Canada Plum Prunus nigra
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Branching: Alternate

A small, usually thorny tree that is related to the Cherries.  They grow in more disturbed, open areas such as fencerows and old fields.  It and American Plum are both relatively thorny, and this helps to separate them from the similar Cherries (Crabapple can also be thorny).  The thorns of the plums aren't the kind of "true thorn" that you'd find on a Hawthorn or Honey Locust, but are more like modified twigs and can bear leaves and buds.  

Winter twig of Canada Plum

Another view of the winter twig

Leaf scar and a doubled lateral bud

Winter twig and lateral buds of Canada Plum

The plums tend to be thorny, which helps to separate them from the Cherries, but can be similar to Crabapple

Older bark and more thorns.  The thorns can be somewhat branched (similar to Hawthorns and Honey-locust)

The consistent presence of glands on the leaf stalks help separate Canada Plum from American Plum

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copyright 2009 Josh Sayers
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