What Is a Wild Plum Tree?

Updated February 21, 2017

The wild plum tree, or prunus americana, is a fruit-producing shrub that can be grown as a tree. The wild plum grows in a variety of soil types and is tolerant of the majority of climates.

Growing Specifications

The wild plum tree grows on average between 3 and 24 feet in height and often forms thickets. The wild plum produces spreading, thorn-like branches.


A winter-tolerant tree, the wild plum can be grown in a variety of environments, including prairies, woodlands, pastures and on the side of rivers and roads.


In mid-summer, the wild plum produces red or yellow fruits which can be used to make jelly or preserves.


The wild plum produces flowers in early spring before its leaves have unfolded and before the majority of other plants and trees have produced new foliage. The upper leaf of the wild plum is a shiny green colour while small hairs grow on the underside.


The uses of the wild plum include privacy screening, food for wildlife, landscaping and erosion control. The wild plum is important in erosion control as the roots of the tree compact and hold the surrounding soil in place.


The wild plum produces food for many animals including birds, deer, raccoons and squirrels.

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About the Author

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.