“The Prunus family is so wantonly profligate, dallying with any sibling, cousin, and even offspring that chances by, it is surprising they aren’t illegal in some states.”
—Jack Straub, 75 Remarkable Fruits For Your Garden
Yes, the Prunus, or stone fruit family, which includes cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines, has quite a few new branches on its family tree in the form of hybrids. Excluding genetically modified fruit—which will never be included in The FruitGuys cases—hybridizations occur both naturally and in a controlled manner, taking years and sometimes decades of cultivation to perfect.
Along with all the lovely summer classics that are starting to make an appearance, we’ll definitely be featuring some tasty stone fruit hybrids in the coming months. The primary hybrids you’ll see are:
The classic 50/50 hybrid of plum and apricot, these gems have been known of for hundreds of years in regions where both plums and apricots are grown. The name “plumcot” was coined in the early 20th century by American horticulturist Luther Burbank, who was the first to successfully cross the two commercially.
Developed in the late 20th century by Midwest biologist Floyd Zaiger, pluots are a plum/apricot hybrid, with more plum than apricot—somewhere between three-fifths and three-quarters plum—and have a vibrant tart-sweet flavor.
Also developed by Zaiger, apriums are the inverse of pluots, tangy-delicious at around three-fifths or three-quarters apricot.
Zaiger is additionally credited with developing “peacharines,” a peach/nectarine cross that’s not quite as common as the three main hybrids listed here. And although they may never make their way into the mainstream, there are other varieties variously available at farmer’s markets or for home planting, such as the nectarcot, nectaplum, peachcot, plucot, and cherrycot. There’s even the fairly recent interspecific “peacotum,” which is a peach/apricot/plum three-in-one.
Here at The FruitGuys, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a five-way cherpleachtarcot. Enjoy!
Gretchen Bay is Creative Services Manager for The FruitGuys.