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PLUM

Prunus spp.

Prunus spp. of the family Roasaceae, the rose family

There are an estimated 400 member of the genus Prunus and none of them produce trees of a size substantial enough to warrant commercial lumber production, but the wood is tight-grained and colorful so is used by craftsmen for ornamental objects, particularly turnings, and you can frequently find turning-sized chunks from speciality vendors.

There are at least 280 species from about 100 different genera that have plum as all or part of one or more of their common names, but it is my intent that the woods on this page be in the genus Prunus.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting ("soft white" at 2700K)
colors will vary under other lighting conditions


both sides of a sample plank of American plum / Prunus americana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The darker area on the 2nd side is because it dips below the level of the rest and the rest was sanded so the unsanded area still has a patina.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of American plum / Prunus americana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of American plum / Prunus americana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


first face and the end grain of a sample of plum / Prunus spp. This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION B. This is most likely Prunus americana.


the second face, before and after slicing off 1/8" showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


both sides of a sample plank of Canadian plum / Prunus nigra --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Canadian plum / Prunus nigra --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a klamath plum sample plank


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above --- color is correct but remember, it was taken in a very bright "warm" light. I notice that there are no pores visible in this at all at just 12X. That makes me dubious that this is actually a Prunus species, but the face grain sure does look like a fruitwood.


both sides of a sample plank of flatwoods plum / Prunus umbellata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of flatwoods plum / Prunus umbellata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of thorny plum / Prunus spinosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor's label of Prunier epineux is French for thorny plum.

NOTE: based on the end grain update below, it is clear that this wood is semi ring porous and does not look like other plum species, so I am doubtful that it is actually a Prunus species at all


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above (done, by mistake, on the other end)


both sides of a sample plank of thorny plum / Prunus spinosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor's label of Prunier epineux is French for thorny plum.

NOTE: based on the end grain update below, it is clear that this wood is semi ring porous and does not look like other plum species, so I am doubtful that it is actually a Prunus species at all


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above (done, by mistake, on the other end)


both sides of a sample plank of purple leaf plum / Prunus cerasifera --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both faces of a slab of purple leaf plum / prunus cerasifera --- HUGE enlargements are present for these pics and the ones below. There is another set of shots of this piece down below taken a couple of years after this set was taken and the wood had dried out. You'll see that the nice pink / purple areas have toned down considerably and are now tan / brown.


both ends of the same piece


a face grain closeup of the piece directly above


closeups of both ends of the piece directly above. The cracks in the ends of this piece are entirely my fault. The fellow who traded this to me told me VERY specifically that plum cracks like crazy. He shipped it raw but very well wrapped but told me to immediately seal the ends. When I got it, there were no cracks and I stupidly left it out overnight unwrapped, producing the cracks you see.


the original owner of the piece directly above posted the pic on the left in one post on a forum and the two on the right in another post. This is just another good example of how really badly some people represent their wood. I knew when I traded for it that it was not either of these colors and the real color when it showed up was no surprise. Actually, the pic on the left, taken when the wood was freshly cut and moistened is likely not very unrealistic; it's the green ones that are WAY incorrect in color.

My own pics above show lots of nice pink / purple areas and there's another set below, taken after the wood had dried for a couple of years and the pink / purple areas are even further degraded. The three sets taken together (owner's original pic, my original pic while the wood was still unseasoned, and my later set when the wood had air dried) show a clear progression from very colorful to barely colorful.


both sides of a sample plank of purple leaf plum --- HUGE enlargements are present. This is the same sample as shown directly above but after it had dried out in my garage for over 2 years. As you can seen, the nice pink / purple shades are mostly turned to tan / brown.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a small sample --- don't know what kind of plum this is but it looks a fair amount like the purple-leaf variety shown up above


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a small plank contributed by Norman Vandyke whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. It is not 100% certain that this is plum (it might be peach) but the consensus among several people who know wood is that there's about a 90% certainly that it IS plum. Mark Peet feels there's about an 80% chance that it's purple leaf plum.


end grain of the piece directly above


The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
Canada plum (Prunus nigra) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
Western plum (Prunus subcordata, aka Pacific Wild plum) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
wild plum (Prunus americana) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for all 3 views

web pics:


log sections


plank listed as European plum / Prunus domestica and that has wet and dry sections


planks


plank of African plum / Prunus africana


several views of some slabs


end grain shot of a piece identified as Prunus domestica


oiled plum, submitted by Sean Winger


turning sticks listed as just plum


planks listed as European plum and most likely moistened for the pics


turning sticks listed as European plum


veneer


bookmatched veneer sheets listed as European plum / Prunus domestica


European plum with wet and dry sections


figured plum


purple leaf plum --- The piece on the left is the same piece as the first one in the second pic and I have not idea which, if either, of these colors, is correct. Both pics were taken by the owner and posted on a forum at different times. LATER NOTE: I traded for this piece and you can not see the piece with correct color near the top of this page. The color is NOTHING like either of these.


Japanese plum


spalted plum


pen blanks and turning stock, all listed as purple plum


scales just listed as plum



a plum burl, oiled --- pic provided by Sean Winger (thank you)


plum burl turning, provided by Sean Winger --- I am NOT clear about the color on this


bowl blank


bowls

a bowl that, had I seen only the pic with no description saying it was plum, I would have sworn was cherry


vases