Growing into a high shrub, the American plum forms dense thickets from its suckering roots in its native habitat, the edges of forest in eastern and central parts of North America. The shrub bears white flowers before the leaves appear. Later it produces edible, 2-3 cm usually red fruit, with a bluish surface bloom; the flavour varies between trees from bitter to pleasantly sweet.
The species has long been cultivated in its native areas, and the best individuals have been selected as varieties suitable for cold areas where most plums can’t be grown successfully. In Finland the American plum is considered hardier than sour cherry (P. cerasus), although there has been as yet little experience with the American. The young specimens planted at Mustila are from the northern parts of its natural range and have so far developed without damage, although the site isn’t the best possible for the species. It thrives best in a sunny, dry, warm situation.