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APRICOT

Prunus armeniaca

Appelkoos (Afr.)

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The apricot is a small tree, 8–12 m tall, with a dense, spreading canopy. The leaves are large and ovate, with a rounded base, a pointed tip and a finely serrated margin. The flowers have white to pinkish petals and grow either singly or in pairs in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, and ranges in colour from yellow to orange, often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun. The fruit can be smooth or velvety with very short hairs and the flesh is usually firm and not very juicy. Its taste can range from sweet to tart. The single seed is enclosed in a hard, stony shell with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side. In Europe, apricots were long considered an aphrodisiac, and were used in this context in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and as an inducer of childbirth, as depicted in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. The Chinese associate the apricot with education and medicine. Chuang Tzu, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century, told a story that Confucius taught his students in a forum surrounded by the wood of apricot trees. The association with medicine comes from the common use of apricot kernels as a component in traditional Chinese medicine, and from the story of Dong Feng, a physician during the Three Kingdoms period, who required no payment from his patients except that they plant apricot trees in his orchard on recovering from their illnesses, resulting in a large grove of apricot trees and a steady supply of medicinal ingredients.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Winter, Spring
Fruiting time
Summer, Spring

Harvesting

Apricots are usually ready for harvest from spring through to early summer. It is dependent on the variety. They will feel slightly soft. Be gently with picking to not break the skin of the fruit.

Propagation

Seed
In the spring the seed can be planted and will germinate in 10 to 14 days, sending up a sprout.
Cuttings
Apricots are usually propagated by budding an eye on a peach pip rootstock.

Special features

Geography

Origin
Armenia
Natural climate
Temperate climate

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Rich source of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy!

Personality

Family
Rosaceae
Flower colour
White to pinkish
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pit burn, a condition of soft and brown fruit around the pit. Bacterial diseases include bacterial spot and crown gall. Fungal diseases include brown rot: infection of the blossom by rainfall leads to "blossom wilt" whereby the blossoms and young shoots wilt and die.

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