CPC Plant Profile: Graves' Beach Plum
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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

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).

Conservation Actions:
Participating Institutions
Taxon Prunus maritima var. gravesii
Authority (Small) G.J. Anderson
Family Rosaceae
CPC Number 3646
ITIS 529876
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

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

Ecological Relationships



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