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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Prunus domestica-European Plum/Prunus salicina-Japanese plum

Author
item Okie, William

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2003
Publication Date: March 29, 2008
Citation: Okie, W.R. 2008. Prunus domestica-European Plum/Prunus salicina-Japanese plum. In: Janick, J., Paull, R.E., editors. Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts. Cambridge, UK: CABI. p. 694-705.

Interpretive Summary: Plums grown commercially for fresh markets are classified with other stone fruits in the genus Prunus in the Rose family. Most of the plums grown today fall into one of two groups: European or Japanese types. European plums (primarily Prunus domestica) are generally better adapted to cooler regions. Within P. domestica, several groups of cultivars are recognized such as Green Gage or Reine Claude types, and prunes. The insititia subspecies includes bullaces, damsons, mirabelles and St. Julien types. Many of these plums are consumed fresh. European plums with a sugar content high enough so that they can be dried with the pit intact are referred to as prunes. In some countries the term "prune" refers primarily to the dried product; elsewhere the term refers to the fresh fruit as well. Nearly all prune production in California and much of the world's procuction is of 'French Prune' and its clones, under such names as 'Prune D'Agen,' 'Petite Prune' and 'Prune D'Ente.' The ancestors of what we call Japanese plums actually originated in China. The term "Japanese plum" originally was applied to Prunus salicina but now includes all the freshmarket plums developed by intercrossing various diploid species with the original species. These plums were initially improved in Japan and later, to a much greater extent, in the United States. Production in the United States is concentrated in California. Most of these plums are consumed as fresh fruit, and are the common plum sold in grocery stores. Further details on plum production, varieties and culture are given in this chapter.

Technical Abstract: Plums are classified with other stone fruits in the genus Prunus in the Rosaceae. Most of the plums grown today fall into one of two groups: European (hexaploid) or Japanese (diploid) types. European plums (primarily Prunus domestica) are generally better adapted to cooler regions. Within P. domestica, several groups of cultivars are recognized such as Green Gage or Reine Claude types, and prunes. The insititia subspecies includes bullaces, damsons, mirabelles and St. Julien types. Many of these plums are consumed fresh. European plums with a sugar content high enough so that they can be dried with the pit intact are referred to as prunes. In some countries the term "prune" refers primarily to the dried product; elsewhere the term refers to the fresh fruit as well. Nearly all prune production in California and much of the world's production is of 'French Prune' and its clones, under such names as 'Prune D'Agen,' 'Petite Prune' and 'Prune D'Ente.' The ancestors of what we call Japanese plums actually originated in China. The term "Japanese plum" originally was applied to Prunus salicina (formerly P. triflora) but now includes all the freshmarket plums developed by intercrossing various diploid species with the original species. These plums were initially improved in Japan and later, to a much greater extent, in the United States. Production in the United States is concentrated in California. Most of these plums are consumed as fresh fruit. Further details on plum production, varieties and culture are given in this chapter.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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