Fruit Tree Harvest & Anthocyanins: Beautiful Plums as Colourful as Flowers

plums4This fruit tree just looks luscious. However, the fruit needs to be harvested if one wants to avoid a fermenting mess and drunk wasps terrorizing the neighbourhood (and perhaps attracting bears too). Such a harvest is a challenge in today’s rushed world: the fruit are usually harvested by volunteers or gleaners and donated to various worthy recipients.

Most years the plums are yellow, but this year the hot and dry conditions seem to have produced an early, mixed, and red-blushed crop. The red colour tends to relate to increased anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins are familiar as part of the vivid colouration in leaves brought on by day length, light intensity and temperature changes in autumn, but they can also be produced by a plant at different times and their production may be stimulated by environmental factors such as high UV exposure, water shortage or other stresses. That this tree is known for yellow-only fruit may therefore indicate that the very hot and dry conditions of late, with high UV levels, may have contributed to this year’s reddening of the fruit. Aesthetically, it is worth a picture  just as much as a rose is.