Enter the Plums…

Posted: February 26th, 2010 under photography, Plantlife.
Tags: , ,

The earliest native plum is a thicketing bush plum that’s spread in what we laughingly call  the orchard.   First bloom opened yesterday;  this morning I found these, with many more to come.

Clearly the snow a few days ago didn’t bother these plums.  In one more day I expect these buds to be open:

We have three varieties (or species?) of thicketing plum on the place: this one, all the scions of the original,  another very short one that blooms last, and a taller, head-high one down near the creek that blooms second.

The other native plum is a small to medium-sized tree, the Mexican plum.  Its flowers are a little larger and I expect it to pop sometime in the next two weeks.

Plum opens after the first elbowbush but the blooming periods overlap.  The elbowbushes bloom individually for a short time, but since the blooming is staggered, it seems longer–and the same with the plums.  Each blossom lasts only a day or so, but they don’t all open at once–and even in this thicket some individual plants have finished while others are just starting.  Thus the insects that need an early pollen/nectar source have a better chance of surviving through cold spells (even snow) and rainy ones.


  • Comment by Abigail Miller — March 2, 2010 @ 5:46 pm


    You’ve got plums!!

    Mine are still little things the size of a pin-head — the nice colored plastic ball head type. They have swelled enough to make the thickets noticeably different in appearance than a few weeks ago, but they’re a long way from being flowers, sigh. Nothing native here blooming but elm trees; they make nice pollen for the bees, but visually they’re a washout. Guess I have to survive on henbit, bluet, and peppergrass sightings for a while longer.

    But! I’ve got daffodils! So spring has to be coming.

  • Comment by Matthew Sarver — March 3, 2010 @ 10:07 am


    Spring comes early to Texas. It’s still mighty cold up here in the Mid-Atlantic! Enjoying your blog. FYI, the various plum species are good early-season pollen sources for a variety of native bees!

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 3, 2010 @ 1:37 pm


    Plums are our second pollen source–elbowbush is the first (do you have elblowbush? Forestiera sp?) The earlier plums, the thicketing plums, have tiny flowers and attract only a few bees, but some of the wasp-mimic tiny flies. The plums with larger flowers (Mexican plum and the larger-flowered thicketing plums) attract honeybees, native bees, butterflies, and moths. But the elbowbush both opens and peaks earlier than plums, and the male flowers, heavy with orange pollen, stuff the baskets of honeybees. I try to photograph each species of flower through its season to see what insects are in there. (If you want to feel hopeless in this endeavor, try photographing a cactus flower in which several dozen insects are wallowing in pollen…)

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment