- Plum Variety Descriptions
- Types of Flowering Plum Trees and Useful Tips for Their Care
- Types of Flowering Plum Trees
- With White Flowers
- Tree Care
- Diseases and Pests
- SelecTree: Tree Detail
- Need some help identifying a plum tree
- Plum trees versus cherry trees: how to tell the difference and identify them
Plum Variety Descriptions
Early Magic –The early magic ripens in mid-July. Fruit size is medium. This medium sized fruit is purplish-red and covered with waxy bloom giving it a bluish cast. The flesh is amber-yellow, firm, juicy, sweet and very good tasting.
Early Golden – The early golden is one of the first plums of the season, ripening in the second part of July. Similar to shiro plum, it is small to medium in size, firmer than the shiro, mild tasting, sweet and does not stick to the pit. The early golden is an excellent choice to satisfy your early season sweet tooth.
Methley – One of the first out of the orchard in mid-July, this is well known variety that has been present on the market stands for a long time. This fruit is harvested with a green shadow, but ripens to a vibrant purple with a deep red flesh at market. This small round fruit is the perfect pop-able sweet treat on a hot July day.
Shiro – The shiro needs no introduction as it is the most well-known of the Japanese varieties. Be sure to handle this petite yellow plum with care as they bruise easily. Smooth and sweet, you will surely encounter the shiro at famers markets in late July.
Santa Rosa – The Santa Rosa is a beautiful, large, red fruits with gold flesh. It is a sweet plum that is delicious when eaten fresh, cooked or canned. It is ready the first week of August.
Starking Delicious – This new variety is gaining acclaim for its great taste and ease of growing. It is disease resistant making it a very environmentally friendly option. Ripening in the second week of August, this deep red Japanese plum is a delicious summer treat.
Ozark Premier – The Ozark premier is a large, plump, roundish plum. The skin is red with a waxy bloom. Its firm flesh is yellow, fine-grained, and juicy. The Ozark premier will appease your appetite with its sweet, great taste.
Burbank – The Burbank is a well-known old variety. The fruit is medium-sized and has attractive orange-red color that covers most of the surface with a base color that is amber-yellow. The flesh is yellow, fine-grained, firm and juicy, sweet and very good tasting. The peak harvest is in the second part of August-beginning of September
Redheart – you would be fortunate to find the redheart at the farmers market in mid-august. A finicky producer, the redheart is one of the tastiest plums grown in the state. It is aesthetically appealing being large, smooth, and heart-shaped with dark purplish red skin covered with golden specks. The flesh is blood red, firm and juicy. There are few other varieties that rival the redheart’s sweet aromatic goodness.
Rubyqueen – The Rubyqueen is a medium sized fruit with a firm flesh and excellent flavor. It has a beautiful dark red/black skin with a deep red flesh. This is really a jem of a plum.
Fortune – The fortune is a large bright red plum on a yellow background. The flesh is yellow, firm and juice. This attractive, good-tasting plum ripens in mid to second part of September.
Lydecker – The Lydecker is a new variety of plum harvested the first week of September. It is dark blue-black and nearly round, similar to many California dessert plums. It is said to have a superior ripe flavor to the more common varieties in its ripening season.
Simka – The fruit of the simka is large, uniform, with a very shallow suture. It is a very attractive, good-tasting plum. It is sweet with an excellent firm texture The skin is very dark red almost ebony and the flesh is very light green to slightly yellow. It’s a very good choice for the first week of September.
Alderman –The Alderman is a very attractive plum that has nice brilliant orange-red skin color and orange-yellow flesh. Skin is very firm, shiny, and waxy-like. The fruit is medium to large often 2”-2 1/2” in diameter. It has good texture and taste. It is a very good late plum. It ripens in the third/fourth week of September.
Vibrant – The first European plum to be harvested, the Vibrant is a beautiful plum with a violet-blue skin and amber flesh. It is a medium to large-sized fruit with good firmness and sweetness with a medium acid content for a nice balanced flavor.
