CPC Plant Profile: Allegheny Plum
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Plant Profile

Allegheny Plum (Prunus alleghaniensis)

The white flowers of this species are 1-1.5 cm in diameter. Photo Credit: Tom Ward
Description
  • Global Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • State: VA, WV, CT, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, PA, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 138719
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

Prunus alleghaniensis is a rare small tree that can grow as a shrub and sometimes form extensive thickets. Its height is up to 4-5 m; young shoots are pubescent, becoming lustrous red during the first winter, then darkening to nearly black. It may grow either unarmed or armed with spinescent lateral branchlets. Leaves are rather thick and firm, dark green above and paler below, finely and sharply serrate with glandular teeth, furnished with two large, rather conspicuous glands at base; young leaves pubescent, mature ones puberulous on upper surface. Their lower surface either glabrous (with few hairs in axils of veins) or rufescent, especially along midrib and veins. There are a number of recognized varieties of this species, one of which is also in the National Collection under the Holden Arboretum (Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii).

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/08/2020
  • Tissue Culture

The Arnold Arboretum found that: Propagation proved difficult. Seed germination trials have never been performed at the Arnold Arboretum because of a lack of fresh viable seed. Propagation from softwood cuttings: May-Jul in 50/50 sand-perlite, under fog or mist, with 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA treatment (root in very small percentages, poor rooting, don't survive). Grafts onto P. americana, P. avium, P. mahaleb (side veneer or whip-and-tongue) take, but grow weak, with a tendency for the understock to overwhelm the scion.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Propagation Research

The Arnold Arboretum found that: Propagation proved difficult. Seed germination trials have never been performed at the Arnold Arboretum because of a lack of fresh viable seed. Propagation from softwood cuttings: May-Jul in 50/50 sand-perlite, under fog or mist, with 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA treatment (root in very small percentages, poor rooting, don't survive). Grafts onto P. americana, P. avium, P. mahaleb (side veneer or whip-and-tongue) take, but grow weak, with a tendency for the understock to overwhelm the scion.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

At present, population seems to be secure. However, it is not abundant (except in a few local areas) and has a fairly narrow range in two portions (mid-Appalachians and north-central Michigan).

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Primary threats and causes of decline (info. for Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii) is through habitat succession due to fire suppression. (Higman 1996)

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Unknown

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

The Arnold Arboretum found that: Propagation proved difficult. Seed germination trials have never been performed at the Arnold Arboretum because of a lack of fresh viable seed. Propagation from softwood cuttings: May-Jul in 50/50 sand-perlite, under fog or mist, with 2,500-5,000 ppm K-IBA treatment (root in very small percentages, poor rooting, don't survive). Grafts onto P. americana, P. avium, P. mahaleb (side veneer or whip-and-tongue) take, but grow weak, with a tendency for the understock to overwhelm the scion.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

None known

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Conduct surveys to locate any additional occurrences of the species. Research into nursery propagation of the species and reintroduction into historical sites should be continued. Research regarding disturbance factors that maintain the necessary open conditions should be undertaken.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Prunus alleghaniensis
Authority Porter
Family Rosaceae
CPC Number 3642
ITIS 24766
USDA PRAL5
Common Names Alleghany plum | Allegheny plum | Allegheny sloe
Associated Scientific Names Prunus alleghaniensis | Prunus umbellata
Distribution Connecticut--only four stations known:1. Lisbon (eastern CT)2. Bostford (western CT)3. Bridgeport (western CT)4. Lyme (western CT) Pennsylvania1. Tusseys Mountain (Huntington Co.)2. All
State Rank
State State Rank
Connecticut SH
Massachusetts SNA
Maryland S2
Michigan S3
North Carolina S1?
New Jersey SNR
New York SR
Pennsylvania S2S3
Tennessee SNR
Virginia S3
West Virginia S3
Habitat

Shrublands and borders of woods; dry ridges and slopes.Forming extensive thickets on moist soil.

Ecological Relationships

Higman (1996) and Taylor (1990) discuss the Michigan-endemic Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii as being highly shade-intolerant, preferring sites with morning sun and afternoon shade (east-facing slopes). This variety is dependent upon natural fires to maintain the open habitat that it requires. The var. davisii is also reported to flower early (April) and the seeds are contained in fleshy fruits that are dispersed by birds and mammals during July and August.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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