- Plum tree species – an overview
- Prunus domestica – European plum
- Prunus domestica – Gages
- Prunus salicina – Japanese plum
- Prunus insititia
- Prunus spinosa – Sloe
- Other Prunus species
- Plum Varieties
- Types of Plums
- POPULAR PLUM TREE VARIETIES IN THE UK
- AVALON PLUM TREE
- BELLE DE LOUVAIN
- BLUE TIT
- CAMBRIDGE GAGE
- SHROPSHIRE DAMSON
- WARWICKSHIRE DROOPER
- How to Grow Plums
- What’s this yellow plum-like fruit with a spiky stone? West Africa
Plum tree species – an overview
Plums are a remarkably diverse group, comprising several different species and sub-groups which are often difficult to distinguish one from the other. Some of the major plum groupings are described here.
Prunus domestica – European plum
This is the European plum, widely-planted in Europe and without doubt one of the most flavoursome fruits that can be grown in temperate climates. They come in a range of attractive colours, from yellow to pink to purple. The flesh is almost invariably a golden yellow – this is a good way to distinguish them from Japanese plums. Although perhaps not quite as popular as apples, they make ideal garden trees, usually requiring less attention than apple or pear trees.
Whilst European plums do not store particularly well, the fruit usually ripens over a 1-2 week period, during which time the tree can be picked daily to ensure a steady supply of fruit.
European plums are grown commercially on a small scale in the UK, France, and Germany and are available in European supermarkets for a short period in the summer. They are also grown in the USA where they are mostly used for canning and preserving.
Prunus domestica is not indigenous in Europe, and is thought to be a natural hybrid of the cherry plum and the sloe which were introduced to Europe from the Middle East.
European plum trees are easy to grow in most climates – see our plum trees for sale.
Prunus domestica – Gages
Although now usually included within Prunus domestica, it is convenient to consider the Gages as a sub-group of European plums because of their interesting and sophisticated flavours.
Gage trees and flowering times are similar to the mainstream European plums. Gages tend to be either green or golden/yellow in colour, with pale green or pale yellow flesh. The green gages are easier to distinguish being invariably smaller and rounder than regular European plums. Yellow gages are usually larger and look more like plums.
Gages prefer slightly warmer growing conditions than other European plums to bring out their full flavour, and their natural home is France where have been cultivated since the Middle Ages having been introduced from Italy. In France the many different varieties of green-skinned gages are known collectively as “Reine Claude” in honour of Queen Claude, the wife of Francis I who ruled France from 1515 to 1547 when these plums first became popular. The term Reine Claude, as in for example, Reine Claude de Bavay, means a gage plum.
Gages are named after Sir William Gage, an Englishman who popularised one of these varieties in England in the 18th century. Gages were subsequently introduced to the USA in the late 18th century.
There is a further distinct sub-group within the Gages known as the transparent or diaphanous gages. These fruits have a translucent skin and if held up to the light the outline of the stone can be seen inside. The most well-known are Early Transparent Gage and Golden Transparent Gage.
Gages have a distinctive rich sweet flavour, sometimes considered the most refined of any plum species.
Prunus salicina – Japanese plum
This is the plum that you are most likely to find year-round in supermarkets, with large-scale production in California (where almost all of the USA’s production is centred) as well as China, Chile, and the warmer areas of Europe. The fruit has a longer shelf-life than European plums, and is better-suited to being transported around the world. However the flavours are generally less interesting than in European plums, and the fruit is less versatile, being almost exclusively for eating fresh.
Japanese plums are usually not self-fertile (whereas many European plums are self-fertile). Japanese plums and European plums will not cross-pollinate each other, partly because their flowering periods do not overlap.
The plums are usually round, and either golden yellow or dark red in colour. The flesh is usually dark red in the red-coloured varieties, which is a good way to distinguish them from European plums which invariably have yellow or green flesh. Japanese plums prefer a warm dry climate, and may flower too early to be grown successfully in temperate climates.