Vanette – The Vanette is a large, purple-blue, freestone plum. It has good sugar/acid ratio that accounts for excellent taste. . Most years ripens in the third week of August. It is very good dual – purpose plum and is one of the best fresh market plums. It is an excellent all-around plum. It’s great for cooking, canning and fresh eating.
Castleton – The fruit of the Castleton is medium-sized, dark blue, oblong, and freestone. It has a sweet to mildly acidic taste. It is very good dual purpose plum; suitable for fresh and cooking/preserving. A known favorite when it comes to home canning, it makes an excellent burgundy jam. Find them at the end of August to the first part of September at a farmer’s market or fruit stand near you.
N.Y. 6 – The N.Y. 6 is a relatively large blue-skinned, yellow-fleshed European plum. It is a favorite variety for baby food as it has a very mild taste which makes it excellent choice for mixing with other fruit. It is a great choice for baking.
Early Italian – The Early Italian is an old, well-known variety of blue plum that is also called “Early Fellenberg”. With its pleasant firmness and its great taste, the Early Italian is one of the highest caliber plums Michigan has to offer.
Stanley – The Stanley is the go-to for European plums. It is medium to large fruit with dark blue skin and yellow-green flesh. It can be identified by its distinct neck.
Valor – The Valor plum is large and very good tasting. Its skin is an attractive dark purple, speckled and the flesh is greenish- yellow. It is semi-freestone and can be found starting the first week of September.
N.Y. 9 – This plum ripens in the first week of September. The fruit size varies due to the crop load and goes from small to large. The flesh is green and the skin is purple, covered with waxy bloom so it appears blue. It has mild taste and is rather sweet. Though, it is processing variety, when picked when the flesh color starts changing from green to amber, it has just enough acid to make it well eating plum.
Blufre -The Blufre is a medium-large sized European plums. It is blue-skinned and yellow-fleshed with a very distinctive flavor. The Blufre is a good choice for all your baking needs.
Long John – The fruit of the Long John is large and has an interesting shape: it is quite long and bit “flattened”. The skin is dark maroon, almost black, and covered with the waxy bloom, which gives it nice blue color. The flesh is orange, firm and pleasantly tart. It is freestone and it ripens with the Stanley at the first of September, but is larger and better quality.
Autumn Sweet – The Autumn Sweet is a new European blue-skinned, yellow-fleshed plum. It is said to have superior quality to that of the traditional Italian plum. It ripens the first week of September, making it a great choice for lunchboxes that kids are sure to love.
Blue Damson – The Blue Damson is an old variety, renowned for its superb preserves and baking characteristics. It is a small blue plum with a yellow flesh. The Damson is in high demand throughout farmer’s markets from individuals longing for the most mouthwatering jams and most intriguing plum bounces.
Italian – The Italian is a medium to large fruit with purple skin and yellow flesh. It is a sweet plum that stores well and is a great dual purpose plum.
Tulare Giant – The Tulare Giant is a new Japanese plum variety. It is a large reddish-grey skin plum with an amber flesh. Eat this one fresh because its incredible sweetness is rivaled by few other varieties
Empress – The Empress is a well-known European plum variety. It has large, elliptical, symmetrical fruit of very good quality. The skin is purple and covered with heavy waxy bloom. The flesh is greenish-yellow and it is semi-cling. The Empress is a very nice late-season choice.
Types of Flowering Plum Trees and Useful Tips for Their Care
A flowering plum tree in the garden is every gardener’s dream. Not only are they attractive, but the full bloom display they hold can have quite a startling effect on the beholder.
A flowering plum tree with its beautiful spray of pink flowers and purple foliage is one of the most beautiful ornamental garden tree that is used for decorative purposes in many landscaping designs. It is attractive as single specimen or massed together to line avenues and driveways.
