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Broadleaved Trees of Yosemite National Park (1947) by C. Frank Brockman


KLAMATH PLUM

Prunus subcordata Benth. — Rose Family (Rosaceae)

Although generally a stocky, crooked-stemmed shrub two to ten feet tall when growing in poorer soils, this species sometimes attains tree stature in locations suited to better development. In such cases it reaches a height of from 15 to 20 feet and attains a diameter of from four to six inches. It does best in sandy, fertile soils along stream borders and similar moist situations. In the Yosemite region it may be noted along the road in the Wawona area, about Big Meadows, and in the Hetch Hetchy section.

It is characterized by a short, thick trunk having ashy-brown, seamed bark. The limbs are heavy, extend at right angles from the trunk, and possess numerous short, stubby twigs. Twigs of the season are red to purple-red in color and are generally smooth. In the spring the tree bears white flowers about one-half inch in diameter, which appear just before or at about the same time as the leaves, in loose clusters of two to four. The leaves, when mature, are one to three inches long, almost circular in outline, and with numerous small teeth along the margin. The fruit is tart but edible, a deep purple-red in color, and about three-quarters of an inch to one inch long. Enclosed within the flesh of the fruit is a distinctive flat seed with a thin, keel-like edge along one side and a groove along the other.



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