Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

General info about Fruit

The apricot (Prunus armeniaca or Armenian plum in Latin, syn. Armeniaca vulgaris, Armenian: Ծիրան, Chinese: 杏子, Czech: Meruňka) is a fruit-bearing tree, native to China and spread to Europe through Armenia. It is classified with the plum in the subgenus Prunus of the Prunus genus.
It is a small- to medium-sized tree with a dense, spreading canopy 8–12 m tall; its leaves are shaped somewhat like a heart, with pointed tips, and about 8 cm long and 3–4 cm wide. Its flowers are white to pinkish in color. The fruit appears similar to a peach or nectarine, with a color ranging from yellow to orange and sometimes a red cast; its surface is smooth and nearly hairless. Apricots are stone fruit (drupes), so called because the lone seed is often called a “stone”.
The name derives from “apricock” and “abrecox”, through the French abricot, from the Spanish albaricoque, which was an adaptation of the Arabic al-burquk, itself a rendering of the late Greek πρεκοκκια or πραικοκιον, adapted from the Latin praecox or praecoquus, early, possibly referring to the fruit maturing much earlier in the summer than plums. However, in Argentina and Chile the word for “apricot” is “damasco” which probably indicates that to the Spanish settlers of Argentina the fruit was associated with Damascus in Syria.

How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit

Fruit, a drupe, velvety when young, but nearly smooth at maturity, round to oblong; diameter, 2.5 to 2.6 cm; weight, 12.6 g; volume, 11.20 ml; fruit, externally yellow; pulp, deep yellow, less juicy than that of the cultivated apricots; endocarp, flat, smooth, stony and hard

Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit

Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Gum; Oil.
Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The best forms are soft and juicy with a delicious rich flavour. Wild trees in the Himalayas yield about 47.5kg of fruit per year.The fruit of the wild form contains about 6.3% sugars, 0.7% protein, 2.5% ash, 2.5% pectin. There is about 10mg vitamin C per 100g of pulp. The fruit is about 5cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed - raw or cooked. Bitter seeds should be eaten in strict moderation, but sweet ones can be eaten freely. The bitter seeds can be used as a substitute for bitter almonds in making marzipan etc. An edible gum is obtained from the trunk. The seed contains up to 50% of an edible semi-drying oil.

Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit

Medicinal Uses

Analgesic; Anthelmintic; Antiasthmatic; Antidote; Antipyretic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Demulcent; Emetic; Emollient; Expectorant; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Pectoral; Sedative; Tonic; Vulnerary.
Apricot fruits contain citric and tartaric acid, carotenoids and flavonoids. They are nutritious, cleansing and mildly laxative. They are a valuable addition to the diet working gently to improve overall health. The salted fruit is antiinflammatory and antiseptic. It is used medicinally in Vietnam in the treatment of respiratory and digestive diseases. Antipyretic, antiseptic, emetic, ophthalmic. The flowers are tonic, promoting fecundity in women. The bark is astringent. The inner bark and/or the root are used for treating poisoning caused by eating bitter almond and apricot seeds (which contain hydrogen cyanide). Another report says that a decoction of the outer bark is used to neutralize the effects of hydrogen cyanide. The decoction is also used to soothe inflamed and irritated skin conditions. The seed is analgesic, anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, sedative and vulnerary. It is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs, acute or chronic bronchitis and constipation. 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; Dye; Oil; Wood.
An edible semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Used for lighting. The oil has a softening effect on the skin and so it is used in perfumery and cosmetics, and also in pharmaceuticals. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Wood - handsome, hard, durable. Agricultural implements etc.
Cultivation details
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive fertile soil in a warm sunny position. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5. Dislikes clay soils. Intolerant of saline soils. Trees drop their fruit buds if there is a summer drought. The apricot is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in temperate areas that have long hot summers, there are many named varieties. The tree is perfectly hardy in Britain but it usually flowers very early in the spring and the flowers are then liable to be destroyed by frosts. It really requires a more continental climate (with its clearly defined seasons) than it gets in Britain. However, if given the benefit of a south or west facing wall and some protection from frosts when it is in flower, reasonable crops can usually be produced in southern England. The plants are self-fertile, but hand pollination would be advisable since they are normally flowering before many pollinating insects are active. In Britain apricots are usually grown on plum rootstocks, ‘St. Julien A’ is the most widely used. The dwarfing rootstock ‘Pixie’ is also a possibility, but this must be double worked with ‘St. Julien A’ because it is incompatible with apricots. Any pruning should be carried out in the summer to allow rapid healing and therefore less risk of infection. Oats should not be grown near apricots because their roots have an antagonistic effect on the roots of the apricot. Tomatoes and potatoes are also bad companions for apricots. If nasturtiums (Tropaeoleum spp) are grown under apricots they will make the fruit less palatable to insects, though this is not detectable by the human palate. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.


Indian names: zardalu, sarha, chulli (Himachal Pradesh); chuari, zardalu (Hindi); gurdalu, cherkush (Kashmir); chuaru, chola, kushmaru (Kumaon); chult (Laddakh); zardalu (Punjab).
The wild apricot is a common fruit of the hills in northern India, comprising the major parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hilly areas of Uttar Pradesh.
In Himachal Pradesh, the wild apricot is commonly found in mid-hills, ranging from 1, 100 to 1,700 metres above the a mean sea-level. Most of the plants are seedlings, with varying flesh and kernel characters.

Scientific classification
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species:P. armeniaca
Binomial name
Prunus armeniaca

Recipes made mainly with this Fruit

Fruits are sweet. They are more acidic than the cultivated types. They also lack the flavour which is present in cultivated types. The overall quality of the fruit is fair to good.
The fresh fruits are generally eaten. These fruits are more acidic than those of the cultivated types. An excellent chutney is made from the wild apricot fruits. These fruits can also be used for making jam. Chopped kernels are added to kheer in villages.
The fruits of wild apricot are also sun-dried to make chalori, which is used as a souring agent in many food preparations. A chaat is also made from chalori after soaking it in water and mixing it with spices.
The seedlings of this tree are used as rootstock for the commercial cultivars of apricot.
The wood is hard and durable and is used for making agricultural implements, thatching mud houses and is used as fuel.
An oil is also extracted from the kernels of a wild strain of apricot found in the dry temperate zone of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. This oil is used for cooking as well as for burning. An alcoholic drink is also prepared from the fruits of wild apricots in this area.


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