Sunday, July 5, 2020

Not so common plums. Sultan, Peach-plum Hybrid DPRU 377, and Jefferson

Sultan plum was recently revived by few CRFG members.  I grafted this cultivar in 2018.  It produced some fruits the first time this year. These are very good meaty sweet dark plums. Ready in early July. The scions should become more available at the CRFG winter exchanges.

DPRU 377 was noticed by friends and myself during an orchard walk at Wolfskill in 2013. The leaves looked peachy from the distance, but the tree grew in the plum area.  We tasted the fruits and found them very flavorful. There are no records of this accession in the USDA GRIN database. And there was only this single tree in the orchard. The picture of the tag on the tree said that  it is a complex cross: MyroXSpinosa X Domestica

We obtained the scions from the USDA the following winter and grafted them. While the grafts grew well (on the proper rootstocks), the fruiting took years to occur. This year I got only 2 fruits on the tree I made in 2016 on the Citation rootstock.  My graft from 2014 onto the Santa Rosa plum branch is barely surviving. After tasting the first fruit this year I consider this maybe the best "plum" I tasted. Sweet, flavorful and very aromatic. It has unusual flattened shape. The stone is small, like a plum, but it has indentations similar to a peach stone. After searching though GRIN again, I found that accession DPRU 375 was originated from the former USSR in 1939. If the USDA was tagging the accessions in the order received, DPRU 377 could be from the same batch of acquisitions. This gave me a clue that I should be checking Russian web postings of plum-peach hybrids.  The search yielded two videos, both in Russian, that show this fruit and the tree.  Both look identical to what we found at Wolfskill.  My fruit in my picture looks lighter, I suspect it is because my tree grows in part shade and I covered the fruit with a clam shell to make sure it gets into my hands.

Sultan plum (left) and DPRU 377 from July 4, 2020

Russian videos about the peach-plum hybrid that I suspect is identical or very similar to DPRU 377

My Jefferson Gage Plum that ripened at the same time turned out to be mislabeled.  Most likely, it is an Asian plum that was sold as Green Gage Jefferson Strain by the LE Cooke nursery.  I got couple of these trees to use as bases for all other gages I wanted to grow. Few years later, I learned that this tree does not accept grafts of the proper gages. Even if they take for a year or two, they do not grow when grafted onto this plum. The fruit flesh of this plum is extremely, even painfully sweet, and juicy too. However, the skin is very sour. The stone never separates easily.  The tree is fast growing and very productive.

Fake Jefferson Plum harvested on July 4

Early White peaches. Sha Zi Zao Sheng and Feng Bao

Sha Zi Zao Sheng was ready on June 15 and I picked two fruits of Feng Bao on June June 29.  Both are grafted in 2018 onto the same tree of Baby Crawford peach.

I really liked Sha Zi Zao Sheng peach.  It reminded me the honey peaches I had two years ago in China.  Very sweet with little acidity. Melting flesh. Feng Bao was very good too, and I'm looking forward to getting more of these in the years to come. Sha Zi Zao Sheng fruits are larger, and they are ready two weeks earlier than Feng Bao fruits.

Sha Zi Zao Sheng peaches from June 15, 2020

Feng Bao peaches from June 29, 2020

I picked the scions of these cultivars at the CRFG winter exchanges. I don't believe anyone is growing these commercially as they are extremely perishable.  

Late Mid Season apricots. Royal Blenheim, Red Sweet, and Steindorf Blenheim

Three apricot cultivars ripened later than most of other mid-season apricots.  Royal Blenheim, Red Sweet, and Steindorf Blenheim.  The Royal Blenheim should be ahead of the Steindorf Blenheim, but my tree of the Royal is young, and this might be the reason why they were ready just a few days ahead of Steindorf.

All these are excellent apricots, very fruity and aromatic.

June 29 pictures and tasting of Royal Blenheim (left) and Red Sweet

June 31 pictures of Red Sweet

June 31 pictures of Steindorf Blenheim

All these apricots should be available when in season from Andy's Orchard shop in Morgan Hill, CA. Royal Blenheim trees are available from most nurseries, and the Red Sweet and Steindorf Blenheim scions are usually available at the CRFG winter exchanges.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mulberry cv. Black Prince

The tree is large, with the fruits ripening mid to late June in Sacramento Valley. The fruits are up to 2 inches long, fat, very dark with the lighter middle core. They are sweet with some acid, and nicely flavored. The fruit holds well for a mulberry and may have a good shelf life (when I get enough to keep them on a shelf).

The cultivar should be frost resistant, but this needs to be evaluated better in the US.  It grows as far North as Lithuania and Southern Finland.

I am planning to make this accession more available in the US. Currently we have one small grafted tree available for purchase at

Avocado fruitlets in June

Young avocado fruitlets as seen on June 19, 2020 in Davis and Vacaville.


