Pluots and Apriums

Plant breeder Luther Burbank was the first to cross plums and apricots, thought to be impossible at the time. His goal was to produce an apricot-like fruit which would bear consistently in our wet north coast climate where apricots fail to set fruit most years. In addition to a delicious variety developed by Burbank, there are new hybrids developed by Floyd Zaiger, called Pluots and Apriums. Pluots, which are 75% plum parentage and 25% apricot, do well here while Apriums, which are 75% apricot and 25% plum are difficult to grow here.

Pluots are smooth skinned, like plums, while Apriums are slightly fuzzy, like apricots, but they have unique flavors and generally higher sugar levels than the standard Japanese plum varieties. The new fruits, which are called interspecifics, are complex hybrids of plum and apricot that are created by making several generations of crosses and selecting for desirable traits such as high sugar content.

Pluot and Aprium trees were introduced first to the home garden market in 1989. Some Pluots have strange, speckled skins, but it is the taste that wins people over. Pluots do not have the bitterness in the skin that plums often have, and Apriums have a more full-bodied flavor than an apricot.

“Dapple Dandy” is a pinkish colored pluot with maroon flecks across the skin. It is very unique looking. The taste is definitely like a half plum, half apricot. It is very large and highly flavored. It is also known as “Dinosaur Egg” because of its speckled, egg-like appearance.

“Flavor King” is a wonderful tasting pluot bred with Santa Rosa plum. It is very large and resembles a huge heart-shaped Santa Rosa. One of the most highly flavored pluots ever developed, it has a sweet, spicy flavor. The inner color bright red tinged with yellow-orange near the pit.

“Flavor Supreme” is a taste test winner with sweet, richly flavored, firm red flesh. The skin is mottled greenish-maroon and it bears early in the summer with a flavor similar to Elephant Heart plums.

For a taste experience and something different in the orchard, try a Pluot this year. Fruit trees of all kinds are available to plant especially during “bare root season.”

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