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Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Posted by jmsimpson9 CA 8/9 (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 4, 10 at 18:23

Hello all,

I need some help with this plum. I live in southern CA in a canyon and down by the creek there is several of these... plums? They are old trees, perhaps only 15' tall and the most striking feature is the stems of the fruit and the stems of the leaves are red. Fruit is small, bright red and unripe they are astringent as all get out, ripe they are super sweet. The neighbor who has the property says there used to be a yellow form which died awhile back. Tree does not have thorns. Does anyone know what this it? I am thinking of starting some of them. I am told they make excellent jam and wine.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

The fruit definitely looks like plum. The wild american plum tends to sucker quite a bit, so if there is a thicket of these trees, it could be that. good luck


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I looked at American Plum but the stems on that are green, the tree is thorny and it suckers.

This tree has no suckers, no thorns and the stems of fruit and leaves are red.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

There are several wild plum types, American wild plum is just one type. Is there a local county extension office you could take them to to see what they think? I'm intrigued by these. They look kind of like Prunus subcordata, but those are indigenous to northern California.
It is definitely prunus of some species.

Maybe an introduced Prunus cerasifera?

If you succeed in identifying and propagating these I'd like to know. I'd possibly be interested in doing some propagation with these myself.

good luck


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I understand there are literally thousands of variations on the prunus americanus theme. They must be like the multitude of crosses between different house finch subspecies or the Oregon juncos. The nice thing is that if they are that adaptable then they are also malleable. But good luck keeping track of them all!

:-)M


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

LOL. I had much the same thoughts. It could be a cross, could be a species that mutated. I am going to email UC Davis and see if they have any idea.

This morning I was down there picking the ripe plums and I think I ate more than I put in my bucket!

I decided to propagate them since, whatever they are, they are unusual. I found two suckers that look like they may be possible to remove and I am going to attempt to put some grafts onto one of my existing trees along with starting some seeds.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

For that matter, someone could have been eating plums down there years ago and tossed the pits. But if it is a good eating plum and it's hardy, it could also be a great wild find that could be (re?)introduced to cultivation. Too bad the yellow ones are gone now.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I have had all the thoughts you have as to how they got there. With all the looking on the internet I have done, looking at species, looking at heirloom plum trees, even looking at modern trees (I have 7 varieties of plums grafted onto 2 trees) those red stems have me stumped.

I am hoping to get some time to hike down into the creek and take a walk around looking for more of the trees. Maybe next weekend.

The houses in that area were built about 1910 and I have been searching for heirloom plums trying to figure out where those red stems came from. So far no luck. I sent an email to the Davis "fruit and Nut Experts". Hopefully they have some thoughts on it.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Let us know the results of UC Davis opinions. It would be very cool if this is a NEW unknown variety! I'd definitely propagate if I were you! I'm glad you are going to graft some suckers on to your trees.

Why I care is beyond me! We can't grow plums here in this So CA climate, but I'm happy YOU can!

Keep us posted! This sounds like an exciting adventure! Where exactly are you? Which canyon? I'm tempted to drive over there, hike up that stream, and steal a taste!! LOL!!

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

The red stems and the shape and texture of the leaves remind me very much of a Mayhaw... Whatever it is, you have found something wonderful there. A darn good tasting fruit that doesn't need spraying.

Best of luck! Hopefully some of us will be able to get a few scions of our own in the future from your plum tree :) Maybe you should think of selling these if Davis can't identify it...


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

tyler! I have tasted that jelly, and it is the BEST!! My ex had an uncle in LA, and they served that jelly. Wow! They called it Mhyyyh Haaw Jelly! LOL!! I made them spell it, so I could remember!

I'd love one or two of those trees. Makes sense that they are growing by the streams because they grow native in swamps in GA. It has been discovered that they will grow on dry land. They just need to be watered. Tyty nursery has it. I'm seriously considering... It grows in zone 9, but I'm 9b, so I might have to put it in a damp partially shady spot.

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 7, 10 at 12:52

I like your idea of planting some seeds to see if they come true to the parents. Also, do you think there are pollinator trees nearby? That could greatly influence fruit set and seed viability -- not to mention the end result that you are looking at. Interesting hort project. :)


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I heard back from Davis, kinda, the person that got my email sent it on to their plum expert there and onto the local extension office near me. So I am waiting to hear from them. At the worst I hope they can tell me what variety contributed to the red stems.

I was told there was a huge eucalyptus that fell across the creek and it flattned one of these trees. I want to poke around it and see if the smashed tree survived and is suckering. I found the fallen tree but didnt wade across the creek to look in the tangle of branches (Frankly, I need a walking stick before I do that, the snakes are out in abundance this year).

Alot of the fruit from the one tree is now ripe and very very sweet! The flesh inside of the ones I ate yesterday was brillant red! The ripe ones are a vast improvement over semi ripe :X

Suzi, why cant you grow plums? I am in Southern Ca and I have 2 trees with multiple varieties on them.

