gages and damsons. Prunum is the Ancient Latin name for
a plum, Prunus, for a plum tree. The recorded history of the plum
family goes back to ancient Greece, when the cultivation of such
fruit had already been established for centuries in Eastern Europe
and north western Asia. The Romans were possibly the first to introduce
specific varieties to Britain, though plum species in Britain pre-existed
the invasion and trade with Europe was already well established,
so cultivated varieties of plum probably arrived earlier.
There is technically no distinction between a plum and a gage, though
in England a gage is often understood as a green fruit with a fine
flavour. Damsons are slightly more distinct and are probably closer
to individual species that naturally grow further north and west
in the world, than the original species that made up the ancestry
of plums and gages. The origins of all these fruits are lost in
prehistory. Damsons are close enough to plums and gages to allow
good cross pollination between them, when it comes to setting fruit.
Pollination here is generally easier than with apples and pears,
because some varieties are self fertile, but allowance must be made
for those which are not. Planting more than one tree is advisable.