Peaches are a juicy, sweet fruit with white or yellow flesh that grow on a tree of the same name. A similar fruit known as nectarines are also members of the same species. Peaches and nectarines are members of the stone fruit family and are related to plums, cherries, apricots and almonds. The peach tree can reach 10 m (33 ft) tall and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter. The botanical name for the peach is Prunus persica, which comes from Persia. This might give us a clue where peaches come from.
Where do peaches originate from?
Peaches were long through to have originated in Persia (Iran) because it was from here that they spread to Europe and the rest of the world. However, genetic research has shown that it is actually native to China where it has been cultivated for at least 4000 years. It spread from China to Persia and then into Greece around 300 BC when Alexander the Great conquered Persia. From here it spread further into Europe where it became a popular fruit in the Roman Empire. The Peach was spread to the Americas by Spanish explorers, although commercial production didn’t begin in the region for many years.
Where are peaches grown today?
China produces the largest number of peaches each year at approximately 11 million metric tons. Italy, the United States and Spain all produce over 1 million metric tons. Other relatively large producers are Greece, Turkey, Iran, Chile, France and Argentina. Today, peaches can be found growing on every continent on Earth apart from Antarctica.
Did you know?
The peach didn’t come to France and England until the 17th century. At this time it was so expensive that it could only be purchased as a special treat!