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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Peach - 'Prunus persica' - fam: Rosaceae

The Peach, Prunus persica, is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach, or a nectarine.

The specific epithet 'persica', refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia, whence it was transplanted to Europe. It belongs to the genus Prunus, which includes the cherry, apricot, almond and plum, in the rose family. The peach is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.1

The Peach, and Nectarines, are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. In contrast to peaches, whose fruits present the characteristic fuzz on the skin, nectarines are characterized by the absence of fruit-skin trichomes (fuzz-less fruit). Genetic studies suggest nectarines are produced due to a recessive allele, whereas peaches are produced from a dominant allele for fuzzy skin.1

Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits - drupes. There are various heirloom varieties, including the Indian peach, which arrives in the latter part of the summer.

Cultivated peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone, or not; and both can have either white, or yellow, flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colors often have some red on their skin. Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favoured the acidic, yellow-fleshed cultivars.1

There are hundreds of peach and nectarine cultivars. Peach breeding has favoured cultivars with more firmness, more red color, and shorter fuzz on fruit surface. As with peaches, nectarines can be white or yellow, and clingstone, or freestone. On average, nectarines are slightly smaller and sweeter than peaches, but with much overlap. The lack of skin fuzz can make nectarine skins appear more reddish than those of peaches, contributing to the fruit's plum-like appearance. The lack of down on nectarines' skin also means their skin is more easily bruised than peaches. 1

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Peach.


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