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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Plum - 'Prunus domestica' - fam: Rosaceae

A Plum is a fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera; peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc., in the shoots having 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 (or pit). 1 Wonderfully delicious and juicy, plums botanically belong to the Rosaceae family of "drupe" fruits. 2

Mature plum fruit 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 plum fruits are called dried plums, or prunes, although, in American English (Is that an oxymoron?), prunes are a distinct type of plum, and may have pre-dated the fruits now commonly known as plums. 1

The plant is best described as a small tree or large shrub. It is widely cultivated at commercial scale in the United States, Europe, Japan, and China. Several cultivars of plums are grown all over the world which differ in their color, size and growth characteristics. Generally, each variety of the plum tree bears numerous, almost same sized berries between May and September months. 2

Plum is about the size of an average sized tomato, measuring about 5-6 cm in diameter and weigh about 50-70 g. It has central umbilicated depression at the stem end. Internally, its pulp is juicy, succulent and varies widely from creamy yellow, crimson, light-blue or light-green in color depending upon the cultivar type.

As with other members of the "drupe" family fruits, plum also features a centrally placed single, smooth, flat, but hard pit. Seeds are inedible. Plums have a sweet and tart taste with a pleasant aroma. Some of the common cultivars are cherry plum, damson, and blackthorn plum. 2

There are over 30 varietal plums.

REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 Nutrition and You 2


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