Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thorns and Snow

Well we finally got some snow here. The governor is calling it a state of emergency, however the only state of emergency my friends are experiencing is the football game being delayed. Back on topic, I tried taking some pictures with the snow.

Something neat about the Native Plum tree. I'd thought all year that it was growing a little odd, to many leaves right around the trunk and I assumed I'd have to trim off the compact branches... Now that the leaves have fallen off though I see them for what they are.
These thorns range from 2 to 6 inches long! I will be trimming them off when warmer weather hits but I might leave them for the spring. I'm envisioning the contrast of thorns and flowers, that might arrange in a neat way.

The other thing I'm really enjoying is how the grass pokes above the snow. Very pretty. There are also piles of junk in my yard that suddenly look magical with the snow covering.


  1. I have a lot of citrus trees, all grown from seeds, and they have enormous thorns. I don't think any are 6" but they are easily 3"--and these trees live in my house during the winter so I have to be careful when I reach behind one. I've always figured that, in the citrus trees' natural habitat, the thorns serve the purpose of fending off some kind of predator, but what? Squirrels? I doubt it. Skunks? Maybe. Groundhogs?

  2. I think it's more to discourage larger animals from supporting themselves as they reach up the plant. Short fruit trees (30' or less) typically have soft wood, and it's not unusual to find whole sections snapped off after storms. I could easily see how a bear or deer could do this.

    I think it's okay to prune the thorns off, but I'm not certain of this.

  3. I was curious what type of native plum tree this is? I think it is really quite neat. Let me know if you know. Thank you.

    1. I believe its the common Prunus americana. My description of the thorns might not be entirely accurate. The flowers form along them and bare fruit, and some even produce leaves. Despite this they're still very much pointed at the ends.

      All four trees produced fruit this past year, with some slight variation. Most were yellow to start before blushing into red, while one tree produced purple ones covered in white dust much like we find on blueberries.

      Fruits were bite sized with an okay amount of flesh compared to the seed inside. They were really sweet too and I recommend trying them, or at least growing one to pollinate other varieties.