Monday, September 1, 2014

A Good Season for Beach Plums

Don't ask me why it was a good season on Cape Cod. I don't know, except that the weather was good during the month of May when the shrubs flowered. As a result there was a good fruit set. This year there was lower than average rainfall again. Ripening began in the second week of August. OK. Now I've provided an adequate summary for those who follow the annual fruit production of these native plants and have started making beach plum jelly or jam.

But for those of you who have not yet been bitten by the beach plum bug, I offer the following tidbits:

Beach plum
its scientific name is Prunus maritima
is a stone fruit like peach and cherry
fruit is small, about 3/4 inch in diameter
range from coastal Delaware to Maine
can grow as a low bush, tall shrub or a tree form
has a long life span, greater than 50 years
grows on lee-side of sand dunes as well as inland
has showy white flowers, in May
mature fruits can be purple, red or yellow, on different plants

AVOID CONFUSION - too often the introduced, asian rugosa rose is confused with the native beach plum. Compare the flowers and fruits of these two species which can be found growing together. Big differences! But beware: in some locales people call rugosa rose-- beach plum.

Beach Plum flowers
Rugosa rose flower

Beach Plum ripe fruit

Rugosa rose fruit ( a hip)

No comments:

Post a Comment