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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Parentage determines characteristics of plum hybrids

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

Pluots are a plum-apricot cross, with more plum parentage than apricot.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

"I saw this fruit in the store, it's kind of like a plum but bigger and the skin looks sort of like one of those apples with the stripy kind of colors and ..."

"Pluot," I said.

"No, it was something else. Some kind of cross."

"Plumcot," I said.

"Yeah!!!," said the questioner.

And actually pluots are only part of the story. There's also the plumcot. And the aprium. And there's a p.s. after that.

Pluots are a plum-apricot cross that has more of the characteristic of a plum because it has more plum parentage than apricot: smooth, crisp skin, round shape. However, the skin isn't as bitter as that of a true plum.

Plumcots are a plum-apricot cross with equal plum and apricot parentage; they can resemble either in shape and skin. Some look like apricots on steroids and so bright-orange they appear to be glowing.

Apriums are apricot-plum crosses that have more apricot parentage; they resemble plums in shape and apricots in skin type.

All are said to have a more assertive flavor and generally juicier texture than their principle parents.

Pluots, apriums, and plumcots are what is known as as an "interspecific plum" — a plum cross. Plums have also been crossed with cherries (plerry? chum? cherum?).

We haven't seen the aprium or the plum cherry here, but pluots are available in some local grocery stores now. Depending on where they're grown and which variety, these fruit have a season that ranges from June through October.

The crosses, which were very difficult to achieve and took a generation to develop, somehow seem to bring out the best of both worlds. New hybrids are being introduced all the time as growers, primarily in California, seek out the most interesting blend of characteristics.