Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia)

Tree
P. chicasa.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chickasaw Plum
Prunus angustifolia
Rosaceae

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168].

A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168].

This species is sometimes used in shelterbelt planting[227]. It has an extensive root system and often forms thickets, which make it useful for erosion control[229].

Wood – heavy, rather soft, not strong[82]. It weighs 43lb per cubic foot[227] and is of little commercial value[229].

  • Medicinal Use

    Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw, cooked or dried for later use[82, 149, 274]. Large and thin-skinned with a soft juicy sweet pulp, it has a dlicious flavour and is very good eaten out of hand, whilst it can also be used in pies, preserves etc[183, 274]. The fruit is up to 18mm in diameter[227].

    Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring.
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[11, 200]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. Although it should be hardy in all parts of Britain, it grows better in the warmer areas of the country[11]. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild[229], it has become rather rare in a truly wild state[227], though it is often cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America. There are some named varieties[82, 183]. The fruit is not freely produced in British gardens[11]. The flowers, which appear just before the leaves unfold, have a refreshing fruity scent[245]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. This species suckers freely in the wild, often forming thickets[82]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
South-eastern N. America – New York to Florida, west to Texas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.