Prunus persica

Botanical Name: Prunus persica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Amygdalus
Species: P. persica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Amygdalis Persica (Linn.). Persica vulgaris Null.
(Chinese and Japanese) ‘Too’.

Common Name: Peach,Nectarine
Habitat: Prunus persica is native to Northwest China, in the region between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated.
Description:
Prunus persica is a decidous tree. It grows to 4–10 m (13–33 ft) tall and 6 in. in diameter. The leaves are lanceolate, 7–16 cm (2.8–6.3 in) long, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) broad, pinnately veined. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals. The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a skin that is either velvety (peaches) or smooth (nectarines) in different cultivars. The flesh is very delicate and easily bruised in some cultivars, but is fairly firm in some commercial varieties, especially when green. The single, large seed is red-brown, oval shaped, approximately 1.3–2 cm long, and is surrounded by a wood-like husk. Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits (drupes). There are various heirloom varieties, including the Indian peach, which arrives in the latter part of the summer…….CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivated peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colours often have some red on their skin. Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favoured the acidic, yellow-fleshed kinds
Parts Used: Bark, leaves.

Cultivation:
The soil best suited for the Peach is three parts mellow, unexhausted loam, mixed with vegetable mould or manure. Peaches require a lighter soil than pears or plums.

To perpetuate and multiply the choicer varieties, both the Peach and the newly-allied nectarine are budded upon plums or almond stocks. For dry soil, the almond stocks are preferable; for damp or clayey loam, it is better to use certain kinds of plums.

The fruit is produced on the ripened shoots of the preceding year, and the formation of young shoots in sufficient abundance, and of requisite strength, is the great object of peach training and pruning.

In cold soils and bleak situations, it is considered best to cover the walls upon which the trees are trained with a casing of glass, so that the trees may be under shelter during uncongenial spring weather.

Various kinds of Aphis and the Acarus, or Red Spider, infest the leaves of the Peach.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Oil; Oil; Seed.
Edible Uses: Gum; Oil; Oil; Tea.

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Fruit – raw, cooked or dried for later use. The fruit is often used in ice creams, pies, jams etc. When fully ripe, the fruits of the best forms are soft and juicy with a rich delicious flavour. The size of fruit varies between cultivars but can be up to 7cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Flowers – raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a garnish. They can also be brewed into a tea. The distilled flowers yield a white liquid which can be used to impart a flavour resembling the seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat if it is too bitter, seed can contain high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid which is highly toxic. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Although the report does not mention edibility it can be assumed that it is edible. A gum is obtained from the stem. It can be used for chewing
Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Antiasthmatic; Antitussive; Astringent; Demulcent; Diuretic; Emollient; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Haemolytic; Laxative;
Sedative.

Antihalitosis. The leaves are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, parasiticide and mildly sedative. They are used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds. The leaves are harvested in June and July then dried for later use. The flowers are diuretic, sedative and vermifuge. They are used internally in the treatment of constipation and oedema. A gum from the stems is alterative, astringent, demulcent and sedative. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient, haemolytic, laxative and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation in the elderly, coughs, asthma and menstrual disorders. The bark is demulcent, diuretic, expectorant and sedative. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. The root bark is used in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice. The bark is harvested from young trees in the spring and is dried for later use. The seed contains ‘laetrile’, a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison – it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses
Adhesive; Cleanser; Dye; Gum; Oil; Oil.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. It is used as a substitute for almond oil in skin creams. The bruised leaves, when rubbed within any container, will remove strong odours such as garlic or cloves so long as any grease has first been fully cleaned off. A gum obtained from the stem is used as an adhesive.

Cultural Significance:
Peaches are not only a popular fruit, but are symbolic in many cultural traditions, such as in art, paintings and folk tales such as Peaches of Immortality.

Peach blossoms are highly prized in Chinese culture. The ancient Chinese believed the peach to possess more vitality than any other tree because their blossoms appear before leaves sprout.

The Chinese also considered peach wood (t’ao-fu) protective against evil spirits, who held the peach in awe. In ancient China, peach-wood bows were used to shoot arrows in every direction in an effort to dispel evil. Peach-wood slips or carved pits served as amulets to protect a person’s life, safety, and health.

Aroma: Some 110 chemical compounds contribute to peach aroma, including alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, esters, polyphenols and terpenoids.
Known Hazards:
The seed can contain high levels of hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peach
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/peach-17.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+persica+nucipersica

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