project update by
Beach plums are native to the US northeast coast from Virginia to Maine. They are most widely known and consumed in New Jersey and Massachusetts, especially in Cape May and Cape Cod, where they are both harvested wild and cultivated on a small scale. The fruit of beach plums are small and round, varying in size from penny to quarter, and varying in color from yellow-orange to red to blue to purple. The flavor — sour with a touch of sweetness and sometimes slight bitterness — is usually quite nice out of hand, but is greatly improved by cooking or brewing. It makes an utterly delicious jam or jelly, a fine wine, and a lovely vinegar too. As a wild plant native to highly exposed dune environments, beach plums are very easy to grow and take to garden cultivation quite well. In fact, due to their wild nature, they thrive with near complete neglect. In our area, they produce delicious fruit with no spray, no fertilizer, and no watering. Being a dune plant, they root themselves very deeply.
A beach plum can grow into a tree up to 10 or 12 feet tall, but typically becomes a shrubby-looking bush. Wild beach plums are noted for having off-years when none of the beach plums in an area produce any fruit. Sometimes this is due to very late frosts, but sometimes the reason is unclear. This beach plum improvement breeding project seeks to develop cultivars with more regular bearing, larger fruit, and more productivity.
Volunteers interested in this project are asked to cover the costs of processing and shipping seeds (wild harvested from Cape May, NJ) by purchasing the seeds from our seed store website (www.EFNSeeds.com). They will become available in January 2019. Seeds benefit from 60-90 days of cold moist stratification (in a bag in the fridge with some peatmoss or potting soil should do the trick).
I've decided to focus on BP this year. Started a thread on growingfruit.org searching for avaialble BP selections, and have managed to locate and obtain scionwood of at least 5 (with more on the way) superior selections. I have 10 myrobalan rootstocks in the ground ready (soon) for grafting, so hope to get a number of seelctions started by summer. I also have 4 mature seedlings grown from seed from various sources, including a BYFG fruit tasting, "Resigno" seed (a seed-propagated BP line originally selected from Cape May NJ wild BPs ~100 years ago), and wild picked plums from Cape Henlopen DE. Also 4 "Resigno" 2nd year seedlings, as well as 3 other 2nd year seedlings. Am starting to run out of room; will be culling some of the lower performing seedlings after this season or grafting to them.
What do others have going on? Any superior selections in your collections? -Pete
I planted my seeds in August after stratification in the fridge for about 75 days. Three of them have grown into strong seedlings. I will plant them in my flowerbed while it's still warm outside and see how they grow through November. So far so good.
It’s about 13 ft wide, super prolific every year.
I planted some peach plums from Waco’s 10 years ago, I have five or six vigorous ones, but one that is hands-down the most productive, beautiful, and delicious! Anyway that this individual could be well enjoyed in this project, and even Crossing with it or taking cuttings, let me know!
As far as I heard Oikos has a strain of Beach Plum which flowers within the 1st or 2nd after germination.
This might be helpful in further breeding.
I live in maine on 1.5 acres. I practice edible permaculture, and I just learned that prunus maritima is endangered in maine.
How do I get seeds.
I grow some seedling of P.maritima hybrids. All came from Oikos.
I am excited to see them grow.
Any advice to speed up the youth stage? I was told there possibilities to bring Prunus seedlings to flower within its 3 year. Would be good to speed it up a little bit.