Prunus salicina actually originates from China, but was introduced to the rest of the world via Japan and then California – the term “Japanese plum” is therefore something of a misnomer. The species is sometimes also called Prunus triflora because it produces flowers in sets of three (hence triflora) instead of in pairs like Prunus domestica. One useful consequence of this is that trees of Prunus salicina trees are often more productive than Prunus domestica because they produce more blossom and can set more fruit.
Several plum-related inter-species hybrids have been developed using Japanese plums, e.g. Pluots which are typically 3/4 Prunus salicina and 1/4 Prunus armeniaca (apricot).
This is a diverse group of lesser plum species, but closely related to the European plum. Most of them have good disease resistance, and will cross-pollinate with European plums with similar flowering times.
Damsons originate from Damascus in Syria and the name comes from the term “Damascene plum”. They are primarily used for cooking, although they can be eaten fresh when fully ripe. Damsons are small round or spherical fruits, nearly always blue-black in colour. They have a rich spicy and very attractive flavour when cooked, which is quite distinctive. Damsons will cross-pollinate with other European plum varieties, and are usually self-fertile.
Perhaps surprisingly given their origins in the Middle East, Damsons are very well adapted to maritime climates and in the UK the centre of commercial damson production is the Lyth valley in Cumbria, north-west England, notable for its wet climate.
Bullaces are essentially small damsons, often with a rounder shape, and used for similar purposes.
Mirabelles are grown particularly in north-east France. The fruits are very small, the size of large cherries, and typically either bright red or golden yellow. Mirabelles can be eaten fresh, but are primarily used for making jams and similar preserves, as well as fruit tarts (“tarte aux mirabelles”). They are also the variety most often used in plum brandy and similar plum-based spirits. Mirabelles are closely related to Damsons but the fruit is much sweeter.
Mirabelle trees are hardy and grow well throughout Europe and North America. They flower at around the same time as mainstream European plums, with which they will readily cross-pollinate. The fruit ripens in mid or late summer A characteristic of Mirabelles is that they are usually partially self-fertile.
Saint Juliens produce small rounded fruits, usually a pale green colour. They used to be used for drying, but nowadays Saint Juliens are most commonly used as a rootstock for many other Prunus varieties. The reason is that Saint Juliens produce naturally smaller trees than other plum varieties, a desirable characteristic for commercial orchards and gardens, yet are widely-compatible with them. In essence, you can graft a flavoursome Prunus domestica variety on to a Saint Julien rootstock, and you have the same fruit but on a smaller tree, which starts producing crops within only 3-4 years.
Prunus cerasifera – Cherry Plum
Cherry plums are closely related to the European plum (more so than to the true cherry). The most commonly-found varieties are tomato-red or bright yellow in colour but they can also be green or almost black.
The fruits are similar in size to Mirabelles, with which they are easily confused. However Cherry Plums are reliably self-fertile whereas Mirabelles are usually only partially self-fertile. Cherry plums also flower much earlier in the spring, and the fruit ripens in early summer.
Traditional Cherry Plums are sometimes known as Myrobalan plums, and can be used as rootstocks for many European plum varieties.
The modern cherry plum varieties available in garden centres are often a bit larger than the traditional varieties, and might have some relation to the Japanese plum (Prunus salicina).
Prunus spinosa – Sloe
Sloes are very small blue-black fruits, rather like small Bullaces. They are common in northern European hedgerows, and are believed to be part of the ancestry of the European plum. It is traditional to wait until the fruits have been tenderised by a good frost before picking, and they are commonly used for making fruit spirits.
Other Prunus species
Although not considered further in this article, the following popular fruits are all related to plums:
Prunus armeniaca – Apricots.
Prunus persica – Peaches and Nectarines.
Prunus avium – Sweet cherry.
Prunus cerasus – Acid or Tart or Sour cherry.
Prunus dulcis – Almond. It may seem surprising at first that plums and almonds are related, but almonds are in essence a type of plum where the nut (inside the stone) rather than the flesh is eaten. The characteristic flavour of almonds can also sometimes be detected in cooked European plums, particularly the popular English Victoria plum.
