A plum is a fruit
of some species in ''Prunus'' subg. ''Prunus''
''.'' Mature plum fruits may have a dusty-white waxy coating that gives them a glaucous
appearance. This is an epicuticular wax
coating and is known as "wax bloom". Dried plums are called
s, which have a dark, wrinkled appearance.
Plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. Three of the most abundantly cultivated species are not found in the wild, only around human settlements: '' Prunus domestica
'' has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while '' Prunus salicina
'' and ''
'' originated in China. Plum remains have been found in
The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
age archaeological sites along with olives, grapes and figs. According to Ken Albala
, plums originated in
Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north ...
. They were brought to Britain from Asia.
An article on plum tree cultivation in
Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous and the second largest autonomous community in the country. The Andalusian autonomous communi ...
(southern Spain) appears in Ibn al-'Awwam
's 12th-century agricultural work, ''Book on Agriculture''.
Etymology and names
The name plum derived from
Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language
English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
''plume'' or "plum, plum tree," which extended from Germanic language
or Middle Dutch
Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
', from Ancient Greek ''proumnon'', believed to be a loanword from Asia Minor.
In the late 18th century, the word, plum, was used to indicate "something desirable", probably in reference to tasty fruit pieces in desserts. [
Plums are a diverse group of species. The commercially important plum trees are medium-sized, usually pruned to height. The tree is of medium hardiness. Without pruning, the trees can reach in height and spread across . They blossom in different months in different parts of the world; for example, in about January in Taiwan and early April in the United Kingdom.
Fruits are usually of medium size, between in diameter, globose to oval. The flesh is firm and juicy. The fruit's peel is smooth, with a natural waxy surface that adheres to the flesh. The plum is a drupe, meaning its fleshy fruit surrounds a single hard seed.
Cultivation and uses
File:16-09-17-WikiLovesCocktails-Zutaten-Img0163.jpg, Japanese or Chinese plum
File:Damson plum fruit.jpg, Damsons (European plum)
File:Slivka.JPG, Prune plums (European plum)
File:Prunus domestica 'Reine Victoria'.jpg, Victoria plums (European plum)
File:Greengages 0.jpg, Greengages (European plum)
File:Mirabellen.jpg, Mirabelles (European plum)
File:Cherry plums.jpg, Myrobalan or cherry plums
Japanese or Chinese plums are large and juicy with a long shelf life, and therefore dominate the fresh fruit market in North America and East Asia. They are usually clingstone and not suitable for making prunes. They are cultivars of '' Prunus salicina'' or its hybrids. The cultivars developed in the US are mostly hybrids of Prunus salicina, ''P. salicina'' with Prunus simonii, ''P. simonii'' and Prunus cerasifera, ''P. cerasifera''. Although these cultivars are often called Japanese plums, two of the three parents (''P. salicina'' and ''P. simonii'') originated from China and one (''P. cerasifera'') from Eurasia.
In Europe, European plum ('' Prunus domestica'') is also common in fresh fruit market. It has both dessert (eating) or culinary (cooking) cultivars, which include:
* Damson (purple or black skin, green flesh, clingstone, astringent)
* Prune plum (usually oval, freestone, sweet, fresh eaten or used to make prunes)
* Greengage (firm, green flesh and skin even when ripe)
* Mirabelle Plum, Mirabelle (dark yellow, predominantly grown in northeast France)
* Victoria plum, Victoria (yellow flesh with a red or mottled skin)
* Yellowgage (plum), Yellowgage or golden plum (similar to greengage, but yellow)
In West Asia, myrobalan plum or cherry plum (''Prunus cerasifera'') is also widely cultivated. In Russia, apart from these three commonly cultivated species, there are also many cultivars resulting from hybridization between Japanese plum and myrobalan plum, known as Russian plum (Prunus × rossica, ''Prunus'' × ''rossica'').
When it flowers in the early spring, a plum tree will be covered in blossoms, and in a good year approximately 50% of the flowers will be pollinated and become plums. Flowering starts after 80 growing degree days.
If the weather is too dry, the plums will not develop past a certain stage, but will fall from the tree while still tiny, green buds, and if it is unseasonably wet or if the plums are not harvested as soon as they are ripe, the fruit may develop a fungal condition called Monilinia fructicola, brown rot. Brown rot is not toxic, and some affected areas can be cut out of the fruit, but unless the rot is caught immediately, the fruit will no longer be edible. Plum is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera, including November moth, willow beauty and short-cloaked moth.
