Prunus armeniaca Rosaceae
Apricot PROO-nus ar-men-ee-AH-ka
- Deciduous tree, round headed, spreading, to about 20-30 ft (6-9 m) tall. Leaves broad-ovate or orbicular-ovate, 5-10 cm long, tip abruptly acuminate, base rounded or cordate, margin serrate; petiole 2-3 cm long. Flowers solitary, white or pinkish, about 2.5 cm across, 5 sepals, 5 petals, many erect stamens. Fruit round, 3 cm wide, yellowish with reddish checks, stone (pit) smooth with a thick furrowed edge; the fruit require 3-6 months for development, depending on cultivar.
- Sun. Requirements for successful fruit production include chilly winters (to meet chilling requirements) and frost free springs (to avoid damage to early spring bloom).
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 Native to northeastern China. Many cultivars have been developed. Commercial apricot fruit production in the U.S. is limited to California.
- Jacobson (1996, p. 485) cautions that as ornamentals apricots are not desirable because they require "annual care to stay vigorous and healthy, while the tree's form and the texture of its foliage are only of average appeal." The Japanese Apricot, Prunus mume is generally considered a better choice, but it is less hardy (USDA Zone 6).