Prunus armeniaca
Family: Rosaceae

The genus Prunus comprises around 400 species, P. armeniaca being the one we know as apricot. A small, perennial, deciduous tree, it is native to temperate Asia and from the plum branch of the rose family. The skin of this oval, orange-coloured stone fruit is slightly downy. Apricots ripen in summer, the exact time according to variety.


Because there are a number of varieties, it is possible to select several which are suitable for a fairly wide range of areas. Planting different varieties will also guarantee long fruiting seasons. Well-known and widely grown cultivars include 'Alfred' which ripens in mid to late summer but tends to have a biennial cropping habit; the heavy cropping 'Bredase' is a late summer to early autumn cultivar; 'Early Moorpark' is another heavy cropper which ripens in midsummer; 'Farmingdale' ripens in midsummer, is heavy cropping and reasonably disease-resistant; 'Hemskirke', ripens in late summer; and the very popular, regular cropping cultivar 'Moorpark' ripens in late summer. Other good modern cultivars, especially for the north, are 'Earliril', 'Goldcot', 'Moongold', 'Sungold' and'Veecot'.


Apricot trees like a well-drained, reasonably fertile soil. If planting a number of trees, place 6-7.5 m (20-24 ft) apart in each direction. For lighter soils the apricot can be budded on the seedling of an apricot or peach, and for heavier soils it can be budded on the Myrobalan plum. The tree bears fruit on the previous year's wood, as well as on spurs two years and older, so that only light pruning is needed to keep the tree in hounds and to bring on new fruiting wood. Prune in winter to a vase shape to encourage strong leaders, to facilitate picking of the fruit, and to allow in light and air which will help to combat disease. This also allows good development and ripening of fruit on inner branches.


Apricots can be grown in zones 6 to 8 but best results are obtained in zone 9. Widely grown in the California area.

Apple      Aptenia