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Princess Kay Plum

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Prunus nigra
FAMILY: Rosaceae

This tree in Colorado Recognized as a Plant Select tree in 2000, Princess Kay Plum is truly a ‘four season tree’ for Colorado landscapes up to 7000’ elevation. Grows well in a variety of soils but prefers good drainage and consistent moisture. This beautiful, small tree was originally discovered in the wilds of Itasca County Minnesota by Catherine (Kay) and Robert Nyland and introduced to the landscape industry by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Hardiness Zones 3 to 9.

Growth rate, form and size A moderate to fast growing tree reaching only 15’ to 20’ tall with a spread of 12’ to 15’: well suited to small spaces and for use under power lines. The densely branched crown is round to oval and provides a neat, aesthetic appearance all year round.

Foliage Typical of plums, the leaves are alternate ranging from 4” – 5” long, doubly serrate and starting medium to dark green. Occasionally produces a spectacular red fall color.

Fruit Due to the double flowers, fruit set is minimal and not a reason for planting this variety of Canada plum.

Bark Another very attractive characteristic: the bark is dark brown to nearly black with very prominent white lenticels. This contrast adds beauty and interest through the winter months.

Landscape value A beautifully shaped, small tree with many unique features, this tree is a wonderful choice for small yards and creates quite an impressive display when planted in groupings. The highly fragrant, double white flowers appear before the leaves and develop a light pink coloring as they mature. Even very young trees produce a profusion of 1” blooms lasting from 7 to 10 days in late April to early May. The beauty of the flowers will draw you in for a closer look and then the fragrance will capture your interest. Flowers best in full sun.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)
James Klett, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Plant Select Program
University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension Service

Photo credits
Colorado Springs Utilities
University of Minnesota Extension Services
University of Minnesota Experiment Station