As for sharing these, absolutely. It may be some months before they are ready but if it helps preserve them I am all for it. Who knows? Maybe its a long lost heirloom?

As for a pollinator, unless I find another tree down there I am going to assume its self pollinating as that tree is loaded with fruit. Right now there are none that are within eye sight range and its pretty distintive with the bright red fruit.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I'm not so sure it is a plum. I think it is a Mayhaw. This is a GOOD thing, if it is.

Could you save me some seeds? I'll be happy to drive over and pick them up! Suzi!

Mayhaw's are hard to find outside of the deep south, but they will grow in the desert if given enough water. I spent the morning trying to get a tree online, but they don't ship to California. I wish I knew how to get one! Ever since I tasted that jelly, years ago, I never forgot it!

As far as plums, I'm not sure we have enough chill hours to allow them to live. Here it rarely drops below 40 degrees, and we are all in shock if that happens! The snowbirds from Canada are in shorts, and we look like Eskimos, all bundled up!!

Google Mayhaw trees or berries. I bet that's what you have!! They look just like em!

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Suzi,

I grow mayhaws, and I can guarantee that these are not mayhaws. I would never describe a mayhaw fruit as being sweet, it is something you would never eat fresh out of hand, but it does make some awesome jelly, and mayhaw fruit would never be that large. I currently have 5 different mayhaw cultivars that are producing fruit, along with 12 smaller ones that I grafted late this winter. If you are interested in growing mayhaws, there are a couple of things you can do: Contact one of the mail-order retail nurseries down here in the south and purchase a couple of named varieties and have them shipped to you, (Just Fruits and Exotics would be a good place to start looking); (avoid TyTy nurseries and any of it's incarnations like you would avoid the plague), or contact one of the forestry nurseries down here in the south and purchase bare root seedlings, (the usual minimum order is 25 or so), then graft some named varieties onto these seedlings after they have established.

Back to the original post: These are definitely a plum of some kind. I am very interested in obtaining grafting material from these trees, (after I get suitable rootstock) and can trade mayhaw bud wood for it.

Good luck....


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I dont think its a Mayhaw. The stems on all the mayhaw pictures I have seen are green and the leaves are more narrow. Plus the fruit doesnt have that blossom end scar like the mayhaws I saw on google.

What is the texture inside a Mayhaw? This is without a doubt just like a plum with a cling seed inside. Is a mayhaw like an apple?

Seems the native mayhaws have thorns while the newer grafted ones do not.

Not that I would be unhappy if thats what it is. I would like to get it a genus at least!


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

OK You win!! But, I'm pulling out the stops to get a Mayhaw!! OMG!! That is the best!! So you don't think it's a Mayhaw. I'm still willing to drive over for a seed or nine!

I could trade, but what I have is known!! Really good figs, wine grapes, pomegranates....... All pedigreed!

Yours is not. Yours is a mystery!! And the mystery is worth bank!! :-)

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

We just had an earthquake. brb. Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

JM,

A mayhaw is similar to an apple inside, it is a pome fruit like apples and pears. The flesh can range from creamy white to pale yellow, to yellow to pink to red. There are usually 5 seeds that are semi-fused together to form a nutlet, but this nutlet can be broken up into the individual seeds. I hadn't heard of any thornless mayhaws, but that doesn't mean they don't exist, all the one I have, have some wicked thorns on them.

good luck with the propagation.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I lived through the earthquake. Therefore, I'd like any form of Mayhaw I can get. I might not live through the next one, so, belly up!! Get suzi a Mayhaw. She will work with you!

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

This afternoon I collected and cleaned a bunch of seeds from fruit that was over ripe and had fallen. Give me a week or so and I will send out seed to anyone that wants to try and start some for an SASE.

Come winter when the tree is dormant I will get cuttings for grafting. My thought is to start some of the seeds, let them grow for a year and the following year I will graft the original tree onto some of seedlings.

This winter I will graft some pieces onto my existing trees as "just in case" insurance.

I am real curious if the seeds will come true or not or even be viable. Anyone that is interested in seeds or some scions, pop me an email and I will start a list and let you know what postage will run for the seeds.

I have never started plums from seed before but I read they need to be cold stratified for a few months before sowing.

On the earthquake stuff, I work in Riverside, we really felt it strong. Had me thinking if it got much stronger I was going to head under my desk.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Sign me up for those seeds!

And, earlier, I didn't mean to say that it was a Mayhaw, the red stems just reminded me of that. And... I'm very sorry, I meant to say that the leaves look like olive leaves. Its just an odd, but lovely, combination for a plum tree.

And... why not try rooting a few cuttings this winter? Apparently that tree does *very* well for itself on its own roots (if it is, in fact, a wild variety). I've talked with people who have rooted plum cuttings very easily, but I have no personal experience (mine have been attempting to root for two weeks so far in humidity chambers... Nothing yet.)


