A plum is a fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus. The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera (peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc.) in the shoots having terminal bud and solitary side buds (not clustered), the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one side and a smooth stone (or pit).
Plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. Three of the most abundant cultivars are not found in the wild, only around human settlements: Prunus domestica has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while Prunus salicina and Prunus simonii originated in Asia. Plum remains have been found in Neolithic age archaeological sites along with olives, grapes and figs.
Mature plum fruit may have a dusty-white waxy coating that gives them a glaucous appearance. This is an epicuticularwax coating and is known as "wax bloom". Dried plum fruits are called "dried plums" or prunes, although, in many countries, prunes are a distinct type of dried plum having a wrinkled appearance.
The flower of a plum is either dark pink, light pink or white.
In 2016, global production of plums and sloes was 12.1 million tonnes, led by China with 55% of the world total (table). Other major producers were Romania, Serbia and the United States (table).