The plum tree is a medium-sized tree which will reach 20 to 25 feet in height. It has a crown of 15 feet that comes to life every spring and winter. The flowers on the trees are a beautiful shade of pink, red or white, and have a strong fragrance. Unlike their productive counterparts, the ornamental or flowering plum trees do not produce any fruits.
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While most of them are bred not to produce any fruit, some of them may have a small amount of fruit on it nevertheless. It is a must have for all those who like their landscape to go through transitions of colors and sing a different tune at the change of every season.
Types of Flowering Plum Trees
Thundercloud Purple Leaf Plum
Scientific name: Prunus cerasifera
Synonyms: Cherry plum, myrobalan plum.
Size: 15 to 25 feet height
hundercloud Purple Leaf Plum is deciduous tree with deep purple leaves and solitary, pink flowers. The bowl shaped flowers grow about 1-inch long, along the bare shoots of the tree in early spring.
Scientific name: Prunus × blireana
Synonyms: Purple-leafed plum
Size: 15 to 25 feet height
The deciduous tree with ovate bronze or purple-red leaves has beautiful, showy dark-pink flowers in winter and spring.
Scientific name: Prunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’
Synonyms: Purple cherry plum, purple leaf plum, Newport cherry plum
Size: 15 to 25 feet height
A small deciduous tree with alternate leaf arrangement and pinkish-white fragrant flowers that bloom in January and February.
Krauter Vesuvius Purple Leaf Plum
Scientific name: Prunus cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’
Synonyms: Cherry plum
Size: 15 to 20 feet height
‘Krauter Vesuvius’ with its dark reddish-purple leaves and pink bloom is a cultivar that typically grows as a dense, upright-rounded tree.
With White Flowers
Pigeon Plum Tree
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Scientific name: Coccoloba diversifolia
Synonyms: Pigeon Seagrape, doveplum, tietongue
Size: Medium to large (about 30 feet in height)
A broadleaf-evergreen tree with dense, rounded canopy that produces small white-green flowers.
Chickasaw Plum Tree
Scientific name: Prunus angustifolia
Synonyms: Cherokee plum, sand plum, mountain cherry, Florida sand plum, sandhill plum
Size: 12 to 20 feet tall
A plum tree that is native to North America, the Chickasaw Plum tree has a scaly-black bark with reddish side branches, and small oval-green leaves. In the months of February, March, April and May, the tree has fragrant, small-white blossoms with reddish-orange antlers.
Flatwoods Plum Tree
Scientific name: Prunus umbellata
Synonyms: Hog plum
Size: 12 to 20 feet height
A small tree with oblong-lance shaped leaves, smooth, red brown to black bark, the Flatwoods plum tree has masses of showy white flowers in early spring. The flowers have five petals and multiple stamens and are borne in single or groups of five.
Other than these common flowering plum tree variants there are a number of dwarf and semi-dwarf plum trees like the Dwarf “Red-Leaf” plum (P. x cistena) and the “Dwarf Natal Plum” (Carissa macrocarpa) which grow to height of 5 to 7 feet. They are thus perfect for small yards and gardens.
Springtime sees the plum tree filled with clusters of white, pink or purple bloom that last several days. The flowers are sweet smelling with ability to spread their fragrance to quite a distance. The leaves sprout after the bloom fades away from the trees. With the approach of summer time, the leaves of the tree will change color from glossy green to deep, bright burgundy. The change in the foliage color leaves an everlasting impression on the eyes of the beholder. The fruits begin to appear late in the summer. The juicy fruits grow in clusters and are held together lightly. The fruits are small in size and upon reaching maturity turn red, pink or have tinges of purple.
These trees are easy to grow and maintain. Good well drained soil, slightly acidic soil with a pH balance between three and six will result in good flower, as well as fruit production. They are not that fussy about soil, however, avoid places where water tends to stagnate. Young plants are especially partial to moist and well-drained soils. A sunny or a partially shaded location is best for growing a plum tree. Young plants need more water than established ones. Once the tree is established, water as per requirement. Fertilize before the flower bloom begins, and reduce when the tree has borne fruit and is in its dormant period. When adding fertilizer, spread it to the ends of each branch. While a young plum tree grows around 16 inches each year, an older tree will grow about 10 inches with proper care.
