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.

Four Seasons Mulberry, or Taiwanese Four Seasons Mulberry

Four Seasons mulberry is a unique cultivar that is able to produce fruits from May and into December in Sacramento Valley.  I suspect it is ...