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tree of the week Prunus armeniaca – Apricot

Prunus armeniaca – Apricot

The Apricot’s exact origins are unclear, but it’s thought to have originated in parts of China, central Asia, Japan, and Korea. Its scientific name, Prunus armeniaca, suggests it was cultivated in Armenia long ago before being introduced to Europe by the Romans. While it’s grown in various regions of South Africa, most of it comes from the Western Cape. Common types in South Africa include Royal, Bulida, and Palsteyn.

The Apricot tree is small and spreading, with wide, pointed-tip leaves that are bright green. In the spring, it produces lovely white to pink blossoms, usually single or in pairs. The fruit, similar to a peach in shape, is mostly smooth and can be round or oblong, with little to no hairs when ripe. Apricot fruits are usually yellow or orange, sometimes with a reddish tint, and have a rib on the side. The pulp is typically yellow, though some kinds may be white. While most Apricot trees can pollinate themselves, planting two different types can boost fruit quality and quantity.

Prunus armeniaca thrives in regions with cold, dry winters (400–600 hours below 7.2°C) for proper dormancy and flowering. It doesn’t do well in subtropical climates. Besides being a fruit producer, the tree adds beauty to landscapes and offers shade in summer. However, it’s not compatible with potatoes, tomatoes, barley, oats, wheat, or fruit salad plants, as they can interfere with its growth.

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