The taste of the plum fruit ranges from sweet to tart; the skin itself may be particularly tart. It is juicy and can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or other recipes. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine. In central England, a cider-like alcoholic beverage known as plum jerkum is made from plums. Dried, salted plums are used as a snack, sometimes known as ''saladitos, saladito'' or ''salao''. Various flavors of dried plum are available at Chinese grocers and specialty stores worldwide. They tend to be much drier than the standard prune. Cream, ginseng, spicy, and salty are among the common varieties. Licorice is generally used to intensify the flavor of these plums and is used to make salty plum drinks and toppings for slush (beverage), shaved ice or ''baobing''. Pickled plums are another type of preserve available in Asia and international specialty stores. The Japanese variety, called ''umeboshi'', is often used for rice balls, called ''onigiri'' or ''omusubi''. The ''ume'', from which ''umeboshi'' are made, is more closely related, however, to the apricot than to the plum. In the Balkans, plum is converted into an alcoholic drink named ''slivovitz'' (plum brandy) (Serbian: ''šljivovica''). A large number of plums, of the Damson variety, are also grown in Hungary, where they are called ''szilva'' and are used to make ''lekvar'' (a plum paste jam), ''palinka'' (traditional fruit brandy), plum dumplings, and other foods. In Romania, 80% of the plum production is used to create a similar brandy, called ''țuică''.
[România e cel mai mare producător de prune din UE. Cele mai multe fructe folosesc la ţuică și palincă](_blank)
As with many other members of the Rosaceae, rose family, plum kernels contain Glycosides#Cyanogenic glycosides, cyanogenic glycosides, including amygdalin. Prune kernel oil is made from the fleshy inner part of the pit of the plum. Though not available commercially, the wood of plum trees is used by hobbyists and other private woodworkers for musical instruments, knife handles, inlays, and similar small projects.
In 2019, global production of plums (data combined with sloes) was 12.6 million tonnes, led by China with 56% of the world total (table).
[ Romania and Serbia were secondary producers.] [
Raw plums are 87% water, 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and less than 1% fat (table). In a reference serving, raw plums supply of food energy and are a moderate source only of vitamin C (12% Daily Value), with no other micronutrients in significant content (table).
The numerous species of ''Prunus'' subg. ''Prunus'' are classified into many sections, but not all of them are called plums. Plums include species of sect. ''Prunus'' and sect. ''Prunocerasus'',
as well as ''Prunus mume, P. mume'' of sect. ''Armeniaca''. Only two plum species, the hexaploid European plum ('' Prunus domestica'') and the diploid Japanese plum ('' Prunus salicina'' and hybrids), are of worldwide commercial significance. The origin of ''P. domestica'' is uncertain but may have involved P. cerasifera and possibly P. spinosa as ancestors. Other species of plum variously originated in Europe, Asia and America.
Prunus sect. Prunus, Sect. ''Prunus'' (Old World plums) – leaves in bud rolled inwards; flowers 1–3 together; fruit smooth, often wax-bloomed
Prunus sect. Prunocerasus, 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; treated as a distinct subgenus by some authors
In certain parts of the world, some fruits are called plums and are quite different from fruits known as plums in Europe or the Americas. For example, Bouea macrophylla, marian plums are popular in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, otherwise also known as ''gandaria'', ''plum mango'', ''ma-praang'', ''ma-yong'', ''ramania'', ''kundang'', ''rembunia'' or ''setar''. Another example is the loquat, also known as Japanese plum and Japanese medlar, as well as ''nispero'', ''bibassier'' and ''wollmispel'' elsewhere. In South Asia and Southeast Asia, Jambul, a fruit from tropical tree in family Myrtaceae, is similarly sometimes referred to 'damson plums', and it is different from damson plums found in Europe and Americas. Jambul is also called as ''Java plum'', ''Malabar plum'', ''Jaman'', ''Jamun'', ''Jamblang'', ''Jiwat'', ''Salam'', ''Duhat'', ''Koeli'', ''Jambuláo'' or ''Koriang''.
File:Closeup of blackthorn aka sloe aka prunus spinosa sweden 20050924.jpg, Sloe or blackthorn, ''Prunus spinosa''
File:970718-DriedGoldenPlum-IMG 7527-2.jpg, Dried yellow plums
File:Black Amber Plum DS.jpg, Black Amber Plum (Japanese or Chinese plum)
* Prunus cerasifera, Cherry plum
* Fruit tree
* Fruit tree forms
* Fruit tree propagation
* Fruit tree pruning
* List of plum cultivars
* List of plum dishes
Flora of Asia
Flora of Europe
Flora of North America