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Prunus domestica - L.
                 
Common Name Plum, European plum
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Found in hedges in Britain[17].
Range Europe to W. Asia. Naturalized in Britain. A hybrid P. spinosa x P. cerasifera divaricata.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Prunus domestica Plum, European plum


Prunus domestica Plum, European plum
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prunus domestica is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jul to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
P. communis. non L.
Habitats
Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; East Wall. By. South Wall. By. West Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Gum;  Oil;  Oil;  Tea.

Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 2, 7, 46]. The fruit varies considerably from cultivar to cultivar, but it is generally somewhat mealy, soft and juicy with a delicious flavour ranging from very sweet to acid[K]. The more acid fruits are usually only used for cooking purposes[K]. The fruit varies widely in size according to cultivar but can be 8cm long and contains a single large seed[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity. An edible gum is obtained from points of damage on the trunk[64]. The seed contains about 20% of an edible semi-drying oil[4, 57]. It has an agreeable almond smell and flavour[4]. The flowers are eaten. They are used as a garnish for salads and ice cream or brewed into a tea[183].
Medicinal Uses


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Febrifuge;  Laxative;  Stomachic.

The dried fruit, known as prunes, is a safe and effective laxative and is also stomachic[4, 7, 21, 238]. The bark is sometimes used as a febrifuge[7]. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].
Other Uses
Adhesive;  Dye;  Gum;  Oil;  Oil;  Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark[115]. A gum obtained from points of damage along the stem can be used as an adhesive[64]. The ground up seeds are used cosmetically in the production of face-masks for dry skin[7]. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[64]. No details of its uses. Wood - hard, compact. Used for musical instruments[115].
Cultivation details
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[1, 11] and a sheltered position[200]. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but it is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[1]. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5[200]. The plum is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in temperate zones, there are many named varieties able to supply fresh fruits from late July to November or December[183]. Many cultivars are fully self-fertile, though some are partially self-sterile and others require cross-pollination[200]. Where space is at a premium, or at the limits of their climatic range, plums can be grown against a wall. Most cultivars will grow well against a sunny south or west facing wall, whilst an east facing wall will suit some of the tougher cultivars, a north facing wall is not really suitable[219]. This species is probably a hybrid of ancient origin between P. spinosa and P. cerasifera, coupled with chromosome doubling[17]. It does not cross-pollinate with the Japanese plum, P. salicina[200]. Prefers growing in a continental climate, mild winters tend to encourage earlier flowering with a greater risk of frost damage to the blossom. In Britain the best fruits are produced away from the western side of the country. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Propagation
Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
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Prunus angustifolia watsoniiSand Plum41
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Prunus cerasoidesWild Himalayan Cherry22
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Subject : Prunus domestica  

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