A Pluot® (pronounced ploo-awt) is what is referred to as a hybrid fruit. Most of us are familiar with what a hybrid vehicle is, right? A hybrid vehicle is a cross between a tradition gasoline or petroleum-fueled vehicle, and one that gets its power from an alternative source of energy such as electricity. The result? A vehicle that has the best of both worlds! We can think of hybrid fruits in a similar way. A hybrid fruit is one that possesses excellent traits of both the parent plants to result in a plant with superior vigor, taste, and desirable growing characteristics for a particular region. Any guesses of what a Pluot® may be a cross of? A plum and apricot; hence the name! A Pluot® is the result of cross-pollination and is composed of approximately 75% plum characteristics and 25% apricot characteristics. They have a smooth skin like plums, their sugar content is often much higher than that of a plum or apricot alone, and can range in color from purple to yellow and green with red polka-dots. We can thank Mr. Floyd Zaiger, a Modesto, California plant breeder for hybrid fruits such as the Pluot®, as well as the Aprium®, Nectaplum®, and Peacotum®!
Mr. Zaiger has been said to be the most prolific plant breeder in the modern age, and has patented more than 200 new varieties of fruit through conventional pollination. Though the process of creating new fruit cultivars is lengthy and laborious (we're talking decades of work and approximately 1 out of 10,000 successful crosses!) it has been a true labor of love for the Zaiger family. Zaigers Genetics is a family-run business. Floyd and his three children Leith, Gary, and Grant run the company, and now even the third generation is getting involved.
An interesting fact about the Pluot® is that unlike most other fruits, it is a federally registered trademark. In the United States, Dave Wilson Nursery is the primary propagator and licensor of varieties developed by Zaiger's Genetics. For any of our readers who are home gardeners Dave Wilson Nursery sells trees to nurseries all over the state. You can actually search by region and contact the nurseries directly to purchase your very own Pluot® trees!