Prunus domestica

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Prunus domestica, Linn. (P. communis, Huds.). Common Garden Plum. Figs. 3068 to 3072. Strong-growing small tree with pubescent twigs: lvs. large and thick, dull green, much reticulated, pubescent beneath, ovate or obovate. coarsely and irregujarly serrate: fls. white, large, usually in clusters: fr. various, but firm in texture and usually not depressed about the st.; stone large, slightly rough or pitted.—Native country unknown, but of Eu. or the Eurasian region. If it exists in a truly wild state, it is to be sought in the Caucasus and trans-Caucasus regions. It is run wild in many parts of the world. Focke says that P. domestica is unknown in an originally wild state, and that the typical form of the species is the prune (Zwetsche), P. aeconomica, Borkh. There are various forms of P. domestica grown for ornament, as double-fld., yellow-lvd., and variegated- Ivd. As a fr .-plant it is widely variable. It is the parent species of the old-time or common plums, as distinguished from the Japanese and American plums. The synonymy of the main varietal groups is shown by Waugh, Bot. Gaz. 26, pp. 417-27 (Dec., 1898), and 27, pp. 478-81.

Var. insititia, Bailey (P. insititia, Linn. P. domestica subsp. insititia, Schneid. P. italica, Borkh.). Damson, Bullace, and probably also St. Julien, and other kinds of plums. A form with small foliage and small firm oval or ovoid frs. borne mostly in clusters: tree small and compact.—Damson is a general name for small-fruited and small-lvd. forms of the plum. When the plum runs wild, it usually reverts to this form. Some of the Damsons (as the French, Shropshire, Farleigh) are commercial orchard varieties, being used for culinary purposes. The Mirabelle plum is P. insititia var. syriaca, Koehne. There is much difference of opinion as to the systematic position of the plum designated by Linnaeus as P. insi- titia, but in character it is somewhat intermediate between P. domestica and P. spinosa. It is probably one stage in the reversion of the plum toward wild or half- wild forms. The P. domestica var. damascena, Linn., is indefinite, and the name may well be dropped.

Other forms of P. domestica have received Latin class-names, as var. maliformis, Linn. (P. syriaca, Dipp.), including the Mirabelle (a small-lvd. form with small yellow fr.,not unlike the Damsons) and others; var. Cereola, Linn., the green-gages or Reine Claudes; var. galatensis, Auth., the prunes. Var. elegans, Hort., a recent form, has narrow white-margined lvs.


The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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