted Purple, Spring/Summer Azures, and Viceroy butterflies. Adult butterflies nectar from the spring flowers. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, wild turkeys, quail, white-tailed deer, and small mammals.

Plant Type Tree 10-30 feet
Leaf Type Deciduous
Deer Resistance Low
Regions Mountain, Piedmont
Light Full Sun
Soil Moist, Dry
Bloom Times Early Spring
Seed Times Late Summer
Wildlife Value Winter Cover, Fleshy Fruit, Butterfly/Insect Nectar, Butterfly Larvae Host
NC Forest ServiceNC Cooperative Extension