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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prunus x 'Blireiana' - Blireiana Plum

The Blireiana plum is a hybrid between another purple-leaf plum ('Pissardii' and an ornamental Japanese apricot). All show and no go. There are lots of PLP's available and we can have a look at a few of them later. They will either have white flowers or pink, and purple foliage in the early spring, eventually the leaves turn a dirty green by summer, how dirty will help you identify one cultivar from another.

Habit wise, the blireiana plum is much shorter than the other purple-leaf plums, rarely have I seen one over 15 feet. They never develop into a nice looking tree, branches go every which way and there are usually lots of dead branches. Rumored to be rounded.

Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical to ovate shaped, 2- 4" long. Margins serrated. Reddish purple when young, lighter in summer. Most Prunus have some sort of gland at the base of the leaf.

Young stems reddish brown. The image shows the flower buds swelling.

This one shows the new red stems, not many, and a great bacterial gall produced by Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

The dark pink double flowers are the key to identifying this small tree. If you are in a colder climate it is also the one with the most dead wood, being significantly less hardy than most of the others. It will bloom at least 10 days earlier than the other PLP's. Others have mentioned that the only reason to plant this tree is to bring in branches early spring and have them open up. Around here I am not sure when that is, they are blooming in February, how early do you need flowers?

Fruit generally not produced as it is a double flower cultivar.

Bark reddish purple brown in color with some distinct round growths.

Misidentification: Other purple-leaf plums. Look for the double flowers, the odd growths on the main trunk, and lots of dead wood.

There are some really sad ones on Soquel Dr at Cabrillo Fitness, 6200 Soquel Dr.
some close to the beach in RDM flats on Aptos Beach Drive, near the corner of Marina Ave.

There are several in the Doctors office complex next to Dominican Hospital, boarding Dominican Way and Mission on the east side of Dominican Way.

Santa Cruz:
Seabright and Gault along Seabright.

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