Brazos Belle

Guatemalan seedling UCD




Royal Wright

Second Red

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Midseason Apricots

The tasting evaluation and photo from June 17, 2020

Lasgerdi Mashhad, Cot-N-Candy, and Monique are white apricots.  

Bonny Royal - Sweet with some acid, juicy, strong apricot flavor, very productive.  The fruits are available from Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill.

Deinocot - Soft, strong apricot flavor, productive.  The scionwood is occasionally available at the CRFG winter exchanges.

Lasgerdi Mashhad - Very sweet, structured and juicy with peachy - flowery flavor. The trees are available from the Arboreum Company

Ram Rock - Not fully ripened yet. Classic apricot flavor, juicy and soft. The scionwood is occasionally available at the CRFG winter exchanges.

Golden Sweet - Firm, not really sweet and not ready yet. The scionwood is occasionally available at the CRFG winter exchanges.

Cot-N-Candy - soft, very sweet with rose flavor. The trees are available at most retail nurseries.

Moniqui - sweet, rich apricot flavor, very juicy, soft and fruity. The trees are available from the Arboreum Company

All ripe cultivars were good and enjoyable to eat. Just Ram Rock and Golden Sweet need to be evaluated at a later date.  My favorite from here is Lasgerdi Mashhad.

Lasgerdi Mashhad (the white ones) and Golden Sweet



Another apricot to note here is my recent graft from one of the apricot trees at the Jack London Historic Park in Glen Ellen.  It is JL-7 in my records, fruited first time for me this season. Very nice white sweet with some acid, good apricoty flavor. I picked this fruit on June 10.
JL-7 apricot

Eugenia itaguahiensis or Dwarf Grumichama

My dwarf grumichama has finally fruited in June of 2020.  The seed was collected in the fall of 2015 and germinated in early 2016.  The plant grows like a shrub with multiple stems. It overwintered fine in Davis in a 15 gallon potting bag by the Southern wall. I was calling this specimen Eugenia brasiliensis until recently, when I learned that this is the dwarf grumichama, Eugenia itaguahiensis.

The plant bloomed the first time in 2019, but no fruit were made that year.  This year, I learned that this plant requires a lot of moisture to hold the fruit.  I placed the pot in the large container, and I was filling it with an inch of water every day. This helped to bring the plant to producing a good amount of fruit. The fruits are not dropping from plant when they are ripe. They need to be pulled from the plant when fully black.  The flavor is pretty nice, fruity, sweet, but I don't like the skin that is a bit tough for me.  My son and husband do not notice the skin at all. Somehow the fruit reminds them a blueberry. The fruit has a few large seeds usually. All the pictures are from this year.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Early apricots

A week or so ago I had a few fruits of Katy apricot from a new graft.  I'll wait for another year and let the grafts to mature before reviewing it. 

My Flavor Delight Aprium tree I have for 15 years, and it is a very reliable and abundant producer.  White Knockout and Twocot apricots are the recent additions.  Below in the picture, left to right are White Knockout, Flavor Delight, and Twocot. The picture and the tasting are from June 4, 2020.

All these are excellent apricots.  Flavor Delight is an aprium, but really tastes just as an apricot. White Knockout and Twocot are white apricots.

White Knockout is very sweet with mild acidity, juicy with nice crunchy texture and smooth skin.
Flavor Delight is sweet, juicy with melting soft texture, velvety skin. Highly productive tree.
Twocot is very sweet, melting but structured and chewy texture, small wonderful fruits.


White Knockout is a patented cultivar, and the trees are available from the Burchell nursery The fruits, when in season might be available from Andy's Orchard store in Morgan Hill, CA.  Most likely, there are other orchards that grow this outstanding apricot too.
Flavor Delight trees are common in nurseries.  We usually have the scions at the CRFG winter exchanges. I'm not sure if the fruits are grown commercially.  They might be too soft for the large scale picking and packing.
Twocot is a patented cultivar, and the trees are available from Stark Bro's. Andy's Orchard produces the fruits that can be found at their store in Morgan Hill, CA.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Loquat tasting on May 30, 2020

Describing here fruits of eight cultivars from three different locations. Argelino, Kando and Strawberry fruits are from my tree in Davis, CA. Fletcher White, Ed's Delight and Brandenton from a tree in Vacaville, and Haseeb and Frana came from a friend in Sacramento.

Frana, Ed's Delight, and Fletcher White are white loquats.  The other five fruits are orange.

Haseeb - Large fruits, soft, very juicy, sweet, no acidity, the flavor reminds the sweet soft summer apple with strawberry notes

Kando (Kanro) - Large fruits, firm, but still juicy, very sweet with low acidity, baked apple flavored

Bradenton - Normally larger fruits than the one in the picture, but all large fruits were too firm to pick.  The picked fruit is still not ripe, has some acidity, the flavor includes sweet under-ripe cherry

Frana - Medium size fruits, mildly sweet with no acidity, the flavor is mild and unusual, as it includes the distinct sugar pea and mild pear notes

Ed's Delight - Medium to large fruits, firm, sweet with little acidity, pear flavored

Fletcher White - Small fruits in large clusters, very juicy, very sweet with little acidity, bright pear-strawberry flavored. Below is a cluster of Fletcher White fruits. This year many fruits contained more than one seed.

