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Inter-specific trees

Hybrid fruit varieties arising from crosses between fruits of different species.

How to choose Inter-specific trees

New fruit varieties are usually developed by crossing varieties of the same species. However new varieties can also arise from inter-breeding between varieties of different (but related) species. These are known as hybrid or inter-specific varieties.

Hybridisation is particularly common in stone fruits such as plums, cherries, and apricots. Indeed the common plum (Prunus domestica) is thought to be natural hybrid between a sloe (Prunus spinosa) and a cherry-plum (Prunus cerasifera). Although these days most hybrids are developed in university-led research programmes, they are not genetically modified (GMOs) - the process is still based on taking pollen from one variety and pollinating another in the hope of producing a new variety with the desired mix of characteristics.

Apricots are a particular focus in the development of new inter-specific fruit varieties because they naturally produce larger fruits than cherries or plums, and will easily cross-pollinate with them.