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Rosaceae
Apricot PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 May 2009 06:32
Apricot
The apricot tree bears a fruit, the apricot, classified as a drupe--a fleshy, one-seeded fruit that does not split open of itself and has a seed enclosed in a stony endocarp called a pit

The Apricot is a species of Prunus, classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus. The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation, but most likely in northern and western China and Central Asia, possibly also Korea and Japan.

It is a small tree 8–12 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter and a dense, spreading canopy. The leaves are ovate, 5–9 cm long and 4–8 cm wide, with a rounded base, a pointed tip and a finely serrated margin. The flowers are 2–4.5 cm diameter, with five white to pinkish petals; they are produced singly or in pairs in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, 1.5–2.5 cm diameter (larger in some modern cultivars), from yellow to orange, often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun; its surface is usually pubescent. The single seed is enclosed in a hard stony shell, often called a "stone", smooth except for three ridges running down one side.

The Apricot was first cultivated in China in about 3000 BC. In Armenia it was known from ancient times, having been brought along the Silk Road; it has been cultivated there so long it is often though to be native there. Its introduction to Greece is attributed to Alexander the Great, and the Roman General Lucullus (106-57 B.C.E.) also exported some trees, cherry, white heart cherry and apricot from Armenia to Europe. Subsequent sources were often much confused over the origin of the species. Loudon (1838) believed it had a wide native range including Armenia, Caucasus, the Himalaya, China and Japan. Nearly all sources presume that because it is named armeniaca, the tree must be native to or have originated in Armenia as the Romans knew it.

Apricots have been cultivated in Persia since antiquity, and dried ones were an important commodity on Persian trade routes. Apricots remain an important fruit in modern-day Iran. In India, the apricot is known by the above Persian name or as Alu-Bukhara (literally fruit or potato of Bukhara).
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 06:16
 
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