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Kinds of Plum Trees

plum image by Henryk Olszewski from

Plum trees provide fresh, juicy plums to eat right off the tree, or for use in a number of recipes. The fruits add tasty flavoring to sauces, jams, butters and baked goods. The plum tree provides an ornamental value to the landscaping with beautiful foliage and fragrant blossoms in the spring. According to the National Gardening Association, plum trees come in three different kinds.

European Plums

European plum trees are hardy and the most selected to grow in the backyards of homes across the United States. This plum tree type thrives best in areas where temperatures do not get too hot or too cold, such as the northwest and eastern areas of the country. Three popular varieties of European plum trees include Stanley, Italian and Seneca. Stanley is self-fertile and extremely fruitful, Italian plums work well for drying or canning and the Seneca plum trees produces oblong, large fruits that are often eaten right off the tree.

Japanese Plums

Japanese plum trees came to the United States through Japan in the 1800s, but they originate in China. These plum varieties grow best in areas where peach trees thrive, and are considered more fragile than the other two kinds of plum trees. The Japanese plum tree produces juicer plums, but the flavor of the fruits is less sweet than the European plums. Two popular types of Japanese plum trees are the Satsuma and the Santa Rosa.

American Hybrids

American hybrids can grow in areas of the country where the other two types could not due to extreme conditions. These kinds of plum trees grow well in areas with freezing conditions, such as the northern Midwest and in the southeast areas where other types of plums trees often encounter diseases. American hybrid plum varieties to grow as suggested by the National Gardening Association include American plums, bush plums and the hardy beach (or shore) plum.

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