We would like to thank Hamid Habibi of Keepers Nursery for advice on this article.
Widely adapted, reliably prolific, more compact, and less demanding than most fruit trees, plums are a natural choice for the home grower. Plums are delicious cooked in jams, jellies, butters, sauces; baked in pies and coffee cakes; dried as prunes; or – best of all – eaten juicy fresh right off the tree. For the home gardener, plums offer an additional bonus: the trees add a beautiful, graceful touch to any home landscape. Which variety of plum tree to plant depends partly on your location. Hardy European plums are the most widely planted plum across the United States. The more delicate Japanese plums thrive where peach trees thrive. Where neither European nor Japanese plums will flourish, American hybrids will survive. Combining the hardiness of the native American trees with the flavor and size of the Japanese plums, American hybrids will often survive even under the harsh winter conditions of the northern plains and Canada.
Japanese plums actually originated in China but were brought to this country via Japan in the 1800s. They are not quite as sweet as European plums, though their flesh is much juicier. Two varieties that are excellent for fresh eating and canning are ‘Satsuma’, a large, dark red, sweet plum, and ‘Santa Rosa’, a large plum with crimson skin and purple flesh that turns yellow near the skin.
European plums will grow where it’s neither too cold nor too hot. The fruits are high quality and very uniform. ‘Stanley’ is a versatile European plum that is widely adapted and particularly well suited to the eastern regions and some of the Northwest. It’s self-fertile and very productive. A medium to large freestone plum, ‘Stanley’ is excellent for eating fresh, cooking, or canning. Italian plums are similar to ‘Stanley’. These large, freestone purple plums are very sweet, perfect for drying, eating fresh, or canning. ‘Seneca’ is a high-quality European plum that looks promising for the home gardener. It matures about one week before ‘Stanley’. The fruit is large, oblong, and purple, with good flavor for eating fresh.
If you live in a place where neither Japanese nor European plums will grow because of the climate or disease problems, American plums or bush plums may be your best bet. Though very winter hardy, American bush plums will produce well as far south as Florida. Fruits are 3/4 inch in diameter or larger, yellow or red, with a flat stone. There’s also the hardy beach plum, or shore plum, which is found along the eastern shore from Maine to Delaware. The fruit is delicious in preserves. The plants are available commercially and can be pruned to a shrub shape or small tree. Beach plums are very hardy and enjoy poor, sandy soils.
Which Plum to Grow?
American hybrid trees are a good choice for regional extremes. Combining the virtues of both breeds, the fruits are as tasty as the Japanese plums and as hardy as our native plum species. Climate plays a large role in determining which plum variety to plant. European plum trees are adapted to conditions throughout most of the United States. They are generally more tolerant of the cold than Japanese varieties. On the other hand, Japanese plums are better able to tolerate summer heat. They bloom earlier than European plums, so they are more vulnerable to late frost damage. Generally, Japanese plums don’t set fruit well in regions with cold, damp springs. American hybrids look very promising in the Southeast where there are many disease problems. Also, some native hybrids do well in the northern Midwest, where you can’t grow any other plums because of freeze damage. These hybrids are often able to survive on the northern plains because of the unbroken, persistent cold, although they may not fare as well in other northern regions where warm spells frequently interrupt winter conditions. The European plum is generally easier to grow than the Japanese because Japanese plum trees need more pruning and more fruit thinning. They generally spoil faster than European plums after harvest. Europeans tend to stay on the tree longer, and they last longer after they are picked. European plums also offer more leeway in cross -pollination planning. They are more often self-fertile; one variety, or even one tree, can be planted alone and still bear fruit. Some varieties such as ‘President’ require cross-pollination. (European plums classified as self-fertile may produce better crops when cross-pollination is provided.) Japanese plums almost always require the presence of another Japanese, Japanese/ American hybrid, or American plum variety nearby in order to set fruit. European and Japanese will not cross-pollinate, as their pollen is incompatible.
