Here's a plum description from The California Fruits and How to Grown Them (Edward Wickson, 1889, p. 281): "Gaviota - Burbank cross of Japanese and native American; very large, deep red; flesh yellow, firm and sweet; pit small; rather late bloomer. Favored in the Vacaville district for shipping " Native American? Native Californian?
Wickson's book has a chapter called "The Wild Fruits of California" that is helpful to know which California native fruits were known.
I've copied part of this chapter so I can [note it] with the current species names, other publications that were listed in the footnotes, and with photos of the plants.
Report California Agricultural Society, 1858, p. 183]. Transplanted from the mountains into the valley they are found to ripen earlier [Cal. Culturist, 1858, p. 242]. Transplanted from the mountains to a farm near the coast, in Del Norte County, they did not thrive [Pacific Rural Press, Vol. IV, p. 198]. One variety, moved from the hills near Petaluma, in 1858, was grown as an orchard tree for fifteen years, and improved both in growth and quality of fruit by cultivation [Pacific Rural Press, Vol. IV, p. 163]. The attention of fruit growers was early drawn to the possible value of the wild plum as grafting stock, and it is reported to have done fairly well on trial [Pacific Rural Press, Vol. IV, p. 198]. Recently excellent results have been reported from the domestication of the native plum in Nevada County, and fruit shown at the State fair of 1888 gave assurance that by cultivation and by selecting seedlings valuable varieties can be obtained. It is stated [Letter from S. B. Davidson, Downieville] that in Sierra County the wild plum is the only plum which finds a market at good prices and that cultivated gages, blue and egg plums scarcely pay for gathering. The wild plum makes delicious preserves.
We have several species of Prunus, which may be called wild cherries. The first is commonly called the wild cherry, [Prunus demissa, now Prunus subcordata] and is an erect, slender shrub, two to twelve feet high, bearing on a raceme a round, purplish-black or red fruit, with a round stone. The fruit is edible, but somewhat astringent. This species occurs throughout the State, except near the coast, extends northward to the Columbia River, and eastward to the Rocky Mountains. This species very closely resembles the choke-cherry and the wild black cherry of the Atlantic States. Some observers, however, protest against calling it a choke-cherry, be- cause it has none of the properties of that cherry. The wild fruit is used to some extent for marmelade [J. G. Lemmon, in Rural Press, Feb. 22, 1879.]. It has been cultivated to some extent in places near its habitat. In 1858 there was quite a plantation of it in the foot-hills east of Marysville. [Agricultural Society Report, I 58, p. 174.] As it grows well on cool north hill-sides in the Southern counties, it has been suggested [Rural Californian, Vol. X, p. 107] that the improved cherries, which are, as a rule, not satisfactory so far as tried in that part of the State, might succeed if planted in the places where the wild cherry thrives ; or the wild roots might prove trustworthy and valuable stocks on which to work the improved varieties. They were used for this purpose in Oregon in 1850 because there were no other cherry stocks available. An excellent growth of graft was secured, but the stock was condemned because of suckering. [Seth Lewelling, in N.W. Horticulturist, November, 1887]
|Prunus lilicifolia ssp. lyonii from CNPS|
[article continues....grapes, berries, nuts]
The following are my efforts to sort out the names and provide additional information:
- Oregon Crabapple was noted here as Pirus rivularis (Hortus 3 has Pyrus rivularis noted as now Malus fusca): Calflora for Malus fusca, Coastal Northern California.
- Prunus subcordata - California Wild plum - Calflora, Las Pilitas (Plant next to bird bath, tolerates flooding.), reportedly very tasty.
- Wild Crabapple (Peraphyllum ramosissimum): Calflora. Sierran
The following are references in the original chapter:
- A. Kellogg, in Hutching's Magazine, Vol. 5, p. 7 "California Wild Plum"
- A. Kellogg, in Hutching's Magazine, Vol. 5, p. 9 "California False Plum, Nuttallia Cerasiformis"
- "Wild Plums and Crab Apples." (Pacific Rural Press, Volume 4, Number 13, 28 September 1872) referred back to 1858 California Culturalist, p. 11 and p. 242.
- Sketch of the Evolution of Our Native Fruits, L.H. Bailey