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Apricot crossed with a plum?

Apriums, pluots, and piumcots-what are they? Their names may not roll off the tongue, but if it helps any, they're called interspecific hybrids. They're crosses between related but different types of fruit. An aprium is 75 percent apricot and 25 percent plum. That means the breeder crossed an apricot with a plum, then crossed the resulting hybrid with another apricot. A pluot is 75 percent plum and 25 percent apricot. A plumcot is half apricot and half plum. You can grow interspecific hybrids in most of the same locations where plums and apricots grow. They're not proven in the mildest winter climates of Southern California or Arizona (Sunset Western Garden Book climate zones 13 and 22 to 24); in these areas, winter cold is not sufficient for proper dormancy. In the coldest winter areas of the West (zone 1), late frosts may kill blossoms.

They've been years in the making

Apriums, pluots, and plumcots are the work of fruit breeder Floyd Zaiger of Modesto, California. 'Plum Parfait' plumcot was released in 1976. After 20 years of trials, 'Flavor Delight' aprium and 'Flavor Supreme' pluot are availability this winter for the first time. 'Flavor Delight' aprium looks and tastes like an apricot, but it is a little juicier and has a touch of plum flavor.

'Flavor Supreme' pluot has mottled green-yellow and red skin. The interior is light red to deep burgundy. Its flavor is plum-like, but sweeter, and with a hint of an apricot's taste and texture.

'Plum Parfait' plumcot tooks like an apricot but has a red blush on the skin and red flesh near the pit; it's slightly more tart. Both 'Flavor Delight' and 'Flavor Supreme' are vigorous trees that look, as you would guess, like an apricot crossed with a plum. They grow more upright (to 12 to 15 feet) than an apricot but have wider leaves than a plum. 'Plum Parfait' resembles a plum tree, but it's more compact and grows only 10 to 12 feet tall. For best fruit production, apriums and pluots need a pollinator. 'Flavor Delight' and 'Flavor Supreme' can pollinate each other. Any Japanese plum can pollinate 'Flavor Supreme', and any apricot 'Flavor Delight'. 'Plum Parfait' is self-fruitful and widely available bare-root from nurseries and mail-order fruit catalogs.

To order pluots or apriums, write for a free catalog from Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co., Louisiana, Mo. 63353.
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Date:Jan 1, 1989
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