Types of Plums
About 20 varieties dominate the commercial supply of plums, and most originated in either Asia or Europe. In spite of our stronger cultural connections with Europe when it comes to food, it is actually the Japanese plum that most people would identify as the typical American plum.
Originally from China, these plums were introduced into Japan some 300 years ago, and were eventually brought from there to the United States. Most varieties have yellow or reddish flesh that is quite juicy and skin colors that range from crimson to black-red (but never purple). They are also clingstone fruits—that is, their flesh clings to the pit.
In contrast, European-type plums are smaller, denser and less juicy. They are often blue or purple, and their pits are usually freestone, meaning they separate easily from the flesh. The flesh is golden-yellow.
The domestic plum season extends from May through October, with Japanese types coming on the market first and peaking in August, followed by European varieties in the fall. Here are some varieties of plums you’re likely to find in markets:
- California French plums (d’Agen): These small, meaty European-style plums are descendants of the Frenchpruneaux d’Agen, which are used in France to make prunes. Most of the California French plum crop is destined to be sold as dried plums, but you can occasionally find them fresh.
- Casselman: These smooth, red-skinned plums can be either fairly firm or slightly soft and are very sweet.
- Damson: This small, tart, blue-purple European-type plum is used mainly for jams and preserves.
- El Dorado: This dark, almost black-skinned plum has amber flesh and a sweet flavor even when firm.
- Elephant Heart: Distinguished by their dark, mottled skin, blood-red flesh, and heart shape, these plums are extremely sweet and juicy.
- Empress: These large, dark-blue plums have sweet greenish flesh and taste like prune plums.
- Freedom: This plum is sweet and juicy and has mottled light red skin.
- Friar: These are large, round, black-skinned plums with very sweet, amber flesh.
- Greengage: Distinguished by its deep-green skin, white dusty coating, and succulent yellow flesh, this European clingstone is very popular.
- Kelsey: This large heart-shaped, green-skinned freestone plum is firm and very sweet. The ripe Kelsey often has a red blush to the skin at the tip.
- Laroda: Similar to a Santa Rosa, these mature a little later, are slightly larger, and are very juicy and sweet.
- Mirabelle: This small, round, yellow plum is sweet and full-flavored.
- Nubiana: This large, slightly flat, purple-black, amber-fleshed plum is similar to the El Dorado.
- Plumcot: This is a cross between an apricot and a plum, though it more closely resembles a plum. Some varietal names of plumcots arePlum ParfaitandFlavorella.
- Pluot: This is another hybrid, a cross between a plumcot and a plum, so though there is apricot somewhere in the mix, this fruit looks distinctly like a plum. It is also sold asDinosaur Eggs. It has purplish skin and sweet flesh that ranges in color from amber to red. This hybrid has a long-lasting flavor.
- Prune plums (Italian prune plums): This deep purple plum is covered in a light dusty film that protects it from the weather. Under the purple skin, the flesh is greenish-amber and very sweet. These are tangy when firm, and sweet when mature.
- Santa Rosa: This very popular plum has reddish-purple skin and red-tinged amber flesh. Its taste is tangy-sweet.
See our recipe for Cherry-Plum Compote.
POPULAR PLUM TREE VARIETIES IN THE UK
AVALON PLUM TREE
A new variety of plum which in most areas is more than a match for most other varieties. Taste and disease resistance are particularly good. This is primarily a top quality eating plum but it also cooks well when harvested slightly earlier.
to go to our comprehensive description and pictures of the Avalon plum tree.
BELLE DE LOUVAIN
Best used as a cooking plum, this variety will do well in all sites and tolerates shady and windy spots in particular. Self-fertile and crops from mid to late august. for detailed information about this variety.
Delicious small plums which are both for eating and for cooking. Reliable crops year on year. Fruit is produced in mid-August and this variety is self-fertile. We have one in our garden and can recommend it highly.
to go to our comprehensive description and pictures of the Blue Tit plum tree.
