Graves' Beach Plum / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Graves' Beach Plum (Prunus maritima var. gravesii)

  • Global Rank: TH - Possibly Extinct
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • State: CT
  • Nature Serve ID: 132087
  • Lifeform: Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Originally found by Small in 1897, this variety no longer exists in the wild. It differs from the common beach plum (P. maritima) in that it has round instead of elliptical leaves. It turns out that this plant is a mutant derivative that depends on P. gravesii for pollen. Some consider it morphologically distinct from Prunus maritima, worthy of recognization as a variety (var. gravesii) (Kartesz 1999). Others question its taxonomic significance (NatureServe 2001). However, it does not breed true despite being self-fertile. The only plants of this variety that still exist were grown from cuttings taken the original plant. (Anderson 1980) The New York Botanic Garden has successfully cultivated cuttings and the variety is currently grown as an ornamental plant. It produces white single or double flowers in May and edible fruit in late summer that is purple to crimson in color. Only one individual has ever been found in the wild and lived over 100 years after its initial discovery, eventually dying from natural causes at the turn of the century (NatureServe 2001).

Where is Graves' Beach Plum (Prunus maritima var. gravesii) located in the wild?


A gravelly sand ridge overlooking Long Island Sound in Groton, CT.


Only known from a single individual (with 15 stems) at a small site in Groton, CT that was extant in 1998 but is now extinct. (NatureServe 2001)

States & Provinces:

Graves' Beach Plum can be found in Connecticut

Which CPC Partners conserve Graves' Beach Plum (Prunus maritima var. gravesii)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Only known from one recently extant (1998) but now dead (2000) population with about 15 closely spaced stems, perhaps a single clone, known from this site since the 1890's. Very low reproduction rate. Question as to whether it is a distinct species, a variety of Prunus maritima, or a minor variant unworthy of taxonomic recognition. Never noted elsewhere, even nearby, in this botanically quite well known region of the northeastern United States. In any case, now (2000) considered extirpated from the wild, but still extant in cultivation (as of 2002) in Connecticut and perhaps elsewhere. While this single clone apparently died basically ""of old age"", invasive native and exotic plants dominated the area and competed strongly with the beach-plum shrub.

  • 01/01/2010

Extinct in the wild. (NatureServe 2001)

  • 01/01/2010

Continue to maintain the ex situ plants and evaluate whether or not they should truly be considered a variety of Prunus maritima.

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Taxon Prunus maritima var. gravesii
Authority (Small) G.J. Anderson
Family Rosaceae
CPC Number 3646
ITIS 529876
Duration Perennial
Common Names Grave's beach plum | Graves' plum
Associated Scientific Names Prunus maritima var. gravesii | Prunus gravesii | Prunus maritima
Distribution Only known from a single individual (with 15 stems) at a small site in Groton, CT that was extant in 1998 but is now extinct. (NatureServe 2001)
State Rank
State State Rank
Connecticut SX
Ecological Relationships


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