Appalachian Dialect Gardening

The Smell of Plum Grannys


“Momma filled up baskets with them, and sat them everywhere in the house, mostly in front of open windows. She used them as air fresheners, before Glade or air conditioning. They were considered a “pleasing” plant by my Daddy. He planted them along a fence line, purely for the pleasure it brought my Momma.”

—Sue McIntyre


Cucumis melo var. dudaim better known as plumgrannys belong to the melon family. Although the small melon blows the top off the smell meter, it barely raises the meter when it comes to taste.

Other common names for the small pretty fragrant melon: pomegranate, ornamental pomegranate, tigger melon, vegetable peach, apple melon, and perhaps most famously Queen Anne’s Pocket Melon (she supposedly carried one in her pocket to ensure she smelled like a Queen).

The small melon grows on a vine and will grow well on a trellis or you can simply let the vine roam across the ground where it will.

It’s been a few years since I’ve grown plumgrannys. After Sue left the comment above I went in search of my seeds to plant some this year, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. My list of things I want to grow next year is growing by the day, and now I’ve added plumgrannys to it.


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  • Reply
    April 23, 2021 at 8:15 am

    We used to take plum grannies to the one room school and sit them on our desks so that we could enjoy the smell all day. Mom now lives with me now in Ohio. She had her 100th birthday in August 2020. Good friends mailed a few plum grannies to her as a birthday gift. We didn’t even need to open the box to know what what inside. The smell is unique and unmistakable.

  • Reply
    Dottie Lambertson
    March 15, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    I joked last year that I had finally become a woman (at 60 yrs old), because I planted my own plum grannies instead of getting them from my Mom (she was 88 last year and it was the first year she didn’t plant a garden). No one seems to remember or even know what these are, so I’ve made it my mission to introduce them to as many folks as I can.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 11, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    I love the smell of ripe “Plum Grannies” but like you I cannot find any seed.

    • Reply
      April 23, 2021 at 8:16 am

      I saved some seed from last year. I’d be happy to share.

      • Reply
        Charles wyatt
        September 16, 2021 at 5:30 pm

        Are you selling seeds

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 11, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    About last Fall I was at Paul’s school to hear Chitter and Chatter at a Concert. While I was there, Steve opened up with Prayer. As I was listening to him Pray, I thought to myself, “I wish My Family could be here to hear this.” They’re all Gone to be with Jesus, and there’s nobody left but me. I bet Pap and Levine ( Pap’s wife or Granny) are proud with all their Children here. Even April. She was in the kitchen. (On Tipper’s blog she is known as the other Indian Princess.)

    Sonny Reichard was there, along with his wife Margaret, and they had a lead singer from Sylva, I think, and she was a Wilson. They sung before Chitter and Chatter came on.

    Sonny is my neighbor and I’ve known him practically all my life. We had a good time and everyone was very friendly. …Ken

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 11:57 am

    I love the smell of them. Its out of this world. I set them in the kutchen and even on the table. I had put one in my car. I love em.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    June 11, 2020 at 11:27 am

    After the spring rains here in Hawaii the Plumeria bloom. A pleasant smell but on my morning walks there is an area that has a half dozen trees where the smell becomes sickeningly sweet.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 10:51 am

    I love natural fragrance, and need these on my bucket list. I have the most fragrant really old white rose at back of the house that is so fragrant. and Honeysuckle at the mailbox. People don’t mention nor notice these wonderful fragrances anymore, so just one more way you give the small things importance.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 11, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Not to be the proverbial t**d in the punch bowl but I don’t savor the smell of these little fruits. To me their smell resembles that of a blooming sweet bubby. Perhaps the sickeningly sweet smell of a nursing home. I often run into it in the grocery store. Just one spot here and there. It’s like a little old lady has lingered there for a time waiting for someone tall enough to reach her something off the top shelf. Oh well, to each his own I guess.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 11, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I don’t even know what Plum Grannies are. My second oldest brother, Joel stopped by my shop one day and saw me in the Garden, planting Watermelons. He called me ‘Rabbit’, cause I got so many when I was younger. He said, “Rabbit, plant those things so they can run off down in them High Weeds and Make.” I thought that was funny. Sure enough, when I went to check on them, in a few weeks later, some of the biggest Watermelon I ever saw was there in them High Weeds. …Ken

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 9:09 am

    A Plum Granny has a wonderful unique smell that can’t be compared to anything else. Mom grew them and kept a few in a bowl on the kitchen table. I almost ordered a pack of the seeds to plant this year. I think they are offered in the Gurney’s Seed catalog.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 9:03 am

    The seeds are available and can be ordered from SOUTHERN SEED COMPANY, phone number 540-894-9480.
    they also have a Web site that the seeds can be ordered from, order by the name of QUEEN ANNE MELON – #522103.
    I have ordered the seed and they are in the ground and doing well, soon I will send you folks a SMELL.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 11, 2020 at 8:07 am

    I have never seen the plant and it has been awhile since I saw – or smelled – the fruit. But I am like Queen Anne was reputed to be, I want to carry one around with me. Somebody needs to make it into an air fresher sure enough. And the fruit at least is pretty.

    As for your planting list, a gardener never runs out of things they would like to plant, just runs out of room and daylight and energy. Please let us know if you find a commercial source for the seed.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 11, 2020 at 7:55 am

    I haven’t seen or smelled those in many years. They were commonly grown when I was young. I can almost smell them now and remember touching my nose to them to get a big smell.
    One of the places I ordered trees from sent me a bonus pack of vine peach. I didn’t know what they were until looking them up. They are in the same family to what we call plumgrannies.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    June 11, 2020 at 7:50 am

    That’s a totally new plant to me. It’s very striking to look at with its color pattern and what I wouldn’t give to smell, taste and hold one of those granny apples! I cannot stand those chemical air fresheners and many people are UNAWARE plug ins are a BIG fire hazard. Natural is always better! I open my windows and boy am I an oddity these days! I see very few open windows and imagine those places smell quite “ripe.” Tipper, you’ve ALWAYS got something new and interesting to show and share. I bet at show and tell in grade school, ( if you’re old enough, ) you were always an interesting child with interesting things to show the class! I really like your blog!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2020 at 9:55 am

      I love having my windows open and I’m not happy when it get so humid I have to turn on the AC. No air freshener beats fresh air.

  • Reply
    Betty Jo Eason
    June 11, 2020 at 7:15 am

    Thank you! I remember my Mother talking about Plum Grannys, but could never really tell me what they were…….and now I’ll be on the lookout to see (or smell) for myself!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 6:46 am

    How nice! I wonder where I can get some. ‘Plum grannies’ sounds kind of like the word pomegranates doesn’t it? A friend of mines mammaw used to talk about her ‘piney roses’ and then I later realized they were peony roses.

    • Reply
      June 11, 2020 at 9:02 am

      How clever of you to have put that together. Makes total sense to me now! Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2020 at 6:16 am

    Not familiar with these, but looks like something us Boys would have used as hand grenades, we used tomatoes one time and got in big trouble, couple kids coming down the road on a minibike we ambushed them.

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