Photo gallery menu
Click on pictures to view larger image.
Beach plum, Prunus maritima, is a medium-sized shrub that
is found growing in coastal dune lands. (Sandy Neck, Barnstable,
The beach plum is a native American fruit. Its close relatives are Japanese
and European plums, which are grown as horticulture crops.
White flowers bloom in mid-May on reddish-brown twigs.
Insects pollinate the flowers.
The fruits are about 1.5 cm. in diameter and are usually purple.
Fruits ripen from late August through September, with colors ranging
from yellow to dark purple.
Typical branching pattern showing two years of wood growth.
In the wild, beach plums have a coastal sand dune distribution and
occur naturally only on the Atlantic Coast of North America. Most
populations occur in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.[Map from: Anderson, E. and O.
Ames (1932). "Botanizing from an airplane." Arnold Arboretum of
Harvard University, Bulletin of popular information, series 3 volume
6(nos. 10 and 11): 37-44.]
Beach plums grow in coastal grasslands (Westport Point, Mass., above) and ...
... in shrub communities
of Sandy Neck marsh trail, Barnstable, Mass., often less than 100 meters
from the ocean.
Beach plums are often found growing in association
with bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica (left), beach-grass, Ammophila breviligulata (right), and ...
... pitch pine, Pinus rigida.