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Future Fruit

July 21, 1999|DAVID KARP

Here's a dozen of the most important and interesting stone fruit hybrids, in approximate order of ripening. All except Apex are Zaiger varieties.

* Apriums: Trademarked name for apricot-plum hybrids, majority apricot. Look and taste like apricots, with some plum flavor. Varieties include Honey Rich, Flavor Delight. May to June.

* Peacotums: Experimental Zaiger peach-apricot-plum hybrids, not yet released. Large, round; rosy red skin, yellow flesh. May to July.

* Plum Parfait plumcot: Pinkish-orange skin, crimson and amber marbled flesh; decent flavor. Late May to early June. First Zaiger plum-apricot hybrid to be released, in early 1980s, for home garden market. A sensation in its day, now obsolete.

* Flavorosa Pluot: Flattened shape, like a doorknob; dark purple skin, red flesh; sweet, with some sourness at skin and pit. Late May to June, earliest commercial Pluot.

* Flavorella plumcot: Bright yellow, velvety skin, bright yellow flesh; intense sweet-tart flavor. Late May to June. Falls off the tree when ripe, stores well. Floyd Zaiger's favorite.

* Flavor Supreme Pluot: Mottled red over green skin, red flesh; sweet flavor, resembles Elephant Heart plum. June. Zaiger nicknamed it "Ugly Duckling." First commercial Pluot, introduced 1989, still tops for flavor.

* Apex plumcot: Luther Burbank cross, introduced 1911. Skin deep pink or crimson, flesh honey-yellow; decent flavor. June. California Rare Fruit Growers maintains a row of old plumcot varieties, including Apex, at Prusch Park in San Jose.

* White peach-plums: A Zaiger hybrid, like a delicate white peach. July. Sold in jars under S&W brand as "Snow Peaches," available at Ralphs and Albertsons supermarkets.

* Flavor Queen Pluot: Yellow-greenish skin, yellow-orange flesh; very sweet and juicy, with apricot aftertaste. Mid-July to August. Delicious when fresh. Trees are short-lived.

* Dapple Dandy Pluot: Skin distinctive maroon with yellow dapple, flesh red and creamy white; excellent flavor. Late July to August. Most widely grown Pluot, one of the best. Marketed by Kingsburg Apple growers as "Dinosaur Egg."

* Flavor King Pluot: Reddish-purple skin, crimson flesh; rich, spicy flavor, low acidity. August. Fruit cracks, a problem for farmers.

* Flavorich Pluot: Large size, dark purple skin, firm yellow-orange flesh; sweet but mediocre flavor. Late August to early September. Commercial-quality Pluot.

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