Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina)

Tree
P. triflora.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Japanese Plum
Prunus salicina
Rosaceae

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168].

A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168].

  • Medicinal Use

    The fruit is stomachic[240]. It is said to be good for allaying thirst and is given in the treatment of arthritis[240].

    Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[46, 61, 105, 171]. The fruit ripens early[74]. A unique taste[74]. Sweet and juicy, it can be eaten out of hand, made into pies, preserves etc, or be dried for later use[183]. The fruit is very resistant to rotting[74]. The plum-shaped fruit is up to 7cm long and contains one large seed[200].

    Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring.
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[11, 200]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. This species does not grow well in Britain, the summers are not warm enough to properly ripen the wood and the springs are too unpredictable for the flowers to be fertilized[11]. An important temperate fruit tree, it is widely cultivated in China and other regions of Asia for its edible fruit, and is being increasingly grown in N. America[266]. There are several named varieties[46, 58, 183]. This species does not cross-pollinate with the English plum, P. domestica[200]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
E. Asia – China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.