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A plum is a stone-fruit tree in the Prunus family. Its fruit is sweet, juicy and edible, and it can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or other recipes. Dried plums are known as prunes. Prunes are sweet and juicy, and they have a very high fibre content, so prune juice is often used to help regulate the functioning of the digestive system. Prune marketers in the United States have, in recent years, begun marketing their product as "dried plums".

Plums come in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Some are much firmer-fleshed than others and some have yellow, white, green or red flesh, with equally varying skin colour.

Plum species in use today include:

  • greengage plum (firm, green flesh and skin even when ripe)
  • satsuma plum (firm red flesh with a red skin)
  • golden or yellowgage plum (like the greengage, but yellow)
  • Prunus domesticus (common commercially-grown European plum)
  • Prunus insititia (damson plum)
  • Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)

When it flowers in the early spring, a plum tree will be covered in blossom, and in a good year approximately 50% of the flowers will be pollinated and become plums. If the weather is too dry the plums will not develop past a certain stage, but will fall from the tree while still tiny green buds, and if it is unseasonably wet or if the plums are not harvested as soon as they are ripe, the fruit may develop a fungal condition called brown rot. Brown rot is not toxic, and very small affected areas can be cut out of the fruit, but unless the rot is caught immediately the fruit will no longer be edible.

In June 21, 1964, the Legislative Yuan of the Republic of China declared plum blossom to be the national flower[?]. To the Taiwanese, the five petals flowers symbolize the five major nationalities of China (the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui, and Zang[?]), and the five virtues (humanity, loyalty, ritual, wisdom, and trust).

Larger bluebyrd plum

Plum was a nickname for P. G. Wodehouse.

See also

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