Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Plum (Prunus domestica), a small fruit-tree belonging to the sub-order Drupacea; of the Rosacea; (q.v.), native to Asia Minor and the Caucasus, and naturalised in most temperate parts of Europe. In cultivation its branches are generally spineless; its leaves scattered, stipulate, convolute, simple, ovate, and deciduous; its flowers white; its fruit variable in form, size, and colour, but uniformly glaucous, and with a compressed, pointed stone with a furrow along the edge. It was cultivated by the Neolithic dwellers in Swiss lake-dwellings: the Damson or Damascus variety was grown by the Romans from very early times : the Orleans plum is said to have been brought to England in the time of Henry V.; and the Greengage, named from one of the Gage family who introduced it here, in France is known as Reine Claude, from the wife of Francis I. Besides large quantities of many varieties, both home and foreign grown, which are eaten raw, in tarts, and in preserves, we import considerable quantities of dried plums, known as prunes, or, when small, as prunelloes. Among these are the Elvas from Portugal, the Carlsbad, the St. Julien (used especially medicinally as a mild laxative), and the St. Catherine from Tours. Bordeaux is the centre of the prune-packing and exporting trade; but large quantities are sun-dried in Bosnia. The spirit known as raki is distilled from the fermented juice.