Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

pp 5840-5842

Peach: Origins and Development

  • Alison WeisskopfAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London Email author 
  • , Dorian Q. FullerAffiliated withInstitute of Archaeology, University College London

Basic Species Information

Peaches (including nectarines), Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. syn (Amygdalus persica L.), are the edible fruit of a deciduous tree belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae (family Rosaceae), which also includes apricots, cherries, plums, and almonds. Some taxonomists maintain peaches and almonds are very closely related within the genus Amygdalus. The name peach derives from the Greek Persikon malon for “Persian apple” into Latin malum Persicum, which became pêche in French and peach in Middle English. Although first cultivated in China, the name persica stems from the pre-nineteenth-century European belief that this tree originated in Persia (Bassi & Monet 2008). Nectarines are smooth-skinned hairless varieties of peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch var. nucipersica (Suckow) C. K. Schneid.), and they might have originated more than once as a mutant within peach groves. Nectarine stones are indistinguishable from other peaches, meaning that ar ...

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