Keystone Value: The genus Prunus (Cherry/Plum) supports over 450 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars, providing food for a variety of birds and mammals.
Beach Plum (Prunus maritima) is a rounded suckering shrub that forms dense thickets and can grow 3-8′ tall. It grows naturally on dunes in sandy soil near the coast. Small white flowers bloom in clusters from April to June, and the ripened fruit ranges in color from dull purple to bright crimson. Birds and other wildlife eat the fruit while the springtime blooms attract native pollinators. Beach Plum is a larval host to the Red-Spotted Purple (pictured above).
Note: the seeds and wilted foliage of Beach Plum can be toxic to both livestock and humans.