Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Prunus domestica ‘Précoce de Tours’

A Prunus domestica L. cultivar. ‘Branches downy. Fruit below the middle size, oval, about one inch and a quarter deep, and an inch in diameter. Stalk half an inch long. Skin deep purple, covered with a thick blue bloom. Flesh brownish yellow, with a few red streaks near the stone, from which it separates. Juice sweet, with an agreeable flavour. Ripe on a south wall the end of July.’ [George Lindley – Orchard Guide p.444/1831].



Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Duhamel described this variety, Gros Damas de Tours and Gros Noire Hative in the same publication, his descriptions of the three varieties being nearly identical. Following Duhamel many horticultural authorities continued to separate the varieties, but Downing, Floy-Lindley and Mathieu give Damas de Tours as a synonym of Early Tours, and Thompson, Hogg, Downing, Mathieu and the Guide Pratique give Noire Hative as a synonym, while Prince holds Prune Noire Hative to be synonymous. With this great similarity in the names and descriptions, it seems doubtful if these are separate varieties, but not having the fruit of the three to compare it has been thought best in The Plums of New York to follow the nomenclature of the oldest authorities. Several writers have also named the Blue Perdrigon and the Perdrigon Violet as identical with Early Tours but neither can be, as all descriptions indicate that both are at least a month later in ripening than the variety under discussion.’ [Plums of New York p.202].

Described and figured in Pomona Londinensis [PL pl.34/1818], the figure used here. Pomona Brittanica figures the Purple Hative plum which is probably synonymous [PB pl.XV/1812.].



History at Camden Park

Listed in Addenda to the 1857 catalogue as ‘Violette Hative’ [Plum no.16/1857].




Published May 27, 2010 - 03:24 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2011 - 05:20 PM

Figured is a shoot with ovate, toothed leaves and a cluster of purple-skinned plums. Pomona Londinensis pl.34, 1818.

Prunus domestica ‘Précoce de Tours’ | PL pl.34/1818 | Google Books


Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably France

  • Violette d’Hâtive
  • Noire Hâtive
  • Madeleine
  • Early Tours
  • Damas de Tours
  • Saint Jean
  • + a number of doubtful synonyms


Common Name

Dessert Plum, summer

Name in the Camden Park Record

Violette Hative 



Confidence level high