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Czar plum


Czar is a large dark black/purple early-season plum, with good astringency and useful for culinary purposes.  It can also be eaten fresh if you leave it to get fully ripe.  The blossom is a notable characteristic, being unusually large for a plum.

The Victorian fruit enthusiast and author Robert Hogg was sent some samples in August 1874 by the growers, Rivers of Sawbridgeworth.  This was the year of its first fruiting.  Hogg subsequently rated it as an "excellent plum".  Rivers named it Czar in honour of the Czar of Russia, who visited England that year.

Czar soon become a popular garden plum in English gardens, being easy and reliable to grow (thanks in part to blossom which has some frost resistance), and producing good crops.  Although the flavour is not necessarily the best, it is one of the earliest culinary plums in the season.  The tree can also grow in partial shade and is hardy enough to tolerate north-facing situations.

Czar plum identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

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USDA identification images for Czar

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Offspring of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 19 Jun 2018  CHESHIRE, United Kingdom
      Very prolific cropping plum. Easily maintainable tree with self fertile habit and good disease resistance. Flavour of fruit is good when plums are allowed to ripen properly but they do not keep well in my experience. Good dehydrated for storage and makes nice jams and chutneys. The wine made from this variety was ok but loses taste so is best blended.

    Tree register

    United Kingdom



    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2020 season

    • 16th April  2020  - tree owned by James in Glynn, Ireland

    2012 season

    • 21st April  2012  - tree owned by Nickkk in Oldham, United Kingdom
    • 13th April  2012  - tree owned by Peter in Eye, United Kingdom

    Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

    Harvest records for this variety

    2017 season

    • July  2017  - tree owned by Angela in London, United Kingdom

    2016 season

    • August  2016  - tree owned by Jenny in Llanfairfechan, United Kingdom

    2011 season

    • 2nd week August  2011  - tree owned by Ute in Kilfenora, Ireland


    • Species: Prunus domestica - European plum
    • Parentage: Prince Englebert fertilised by Rivers' Early Prolific
    • Originates from: United Kingdom
    • Introduced: 1874
    • Developed by: Rivers of Sawbridgeworth


    • Awards: RHS AGM (current)
    • Country of origin: United Kingdom
    • Period of origin: 1850 - 1899
    • Fruit colour: Blue - dark
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Popularity: Best sellers
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous


    • Picking season: Mid
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1 week
    • Flavour quality: Average
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Food uses: Dual purpose
    • Picking period: late July
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Beginner
    • Flowering group: 3
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Vigour: Average vigour
    • Bearing regularity: Regular
    • Organic culture: Suitable
    • Attractive features: Attractive fruit
    • Attractive features: Attractive tree / plant
    • Self-fertility: Self-fertile


    • Frost resistance of blossom: Good resistance
    • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
    • Climate suitability: Mild damp climates
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Cold hardiness (RHS): H6 (to -20C)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good
    • Brown rot: Some resistance
    • Silverleaf: Some susceptibility

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Czar plum trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Czar:

    United Kingdom


    • Fruit Expert
      Author: Hessayon

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