American Plum and European plum

Toka plum is Japanese - American Hybrid plum. Can anyone tell me what the difference between American plum and European plum?
They said Toka is the best pollinator for all plum types. Can Toka plum pollinate European plums? Thank you so much for explaining. Vincent.

My Toka Plum.


The Japanese and the American plums usually are diploids. The European plum is a hexaploid. That should mean the former 2 species (and their hybrids) should not be good pollinators of the P. domestica varieties. But most European plums are self pollinating, so your plum may not need another pollinator, if that is what you are worried about.

1 Like

Very good answer Hristo. Now I know Toka plum pollen can not pollinate European plums like some nurseries recommendation here. Thanks a lot.

Well, strictly speaking, yes - J. plums/hybrids can pollinate the Euro plums/damsons, but they can’t fertilize them :slight_smile:. Actually it’s easier J. plum to fertilize an apricot than Euro plum.

1 Like

HUH? Please explain

1 Like

animals generally have 2 sets of chromosomes half from each parent. Japanese and American plums have 2 sets. European plums generally have 4 or 6 sets. not unusualy in plants. what @Hristo meant was the pollen might land elongate and do what pollen does but it does not likely result in a successful pregnancy.


:slight_smile: Semantics. We usually use the word pollination as if it means the same as fertilization, but of course that is not true.

1 Like

Superior plum full bloom in Seattle 4.16.17


Schoolhouse plum . ( Tasting just a little better than Yellow Egg plum to me )


@Vincent_8B In terms of taste complexity, sweetness, and juiciness, in your zone 8, how does Superior compare to Italian plum and/or Red heart?

1 Like

@tubig .My superior had a few fruits but they gone before ripe. Don’t know why, maybe squirrel or dropping. So I never had a chance to taste them yet. Still have a tree after relocating a couple times. May remove later.
I don’t have Red heart plum.
Italian plum is European variety, very sweet. Performs very well in my area but most the time fruits ready in close to end of September to October every year. It’s rainy, wet…here in Seattle fruits easy has worm in it. So I don’t have Italian either.

1 Like

I have Superior, and a neighbor has Redheart. If I can keep the deer off them, I may have a small Superior crop this year. I have an Opal plum that should bear this year, and some spur fruit from a mislabeled prune I am topworking. It may be Italian prune, but it was supposed to be Purple Gage. I should have Opal plums around the end of July, or beginning of August. My attempt to get Early Italian plum scion failed. I will post Brix readings of the fruits I ripen, if you are interested. I may also get fruit from 2 Chickasaw plum seedlings, Shiro plum, Alderman plum, Black Ice plum, and LaCrescent plum.

1 Like

I have heard this, but never in literature composed for commercial production and anecdotally, I get much better E. plum set when I not only have nearby alternate varieties but when they are in the same tree.

Here’s from Cummins Nursery- “European Plum Many European plums are self-fertile, but even these varieties will benefit from cross-pollination.”

This is from the Michigan Plum Growers Assoc. "Most plum varieties require cross-pollination. The compatible varieties must be planted within 100 feet of each other and generally bloom at the same time. European and Japanese plums are not cross-compatible.

Most European plum varieties require cross-pollination from another European plum tree variety. A few European plum varieties such as Damson, Italian Prune, Valor, and Stanley are at least partially self-fertile but will generally yield better with cross-pollination."


Thank you. Good to know coz I’m in vancouver…i can do something about those thieving squirrels tho.

1 Like

@nil definitely interested, so please keep us posted. Varieties vary in location so I’m trying to gather as much field info as possible in similar areas like where I am in vancouver/surrey canada. I think we have a similar climate.

@nil have you tasted your neighbors red heart?

Just an over-ripe one from a bad year. It has gone biennial, and should fruit again this year.

It drops fruit on the sidewalk, tree lawn, and street. The owners don’t take care of it.

1 Like

Looks like it gets loaded when it does fruit?

I don’t know how self-fertile it is, and a nearby Methley was cut down this year. The Methley was ~40 yards away, and always catching black knot.
It may not set a heavy crop. It would look amazing with some minimal pruning. I will know after the flower drop if there is a good crop. The Prunus americana down the street look loaded with little plums.

1 Like

There are some decent descriptions online,about the flavor.I’d like to get some scions next year,if available.