Are these Stanley plums?

I got some prune plums from 3 different vendors at Saturday’s farmers market.

In pic:
Top: Vendor said that they are Stanley, but they are bigger than I remember most Stanleys. They also have an interesting pointed neck. Of the 3, they are the tastiest (most ripe maybe), juicy and 15-16 brix.
Middle: Another Stanley from another vendor. Smaller and firm, not all that ripe with 11-12 brix.
Bottom: Italian plum from 3rd vendor, which were also around 12 brix and not great. He said he would bring some Empress next week, which I look forward to.

Any thoughts on if the plums at the top of the pic could really be Stanley? If not, any suggestions on what it is?

Here’s a pic of it cut open (this one was 15 brix, the other was 16.5).

The skinny neck of the plum reminds me both of Quetsch and Epineuse. My Italian Prune plums are oval.

Possibly Long John. Brady

Thanks for the suggestions. My initial take was that Long John might be it. But, I did some more searching online and found a few pages which describe Stanley as having a “distinctive neck”. Maybe it is a Stanley. Which leaves me with the question of what the other plums are :smile: Maybe they are both Stanley’s and only some of them get the “distinctive neck”.

I know, old thread. My neighbors have a prune plum with that characteristic neck. I immediately thought Long John when I saw them, because that’s the one I associate with that shape.

I’d always thought that Stanley was typical prune shape. But like you Bob, I see some pictures with the point. They seem to be in the minority, and even some reputable nurseries seem to think its okay to mix and match pictures with varieties.


You and I are among several members who’ve been discussing fruit trees online with each other for about 2 decades. Eight years doesn’t seem that long ago! I always enjoy your input.

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Thanks, back at you. I have no problem with long lapses before reviving a discussion, even with completely different participants. I know some people don’t like it but I’ve never really understood that.


If we have to wait 2,3,5, even 7 years or more for a fruit tree to produce, then revisiting a thread like this is nothing…


Here’s a photo of my Stanley plum on a multi grafted tree. The fruit are on the large side this year and have a little of a pointed neck.


Well, I think Stanley is certainly more common that Long John. My impression is that the previous owners at my neighbor’s place were likely to have bought their trees from a big box, or local nursery where I wouldn’t be surprised to find Stanley for sale, but would a bit for Long John.

They are not ripe yet here, although things seem 1-3 weeks late after our slow start to spring.


Won’t ever be able to grow Stanley here, but they are such an interesting color for a fruit.

I also can’t not think they look like bollocks…

Somehow saying it with a British term seems less crass…

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That fits my memory.


@murky do you know how is Long John plum performance in northwest climate and any idea about its flavor? It’s really interesting to me.

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I find it interesting too. I wanted to grow it long ago, can’t remember if I tried a scion or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if the shape makes it more prone to some disorders. Don’t think I’ve tasted one.

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If the brix was under 18, who cares? Good for nothing but culinary use as far as I’m concerned. Did you ask the growers why they picked them so green? I assume it is to assure a larger harvest, especially during a season where cracking often occured late in the ripening process.

My Empress plums got huge this year but never turned amber or quite achieved the sweetness that I love- a lot of them ended up splitting, but split skins don’t matter so much in your own fruit if you harvest them before ants or wasps ruin them- split pits are a PIA. Valor had a lot more split pits but ripened properly, although they peaked at about 19 brix instead of getting into the 20’s as they do on years with less rain. The Empress are great for tarts, when the flesh turns amber it’s sweeter but doesn’t stay firm when cooked. Only when you grow your own can you enjoy plums that are amber but at their peak sweetness at that color- at least consistently. Commercial E plum growers tend to pick their fruit before it is actually tasty. In a way I’m glad- once they develop better varieties that get sweeter when still quite firm, as they’ve done with pluots, there won’t be the same level of reward for growing them yourself.

Autumn Sweet was bred to achieve that goal, but has yet to prove a very useful variety for me. Its skin tends to split and it is hard to know when it’s ready to pick. My best plums have to be picked by taking the time to feel each one and see if its beginning to soften. One advantage of Empress is that the fruit tends to ripen in a shorter window than other varieties. For Valor that window is at least a month which is good and bad, but picking them at the right time is extremely time consuming unless you are going to process them and can just shake the branches lightly to make ripe fruit drop. They are all the same color once the first start to ripen.

I never bothered to test my Empress plums but my palate says they peaked at about 17 before I had to harvest them in Oct.

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Very rarely have I had any over 15 brix, which is what made the ones in the first post stand out. Granted that is from the farmer’s market, but the Castletons from the FM are at least sometimes good. Though the few Castletons I got myself this year were better, in the low 20’s brix, while the ones from the FM were 15-18. I sampled a few Stanley’s from the FM this year and they were around 10 brix. Not worth eating.

I had Empress one time from the farmers market and they were into the 20-22 range. But that was over 10 years ago and I’ve never seen them back. It was one of the vendors that sells what others grow, so I wasn’t able to find out why they haven’t had them since. But, this year seems to have been lower brix in general…

One of the Valors I had from your tree in 2015 was 23 brix. And you posted about a 27 brix one you had the same year. Euro plums are one of the highest brix things we can grow in this area. I think only jujubes and astringent persimmons get higher. I’ve hit 40 brix occasionally for both.

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Excess rain certainly brings down brix but there are many things that affect it, as you know. We can control thinning and training that allows ample sunlight to reach the leaves that serve fruit. We can avoid creating soil that has a high water holding capacity to some degree (stop mulching and let trees grow in sod once they are mature), but are stuck with the basic texture of the soil on any given site.

I have King David growing on two different parts of my property, one that has wetter soil than the other. Last year the apples from the wetter site were great, this year they approached awful. while those from the drier site were good.

By this year I mean last year- fall of 23.

I think it was you who said that rain didn’t impact euro plums, though I suppose it could be the clouds that lowered it, rather than the water.

Normally jujube set the amount of fruit that they can comfortably ripen and I’ve never heard of anyone thinning them. But, when they set a lot of fruit and we then have a lot of cloudy/rainy weather, it can be an issue. I noticed something interesting this year with a couple trees (same site, maybe 30’ apart) which set too much. One still produced normal sized fruit, but the brix dropped from its normal 25 to 15. The other one kept its usual high brix (25+), but produced small fruit. I’m not sure if it is something intrinsic in the varieties (Sugar Cane and Black Sea), or something about those two trees. But I though the different responses were interesting.

I’m still working on this, but will make a concerted effort this year. I’m also planning to remove several trees to give the rest more space. Of course, the universe being what it is, will probably give us a late frost, preventing me from seeing the impact…

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Up until this year that was my opinion and I do think for plums, it’s more about sunlight than water. There are so many variables and only so many seasons to draw experience from. Sometimes anecdotes, even ones own, are contradictory.

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Can you graft Asian or Interspecific plum types to these types of European plums?