The fruits are smaller than your average plum but that’s as expected for a Gage. The fruit colour is yellow / green, turning slightly more yellow and pink as it ripens ……..
to go to our comprehensive description of the Cambridge Gage tree.
We recommend it for two reasons and the first is that it makes a very reliable cooking plum which crops very early in the season. The second reason is that it thrives in conditions where lesser plum trees would fail. Cold, shade and poor soil ……..
for our in depth description of this plum tree with pictures.
Dating back to the early 1800s Farleigh damson trees regularly produce a large crop year in year out. They are exceptionally hardy and were often used as windbreaks for more tender fruit ……..
for our in depth description of Farleigh damson trees.
Jefferson is one of the best tasting plums with a firmish texture, lots of juice and sweetness. Another plus point for this variety is that it crops over an unusually long period of about ten days. for our in depth description of this plum tree with pictures.
A very early cropping plum variety which stands frost at blossom time very well. One of the sweetest of all the eating plums. Self fertile, cropping in early to mid July. This is a new variety which looks to be a very good choice.
We have included Mirabelle here for a couple of reasons firstly because it is so easy to grow in the UK, so easy in fact that it is often found growing wild. The picture of the plums below are taken from a tree which has grown in significant shade on a countryside pathway but it still produces a large crop of fruit every year.
There are several varieties but the one almost exclusively grown in the UK is Mirabelle de Nancy. The fruit is cherry sized yellow plums, masses of them, which are ready from mid August to early September depending on weather conditions. They originate from the Lorraine area of France and traditionally are harvested by placing a large sheets under the tree and shaking it. Ripe fruits will fall off easily and can be collected in the sheets. It regularly produces a large crop each year.
The plums can be eaten raw although the texture is not nearly as juicy as many other plum or greengage varieties. Their primary use is for cooking and they make excellent tarts and jams.
A cross between a gage and a plum, Opal has taken on the full sweet flavour of the gage side of its parents but with a slightly larger fruit. Plums are produced early in the year, late July in some areas, and …… read our detailed and full review of this plum tree variety (including picture) here.
We have included a damson here because they make the best jam of all time! The bitter sweet taste is out of this world. This damson will tolerate almost all conditions although water-logging will be a problem. Self-fertile producing fruit in mid to late August.
An old variety which has most definitely stood the test of time as both an eating and a cooking plum. A very reliable tree which can produce a crop so large that the branches break. Keep an eye out for this when the plums are forming and prune about half of them off if the crop looks to be large.
Self-fertile, Victoria produce a good crop of plums in August and September. for our in depth review of the Victoria plum tree including how to prune them, pests and diseases, pollination partners, flowering and fruiting times adjusted to your area of the UK.
The Warwickshire Drooper is a superb plum tree to grow in most parts of the UK. It has lovely looking yellow skinned plums which are slightly smaller than average, two small bites of heavenly taste. Kids love them because they are on the sweet side when mature and the yellow flesh comes away easily from the stone ……..
for our in depth review of the Warwickshire Drooper plum tree including how to prune them, pests and diseases, pollination partners, flowering and fruiting times adjusted to your area of the UK.
How to Grow Plums
Days to germination: Plums are planted as seedlings
Days to harvest: 3 to 5 years after planting
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Watering during dry spells
Soil: Fertile and well-drained
Container: Possible in warmer areas only
For a tree, plums grow fairly small and work particularly well in the small backyard. They have a wide range of temperature tolerances, and you can choose varieties for zones 2 and 3 down to zone 7. Plums are hardy and durable trees that make a great place to start for a home orchard, especially in cooler areas.
The fruit is often eaten raw, though some varieties are better used in baking or other cooked uses. They’re one of the few fruits that are commonly dried commercially, at which point they are known prunes. They have vitamins C and A, and dietary fiber as well.
Starting Your Tree
When you are selecting a plum variety, be aware that most ornamental plums will not produce any fruit. They are grown for the looks only.
