This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is very hard to get at what is meant by the true " Wild Goose Plum." We had some sent to us for our opinion last summer, some from Delaware, and some from Lebanon, in Pennsylvania, as the true and genuine kind. On these we gave our opinion at the time. We thought them fair cooking plums. Referring to these lately, the editor was told that the genuine kind was as large as a black walnut. If so we have certainly never seen a true one. Now comes the meeting of the Western New York Horticultural Society, and it seemed to be by general consent regarded that Mr. Willard had the true "Wild Goose," and he describes it as a very good thing " an inch wide and an inch and a half long." Now this is an oval plum, and no larger than the ordinary copper plum, and very different from a black walnut in size. To make our troubles worse come Messrs. Hance of Red Bank and they tell us the true Wild Goose is perfectly round, and a whole two inches in diameter; now here we get near the black walnut.
As to the quality, the meeting of the fruit growers referred to developed various opinions. A Cincinnati gentleman who seemed to be very familiar with the "right" kind, thought it good when, like a persimon, it was taken at the right time, otherwise, still like a persimon, it was bitter and astringent/' J. J. Thomas' experience was that it was pretty good to his taste. As reported, however, there is a mystery about his opinion. He seems to have fruiting trees, " not grafted." "fruit thin skinned, but the curculio failed to sting them; " but the fruit on which he based his opinion were not these, "but came from Georgia." We know how brief reports do injustice to speakers, and it is doubtless the case here. In the meantime we are confounded with this wild goose chase. We have an idea that there is a real bird somewhere, but whether its merits are a "matter of taste," or something on which there can be no difference of opinion, we do not know.
I see you noticed my letter in the June number, referring to the Peach seed, and desire to know from me " if these seedlings have always very small seeds, all of a uniform size, or whether there are large and small ones, various sizes, as we should suppose."
You are correct in your supposition. As some of the fruit is large and some small, so also the seeds are in like proportion, large and small.
A word about the wild goose plum. Mr. Tran-sou, of Humboldt, Tenn., thinks he can solve the difficulty, and says: "This noted plum originated in Tennessee, and is as thick as blackberries all over our country. The practice has been and still quite common to plant stone fruits without grafting or budding. No wonder there is such a difference," and goes on to say: "The average size, one and a half to two inches in diameter, round shape, very productive," etc. I beg leave to differ with the gentleman when he says "they are as thick all over the country as blackberries." On the contrary, there are but few of them planted through the State. I mean the genuine, for when reproduced from seed there is no certainty of their being so. It is true, we have got plums growing all over the country like blackberries, and they can usually be bought at fifty cents per bushel in their season, and while they belong to the Chickasaw family, are not by any means genuine wild goose plums. In fact, I never heard any such claim made for them. They are round (as the gentleman says) and about one-half to two-thirds as large, while the wild goose is large and oval, and can be told by the leaf and wood as well as by the fruit.
The genuine wild goose can be procured at any nursery in the State, most generally budded on peach stock.