Plum Facts

Plum Facts
Plum is a deciduous tree that belongs to the family of roses (Rosacea). There are more than 200 varieties of plums that are derived from two basic types: European and Japanese plum. Exact origin of European plum is unknown, but researchers believe that this type of fruit has been cultivated even in the ancient times. Despite its name, Japanese plum originates from China. Cultivation in Japan started 300 to 400 years ago. Plum is mostly cultivated in temperate and warm areas around the world. This plant requires direct sunlight and moist, well drained, fertile soil. People cultivate plums mostly because of their fruit. Some varieties of plums are cultivated for ornamental purposes because of their beautiful flowers.
Interesting Plum Facts:
Plum usually grows 10 to 20 feet in height and develops the crown of the same dimensions.
Plum has reddish to brown bark that is smooth in young trees and furrowed in older trees.
Shape and size of leaves depend on the variety. Some types of plum have oblong leaves with pointed tips while others have oval leaves that are serrated on the edges. Leaves are usually 2 to 4 inches long and green in color. They become yellow, orange and purple in the autumn.
Fruit-bearing trees develop miniature white flowers, while flowering trees (which does not produce fruit) develop pink flowers arranged in clusters.
Insects, such as honeybees are main pollinators of flowers.
Plum belongs to the group of stone fruit (it has single seed protected with pit). Pit can be firmly attached to the surrounding flesh (known as clingstone type) or it can be easily separated from the flesh (known as freestone type).
Plum has smooth skin that can be yellow, green, red or purple in color. Flesh is juicy and varies in color from yellow to red. Varieties with red flesh contain more sugar and have sweeter taste compared to varieties with yellow flesh.
Production of fruit starts 3 to 5 years after planting. Productivity starts to decline after 10th year.
Amygdalin is chemical compound isolated from seed. It turns into toxic compound known as cyanide in the human body.
Plum is rich source of vitamins C and K and dietary fibers. Sugar content depends on the variety.
Plums can be used raw or in the form of juices, jellies, marmalades and cakes.
Dried plums are known as prunes. They are often consumed during the winter, when fresh fruit is not available.
High content of dietary fibers facilitates emptying of bowels. Both fresh and dry plums can be used as natural laxative.
Plum is used for the production of wine in China, cider-like alcoholic beverage (called plum jerkum) in England and for plum brandy (called slivovitz) in Serbia.
Plum can survive up to 20 years when it is cultivated under optimal conditions.

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