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noun [countable] trademark

a small, soft, oval fruit which is a cross between a plum and an apricot

'"The principle behind the Pluot is much like a blend of fruit juices," explained Ed Laivo, Director of Marketing and Sales of the Home Garden Division of Dave Wilson Nursery, "where the mix is an improvement over the separate ingredients."'

MSN House and Home 15th August 2001

The last two decades have witnessed the availability of an ever broader range of exotic and obscure fruits and vegetables on supermarket shelves. Amongst the apples, oranges, bananas and exotic fruits, shoppers in the USA have also for several years had the option of purchasing pluots for their fruit salads. A pluot is two-thirds plum and one-third apricot, a hybrid fruit created by cross-pollination.

a pluot is two-thirds plum and one-third apricot, bearing a strong resemblance to a plum, but with a sweet, intense flavour

Pluots bear a strong resemblance to plums in appearance, but have a sweet, intense flavour and are also rich in Vitamin A. These fruits even come in a range of varieties, such as Candy Stripe (a medium-sized fruit which is pink-yellow striped and has sweet and juicy flesh) and Cherry (a smaller fruit, with bright red skin and white flesh). Some varieties are alternatively rather humorously referred to as dinosaur eggs.

If you thought that crossing a plum with an apricot is the same as crossing an apricot with a plum, then you'd be wrong! The latter process results in a different hybrid fruit, and another recent coinage: aprium. An aprium is two-thirds apricot and one-third plum, and looks more like an apricot, but has a smooth, plum-like skin. Like the pluot, it has a sweet, intense flavour.

Background – pluot

The terms pluot and aprium, blends of plum and apricot like the fruits they denote, date from the late 1980s and are registered trademarks of the firm Zaiger's Genetics. The firm's founder, Floyd Zaiger, a Nebraskan-born biologist working in fruit genetics, wanted to extend the range of fruits available to consumers and concentrated on creating varieties which were notable for their rich taste, as well as pleasing appearance.

Vegetables, as well as fruits, have been combined to create new varieties. Around 1990, the term broccoflower appeared, a blend of broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoflower is similar to cauliflower in appearance, but comes in shades of green and has a flavour more like broccoli.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 28th May 2004.

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