February Means Plum Blossoms in SF

Purple leaf plum, 59 Woodland Avenue

Purple leaf plum, 59 Woodland Avenue

Plum trees (*not* cherries - they come next month!) have been blooming all over the city this past week.   My neighborhood of Parnassus Heights is famous for its plum trees - here are a couple photos from my block of the two most common varieties of plum in San Francisco.   The most common is the purple leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera), and of the many varieties of this species '‘Krauter Vesuvius’ is the one you see most in the City..   Back in the 1990s this was actually the most commonly planted tree in San Francisco, according to Friends of the Urban Forest records.   It's less common now (in part because I think the planting managers at FUF rightly think it's over-planted), but still popular, and after years of popularity, there are hundreds (thousands?) of them around the city.   The tree is gorgeous for 10 days in February, and I'm afraid that period is now just about over.   

Prunus X blireiana, 54 Woodland Avenue

Prunus X blireiana, 54 Woodland Avenue

The second, and less common, type of plum is Prunus x blireana, or Blireana plum.   The tree has double flowers that look a bit like carnations, with deeper pink than its more common relative, and the blooms last longer.   This tree is a hybrid of Prunus cerasifera 'Atropurpurea' and a double form of Prunus mume.    It was developed in France and introduced in 1906.