Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

pp 294-296

Apricot: 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

Apricot, sometimes known as Armenian plum (derived from a mistaken belief of an Armenian origin), is the common name of Prunus armeniaca L./Armeniaca vulgaris L. The name apricot derives from the Arabic al-birquq through Byzantine Greek berikokkia from Latin malum praecoquum – early ripening fruit. The Latin Prunus armeniacum is a reference to an early believed origin in Armenia, which is one of the places where these trees are wild.

Apricot is a deciduous tree up to 10 m with broad ovate leaves, self-fertile white – rarely pink – flowers produced singly or in pairs before the leaves in spring. Some cultivars are self-compatible while are others are self-incompatible. Wild forms are fully interfertile with cultivated populations. Apricots are grown for their large fleshy fruit, a drupe with glabrous or pubescent yellow to orange exocarp and a soft mesocarp. The endocarp is lignified and slightly grainy on the outer surface. There is a pr ...

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