Apricot



The Apricot is a species of Prunus. It is classified within the plum family in the subgenus Prunus. Its scientific name Prunus armeniaca literally means "Armenian plum". The native range is somewhat uncertain due to its extensive prehistoric cultivation, but most likely is India. The apricot tree is a small tree, about 8-12 meters tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm in diameter and has 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", with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side.

History of Apricot

The Apricot was first cultivated in India 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 thought 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. For example, De Poerderl&eacture; asserts: "Cet arbre tire son nom de l'Arménie, province d'Asie, d'où il est originaire et d'où il fut port&eacture; en Europe ...." ("this tree takes its name from Armenia, province of Asia, where it is native, and whence it was brought to Europe ....") There is no scientific evidence to support such a view. Today the cultivars have spread to all parts of the globe with climates that support 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 where they are known under the common name of Zard-alu. Egyptians usually dry apricot and sweeten it then use it to make a drink called "'amar al-din".

More recently, English settlers brought the apricot to the English colonies in the New World. Most of modern American production of apricots comes from the seedlings carried to the west coast by Spanish missionaries. Almost all U.S. production is in California, with some in Washington and Utah.

Many apricots are also cultivated in Australia, particularly South Australia where they are commonly grown in the region known as the Riverland and in a small town called Mypolonga in the Lower Murray region of the state. In states other than South Australia apricots are still grown, particularly in Tasmania and western Victoria and southwest New South Wales, but they are less common than in South Australia.

ApricotApricot
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apricots.jpg
authorshipFir0002
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Apricot-foliage and fruitsApricot-foliage and fruits
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prunus_armeniaca_Nubra_Valley.jpg
authorshipKarunakar Rayker
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