Prunus maritima

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Prunus maritima, Marsh. (P. pygmaea and P. sphaerica, Willd. P. sphaerocarpa, and P. acuminata, Michx.P. pubescens, Pursh. P. littoralis, Bigel. P. pubigera, Steud.). Beach Plum. Shore Plum. Fig. 3226. Decumbent straggling more or less thorny bush with rough and warty branches and slightly pubescent young growth: lvs. oval or obovate-oval, short-acute or nearly obtuse, closely serrate, dull green, often somewhat pubescent beneath: fls. small, white, slender- stalked, borne in few-fld. umbels preceding the lvs. : fr. about 1/2. diam., depressed-globular (somewhat flattened at the ends), with a slight cavity about the st., mostly deep dull purple when ripe and covered with a heavy bloom, the flesh brittle and mostly sweet and juicy and free from the small turgid cherry-like stone (which is pointed at both ends), the skin thick, tough, and more or less acrid. Sands of the seashore, New Bruns, to Va., and also some miles inland; its reported occurrence at the head of Lake Michigan has not been verified. B.M. 8289. Gng. 4:257 (bush in bloom).— The main sts. are decumbent, and strong shoots stand upright to a height of 2-6 ft., or sometimes even 10-12 ft. P. maritima is a handsome plant in cult, because of the great profusion of its early spring bloom, and the frs.. when produced, are also ornamental. As a fr.- plant, it is known in the variety Bassett American, which, however, has never become popular because of its small size. The species is very variable, and no doubt several botanical varieties could be distinguished. Yellow-fruited forms are known (forma flava, G. S. Torr.). A species related to P. maritima, but not in the trade, is P. Gravesii, Small, with orbicular very obtuse and often apiculate lvs. and stone pointed only at base. Known only from the original locality at Groton, Conn., near Long Island Sound, an unarmed bush about 3 ft. high, with a dark rather rough bark and usually puberulent twigs. CH

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