Plums, gages and damsons. Prunum is the Ancient Latin name for a plum, Prunus, for a plum tree. The recorded history of the plum family goes back to ancient Greece, when the cultivation of such fruit had already been established for centuries in Eastern Europe and north western Asia. The Romans were possibly the first to introduce specific varieties to Britain, though plum species in Britain pre-existed the invasion and trade with Europe was already well established, so cultivated varieties of plum probably arrived earlier.
There is technically no distinction between a plum and a gage, though in England a gage is often understood as a green fruit with a fine flavour. Gages are not necessarily green but are very sweet and juicy so more suitable for eating raw. Damsons are slightly more distinct and are probably closer to individual species that naturally grow further north and west in the world, than the original species that made up the ancestry of plums and gages. The origins of all these fruits are lost in prehistory. Damsons are close enough to plums and gages to allow good cross pollination between them, when it comes to setting fruit. Pollination here is generally easier than with apples and pears, because some varieties are self fertile, but allowance must be made for those which are not. Planting more than one tree is advisable as it will make for bigger crops.



Plums are one of the earliest fruits to flower. Although most flower at overlapping times, there are a few which flower rather early or rather late. These will need a pollinator of the same flowering time if they are not self fertile. Also, some trees are deemed incompatible with another particular tree, and pairings need to bear this in mind.

Flowering times of varieties are not always consistent relative to each other or from place to place and year to year. Each variety in the list is given a label of early, middle or late flowering, and pollination chances are maximised by choosing plants from the same group, if planting only a few. Our plums, gages and damsons are usually grafted onto St Julien ‘A’ rootstocks, dwarfing the trees from their native size but still resulting in a medium sized tree. Some are grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks. like Pixy.