Diseases and Pests
Black Knot: The most common disease that can affect this tree is the black knot. This disease can cause extensive damage to the entire tree, at times it may even kill it. Black knot is a fungus that occurs as black, rough galls or knots on the succulent stems and branches. It grows in the spring by the spores spread by air from any nearby tree that has been infected with black knot. The knots first appear green in color, and look like swelling in the stems. If unchecked, they infect the older branches and stems turning them black and hard. To deal with this fungus, remove the knots as soon as they appear. Cut the infected branch or trunk, and dispose them with proper care. During spring the fungus propagates actively and therefore all damage control measures need to be taken before spring sets in. An application of lime and sulfur, or any other fungicide will not only help eliminate the infection, but will also curb its spread.
Powdery mildew: It is a term to describe the fungal disease that results in white residue which coats leaf surfaces.
Prunus Ringspot: One of the most common viruses that affect all plum flowering trees, Prunus ringspot leads to yellow spots, rings and mottling. It results in stunted growth of the tree. The only way to prevent the virus from spreading is by removing the infected trees.
Bacterial Diseases: Certain bacterial pathogens like Xanthomonas lead to foliar diseases in the plum trees. If the leaves of the plum trees appear with small, round holes then it could be a result of the Shothole disease.
Pests: The most common pests that affect ornamental plum trees are tiny, soft-bodied insects known as aphids. Using some insecticides can kill insects that prey on aphids like lacewigs and ladybugs. To control the problem, spray them off with water. Prune out heavily infested leaves and stems. Other pests that affect the plum trees are tent caterpillars, spider mites and fruit-tree borers.
Pruning is essential for not just maintaining the shape and training the tree to a desired size but also in promoting healthy plant tissue especially when there are dead or dying branches. Pruning also helps in flower bud and fruit growth. There are three ways to prune; by crown reduction, thinning and pinching. Thinning helps in removal of weak limbs and stems while pinching of flower heads and twiggy offshoots help in controlling the plant’s size. To maintain the tree’s canopy and shape use crown reduction which involves removal of top portion of the tree has to be done.
Start pruning to shape young trees, just make sure you don’t cut the main branch. Just snip out a few lateral steams to either maintain a design or encourage strong growth. The best time to prune a flowering plum is during their dormant period. Remove all diseased, damaged and weak branches. If a well-shaped crown is what you are aiming for then prune lower branches, or in dense crowns cut away some of the larger branches at the top of the tree. Use sharp garden tools like shears, lopping shears, hand saws, etc to get a good job done. For shorter branches use clippers like scissor action pruners, and pole pruners for large branches. If the branches are thicker than one-inch, use curved pruning saws. For well-established trees ask for professional help if you are not too sure about the way to go.
Fruitless flowering plum trees with their beautiful blooms decorate and add beauty to your landscape.Selecting the right plum tree and maintaining it well allows you to enjoy these blooms for years to come.
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SelecTree: Tree Detail
Utility friendly tree.
Blirieana Flowering Plum is a popular flowering and foliage accent tree, generally shorter than Prunus cerasifera varieties which are generally slightly larger, to 25′ or more, such as ‘Thundercloud’, ‘Newport’, ‘Krauter Vesuvius’, and ‘Mt. St. Helens’. Blirieana Plum blooms a couple of weeks earlier as well, and usually has wart-like swellings on the trunks. It produces few or no fruit. It is easily maintained below a height of 25′.
Has fragrant Flower.
Additional Common Names
FLOWERING PLUM, DOUBLE-PINK PLUM, PURPLE-LEAF PLUM
Erect or Spreading with a Low Canopy.
Rounded, Umbrella or Vase Shape.
Has Deciduous foliage.
