Prunus salicina

Prunus salicina (syn. Prunus triflora or Prunus thibetica), commonly called the Japanese plum or Chinese plum, is a small deciduous tree native to China. It is now also grown in fruit orchards in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, the United States, and Australia.

Prunus salicina
W sumomo4061.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus subg. Prunus
Section: Prunus sect. Prunus
P. salicina
Binomial name
Prunus salicina
  • Cerasus salicina (Lindl.) Loudon
  • Cerasus triflora Wall.
  • Prunus triflora Roxb.
  • Prunus trifolia Roxb.
  • Prunus thibetica Franch.
  • Prunus armeniaca Blanco
  • Prunus botan André
  • Prunus ichangana C.K.Schneid.
  • Prunus masu Koehne
  • Prunus staminata Hand.-Mazz.
  • Prunus gymnodonta Koehne

Prunus salicina should not be confused with Prunus mume, a related species also grown in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Another tree, Prunus japonica, is also a separate species despite having a Latin name similar to Prunus salicina's common name. Plant breeder Luther Burbank devoted a lot of work to hybridizing this species with the Japanese plum (Prunus salicina) and developed a number of cultivars from the hybrid.[1]


Prunus salicina grows up to 10 metres (33 ft) tall, and has reddish-brown shoots. The leaves are 6-12 cm long and 2.5-5 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are produced in early spring, 2 cm diameter with five white petals.

The fruit is a drupe 4-7 cm in diameter with yellow-pink flesh; it can be harvested in the summer. When fully ripe it can be eaten raw.[2]



In China, candied fruits are also sold preserved, flavoured with sugar, salt, and liquorice. In Japan, it is also used half ripe as a flavouring in a liqueur called sumomo shu (すもも酒),photo and in China a liquor is made from the fruits.[3] For other uses of this and similar species see plum.


The fruits are also used in Traditional Chinese medicine. Japanese plums cv. Crimson Globe may be taken as a source of antioxidants with a potential to counteract oxidation.[4]


The specific epithet, salicina, is derived from the Latin word for willow.[5]


Many different varieties of Prunus salicina, some being hybrid species, are cultivated in China. Prunus salicina is also widely cultivated in Japan and Korea. The most famous variety of this fruit in Vietnam is the Tam Hoa plum grown in Bắc Hà town, in Lào Cai Province.

Cultivars of the species were greatly improved in Japan and thence introduced into the United States in the latter half of the 19th century, where subsequent breeding produced many more cultivars, generally with larger fruit. Many of these American cultivars have been exported to other countries, including back to Japan, their ancestral place of origin.

One more famous cultivar is “Santa Rosa”, named after the city in California. It is a hybrid of two P. salicina cultivars and has a high concentration of sugar.

Most of the fresh plums sold in North American supermarkets are Prunus salicina cultivars. They are grown on a large scale in a number of other countries, for example, they dominate the stone fruit industry in Western Australia.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jones, D. F. (1928). "Burbank's Results with Plums". Journal of Heredity. 19 (8): 359–372. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a103021.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "桃形李酒系列·绍兴市果花香果酒有限公司". 21 October 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. ^ González-Flores D, Velardo B, Garrido M, González-Gómez D, Lozano M, Ayuso M.C, Barriga C, Paredes S.D, Rodríguez A.B. (2011). "Ingestion of Japanese plums (Prunus salicina Lindl. cv. Crimson Globe) increases the urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin and total antioxidant capacity levels in young, middle-aged and elderly humans: Nutritional and functional characterization of their content". Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 50(4): 229-236.
  5. ^ "Plants For A Future Search Error". Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia". 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 6 May 2018.

External linksEdit