Sand plum is a native shrub that grows in a thicket form in the prairie.
Sand plum is readily recognized by its thicket growth form; shiny, reddish brown zigzag twigs with stout thorns; white flowers that bloom before it produces leaves. They also grow big red juicy drupes that many people use for jam. The drupes are ripe in late June to July.
Sand plum is in the Rosaceae family and is also sometimes referred to as Chickasaw plum.
The dense thickets bind sand and are important in erosion control.
Sand plums provide cover for many important wildlife species including winter sparrows, Bell’s vireo, Northern bobwhite, greater prairie-chicken, ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, white-tailed deer and other mammals.
White-tailed and mule deer browse the twigs during the winter and spring. It’s value for wildlife is greater for cover than for food.
Plants serve as a larval host for several species of butterfly.
Native Americans used the roots to make washes for abrasions, mouthwashes for sores and cough medicines.