Height: 12 – 15 feet.
Width: 12 – 15 feet.
Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.
Longevity 40 to 150 years.
Leaves Ovate, Bronze, Purple or Red, Bronze or Purple, Deciduous.
Flowers Showy. Fragrant Pink or Rose. Flowers in Spring or Winter. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).
Few to Fruitless, Purple or Red Drupe, Medium (0.50 – 1.50 inches).
Bark Dark Brown, Fissured.
Shading Capacity Rated as Dense in Leaf.
Shading Capacity Rated as Moderate out of Leaf.
Litter Issue is Flowers.
Need some help identifying a plum tree
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Plum trees versus cherry trees: how to tell the difference and identify them
At the end of March, when you see rows of pink trees, in Vancouver don’t be too quick to yell “Cherry blossoms!” These trees might be plum trees – not cherry trees! To find out, you’ll have to get closer.
There are 12,000 plum blossoms in Vancouver. Plum trees are beautiful, but since the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival aims at celebrating the beauty of cherry blossoms – not plum blossoms – we prepared this guide to help you to know the difference between plum blossoms and cherry blossoms.
The main characteristics of plum blossoms are:
- fragrant (they smell good)
- no split at the end of petals
- dark trunk with no horizontal lines
Check this out:
The smell of plum blossoms: Plum blossoms are very fragrant. At this distance, if your tree smells good and “flowery”, it’s probably a plum tree.
The smell of cherry blossoms: The early cherry blossoms are not fragrant. They don’t smell good or “flowery”. Their smell is very faint (almost non-existent), except for some rare cultivars in mid-season that can be very fragrant.
Petals of plum blossoms: Plum petals are oval. There is no split at the end of the petals.
Petals of cherry blossoms: Cherry blossoms have a small split at the end of each petal.
Bark on plum trees: The bark of plum trees is dark and does not have horizontal bars.
Bark on cherry trees: the bark of cherry trees is light grey and has horizontal lines called “Lenticels”.
Buds of plum blossoms: The plum buds are round and there is only one blossom coming out of each bud. They stick straight out from the branches on a short thin stem.
Buds of cherry blossoms: Cherry buds are oval. There is more than one blossom coming out of the bud (in this picture, six flowers are coming out of the bud.)
Leaves of plum: If the leaves are purple, then it’s definitely a plum tree. Plums leave come out with the flowers and unroll from a cigar shape.
Leaves of cherry: The leaves of cherry trees are green (or copper) and, for the early cherries, come out usually after the flowers. Cherry leaves unfold like a billfold opening.
Grafts: On plum trees, the grafts are placed on the branches. They grow vertically on the branches. These grafts will be more visible in early spring before the flowers bloom.
Grafts: On cherry trees, the graft is placed on top of the trunk so the tree looks “stompy”.
The shape of plum: mostly round or oval.
The shape of cherry trees: umbrella shape (the branches are spreading, so the top is wide than the bottom).
Colour: plum blossoms can be pink (with purple leaves) or white (with green leaves)
Colour: cherry blossoms can be dark pink, light pink, white, yellowish. The leaves are copper or green and come out usually after the flowers.
Plum characteristics: When all the plum blossoms are open, you can’t see the buds – and it’s hard to see the grafts – so you’ll have to rely on the plum blossoms main characteristics:
- fragrant (smell “flowery”)
- no split at the end of the petals
- dark trunk (with no horizontal lines)
Cherry characteristics: There are over 54 varieties of cherry blossoms but they all share the same characteristics:
- a split at the end of each petal
- the light-grey trunk has horizontal bars
Think you got it? Take the test!
Cherry or plum blossoms?
Purple leaves and no split at the end of the petals.
No split at the end of petals. One flower coming out of the bud. Smells “flowery”.
Split at the end of the petals.
Horizontal lines on the bark.
