Searching for a mystery plum

My parents had a very old and beloved Santa Rosa plum tree in their yard when I was growing up. I was sad when they had to cut it down, but figured I would just purchase another SR someday. But now that I’m searching for ones to buy, I’m starting to think maybe it actually wasn’t a SR plum, as it doesn’t look quite right in comparison. I’m not a plum expert so if anyone has any insight I would be very grateful!

The fruits from my mystery plum were identical in size and shape to the SR, but a much darker color. They never had a yellow tone to the flesh - even when underripe the inner flesh was pink that darkened to a very dark purple.

Storebought SR plums are never great (in comparison), but I’ve had other local SR plums that I also thought were inferior. This plum was similar to those SRs, but much more complex, vinous, and tart. The flavor stood out great when the plums were dried and they were wonderful for fresh-eating.

Almost all pics online show the SR with green leaves, but this tree had dark purple leaves with a bit of green hue to them, not solid purple like some ornamental plums I’ve seen. The tree was never green-leaved at any point in the season. It had white, slightly pink blossoms.

I grew up near Santa Rosa and a short walk from one of Burbank’s experimental gardens, so there’s Santa Rosas and other Burbank plums all over the place here. Does it sound like this could have been just be an oddly-hued Santa Rosa, or maybe another Burbank variety? I would love to find one like this.

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There are a number of purple leaf Plum trees.One is the Hollywood.That seems to fit your description of the plant parts.
It could also be,the tree was something that Burbank developed.Who knows?bb

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Hollywood plum is a dwarf. It blooms early, and harvest is early

Hollywood plum has a very unique flowering habit too

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Strange you should mention this. My fiance mentioned a similar plum when she was growing up that was in there front yard here in Tennessee. Sweet dark fruit with purple leaves. It may have been self fertile since she said there was only one. Plum experts do your thing. I need to keep the woman happy!

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I have no idea what is the plant in the video, but Hollywood plum @Bradybb is talking about is not a dwarf, although the tree is a compact grower (about 12’ but depends on the rootstock of course). It ripens with or just after Santa Rosa. Early bloom is not really a distinguishing characteristic as many Asian plums do so.

I agree with @Bradybb’s suggestion that Hollywood plum matches the description pretty well. It was introduced commercially in 1930s. Being a hybrid of P. cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’ x P. salicina, it is a purple-leafed, compact tree with upright growth habit. The fruit ripen with or just after Santa Rosa, have red skin, purplish-red flesh, firm and juicy texture.

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I call anything with a dwarfing habit a dwarf. Some people would call such a thing semi-dwarfed. The tree in the video was not why I thought they were dwarfed, and the person used an espalier wall to force the tree in to a very not normal shape, which is commonly used to fit more plants in to a tight area, increasing production by merely changing the shape of the tree in to a much smaller area.

Wow! You guys are amazing. It’s definitely the large version of the Hollywood. Pictures and description are identical. It was a large tree, taller than our house, and very vertical.

And it looks like you’re both right in your descriptions - there’s an original Hollywood and then a Spencer Hollywood, a dwarf tree, that was misidentified. Some online nurseries seem to be selling the original Hollywood that looks like my tree, and others are selling a very different-looking dwarf under that name that I assume must be a Spencer Hollywood. My tree would have been planted before the Spencer was discovered.

Can’t wait to get my hands on this one again!

I ordered two today from Burnt Ridge. My fiance confirmed it was the one she ate as a kid,

As you can see the article you shared says that there are 3 varieties that have been sold as Hollywood Plum

Here is what I learned online:

‘Hollywood (of California)’. (introduced in 1936?) (The real one).

‘Spencer Hollywood’ (introduced in the 1950s?) (this is almost always the variety sold as Hollywood) (the Rich company had sold this variety under the name hollywood) (a seedling, named after the people who provided the original budwood)

‘Trailblazer’ - a cherry plum variety, that has attractive red leaves, and pink blossoms.

Size of cherry plums are bigger than normal, yet still has a small-medium size compared to regular plums. Plums are roundish oval, red skinned. are clingstone. Flesh color is orangish-red with some pink, soft, very juicy, is sweet, and has a fair flavor when fully ripe.

It was introduced in the USA in 1952, was owned in Portland, Oregon, USA by Mrs M M Smith since at least 1947.

The Rich company had sold this variety under the name 'Hollywood.

Several years ago I picked up some Hollywood scions at the CRFG exchange in Berkeley. It has been vigorous and a big producer. One of the great things about it is that the fruit has a long harvest period. You can begin eating them for a month or more until finally they begin to fall from the tree. Send me a PM if you’ll be in the Vallejo area and need scions. I have some in the fridge. Here are some pics from last June and July.


Hey Dan, last year you sent me wood, and I grafted three pieces unto SpiceZee Nectaplum. All three took. I just wanted to thank you… So is this the real Hollywood? I really like ornamental edibles and Hollywood and the nectaplum fit the bill. One day if I ever have room I’ll graft unto rootstock. Anyway the grafts grew well enough to probably produce a few fruit this year. Thanks again for sharing!

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Looks like the university of Davis might have the California one, hard to say for sure which one it is, yet nurseries do often source from that university

You are welcome Drew. As far as I can tell this is the original Hollywood that was popularized in CA. The flesh is dark red.

It definitely is no dwarf. Here is a picture of the original scion that I grafted February 2015. In the next picture, August the following year it is the dark leaf plum on the right, perhaps 10 feet tall.

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Thanks Dan for the info, sounds like the original! So does anyone have the Spencer??
I would be interested in wood. They both sound and look amazing.

The guy who donated the ‘Hollywood’ variety to the ‘University of Davis’, his name ‘Todd Kennedy’, donates a lot to the CRFG, sounds like ‘Todd Kennedy’ donates most if not everything he finds to the ‘University of Davis’. So you have the same variety that the ‘University of Davis’ has.

It is dark, windy and raining outside but here is a picture of the blossoms taken with my phone a few minutes ago. The branches were blowing around so it was hard to focus.

Is it staying dormant in your climate @Drew51?


I hate to be nit picky, but the Davis campus of the University of California is commonly referred to as UC Davis or University of California, Davis. UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbra, UC Los Angeles I mean UCLA are a few of the other campuses in the UC system. Thanks for your understanding.


Speaking of purple or red leafed plums do any pluots have purple leaves?
Well I have one now, if I can keep it alive! My seedlings were attacked by spider mites, but I’m on it now! I grew out some pluot seed and this is one of them Let me introduce the new purple leafed pluot! Well I’m counting my chickens before they are hatched! Oh the spider mite left this one alone, I’m watching it and hope the fruit is as unique as the leaves. Nice fat leaves with well defined serrated edges, nice!

Some of the seedlings look like crosses with peaches!

Notice the longer leaves and barely serrated edges. Hope this one makes it too.The leaves are curled because it is infected with spider mites. I didn’t know it at the time of this photograph. It has been treated. Nothing is EVER easy! .

Yes, it should flower May 1st. It is still low 20’s here. I have Spice Zee necatplum which only needs 300 chill hours, yet it never flowers too early. Produces fantastic fruit every year. it is 7th leaf now,.Luckily we have few warm spells. A warm spell here is 40F, too cold to stimulate flowering. Then all of a sudden it’s 70F. I will post updates. It may not flower this year, it did grow a decent amount. I say it probably will,

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Beautiful seedlings, @Drew51. Hope they do well for you. My Spice Zee’s that are freshly planted this year are already beginning to bloom. Got down to 32 this morning, but all 40’s and 50’s for the next ten days, so _they _ say.


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