Prunus maritima
beach plum

Prunus maritima
Prunus maritima
Photo Courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Prunus maritima
Common name: beach plum
Group: dicot
Family: Rosaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: to 6'
Foliage: alternate leaves; simple, deciduous, 2-3" long, serrated margin
Flower: white, 5 petals, 1/2" across
Flowering time: late April, May; fruits in September, dull purple, edible drupe 
Habitat: Sandy ground of dunes, beaches, tidewater streamsides
Range in New Jersey: throughout the coast strip of the Coastal Plain and up tidal streams into the Pine Barrens, north to Middlesex and Somerset counties; old record from Camden County
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. Somewhat salt tolerant. Fruits sometimes used to make beach plum jam, or in pies, or eaten fresh. The seeds and leaves should not be eaten as they may contain hydrogen cyanide.
The leaves render a green dye, and the fruit yields a dark gray to green dye. With alum mordant, it will yield a yellow dye.