New season - spring 2025You can pre-order now for shpiping in spring 2025. No need to pay at this stage.
Orange Pippin Trees USA logoSpecialist fruit trees for your orchard or back-yard

European Damson plum tree

Prunus insititia 'European Damson'

European Damson
European Damson is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Gardening skill: Beginner
  • Picking season: Mid
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 3

Damsons are closely related to European plums, but are primarily used in the kitchen. They are grown throughout Europe, but are particularly identified with the north-west of England, and eastern France.

Damsons have a unique rich astringent flavor, usually too sharp to be eaten fresh, but transformed by cooking. They work well in pies, tarts, and jams and similar preserves.

Please note we cannot deliver Damson trees to California.

European Damson plum trees for sale

You can pre-order now for spring 2025

  • Full-size 1-year bare-root tree $37.95
    Mature height: 16ft-24ft after 10 years
    Myrobalan rootstock

How to grow

This damson is considered self-sterile but will readily cross-pollinate with most other European plum varieties.

Damsons are amongst the hardiest of European plums, with good resistance to most of the diseases that affect plums. They thrive in a range of climates - including cool temperate or maritime climates where other fruit trees may fail to ripen.

After planting it is best to let Damson trees grow as they wish, and keep pruning to an absolute minimum.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.


Damsons are usually classified as a sister or sub-species of the European plum. The name is thought to come from the term "Damascene plum", meaning the plum from Damascus.

Damsons have been widely grown in Europe since ancient times, and many examples were taken to North America by the early settlers.

More information about damsons: see guide to damsons (PDF) by English damson enthusiast Daiv Sizer's. Pruning guide for damsons (UK) - Pots 2 Plots.

European Damson characteristics

  • Gardening skillBeginner
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • Picking seasonMid
  • UsesCulinary
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-3 days
  • General resistanceGood
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)Cold (< 20C / 67F)
  • Fruit colorBlue - dark