The peach (Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree indigenous to the Northwest region of China between the northern slopes of Kunlun Shan mountains and the Tarim Basin where the peach was not only first cultivated but also domesticated. The peach plant bears an edible succulent fruit known as the peach or a nectarine. Peaches and nectarines might be the same species, but they are commercially considered to be different fruit. Genetically, nectarines are produced from a recessive allele for fuzzy skin whereas peaches are produced due to a dominant allele for fuzzes on the skin, hence the difference.
Peaches can grow to a height of about 4-10 meters and a diameter of 6 inches. Peaches have lanceolate leaves that are 7-16 centimeters long and 2-3 centimeters wide. The peach flowers in early spring and consist of singular or paired pink petals. The peach fruit is a drupe which has a yellow or whitish flesh that has a delicate skin and aroma. The skin is usually velvety for peaches not smooth for nectarines depending on the cultivars. White-fleshed peaches are generally sweet and contain little acidity while yellow-fleshed peaches are sweet and acidic.
Benefits And Uses Of Peach
The production of peaches has an economic benefit to the top producing countries where the fruit is a source of food. Other benefits include nutritional value since peaches are rich in vitamins responsible for healthy vision, nervous system, skin care, healthy teeth, and bones. Peaches also offer some of essential minerals which help strengthen the immune system and fiber that is valuable for digestion.
In China, peach-wood was used to make seals or figurines while peach kernels are still used as a common ingredient when making traditional Chinese medicine. In Korea, peaches are perceived as a fruit of honor, happiness, longevity and are believed to drive away spirits. In modern day, peaches are used to make juices, smoothies, skin, and hair products among other things.
Cultivation Of Peach
Peaches thrive in a limited range of dry continental or temperate climates since the trees require all chilling environment. Most of the peach cultivars need 500 hours of chilling climate between 0 to 10 degrees Celsius when important chemical reactions take place even though the plant might appear dormant. After the chilling period, the plant enters quiescence which is the second type of dormancy. The plant requires warm weather so that buds can grow and break. The trees can thrive in temperatures between -26 to -30 degrees Celsius however the buds become less cold tolerant during late winter. Eventually, the summer heat is required for a peach plant to mature which then begins to bear fruits in their third year of cultivation. The plant can have a lifespan of between 7 and 15 years.
Production And Top Producing Countries
China is the leading producer of peach, a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China that yields an edible a fruits whose extract contain a significant nutritional value. In 2013 China the top peach producing country generated about 55% of the world's total peach production with 11.9 million tons. Italy came in second producing 1.4 million tons followed by Spain with 1.3 million tons. The US produced 1.0 million tons with its largest producing states being Georgia, California, and South Carolina. Greece was the fifth largest peach producing country in the world producing 0.7 million tons.
World's Top Peach Producing Countries
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