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What Pollinates a Bruce Plum Tree?

By Victoria Lee Blackstone ; Updated July 21, 2017

In the botanical world of the birds and bees, some plum trees (Prunus spp.) need only a pollinator to help them set fruit, while other plum trees need both a pollinator and a pollenizer. 'Bruce' plum trees (Prunus salicina 'Bruce') need both to successfully bear fruit.

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are distinctly different:

  • Pollinators are agents that transfer pollen grains from male flowers to female flowers, such as birds and insects.
  • Pollenizers are plants that lend their pollen to other plants for cross-fertilization.

'Bruce' Pollinators

The 'Bruce' plum tree, which grows in USDA zones 5 through 9, relies primarily on honeybees as pollinators, although other agents, including the wind may also pollinate its flowers.

'Bruce' Pollenizers

  • The 'Methley' plum tree (Prunus salicina 'Methley,' USDA zones 4 through 9) is the primary pollenizer for 'Bruce' plum trees. 
  • Sand plum, also called Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia, USDA zones 5 through 9) is also a suitable pollenizer for 'Bruce' plum.

About the Author


Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.