Plum

Prunus X domestica L.

Order: Rosales

Family: Drupoideae

Names:

Prunus
X domestica because it is the domesticated hybrid or crossed (X) form.
Plum

Other Names:

Prune

Summary:

A deciduous tree, with dark, round, fleshy stone fruit.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

Leaves:

Alternate.
Stipules -
Petiole - Yes.
Blade - Dull green, egg shaped, wrinkled, with a fine tapering tip and toothed edges. Hairless on top furry underneath.

Stems:

Erect, stout, branched to 10000 mm tall with branches to 3000 mm wide.

Flower head:

Flowers:

White or pink.
Ovary -
Sepals -
Petals - 5, white or pink.
Stamens -
Anthers -

Fruit:

Dark, smooth skinned with a soft flesh covering a hard stone.

Seeds:

Enclosed in a stone.

Roots:

Key Characters:

A deciduous tree.
The leaves are alternate, hairless on top and furry underneath and have toothed margins.
5 petalled white or pink flowers.
The fruit is dark, smooth skinned with a soft flesh covering a hard stone.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Deciduous, perennial tree.

Physiology:

Frost resistant. Sensitive to drought.
Moderately low chilling temperatures are required.
Most cultivars require cross pollination.

Reproduction:

Seed and grafts.

Flowering times:

Spring.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Grafts.

Hybrids:

Many commercial varieties including Angelina, Coe's Golden Drop, Early Orleans, Greengage, Jefferson, King Billy, President, Prun d'Agen, Robe de Sargent

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed and grafted stock.

Origin and History:

Europe. South western Asia. Persia.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.

Habitats:

Prefers open sunny areas.

Climate:

Cool to warm temperate areas with winter rainfall exceeding 635 mm per year or irrigated areas.
Dry early summer period required to avoid Brown Rot.

Soil:

Grows on a wide range of soils. Prefers well drained medium to heavy soils but can withstand some waterlogging.

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Popular fruit eaten fresh, canned and used for conserves.
Dried to make prunes.
Pollen.

Detrimental:

Toxicity:

Seeds contain cyanide. No cases of poisoning recorded in Australia but it has been reported in attempted suicides elsewhere.

Symptoms:

HCN toxicity.

Legislation:

None.

Management and Control:

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Pests include Bryobia mite, Cherry Slug, San Jose Scale, Light Brown Apple Moth and Two Spotted Mite.
Diseases include Brown Rot, Prune Rust and Shot Hole.

Related plants:

Almond (Prunus amygdalus, Prunus dulcis or Prunus communis)
American Red Plum (Prunus americana)
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus)
Bullace (Prunus insititia)
Catalina Cherry (Prunus lyonii)
Cherry (Prunus avium)
Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Cherry Plum or Myrobalan (Prunus cerasifera)
Chinese Cherry (Prunus japonica)
Chinese Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa)
Chokecherry or Virginian Bird Cherry (Prunus virginiana)
Flowering Almond (Prunus triloba)
Fuji Cherry (Prunus incisa)
Goose Plum (Prunus hortulana)
Holy-leaved Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia)
Japanese Apricot (Prunus mume)
Japanese Cherry (Prunus sargentii)
Japanese Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)
Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina)
Manchurian Cherry (Prunus maakii)
Nectarine (Prunus persica var. nectarina)
Peach (Prunus persica var. persica)
Perfumed Cherry or St Lucia Cherry (Prunus mahaleb)
Pin Cherry or Wild Cherry (Prunus pennsylvanica)
Plum (Prunus X domestica or Prunus spinosa)
Portugal Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Rosebud Cherry (Prunus subhirtella)
Sour Cherry (Prunus cerasus)
Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium)
Taiwan Cherry (Prunus campanulata)
Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Yoshino Cherry (Prunus yedoensis)

Plants of similar appearance:

References:

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia). P840-841.

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney). P607.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1027.6.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P183-184.

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.