Inter-specific fruit trees
Hybrid fruit varieties arising from crosses between fruits of different species.
How to choose Inter-specific fruit 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 fruit 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 most modern hybrid fruit varieties are developed in university-led research programmes, they are not genetically modified (GMOs). The development process is still based on the old-fashioned technique of taking pollen from one variety and pollinating another in the hope of producing a new variety. However modern genetic knowledge makes it easier to combine the desirable characteristics of different parents.
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.