|When given a choice, I use native species in plantings that will receive less care. This is a mixed planting of plums. American plum on the left and a slender Canadian plum on the right.|
There are two wild plum species in Michigan.
Botanists will argue otherwise. They classify a large number of native, Michigan species with cherry-sized (and smaller) fruits as plums. But you have to recall that botanists also consider the pumpkin to be a berry.
The two species are American plum, also known as Prunus americana and the Canadian Plum, aka Prunus nigra.
I have always considered the two species to be so closely related that differentiating between them was a non-valued added task. I taste the wild fruit and I either spit it out or mark the tree for collecting scionwood at a later date.
The botanical differences are tiny. The Canadian plums have more gland-like growths on the leaf stem than the American plum. The Canadian plum is more likely to stay in tree-form than to create a thicket which makes the Canadian plum a better rootstock.
|A locally collected P. nigra in the foreground and framing the P. americana "South Dakota" cultivar in background.|
I collected scion from several plums that were the elusive "not spitters" in northwestern Eaton County a few years ago. This is the first year these grafts blossomed in abundance. With any luck, I will have a crop of plums from these trees.