Pluots & Apriums & Plumcots, Oh My!March 14, 2022

You’ve likely seen them in grocery stores, but what is a pluot anyway? And an aprium? And then how are those different than a plumcot?

All of these terms refer to hybrids within the genus Prunus, specifically a plum (Prunus salicina) and an apricot (Prunus armeniaca). Plumcots (which are also called apriplums) are 50/50 hybrids of plum and apricot, whereas pluots and apriums are later generations. Pluots tend to be more plum-like (derived from a plum crossed with a plumcot) while apriums have more characteristics of apricots (derived from an apricot crossed with a plumcot).

While plumcots have been known for hundreds of years in regions of the world that grow both plums and apricots, the vast majority of these products in stores today are the result of one plant breeder–Floyd Zaiger.

Zaiger is a named inventor on approximately 200 plant patents including ‘Dapple Dandy’ (U.S. Plant Patent #9,254; issued August 22, 1995), which is one of the most popular and widely available pluot varieties. While many of his plant patents relate to interspecific Prunus hybrids, Zeiger also developed new varieties of peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, and cherry. Zaiger Genetics, the company founded by Zaiger, currently holds nearly 500 plant patents. Floyd Zaiger passed away in 2020 at the age of 94, but his children, Gary, Leith, and Grant, followed in his footsteps and continue to develop and patent new plant varieties.

Brian D. Keppler, Ph.D. is a registered Patent Agent in the MVS Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website, or contact Brian directly via email.

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