Common Peach
Prunus persica
Rosaceae (Rose) Family

Photo courtesy Mike Carter
The peach is a well-known, small tree with a short trunk, a spreading rounded crown, showy pink blossoms, long narrow leaves and yellow to pink juicy fruit. Rarely does the tree reach a height of more than 30 feet with a trunk diameter usually less than 12 inches. Its preferred habitat is rich, moist woods, fence rows, and edge of woods. In a domestic environment the tree is a prized fruit tree and receives the utmost of attention. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are lance-shaped; finely saw-toothed with sides often curved up from midvein. Leaf stalks are short with glands near the tip; shiny green above; paler beneath. Crushed foliage has a strong odor and bitter taste.

Flowers are about 1-1/4 inch wide; five rounded pink petals that are usually single and nearly stalkless. Flowers occur in early spring before the leaves appear.

Fruit is a fleshy pulp surrounding a hard pitted stone; nearly round and grooved with fine velvety hairs covering the skin. The pulp which matures in the summer and is edible.

The peach is a native of China, which has naturalized locally in the eastern United States and California, mostly in the southeast. Peach has been grown as a fruit tree since ancient times. Numerous cultivated varieties include Freestone peaches, with pulp separating from the stone; Clingseed, with pulp adhering to the stone, and smaller, hairless fruits known as Nectarines. Spanish colonists introduced the Peach to Florida, and American Indians then planted it widely.

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