Peach (Prunus persica)

General info about Fruit

The Peach (Prunus persica) is a tree native to China that bears a juicy fruit of the same name.
It is a deciduous tree growing to 5–10 m tall, belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae. It is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus within the genus Prunus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.
The leaves are lanceolate, 7–15 cm long and 2–3 cm broad. 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 is a drupe, with a single large seed encased in hard wood (called the “stone” or “pit”), yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a velvety skin that bruises easily. The seed is red, oval shaped and 1.5-2 cm thick. Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits (drupes).
The scientific name persica derives from an early European belief that peaches were native to Persia (now Iran). The modern botanical consensus is that they originate in China, and were introduced to Persia and the Mediterranean region along the Silk Road in early historical times, probably by about 2000 BC (Huxley et al. 1992).
Cultivated peaches are divided into “freestone” and “clingstone” cultivars, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both kinds 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.

How to choose a ripe and fresh Fruit

Fruit, a drupe, short-stalked, with free stone, soft and pubescent at maturity, globular to oval, having a prominent suture all around the fruit; length, 4.5 cm; diameter, 3.8 cm; weight, 35.5 g; volume, 35.1 ml; almost green, turning light yellow at maturity.

Ways to prepare and serve the Fruit

Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Gum; Oil; Tea.
Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The fruit is often used in ice creams, pies, jams etc[183]. When fully ripe, the fruit of the best forms are very juicy with a rich delicious flavour. Wild trees in the Himalayas yield about 36.5kg of fruit a year. The fruit of the wild form contains about 5.2% sugars, 2% protein, 1.6% ash. Vitamin C content is 2.3mg per 100g. The fruit is a good source of vitamin A. Fruits of the wild peach are richer in nutrients than the cultivated forms. The size of fruit varies widely between cultivars and the wild form, it can be up to 7cm in diameter and contains one 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. See the notes above on toxicity. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed. Although the report does not mention edibility it can be assumed that it is edible. The seed contains up to 45% oil. A gum is obtained from the stem. It can be used for chewing.

Health Benefits and Warnings of eating Fruit

Medicinal Uses
Alterative; Anthelmintic; Antiasthmatic; Antihalitosis; 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; Oil.
A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. Yellow according to another report. 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.


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Rosales

Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Prunus

Subgenus: Amygdalus
Species: P. persica
Binomial name
Prunus persica

Recipes made mainly with this Fruit

Fruit (Dry weight)
350 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 5.5g; Fat: 1.4g; Carbohydrate: 90g; Fibre: 10g; Ash: 4g;
Minerals - Calcium: 60mg; Phosphorus: 135mg; Iron: 6.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 30mg; Potassium: 1800mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins - A: 3000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.15mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.25mg; Niacin: 4.7mg; B6: 0mg; C: 70mg;
Notes: The figures given here are the median of a range quoted in the report.
Seed (Dry weight)
0 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 31.2g; Fat: 39.9g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 14.8g; Ash: 2.7g;
Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

The fruits are eaten by the people in the villages. A comparison of their chemical composition with that of the superior cultivated types given in Appendix 11 reveals that these wild peaches are richer in nutrients than the improved cultivated varieties. Trials should be conducted for their evaluation for processing purposes. Considering their overall fruit quality, they should make a good canned product.
The late-ripening characteristic of this wild peach is unique. This plant can be used as one of the parents in the hybridization programme for evolving some late-ripening peach variety. A peach variety ripening after the monsoons shall be a boon to the Himachali peach-growers as all the varieties recommended at present ripen during the peak monsoon period. Owing to heavy rains, the roads are often blocked and this blockage hampers the transportation of peaches. The keeping quality of the late-ripening peach shall also be better owing to the cold weather prevailing at that time.
The seeds of this wild peach are collected and sown for use as a rootstock. An oil is obtained from the kernels of this plant. This oil resembles the oil from bitter almonds, for which it may be substituted … re=related … re=related … re=related