Both are closely related to plums but have distinguishing characteristics. These characteristics are size, growth, shape, harvesting seasons, and color, which help to know the difference between bullaces and damsons.

What Is The Difference Between Bullaces And Damsons

Due to many similarities, bullaces are often mistaken for damsons and vice versa. But with closer inspection, there are clear differences between the two. In this article, you will find everything to help you identify bullace and damson.

What Is The Difference Between Bullaces And Damsons?

Many differentiating aspects are mentioned below, which you can notice in plants or berries for picking the right one without getting confused.

How They Differ In Growth?

The growth pattern is significantly different in bullace and damson.

  • Bullace plants are low-level shrubs.
  • Damson grows on trees.

However, there is a similarity both share which is thorn-free stalks. The flowers on the plant usually bloom by the end of April. Both have white flowers with five petals.

How They Look Like?

Shape and size aid a lot in differentiating berries.

  • The bullace berries are usually round and have a comparably smaller size (2 cm)
  • In contrast, damsons are ovoid and larger (3 cm).

What’s Their Color?

There isn’t a major difference in the color, but it still exists.

  • Ripened bullaces have varying colors, from deep purple to yellow.
  • In contrast, damsons have dark black or blue color when fully ripe.

How They Taste?

A slight difference in taste can be noticed, but both are bitter when unripe.

  • Bullaces are more bitter and astringent compared to damsons. Even when they ripe, their sour level remains higher than Damson's.
  • Damsons have a less bitter taste and turn out too sweet when cooked.

When They Are Harvested?

Bullaces are ready to be picked between the months of October and November.

On the other hand, damsons can be picked from the start of August to late October.

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How to Identify Bullaces?

How to Identify Bullaces?

The first and most important thing you should consider is the habitat of the bullace. Usually, bullaces grow in different environments, such as parks, woodlands, and hedgerows. They can grow in both forms - tree and shrub. The plant's growth improves when it is kept in direct sunlight.

Whether bullace is in form, shrub, or tree, it has dark bark. Leaves are oval, and with the onset of Spring, flowers are in full bloom. The harvesting is done in Autumn.

The berry has a round shape, small in size, and green in color when unripened. However, a ripened bullace has less sourness and tastes sweeter after cooking. The texture is hard when the berry ripens, which turns softer with a drastic color change.

Color varies from type to type as Black bullace has dark purple or black color, and White and Shepherd Bullaces have yellow tones color which then change to red. Their taste changes when the first winter frost hits the berries. The tannins reduce, and tartness turns into sweetness.

The best time to pick bullaces is during October and November. This is quite late compared to other berries from the plum family.

How to Identify Damsons?

How to Identify Damsons?

Damsons are comparably easy to identify due to their oblong shape and large size. The tree can take a height of up to 6 meters which is quite long, and have dark green, oval-shaped, and serrated-edged leaves.

When April ends, the leaves join to form clusters of white flowers. The plants fully ripen when August is about to end, while the harvesting period starts during October.

The color of the damson berry is yellow-green when unripened but seems more plum-like with a blue-black color once ripened. The inside has golden flesh tightly bound to the stone. It is very tough to separate plum from stone makes it difficult to prepare its jam.

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Is There Any Similarity Between Bullaces And Damsons?

Despite having so many differences, many similarities exist between bullaces and damsons, such as their taste after cooking. You will get the same sweet taste once cooking them with sugar. It is the only way to enjoy both fruits.

The bitter or extremely sour taste of bullaces and damson fades away to deliver a deliciously sweet taste. However, the tartness in damson remains to some extent even after cooking.

Bullaces are most commonly used to make jellies, jams, chutneys, cheeses, and sauces. You can preserve them in any form. In contrast, damsons are more specifically used for making dishes, desserts, pies, jams, and beverages.


Do Damsons have different types?

Most varieties of damsons are blue-black or dark purple, but you can also find a rare type such as white damson. This is usually found in yellow-green or green color.

Does Bullace gin taste like Sloe gin?

Wild bullace gin tastes much like sloe gin but is slightly bitter. Sometimes it also tastes fruity, just like damsons. It is considered one of the rarest tasting liquor.

Can you eat wild Damsons?

Yes, wild damsons are edible and taste tart when eaten raw. You can make them sweet to taste by cooking them in sugar or making jellies and jams.

The Bottom Line

Bullaces and Damsons share many similar and different characteristics, which help distinguish one from the other. We hope your confusion about picking up damson or bullace will be cleared by reading this detailed comparison.