Peaches (Prunus persica)
Peaches, scientifically known as Prunus persica, are a type of stone fruit native to northwest China. They belong to the Rosaceae family, including plums, cherries, and almonds.
Size: Peach trees have a spreading growth habit and typically reach a medium size, usually 15-25 feet (4.5-7.7 meters) tall and wide. The leaves are lanceolate and glossy, with finely serrated margins.
Flowers: Peach flowers are small, usually pink, and appear in early spring before the leaves. Each flower is solitary and borne directly on the branches.
Fruits: Following the blooms, the tree produces the peach fruit, known for its fuzzy skin and sweet, juicy flesh. The peach is notable for its sweet and tangy flavor, fragrant aroma, and its cultural significance in certain regions, particularly in the southern United States.
Hardiness: Most peach trees are hardy in USDA zones 5-9, meaning they can withstand minimum winter temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses: Peach trees are primarily grown for their fruit, which can be eaten fresh, canned, or used in various culinary applications, from desserts to salsas. Peach wood is also used for smoking meats due to its sweet, light flavor.
Pollinators: Peach flowers attract various pollinators, particularly bees.
One key fact about peaches is their self-fertile nature, which means a single tree can produce fruit without the need for a different cultivar as a pollinator. However, cross-pollination can lead to better fruit production. Also, peaches are climacteric fruit, meaning they continue to ripen after being picked.