90417Pluots, plumcots, apriums and peacharines! Who comes up with this stuff?! Aren’t good old fashioned plums, apricots, peaches and nectarines good enough? Who decides that these weird hybrids are somehow better than their parents? Some of them are actually quite weird, or downright ugly. Several do not even look like they would taste good. It may be an acquired taste; but I have all the good taste that I need without acquiring any more.
Some old classic cultivars (cultivated varieties) of fruit were develop centuries ago. More have been evolving from those ancestors since then. Some were intentionally bred from parents with desirable qualities. Others just grew incidentally where their seed fell, and were found to be somehow better than their parents. Some were merely discovered as natural occurring mutants, and perpetuated for their superior qualities. It is a slow process.
So, putting two different kinds of fruits together, or finding an aberration of a single type of fruit, is nothing new. Tangelos were created by hybridizing Mandarin oranges with pomelos or grapefruits. Ever-bearing ‘Eureka’ lemon was perpetuated from a mutant of the seasonally bearing ‘Lisbon’ lemon. This is how cultivars evolve and develop. Generally, newer cultivars become popular because they are somehow superior to their ancestors.
Yes, somehow ‘superior’ to their ancestors. Who decided that a hideous hybrid of a plum and an apricot was somehow better than either a perfectly good plum or apricot? Furthermore, what evidence was there for such a weird claim? Even farthermore (if that is a word) how and why do so many people believe this evidence?
I was still growing citrus (trees not fruit) back in the early 1990s when the ‘Cara Cara’ pink orange was popularized. Yeah, a ‘pink’ ‘orange’. It is really just a pink mutant of the formerly more popular ‘Washington’ navel orange. We could not grow enough of it. It was just too popular. Some people really seem to believe that it is somehow better than ‘Washington’ and other navel oranges. I can’t argue. They certainly know what they like.
To me, it has a milder flavor than ‘Washington’. Yes, it tastes about as bland as it looks; pink.90320thumb

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12 thoughts on “Horridculture – Fruity Fads

  1. You missed Chums. I’d not heard of apriums or peacharines. No doubt there are others. I suppose that taste and appearance are beauty and that of course is in the eye of the beholder. We just planted two Chums so ask me in a year or two what they are like.
    As always; thanks for the info and the thoughts.

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    1. Isn’t a ‘chum’ just a cherry plum, like Prunus cerasifera? I neglected to mention it because it is neither a weird hybrid, nor commonly grown for fruit here. I just happened to get a few off of a purple leaf plum today. (They are not quite ripe, but I needed to elevate the canopy.) Other cultivars used to be feral trees in the Santa Clara Valley, because they were used as understock for orchard trees. Prunus americana is feral here for the same reason. Are there cultivars that are actual hybrids between cherries and plums,, that are grown specifically for fruit?

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  2. When I first met the Cara-cara, I really liked it. I still do, for that matter, although I’ve noticed the quality and taste can vary substantially. A good one’s a delight. Especially at the end of the season, they can get a little iffy.

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    1. Well, I will stick with the good old fashioned ‘Washington’. Not only to I prefer the flavor and the reliability, but it looks like an orange should. I know of people here who insist that they are better, and that is fine for them, but I am not convinced.

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      1. If you get it in the market, it is most likely a ‘Robertson’ navel orange, which is indistinguishable from ‘Washington’. ‘Robertson’ is a mutant of ‘Washington’ but the only distinguishable difference is that the ‘Robertson’ produces fruit in big open clusters, which are easier to harvest from the orchards. The clusters are open enough that the fruit does not press against each other enough to disfigure it. Some orchards grow ‘Washington’. For home gardens, ‘Washington’ is more popular, just because the individual fruits spread out evenly on the trees are visually more appealing than clustered fruit with fruitless ‘bald spots’ in between. Each produces the same volume of fruit, but just presents it differently.
        If you get the cheap bagged oranges that are popular for juicing, they are more likely ‘Valencia’, or one of the cultivars that is related to ‘Valencia. It is also very popular for home gardens because it produces so much richly flavored and very juicy fruit. I find that ‘Valencia’ is more temperamental, and can make inferior fruit if it is not happy. Also, the fruit is smaller, and messier to peel and eat than the navel oranges, which peel so easily.

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    1. I do not believe that it is, although I have been told the same thing.
      I still have difficulty explaining that a prune is different from a plum. No one wants to believe that. Trying to explain that almond is related does not go over too well either.

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      1. Almost all of the orchards that grew in the Santa Clara Valley decades ago were in the rose family. Almost all were stone fruits, primarily apricot and prune, with some almonds, and in a few spots, a few peaches and plums. There were some pomme fruits, apples and pears, closer to the Bay and in the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains. The only common orchard trees that were not in the rose family were the walnuts.

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