History of the Plum

Established in 1737, the Prince Nursery of Flushing, New York were the first to advertise plums for sale. Prince Nursery is the earliest reference to European plums in America to date. Their scientific name is Prunus domestica. Luther Burbank wrote of plums in his fourth book about small fruits out of a series of twelve. Burbank was behind the propagation of many plum cultivars and wanted to make the fruit more popular. Plum trees were very easy to grow in America because of the stone fruit that came before it. Farmers were familiar with how to grow stone fruit properly and soon plums became very popular in America and all around the world. P. Domestica is also suited for colder climates, making propagation of the tree easier in climates outside of California.

Another type of plum is the Japanese plum, or Prunus salicina. It originated in China, but was never as popular there as the peach. They are known for their size, flavor, color and keeping ability - and Luther Burbank utilized P. salicina cultivars in developing many of his varieties, including the Santa Rosa plum. Many P. salicina cultivars and their descendants are difficult to grow in climates outside of those similar to California because of their temperature sensitivity.

Kingsburg Orchards now grows over 25 plum varieties - not including their extensive inter-specific plum and pluot lineup that is continually growing.