On the whole, damsons are too acidic to be eaten fresh. Bradley's King Damson could indeed be the rightful King of the Damsons; not only is the fruit large and bright purple, it is also a bit sweeter than other damsons and some brave people say they like it raw. For most of us King Damsons are still at their best when made into jams and preserves or used in your favourite fruit pudding.
This is a heavily cropping damson tree - from September onwards so it also does well in Northern England. Just to round off its merits, King Damsons have more tolerance to damp soil than other varieties of damson.
Please remember that thinning damsons shortly after the fruits have formed improves their flavour, ensures the tree's branches do not break under the weight of the ripe crop later, and it also means you will get consistent crops every year.
Damson plums were once known as Damusk plums, from the ancient word for Damascus, in Syria. damsons were brought to England by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, both for eating and as an ingredient in their prized purple dye.
The credit for the Bradley's King damson goes - surprisingly - to Mr Bradley of Nottinghamshire, who brought this tree to market in the 1880's. However, no record of the parents has survived.
King Damson - which produces white flowers in late April is reliably self-fertile and will do very well by itself. A pollination partner, while not necessary, can improve the quality of the fruit a little.
Damsons have been here for so long that they are quite hardy in the British climate. However, they are still essentially plum trees, like the same care and are prone to the same ailments. The main thing to remember is that they should only be pruned in summer.
Please note that our 2 year old half standard trees and our one year old maiden trees are on St Julien A rootstocks, whilst our two year old bush size trees are on a Pixy rootstock.