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Plums show great diversity of color, form, size, taste and use. European plums are the blue, green and yellow plums, including prunes, with firm flesh, that mature late in the summer. Japanese plums bloom earlier, mature earlier and are juicier in the flesh. . Plums are adaptable to more climates and soils than the other stone fruits.
European plum trees are deciduous fruit trees native to Europe and widely cultivated for their juicy, sweet plums. They typically grow to be around 15 feet tall and have a rounded, spreading canopy of branches. The leaves are oval-shaped and dark green, and the tree produces clusters of white flowers in the spring. The fruit is usually 1-2 inches in diameter, with a smooth skin and a sweet, juicy flesh. European plums are generally self-fertile, but often need another variety of European plum tree nearby to produce more fruit, and are suitable for growing in a range of climates, from temperate to cool.
Asian plum trees are deciduous fruit trees that are native to Asia and closely related to European plums. They are typically smaller in size than European plums, growing to be about 10-12 feet tall. They have a compact, rounded shape and oval-shaped leaves that are slightly smaller than those of European plums. The tree produces clusters of white or pink flowers in the spring, which are followed by the production of oval-shaped plums that are usually smaller than European plums. The skin of the fruit can be smooth or slightly rough and the flesh is juicy and sweet, but tart near the pit unlike European plum which is sweet at its core. . Unlike European plums, Asian plums are often not self-fertile, so they may require another variety of plum tree nearby to produce fruit. They are well-suited to growing in warm climates and are often used in commercial fruit production.