You might also like:
Cherry versus plum blossoms: What’s the difference (March 28, 2013)
To learn how to identify 54 varieties of cherry blossoms, buy Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver, by Douglas Justice. Happy cherry blossom viewing!
The beguiling blooms on trees are often overshadowed by emerging foliage. Do you know the difference between blackthorn blossom and field maple flowers?
The Country Life Guide to Flowering Trees
Trees flower like any other plant, but these delicate blossoms, many of which rely on wind, rather than insect, pollination, can go unnoticed as all the action happens high up and unfurling leaves quickly envelop them. The cherry plum is one of the earliest to come into flower, followed shortly by black- thorn, the brilliant-white flowers exaggerated by the tree’s black bark. Many trees are monoecious (they produce both male and female flowers), such as the hazel, which bears distinctive, hanging catkins known as lambs’ tails—the male flowers that provide the pollen—and, almost hidden on its twigs, diminutive, scarlet female flowers. Simon Lester
For more information, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Pale-golden male catkins, as seen here—measuring just under 1in to just over 2in long—flower between February and April. The greener and more oval-shaped female equivalents grow in groups of three to eight
Apple (Malus x domestica)
Five-petalled and usually white, with touches of pink, apple-tree blossom appears in spectacular fashion in May and June
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Both male and female highly ornate flowers, which look as if they’ve been dipped into a pot of purple paint, emerge before the ash’s leaves in spring, forming in spiked conglomerations at twig tips
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Cascades of white flowers, which contain both male and female reproductive parts, appear before leaves in March and April. Traditionally, a spell of bad weather that follows the flowers’ emergence
is known as a ‘blackthorn winter’
English oak (Quercus robur)
The English or pedunculate oak flowers between May and June, with the male blooms forming slender, golden catkins, which distribute pollen into the air. Brown, spherical female flowers grow in groups at the ends of branches
Field maple (Acer campestre)
Diminutive, yellow- green and cup-shaped, the field maple’s flowers —which contain both male and female reproductive parts and hang in clusters— emerge with its leaves in April
Grey willow (Salix cinerea subsp. oleifolia)
Slightly longer and greener than their male counterparts (see overleaf), which grow on separate trees, female catkins (seen here) flower from March to April
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
These highly scented flowers—that, like the blackthorn, are hermaphrodite —are white or occasionally pink-tinged and grow in flat-topped clusters in May
Hazel (Corylus avellana)
Clusters of pale yellow, pendulous male catkins emerge from mid February. In contrast, the hazel’s female flowers are miniature and bud-like with red styles
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
Appearing in May, individual flowers have 4–5 fringed white petals, with a pink flush at the base, and rise like candelabras from the tree’s foliage
The long, drooping yellow flowers of the laburnum, which emerge as 4in–12in-long racemes in late spring, give rise to its old poetic name ‘golden chain tree’
Lime (Tilia x europaea)
Renowned for their heady, almost intoxicating scent, the lime’s white-yellow, five-petalled flowers—so beloved of bees—dangle in groups of two to five from numerous branches in high summer
Red horse chestnut (Aesculus x carnea)
The striking flowers of this artificial hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse chestnut), thought to have been cultivated in Germany before 1820, emerge in May
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Male flowers, comprising clusters of yellow, knobbly anthers (as seen here, in the process of shedding their pollen) can be found at the base of shoots on these ancient trees. Small, red-purple and round, female flowers grow at the tips of new shoots
Spindle (Euonymus europaea)
Tiny, four-petalled hermaphrodite flowers, which grow in clusters, emerge in May and June, when they’re pollinated by insects
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa)
Flowers appear, in late June to July, as long (4in–8in), upright pale- yellow, mostly male, catkins with female flowers at the base
Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus)
Pale-green or yellow flowers, with paper-thin petals, yellow anthers and a white stamen, bloom in April, shortly after the leaves, and hang in knobbly tassels
The arresting and beautifully scented blooms of this popular garden climber may appear in shades
of white, blue, purple and pink from April to June
Photographs by Paul Quagliana