While you can get pure plum seedlings, most trees available are grafts. That means the top part of the tree has been “grafted” or attached to the roots of a different tree. This will have no bearing on your fruit production or quality.
To get the best fruit crop, you should plant at least 2 plum trees to get good pollination. Some varieties are self-fertile so you can get away with a single tree if you get the right type. Even self-fertile trees will give more fruit with a pollinator nearby though. Keep them within 50 feet of each other, but no closer than 10 feet.
You’ll want to plant your plum tree in the fall. Dig the hole large enough to comfortably hold the root ball, and add some compost or aged manure in while you are digging up the soil. After planting layer on a heavy application of mulch. Plums have shallow roots and don’t compete well with weeds. Make sure there is no other plants growing around the base of your tree.
Once established, your plum trees won’t need too much care other than a bit of pruning and a feeding of compost each spring. You should only need to water your plum trees when there has been a prolong spate of dry weather. Add more mulch each year if necessary.
Because of the shallow roots, plums do tend to put up shoots or “suckers” around the base of the tree. Cut them or break them off as they just take away from the productivity of the main tree.
Plums can sometime produce more fruit than they can actually handle, and that can lead to broken branches or just smaller fruit. If your plum trees are too overloaded, you will have to pick off some of the extra in order to let the rest develop well without harming the tree. Once the fruit is more than half-sized (roughly mid-summer), pick enough so that none of the remaining fruit is close enough to touch once another.
For pruning, you want to remove any dead or downwardly growing branches. Any suckers that sprout on the branches can be cut off as well. They will be very green and grow straight up, you can’t miss them. Each year, cut back the tallest central branch to encourage the tree to grow sideways instead of up. It makes for easier harvest and more fruit budding potential. Unlike most other fruit trees, it’s better to do your pruning in June rather than wait until the tree is dormant.
There are a few dwarf varieties of plum (such as St Julien A or Pixy) but they are not as cold-tolerant as other plum types. So if you want to grow plums in a container, you will have to be in an area no colder than zone 5. Plant in a 10 gallon or larger container, and keep it well pruned through the growing season. Water your plum tree often during the summer, and feed at least once per year with compost or standard fertilizer.
Pests and Diseases
Overall, plums are quite hardy and will likely give you no problems. But still keep an eye on your trees to catch the pests when they first appear.
If you see small holes dug into your new plums, it may be the larvae of the plum sawfly. They lay their eggs in the blossoms, and the worms eat the fruit as they grow. To control the problem, you will have to spray your trees before you actually see any damage. Spray the tree with an insecticide spray just as the blossoms are starting to fall from the tree. This will kill any eggs that have been laid before they can hatch.
Aphids can also be a problem with plums, though they are generally harmless in small numbers. Too many of them will cause the leaves to brown and fall off. Insecticides can help, and you can also release purchased ladybugs into your yard to help control the aphids (the ladybugs are predators of aphids).
In terms of disease, you need to watch for large black growths on the smaller branches. This is black knot fungus, and should be cut off immediately. Cut the branches about 5 inches farther down than the knots, to get all of the fungus under the bark. Dispose of the knotty pieces, don’t just toss them on the compost pile or the spores will just continue to reinfect your tree. Treat the tree with a fungicide, and repeat treatment in the spring each year as a preventative.
Harvest and Storage
Plums will usually start to produce fruit when they are 3 to 5 years old. Not all varieties of plums turn quite the same color at ripeness, so that’s not always a good way to judge. Your fruit should be slightly soft to the touch when ready to be picked.
You will get your harvest towards the end of the summer, usually over a period of several weeks.
It’s best to store fresh plums in the fridge where they will keep for 4 or 5 days. You can store them a bit longer if you pick them just before they are fully ripe, and store them in a cool dark place. They should keep for up to 2 weeks this way.
- alan frost Says:
July 20th, 2011 at 1:22 am
just read your piece on growing plums in containers. you mention zones is this to do with tempretures if so can you send me more info on this
- Rhonda Anne Says:
December 6th, 2011 at 7:58 pm
If you grow plums in a container do you have to root prune?
