1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prune

PRUNE (adapted in various forms, e.g. prunne, proyne, &c., from Fr. prune, Med. Lat. pruna, Lat. prunum, Gr. προῦνον, earlier προῦμνον, plum), the name generally given to the fruit of various species of plums, dried, and used either stewed as a dish or plain as a dessert fruit. The finest dessert prunes, known as “French plums,” are produced from the St Julien plum-tree and are dried and exported from the valley of the Loire in France. California now produces a fine quality of “prune.” In scientific nomenclature, Prunus is the name of a genus of rosaceous trees, the type of the tribe pruneae, of which the plum, apricot, peach, cherry, &c., are species (see further under Plum). From this word must be distinguished “to prune,” (1) to cut or trim superfluous growth from a shrub or tree in order to encourage fresh growth and bring into regular form, &c., and (2) to trim or dress the feathers with the bill, used of a bird “preening” itself. In the first sense the word is an adaptation (16th century) of the Old French proigner, the second sense appears in the end of the 14th century but is not found in French.