Detective work

A few years ago I noticed an unknown plant had appeared in the garden. It was right at the top of the slope above the food forest, on the edge of a narrow strip of indigenous plants. When I first saw it, it was about a metre high.

I left it there, in the hope it might be a seedling fruit tree from my neighbour’s garden over the way, since he has a lot of fruit trees.Ā  Last spring I noticed it had a few small white flowers on it, but didn’t recognise them and nothing came of them. It’s in a very dry spot and gets no water other than rainfall and has to compete with several large wattles and a eucalypt. This spring it must have flowered again, because lo and behold, it has fruits :


Now, it just happened that my small cherry tree flowered for the first time this spring and produced a half dozen fruits :


Could the unknown be a cherry? Nah, that’d be too much to hope for. I don’t even know if cherries can be grown from seed. It’s probably something completely uninteresting like a crab apple. I bet they grow easily from seed, because all apples do.

But I haven’t got a clue what crab apples look like…either trees or fruit. From memory (last year, because I didn’t see the flowers this year), they didn’t look like apple flowers.

Then I thought…if it’s a cherry, it ought to have a single stone like a cherry. If it’s an apple, it won’t have a stone, it’ll have a number of seeds in little cavities.

So I picked one, plus one of my precious cherries (which was ripe anyway) and a baby apple from the Red Delicious. Here they all are…unknown, real cherry and baby apple :


It doesn’t even look like an apple. It doesn’t have the remains of the flower at the base and it has a crease (suture) like the cherry…and it’s shiny.

I cut them all in half :


Yay! It has a single stone! It’s not a crab apple. But is it a cherry?

I Googled and it appears that cherries are relatively easy to grow from seed. I consulted Louis Glowinski (The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia).

Oh, blow it! Cherries are in the Prunus genus. Same as plums. It could be a plum. But why hasn’t it set fruit before? Didn’t it get pollinated? My plums flower and set fruit each year. Why didn’t they pollinate it? Was it waiting for a pollinator? Did my new cherry which just happened to flower for the first time this year pollinate it? Is is really a cherry?

Dunno. But I’m going to protect the fruit from the birds (there are only half a dozen), prune away some of the nearby plants and give it some water and TLC.

And pray it’s a cherry.

9 Responses to “Detective work”

  1. yogaguerillagrrl Says:

    looks like a cherry plum.. they grow easily as weeds at the side of the road where I live. quite nice eating IF you get them before the birds do. a little sour but good.


  2. k8heron Says:

    Almost certain it’s a plum. Small fruiting but they can be quite delicious if the cockatoos don’t beat you to them! I used to have one like it at primary school & ate some fruit off one at weekend from my local voting centre (also a primary school). Tasty šŸ™‚


  3. narf77 Says:

    I am with the plum camp. The fact that it has been living up there with no water etc. tells me it is a plum. We have them growing like weeds in the neighbourhood and I am going to plant some out around the property as lures to wayfaring possums to scoff. I want a property full to the back teeth with fruit and perennial foods so growing cherry plums all around the perimeters (along with hawthorns etc.) is going to give me the best chance to fill those possums up on the way in so that when they reach “the banquet” they are too fat and full to scoff too many of my “preciouses” šŸ˜‰ Most probably a cherry plum but hey, it’s still fruit and they taste delicious šŸ™‚


  4. Chris Says:

    Here is a picture of an unripe cherry plum:

    Looks very much like yours!


    • foodnstuff Says:

      Chris, the photo didn’t appear, but no matter. I’m pretty certain it’s a cherry plum.

      I’ve been trying to comment to your blog but keep getting a message to the effect that I don’t own that (presumably WordPress) identity, whatever that means. Have you cut WordPress out of your system? I remember you had problems in the past.


      • Chris Says:

        I originally put the address in, because I don’t know how to do hyperlinks – but it seems to have hyperlinked automatically. Can you put your cursor over the missing picture and click it anyway, like I can, to get the picture?

        If not, here’s the Wiki page I took it from – the image is down the bottom and you can click to enlarge.

        Thanks for letting me know about your difficulty commenting. I’ve checked my blog and the settings are the same, as when you’ve successfully commented on another post. I did some research and the problem can either be on WordPress or Bloggers end. It has to do with Open ID settings.

        Here is a solution:!topic/blogger/XFu4fJn5Rqo

        But what I’ve done from my end is change my settings to “anyone” can comment – so hopefully that may bypass the Open ID issue. Let me know if you are still unable to comment, as I’d like to help fix it. I’ll check back here after a few days. šŸ™‚


        • foodnstuff Says:

          There was no missing picture to put the cursor on. Nothing. But anyway I saw it through the link, so thanks. And my comments got through as you would have seen!


  5. Sue Fischer Says:

    to my way of thinking the Cherry Pip is rounder and the Plum Pip is slimmer with a bit more of an edge to it,,, good luck with the “taste test” once it appears ripe……………………..


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