- victor Says:
October 12th, 2012 at 6:33 pm
I have several plants growing under atwo year older or older wild plum tree, why should I remave them, i e a s a begonia and pansy????
- Chris Says:
May 25th, 2013 at 6:57 am
how do I know if the plum tree I have is self fertile or not
- Linda penny Says:
September 6th, 2013 at 6:08 am
I just want to know when tp plant,apricots and plum trees,I also want a mandarin tree,I am starting a veggie patch to,I just not sure when to and where to start,never done it before ,thanks Linda
- Michael Zavison Says:
September 18th, 2013 at 9:48 am
I live in Pensacola, Florida. Will plums grow in my area?
- Shay Says:
November 5th, 2013 at 7:01 pm
Hi, I have a beautiful plum that I’ve pruned and used the straight canes for stakes in the vegie patch. 6 of them took root and are doing very well, will these produce fruit, or do plums need to be grafted?
Looking for forward to your reply, and lots of lovely jam.
- Lorna S Says:
September 1st, 2015 at 1:43 pm
Hi, Can you tell me where I can buy pollination powder to dust onto the flowers. My two trees flower at different times and a lack of bees requires me to intervene. Thank you.
- Jeremias Herrera Says:
January 27th, 2019 at 2:00 am
how do I know if the plum tree I have is self fertile or not.
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What’s this yellow plum-like fruit with a spiky stone? West Africa
Best guess: June Plum, apparently underripe.
Another page has pictures of june plums that match your photo quite well:
All the photos above are of the same type of fruit at different stages of ripeness.
Scientific name Spondias Dulcis:
Spondias dulcis (syn. Spondias cytherea), known commonly as ambarella, is an equatorial or tropical tree, with edible fruit containing a fibrous pit. It is known by many other names in various regions, including kedondong in Indonesia, buah long long among the Chinese population in Singapore, pomme cythere in Trinidad and Tobago,1 Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique,2 June plum in Bermuda and Jamaica,1 mangotín in Panama, juplon in Costa Rica, golden apple in Barbados and Guyana, golden plum in Belize, jobo indio in Venezuela, cajá-manga and cajarana in Brazil and São Tomé and Príncipe, quả cóc in Vietnam, manzana de oro in Dominican Republic, cas mango in Cameroon. In Republic of Maldives Anbulha.
Spondias dulcis is most commonly used as a food source. In West Java, its young leaves are used as seasoning for pepes. In Costa Rica, the more mature leaves are also eaten as a salad green though they are tart. However, it is most commonly used for its fruit.
The fruit may be eaten raw; the flesh is crunchy and a little sour. According to Boning (2006): “The fruit is best when fully colored, but still somewhat crunchy. At this stage, it has a pineapple-mango flavor. The flesh is golden in color, very juicy, vaguely sweet, but with a hint of tart acidity.”5 In Indonesia and Malaysia, it is eaten with shrimp paste, a thick, black, salty-sweet sauce called hayko in the Southern Min dialect of Chinese. It is an ingredient in rujak in Indonesia and rojak in Malaysia. The juice is called kedondong in Indonesia, amra in Malaysia, and balonglong in Singapore.
The fruit is made into preserves and flavorings for sauces, soups, and stews. In Fiji it is made into jam. In Samoa and Tonga it is used to make otai. In Sri Lanka the fruit is soaked in vinegar with chili and other spices to make the snack food acharu. In Vietnam the unripe fruit is eaten with salt, sugar, and chili, or with shrimp paste. Children eat the fruit macerated in artificially sweetened licorice extract. In Jamaica, it is mostly considered a novelty, especially by children. It can be eaten with salt or made into a drink sweetened with sugar and spiced with ginger. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is curried, sweetened, salted, or flavored with pepper sauce and spices. In Cambodia it is made into a salad called nhoum mkak. In Suriname, the fruit is dried and made into a spicy chutney, mixed with garlic and peppers. In Thai cuisine both the fruits and the tender leaves are eaten.