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I have a purple-leaf ornamental plum which is similar except the leaves are all purple/red, not just the stems, and the fruits are more oval. If you crossed my purple leaf plum with an American plum you might get something like the above. It could also be some kind of ornamental plum, the older ornamental varieties produced fruits, only more recently did they breed ornamental plums which produced few or no fruits. The purple in the stems means it may have pink blossoms which is one of the main things bred into ornamental plums.

Scott


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I sent an email, too. It'll be interesting to see how they do in the hot and humid South... plus our colder winters.

Are they in a partially shaded location, or full sun?

A hardy, self-pollinating and tasty plum? It sounds too good to be true.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I sent you an email too! This is very exciting! I'm going to send emails to you southies too! I really would like some Mayhaw seeds. I tried some online nurseries, but they are not shipping now, and also I tried the forestry for seedlings, but they don't ship to California!
Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Scott, you may be onto something. Most of the ornamental plums I have seen, the leaves are not as wide as this one but a cross seems quite possible.

The tree is in the creek in a partially shaded spot. The leaves that are in the most sun seem to have a bronzing to them. As for the flower color, I have no idea at this point. Come spring that might be one more piece of the puzzle.

Is it hardy? Well in a CA creek bed it seems to be! Self pollinating I "think" so. I keep looking for the other trees I was told were down there and I am not finding them :( There are a few that "might" have been plum trees but the trees are dead. As many fruits that are on that tree I would think a cross pollinator would need to be real close.

Scott, will an oriental plum and an american plum cross? I know there are problems grafting one type onto the other (but works the opposite way) but a direct cross for seeds?

I pulled out my propagation book last night and it says Prunus can be started via cuttings on nearly all starges of wood (half ripe, ect). As soon as the tree is done fruiting I will start some cuttings and see how that goes.

We will see. Its cute, its attractive, its tasty and although the fruit are small, I think it should be preserved. I spoke with the owner last night and he told me that he had another tree that was closer to his yard that died. He thinks the tree I am fascianated with is a seedling of this other one and he confirmed that both trees looked exactly the same with the same type fruit I am hopeful.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

If it's in part shade there it should probably go in part shade here, too. Good, I have lots of that.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

How cold does it get down in that canyon? I might containerize my little seedling, and take it to my son's in Temecula where they get colder winters for the winter months, then bring it back here in the spring and summer. IF I can get those seeds to grow!! So refrigerate them, you think for a few months?

I started a lot of cuttings from UC Davis this spring, and I'd love to try a cutting or two of this mystery plum.

I sure hope UC Davis gets back to you with info! I'm secretly hoping they can't ID it, so it's one of a kind!
Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Whatever your book says, starting plums from cuttings is hard. But you can always try. I would cut off all leaves but one and use a greenwood cutting (a recent shoot).

Most plums cross with each other; only the Europeans don't; they are hexaploids I think and most others are diploids.

Scott


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

Have you heard back from UC Davis? I sent you my SASE, and I'm thrilled that you are sending seeds.

So, are the instructions that I need to chill them for a few months prior to planting? I shall do whatever you say!

I feel like one of the luckiest ladies on this earth, and I promise I will do my best to make those seedlings grow!! This is truly a WOW moment!!

Thank you!!

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I got my seeds yesterday! Whee! I am keeping them in the freezer for a while, then to the fridge, and then, I'll plant them. I'll do it 2 ways. Part in the dirt outside, and part in peat and perlite in the house in a mini greenhouse.

Looking forward to this adventure!

Suzi


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I got mine today. There are enough seeds that hopefully I will manage to grow at least one good tree. :)

Due to critter issues, I think I will start mine in pots.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

I'm in Texas and I would love to try to grow this. Please let me know what I need to do to have a few seeds? thank you.


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RE: Need help identifying this plum.. Wild?

This is a Pacific or Western plum (Prunus subcordata, Bentham) and it is a native species found growing wild in a relatively limited region east of the Coast Range from southern Oregon to central California. It occurs in greatest abundance in Lake and Klamath counties in Oregon and Modoc and Sierra counties in California. While the greatest concentration of the native thickets in California seems to be in the general vicinity of Mount Shasta, the plum is found in more or less abundance east and south of the Nevada line, especially in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. It has been reported as far south as Yosemite Valley.
The plum usually forms thickets of small to large shrubby trees along streams in canyons, on hillsides, or in the open area of pine forest. In other cases the thickets are found on ridges which are thought to be the shore lines of prehistoric lakes. There is a general similarity in the sites on which the plum thrives and spread throughout the region, so much so that one can almost predict the location of the thickets.
The largest trees are found in these thickets growing on the deeper, sandy-loam soils in the canyons where water is ample, and the richer bottomlands adjoining the old lake beds. The hardiness of the species and its ability to adapt itself to adverse conditions is typified by the scrubby little thickets found growing out of rock slides at high elevations. An occasional thicket is found, however, where drought or exposure has all but killed out the stand.
The region in which the plum is native has an elevation of 1,000 to 5,000 feet, although it has been observed growing in favorable locations in the mountains of the region at elevations as high as 6,000 feet. At these higher elevations the plums are less apt to bear crops and are late in ripening.


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