Plum (Prunus domestica)
Plum (Prunus domestica)

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Common Name(s): Plum

Scientific Name: Prunus domestica

Distribution: Widely cultivated in temperate areas worldwide

Tree Size: 20-40 ft (6-12 m) tall, 1-1.5 ft (.3-.4 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (795 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .61, .79

Janka Hardness: 1,550 lbf (6,900 N)*

*Estimated hardness based on specific gravity

Modulus of Rupture: 12,810 lbf/in2 (88.4 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,478,000 lbf/in2 (10.19 GPa)

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: No data available

Color/Appearance: Plum heartwood can exhibit a cornucopia of colors, typically a yellowish brown, with streaks of pink, orange, red, purple, olive, or gray mixed in. Because of the small size of plum trees, swirled or irregular grain, as well as knots and other defects are common.

Grain/Texture: Has a fine texture with close grain and a slight natural luster.

Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous to diffuse-porous; small pores, sometimes arranged diagonally, numerous to very numerous; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral/gum deposits occasionally present, though not easily seen with lens; growth rings usually distinct due to a concentration of earlywood pores; parenchyma marginal; medium to wide rays, spacing normal.

Rot Resistance: No data available.

Workability: Areas with straight and clear grain are easy to work with hand or machine tools. Care must be taken when surfacing irregular grain or knots to avoid tearout. Plum glues, turns, and finishes well.

Odor: Plum has a distinct scent while being worked that is reminiscent of pumpkin or squash.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although there have been no adverse health effects reported for Plum, the closely related Black Cherry has been reported to cause respiratory effects. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Not commercially available in lumber form due to very small tree sizes, Plum is most commonly seen among hobbyists and other small specialty woodworkers and related retailers.  Most commonly sold in turning blanks or other small sections. Prices are likely to be high for a domestic wood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Turned objects, musical instruments, inlay, and knife handles.

Comments: Although Plum is related to Cherry, it tends to be heavier and harder than Cherry, and much more scarce. Sizes are very limited, so Plum tends to be assigned primarily to smaller, more decorative purposes.

Related Species:

Scans/Pictures:

Plum (Prunus domestica)
Plum (sanded)
Plum (sealed)
Plum (sealed)
Plum (endgrain)
Plum (endgrain)
Plum (endgrain 10x)
Plum (endgrain 10x)

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Tom Southmargaret whiteGeri PortilloEllen TheisenDaniel Christopher Ehrenberg Recent comment authors
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Tom South
Tom South

Sanded and waxed

margaret white
margaret white

Our tree collapsed and I wish I would of read this before I allowed the lads to saw it up its now in big logs and been out all winter in the rain. Guilty because it was Dads. Any idea what I can have made with it and how, I fancy musical instruments for the Grandkids.

Geri Portillo
Geri Portillo

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Timothy Tikker
Timothy Tikker

I have a Bulgarian Kaval (end-blown flute) made of plum wood:

Ken Dixon
Ken Dixon

Have two logs of plum grown as fruit trees which died due to black growth of limbs. The remaining stumps ares are approx 5 foot tall and about 6 ” dia at top. Stumps are spiraled twisted and appear solid. Plan on cutting down and drying. Would like suggestions on how to handle and whether to use as laminate, boards, or leave whole for effect. Suggestions on how to remove bark most effectively etc. Thanks

Daniel Christopher Ehrenberg
Daniel Christopher Ehrenberg

I might be two years to late, but for anyone else who might have plumb that they want to cut up, I just wanted to mention that if you quarter saw it, it can have a beautiful fleck pattern. Similar to quarter sawn oak. Se the attached photo.

Ellen Theisen
Ellen Theisen

I retrieved some plum logs a couple of years ago, and I discovered that if you leave the bark on while it dries, color from the bark leaches into the wood. Really gorgeous and full of character.