|Peach flower, fruit, seed and leaves as illustrated by Otto Wilhelm Thomé (1885)|
|Autumn Red peaches, cross section showing freestone variety|
|Subgenus:||Prunus subg. Amygdalus|
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 Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears edible juicy fruits with various characteristics, most called peaches and others (the glossy-skinned varieties), nectarines.
The specific name persica refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia (modern-day Iran), from where 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. Due to their close relatedness, the kernel of a peach stone tastes remarkably similar to almond, and peach stones are often used to make a cheap version of marzipan, known as persipan.
Peaches and nectarines are the same species, though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. The skin of nectarines lacks the fuzz (fruit-skin trichomes) that peach skin has; a mutation in a single gene (MYB25) is thought to be responsible for the difference between the two.
In 2018, China produced 62% of the world total of peaches and nectarines.
- enPR: pēch, IPA(key): /piːt͡ʃ/
- Rhymes: -iːtʃ
From Middle English peche, borrowed from Old French pesche (French pêche), Vulgar Latin *pessica (cf. Medieval Latin pesca) from Late Latin persica, from Classical Latin mālum persicum, from Ancient Greek μᾶλον περσικόν (mâlon persikón, “Persian apple”).