Peach (Prunus persica)
Main Facts about Peach
The peach is a deciduous tree, native to Northwest China where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It has lance-shaped leaves, 5-petal pink flowers and bears an edible juicy fruit also called a peach. Cultivated peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly.
Using PeachBoth the fruit and the tree bark are used medicinally. They have demulcent, sedative, diuretic and expectorant action. The leaves are used for the treatment of gastric and stomach irritations and abdominal tenderness, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds. They are used for strengthening to the nervous system, as well as a mild sedative. The fruit is a good source of vitamin A, may help to protect against environmental toxins, slow the signs of aging, with a noted decrease in wrinkles and reduction in roughness of the skin. Very high in potassium, which is good for fatigue and muscle weakness. Traditionally in folk medicine peach leaves have been used for hair conditioning and as a hair growth aid to create more volume, for dry lifeless hair, and more body and shine.
Cooking with PeachFruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The fruit is often used in ice creams, pies, jams. Flowers - raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a garnish. They can also be brewed into a tea. The distilled flowers yield a white liquid which can be used to impart a flavour resembling the seed. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat if it is too bitter, seed can contain high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid.
How to grow PeachPeaches grow in a fairly limited range in dry, continental or temperate climates, since the trees have a chilling requirement that tropical or subtropical areas generally cannot satisfy except at high altitudes. They require adequate summer watering, deep and well-drained soils, high nitrogen fertility, fruit thinning, and pest control sprays to prevent peach leaf curl and brown rot. Peach trees need full sun, and a layout that allows natural air flow to assist the thermal environment. Blood meal, bone meal, and calcium ammonium nitrate are suitable fertilizers. Peach trees are short-lived trees (15-20 yr). Peaches are self-fruitful (self-compatible), which means that they do not require a pollenizer tree. Plant trees 12×16 ft. to 18×18 ft. apart. Peaches are planted in early winter. During the growth season, peach trees need a regular and reliable supply of water, with higher amounts just before harvest.