Plums - Overview
Species Cultivars

General Culture
Diseases & Symptoms Production & Usage

• A plum is a drupe fruit of the genus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera (peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc.) in the shoots having a terminal bud and solitary side buds (not clustered), the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one side and a smooth stone • Mature plum fruit may have a dusty-white coating that gives them a glaucous appearance. This is an epicuticular wax coating and is known as "wax bloom". Dried plum fruits are called dried plums or prunes, although prunes are a distinct type of plum, and may have antedated the fruits now commonly known as plums. • Fruits are usually of medium size, between 1 to 3 inches in diameter, globose to oval. The flesh is firm, juicy and mealy. The fruit's peel is smooth, with a natural waxy surface that adheres to the flesh. The fruit has a single large seed.

Scientific Classification Kingdom Plantae Angiosperms Eudicots Rosids

Family Sub Family Genus

Rosaceae Maloideae or Spiraeoideae Prunus

Plum has many species, and taxonomist differ on the count. Depending on taxonomist, between 19 to 40 species of plum exist. From this diversity only two species, the hexaploid European plum (Prunus domestica) and the diploid Japanese plum (Prunus salicina and hybrids), are of worldwide commercial significance. Other species of plum variously originated in Europe, Asia and America. The subgenus Prunus is divided into three sections:
– – – Sect. Prunus (Old World plums)- leaves in bud rolled inwards; flowers 1-3 together; fruit smooth, often wax-bloomed Sect. Prunocerasus (New World plums) leaves in bud folded inwards; flowers 3-5 together; fruit smooth, often wax-bloomed Sect. Armeniaca (apricots) - leaves in bud rolled inwards; flowers very short-stalked; fruit velvety.



Damson - Purple or black skin, green flesh Greengage - firm, green flesh and skin even when ripe

Mirabelle - dark yellow, predominantly grown in northeast France
Satsuma plum - firm red flesh with a red skin Victoria - Yellow flesh with a red or mottled skin Yellowgage or golden plum - Similar to greengage, but yellow in colour

Soils and Climate
• Deep, well-drained soils with pH 5.5 - 6.5 give best results. However, plums are the most tolerant of all stone fruits with respect to heavy soils and waterlogging. Plums are adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions; at least some cultivars can be grown in almost every state in the US. European plums have a more northern adaptation, and Japanese do better in southern areas of the temperate zone or in Mediterranean climates, Commercially, Japanese plums and prunes are grown where rainfall during the growing season is minimal, and humidity low to prevent diseases; this is why most production is in California. Cold hardiness is excellent for European plums, similar to apple and pear, but Japanese plums are less cold hardy (similar to peach). Rainfall during the growing season can reduce production by accentuating diseases and causing fruit cracking.

• Plums are T- or Chip-budded onto rootstocks as are other stone fruits

• Plum trees do not require as precise pruning as apples and pears, but still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease (a fungal disease of the wood and leaves of some trees, especially plums, apples, apricots and cherries). Avoid pruning plums in winter, as it increases the risk of infection by silver leaf disease to which plums and other Prunus species are prone. The best time for pruning is usually spring for young trees and mid-summer for established ones.

Disease / Pest
Plum Sawfly Red Spider Mite Rust Silver leaf Bacterial Canker Aphids

Small holes in the plums, sometimes with a gooey black liquid seeping from the holes. The young plums will fall before ripening fully. Leaves fall earlier than normal and are bronze in colour. Slightly raised round spots on the underside of the leaves. The spots are rust coloured (browny-red). Silver coloured leaves turning brown, wood flesh stained brown or purple, fungus growth on the infected branches. Shallow depressions at the base of branches during Autumn which enlarge in spring. An amber like gum may also appear. Leaves curl and new shoots are distorted

Top 10 Countries in Plum Production 1. China 2. USA 3. Serbia 4. Romania 5. Germany 6. France 7. Chile 8. Turkey 9. Spain 10. Italy

Plums are juicy and can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or other recipes. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine. Dried plums (or prunes) are also sweet and juicy and contain several antioxidants. Plums and prunes are known for their laxative effect. This effect has been attributed to various compounds present in the fruits, such as dietary fiber, sorbitol and isatin. Prunes and prune juice are often used to help regulate the functioning of the digestive system. Dried prune marketers in the USA have, in recent years, begun marketing their product as "dried plums". This is due to "prune" having negative connotations connected with elderly people suffering from constipation. Prune kernel oil is made from the fleshy inner part of the pit of the plum.

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