Plums belong to the stone fruit. They grow on approx. 4 m high, summer-green trees with dense crowns. Prunes are to be found in different varieties, which are hardly distinguishable. In a wider sense plums, mirabelles and greengages belong to prunes.
Prunes and plums often merge into each other due to hybridization. In the meantime there are more than 2,000 types spread across all parts of the world. For the production of dried prunes only those varieties are suitable which are not prone to fermentation. One differs between the sourish ‘Italian’ and the round sweet ‚French’. The best known French is named ‚d’ Agen’. It has prevailed in France, USA and South America.
The Frenchman Louis Pellier introduced the French varieties to America in 1865. Both kinds, the ‘Italian’ and the ‘French’, have a dark violet skin easily parting from the fruit flesh when fully ripe. Persia is the origin of the plums and from there they came to us via Asia Minor and Greece. Nowadays main growing areas are USA (California), France and the previous Yugoslavia, Chile, Argentina and Bulgaria.
Prunes are used in different sectors. The bakery- and confectionary industry, for cereal production and dried fruit mixtures. They can also be taken as a snack or as a mild laxative.