History: This European plum has contentious origins, making it difficult to determine if it is very old or extremely old. The name 'damson' stems from the Latin 'damascenum' meaning 'plum of Damascus.' As the name implies, some believe this plum may have come from the ancient city of Damascus and was brought to England by the Romans, making this plum thousands of years old. While this theory has been highly contested, there is ample evidence to prove that Damson plums have been grown in England for hundreds of years. It was introduced to the US in 1800 and was a a favourite due to its adaptability to its new home.
Why We Grow It: Damson produces small round clingstone fruit with a deep blue/purple skin and spicy yellow flesh. They are sweet enough to eat but also have some astringency which makes them less palatable than other varieties. However, they are superb for cooking, preserving, and making jam. The tree blooms late which allows it to avoid early frosts and this variety is self-fertile.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5
Soil Preference: Sandy loam and loam, like plenty or organic material. Prefers average to moist conditions with well-drained soils, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring.
Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Vigorous and relatively cold hardy, produces heavy crops. Somewhat resistant to black knot.
Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)
Pollination: Self-pollinating, this variety will produce fruit without a European plum tree of a different variety but will produce more and better fruit if one is present
Flowering Time: Late, avoids early frosts
Ripens: Late September
Storage: Keeps about a week in the fridge.
Recommended Use: Fresh eating, cooking, preserving
Size including roots:
- 1m+ Whip grade: 100cm+
- Branched grade: 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
- <1m Whip grade: less than 100 cm