Argelino (Angelino)- Large fruits, very juicy, a flavor bomb, as it contains high sugar and relatively high acidity, apricot-grape flavored

Strawberry - Medium size fruits, soft and juicy, sweet with little acidity, pear-strawberry flavored

My picks from this tasting are Argelino and Fletcher White

Plant material availability

None of these loquats are widely distributed. Argelino, Kando, Bradenton, and Ed's Delight trees are occasionally available from a few hobbyists, check the gardening forums and Facebook groups when looking for them. The scions are occasionally available at the CRFG exchanges. Currently, we are shipping the scions of Kando, Argelino, and Fletcher White, and we might have the trees later. Please check Really Good Plants for availability.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Loquat tasting on May 23, 2020

All fruits were collected from my combination tree on the same day, May 23 of 2020 in Davis, CA.

McBeth and Gold Nugget are pretty sweet but simple and flat. Franceschi Park surprised me this year as it developed a good amount of sugar.  The flavor is very nice, with the honey notes, some acidity, and the fruit is very juicy. I only have a very small graft and should back it up.  It will never be overly popular as the amount of flesh is not very large, but I want preserve it. The best loquats here are Argelino and Kando.  They are quite different, and it its hard for me to place one over the other.  However, I found that some people do not detect/sense the sugars in Kando.

Here is the order of my preference:
1. Argelino
1. Kando
3. Franceschi Park
4. McBeth
5. Gold Nugget

Plant material availability

McBeth and Gold Nugget are available from La Verne nursery which supplies them to the large retailers. Argelino and Kando trees are occasionally available from a few hobbyists, check the gardening forums and Facebook groups when looking for them.  Currently, we are shipping the scions, and we might have the trees later. Please check Really Good Plants for availability.
The original tree of Franceschi Park loquat grows at the Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara, California. See the picture and location of the tree below.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Avocado cv. Long South Gate

It was about a year ago when CRFG were asked to check out a very old avocado tree in the Los Angeles area.  The tree produced unusually large and long fruits, and the owner was very exited about it.  As the Festival of Fruit was coming up in summer of 2019 the LA area, I decided to visit with the owner while attending the event. My friend Ray and I met with the owner Leonard B. in August, where we found three very large and old avocado trees.  The trees came with the house and Leonard didn't know much about them. Only one of them produces these enormous fruits. Leonard himself does not eat avocados, but his neighbors pick the fruit. He provided us with the pictures of the fruits, that are about 9 inches long.
The fruits ripen in fall and the leaves have anise smell, suggesting that this is a Mexican type avocado. Leonard graciously offered us to collect the wood and some unripe fruits. Ray and I grafted the scions onto our established trees. My grafts survived the winter fine and are growing pretty well now. I also made three new Long South Gate trees on Aravaipa and Duke seedlings. I am looking forward to evaluating this avocado in the conditions of Sacramento Valley.

An interesting detail about the location of these trees is that the Leonard's lot is a part of the original California land grants in the LA area. These trees look old enough for me to speculate that they may have been there before the land was divided into smaller lots. I'd like to extend my speculation by saying that they maybe a part of the early avocado introductions in California.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Early blooming apples

These are the five cultivars I found blooming on March 27, 2020.  They should be good pollinators for each other.

Pervenec Samarkanda

I received this accession couple of years ago from the USDA Geneva collection.  I am interested to see how this cultivar will perform here.  Our summers in Vacaville are similar to the hot summers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. This is a very early ripening cultivar, and can be ready from end of June in Uzbekistan.

Pepin Litovskii

The cultivar has many other names, and thought to have originated in Eastern Europe. This apple ripens in Russia in September, but I suspect it should be earlier here in the CA Central Valley.  The fruits can be stored up to four months in fridge. This apple came to me as a cutting from the USDA Geneva collection.

Pepin Shafranyi

Excellent early dessert apple. A favorite in Russia. The cultivar was bred and selected by Michurin in 1907. The cuttings came to me from the USDA Geneva collection.

Brushy Mountain Limbertwig

The perennial favorite at the apple tastings held by the Monterey Bay Chapter of CRFG. I picked the scion at one of the CRFG winter exchanges in NorCal.

Hidden Rose

Also known as Airlie Redflesh. This is a pink fleshed apple originated in Oregon.  The cuttings show up at the CRFG exchanges. I obtained mine a few years ago from a fellow CRFG member.

Not so common plums. Sultan, Peach-plum Hybrid DPRU 377, and Jefferson

Sultan  plum was recently revived by few CRFG members.  I grafted this cultivar in 2018.  It produced some fruits the first time this year...