CPC Plant Profile: Alleghany or Sloe Plum
Search / Plant Profile / Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii
Plant Profile

Alleghany or Sloe Plum (Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii)

Closeup of a branch of this species, complete with white flowers. Photo Credit: Brian Parsons
Description
  • Global Rank: T3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • State: MI
  • Nature Serve ID: 142672
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/08/1989

This variety is endemic to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It flowers rather early in April producing white flowers with stamen filaments that turn dark pink as the flower ages. Both birds and mammals feed on the small plum fruit and disperse the seeds in mid to late summer. The pink stamens and early flowering date make this variety easy to recognize in the field. Fire suppression has become a major problem for this variety, as it is extremely shade intolerant. In order to conserve this variety disturbance needs to be reintroduced into suitable habitats for this plum. This perennial has flowers with white petals. The stamen filaments turn dark pink over age. The fruit is 15mm in diameter when fresh. It is 10mm in diameter when hard with 5-8mm in diameter stones. Blooms in April. Can be described as a straggly, thorny shrub or small tree (under 3 meters tall). Has dead, thorny, black branches. This plant grows singly or in thick clusters (clones). The leaves are elliptic and 3-6 centimeters long. They are smooth, shiny, and finely toothed. This plant has excellent soil holding ability, and can control erosion and loose, Grayling sands. The seeds are dispersed in July and August by birds and mammals that eat the fruit. Grows to a full height of 3-4 feet tall.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/23/2020
  • Propagation Research

A U.S. Forest Service tree nursery in Huron National Forest in northern Michigan is attempting to cultivate this variety for reintroduction programs. (Higman and Penskar 1996)

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Population is relatively secure, but is endemic to Michigan where it is widely scattered in northern Lower Michigan and west-central Lower Michigan (Higman and Penskar 1996). The species (alone) is a disjunct in Michigan, with the remainder of its range in the central Appalachians. The varietal distinction, however, may be poorly justified (Voss 1972), although no studies have been conducted to date to recommend the proper taxonomic placement of Michigan populations of Alleghany plum.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction from fire suppression Road maintenance such as herbiciding and construction

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

There are forty occurrences in Michigan, the majority of which are located in the northern Lower Peninsula in Oscoda and Crawford counties. Approximately fifteen sites are located in the Manistee to Newaygo country region. Three sites have been documented in Lenawee Co. (Higman and Penskar 1996)

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

A U.S. Forest Service tree nursery in Huron National Forest in northern Michigan is attempting to cultivate this variety for reintroduction programs. (Higman and Penskar 1996)

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Management: Re-creation of suitable habitat using fire or mechanical means to remove overstory. Continued reintroduction of this variety into historically occupied sites. Research: Location of additional site in Michigan via systematic surveys in dry sand prairies and pine barrens Additional nursery propagation information is needed Determine important disturbance factors that maintain the open areas required by this plum (Higman and Penskar 1996) Taxonomic study to solidify status as a separate variety (NatureServe Explorer 2002)

Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Taxonomic study to solidify status as a separate variety (NatureServe Explorer 2002)

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii
Authority (W. Wight) Sarg.
Family Rosaceae
CPC Number 9049
ITIS 529867
USDA PRALD
Common Names Alleghany plum | Davis' plum | sloe plum
Associated Scientific Names Prunus alleghaniensis var. davisii | Prunus umbellata
Distribution Northern lower Michigan and west-central lower Michigan (Higman and Penskar 1996)
State Rank
State State Rank
Michigan SNR
Habitat

In west-central Lower Michigan it is found in old fields and remnant dry sand prairies. In the northern Lower Peninsula it is found in remnant openings in jack pine barrens. All habitat types have well-drained, acid Grayling sands. This species is also found along roadsides. (Higman and Penskar 1996)Associates include black cherry, chokecherry, fire cherry, sedges, shadbush, blueberries, sweetfern, prairie willow, sand cherry, wintergreen, Canada mayflower, and Hills thistle. In the Pine Barrens this list also includes pale agoseris and rough fescue. (Higman and Penskar 1996)

Ecological Relationships

This variety occurs in areas that were historically fire adapted. It has excellent soil holding ability which reduces erosion where it occurs. The seeds are dispersed in July and August by birds and mammals that eat the fruits. (Higman and Penskar 1996)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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