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Inger Hjalmarsson


This article reviews the history of plum cultivation and cultivars in Sweden with the aim to describe important heirloom cultivars and to explain how they are conserved in the Swedish National Gene Bank. Commercial plum production in Sweden started around 1890 and was initially in part based on small-fruited local cultivars grown on their own roots. Along with the development of a modern Swedish nursery industry and experimental research the use of grafted trees grew in importance. In the mid-1950s, the yearly plum production in Sweden was estimated to be approximately 2000 tonnes. Since the mid-1980s, production has declined and it is now only about 250 tonnes per year. The work to safeguard heirloom cultivars began with a national inventory in 2005 and since 2012, so-called mandate cultivars have been planted in the Swedish National Gene Bank at Alnarp. Today 45 plum cultivars are preserved with two trees in the gene bank at Alnarp and two trees in local clonal archives.