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  • From: "MARIE ASHTON" <>
  • To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] prunus genetics
  • Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 14:05:46 -0600

Shiro is a cross of the varieties Robinson, Myrobalan and Wickson. Within this cross are the plum species P. salicina, P. simonii, P. cerasifera and P. munsoniana.
Methley is a cross of P. salicina and P. cerasifera.
As Diane quoted Santa Rosa contains the species P. salicina, P. simonii and P. americana. It is not a "true" P. salicina plum as are Abundance, Burbank and Satsuma.
I should add here, that there is no such thing as a truly pure Prunus salicina plum as all are hybrids to some degree. The species actually came from China and was imported into Japan.
Of all the "true" Japanese plum varieties, Burbank has done the best in the East over the years and will usually set a heavy crop in the East and needs thinning to obtain the best fruit size and quality. It has some problems with fungal diseases in humid climates.
I believe that your are right about temperature being a factor in the fruit set of some "Japanese" plums in the East but it may be winter bud hardiness more than spring temperatures. Some of the "Japanese" plums are known not to be very winter hardy. The P. salicina hybrids with native American plum species seem to do better in the East and Southeast, generally.
Richard Ashton
Oak Creek Orchard
----- Original Message -----
From: Alan Haigh
Sent: Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:19 PM
Subject: [NAFEX] prunus genetics

I was having a discussion of the genetic background or ancestry of some popular plum varieties with a member and he surprised me with the info that Shiro and Methely are not purely salicina.  I spent several minutes on-line trying to find a site with further information and the quest was fruitless (no pun...).
He suggests that pure Japanese varieties, of which he includes Santa Rosa as an example, don't tend to set fruit well in the east because of their pure salicina genes.  I always assumed that Santa Rosa was a shy cropper as result of our climate because some years with mild winters it sets pretty well.  I figure it to be a warm weather plum.
I would greatly appreciate any clarification and information sources any of you can provide including some genetic background on common plum varieties, especially those usually described as exclusively Japanese.

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