The flowering plum tree category includes several different species, varieties and hybrids with white flowers. They come from various countries and backgrounds. The garden plum tree (Prunus domestica) is native to Europe and Asia from where it arrived in North America. The American plum (Prunus Americana) is a North American native, and so is the Prunus nigra, or Canada plum. The white flowering plum tree is predominantly an ornamental, but in some cases it also produces fresh fruit.
The flowering plum, the flowering cherry and the flowering almond could also be called the Three Musketeers. More correctly, though, they all come under the Prunus banner, whose flowers usually bloom in January or February. Prunus cerasifera 'Newport,' or Newport flowering plum, produces pink to almost white flowers. Prunus x 'Snow Fountains' is a white weeping cherry tree that blooms in April. The flowering almond, or Alba plena (Prunus glandulosa), exhibits double white flowers.
Most flowering plum trees have attractive purple foliage, and are pleasing additions to the landscape. However, they have a lifespan of only about 20 years. Among the most popular flowering plum trees are Thundercloud cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera); the showy and decorative Mt. St. Helens cherry plum, with light pink bowl-shaped flowers; Blireiana plum (Prunus blireiana, a hybrid between P. cerasifera Atropurpurea and P. mume) with double, light pink blooms; and Newport.
Migrating Cherry Plum
The Japanese cherry plum tree, or Myobalan plum tree (Prunus cerasifera), is an example of the worldwide migration of flowering plants and flowers. It is native to Japan, but now also grows internationally, usually exhibiting white blooms at the same time as pointed, oval leaves, around March. In the summer, the cherry plum produces red fruit.
The flowering plum tree is more than just a tree with beautiful flowers. Dried plums picked from the tree are very popular in China, and exported worldwide. Pickled plums are an Asian delicacy. Japanese rice balls include plum fillings. Plum brandy is a popular product in Eastern Europe, where manufacturers make it from distilled plum wine.
Not all white flowering plum trees are several feet tall. The natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) takes the form of a flowering bonsai tree. It is a semi-tropical evergreen of about 8 inches high, with star-shaped white flowers and even dark red fruit.
The white flowering plum tree caught the eye of the celebrated painter, Vincent Van Gogh, who immortalized it in an oil painting titled Japonaiserie Flowering Plum Tree, in 1887.