BEACH PLUM

Prunus marítima

Beach Plum, Prunus marítima is a species of plum native to the East Coast of the US from Maine to Maryland and prevalent on Eastern Long Island.  The name means “seaside plum,” and it is a staple of the mature sand dune systems of the Atlantic barrier islands. It is resilient in degraded lands and soils.

The white flowers develop a pinkish tint upon successful pollination most commonly by wild bees.  The size of grapes or large cherries, the plums on the wild plant are mostly bluish purple or almost black. The trees are resilient to many North American stone fruit pests. While the plums are popular for making jams and jellies and a variety of other products — from wine and plum flavored gin to vinaigrettes, the seed pits of the plums are toxic due to their hydrocyanic acid content.

Fresh and dried, beach plums were used extensively by Native Americans and European colonists.

From the USDA:Beach plums have been shown to contain high levels of proanthocyanidins, chemical compounds which have anti-bacterial properties and have been proven valuable in maintaining urinary tract health and preventing urinary tract infections.

UsesSand dune habitat; commercial farming and wild foraging for fruit and jam; ornamental & hedges.  Glossy ibises have been seen nesting in them.

SPECS: Genus: Prunus ; Species: Marítima; Plant Type: Shrub, Wildflower; Life Cycle: Perennial; Sun Exposure: Full Sun; Soil Moisture: Mesic (middle), Medium Dry, Dry; Height: 4′ — 13′; Spread: 3′; Plant Spacing: 4′ — 7′; Bloom Time: May — June; Bloom Color: Blue, Green, Purple, White, Yellow; Advantages: Birds, Erosion control, Grassland restoration, Low maintenance, Pollinators, Privacy screen; USDA Zone: 3 — 8; Attracts: Beeflies, Beneficial insects, Bumblebees, Butterflies, Carpenter bees, Honey bees, Long-tongued bees, Potter wasps, Small black bees, Songbirds, Sweat bees; Tolerant: Deer, Drought, Dry soils, Erosion, Flooding, Salt; Plant Community: Plant next to American Beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata), Beach Pea (Lathyrus maritimus), Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), Bayberry (Morella pensylvanica), Evening Primrose (Oenothera perennis) & Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana).;