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Peach Prunus persica

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Amygdalis persicus
  • Persica vulgaris
Phonetic Spelling
PROO-nus per-SE-kah
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The common peach is a deciduous fruit tree in the rose family that is native to Asia and has many cultivars that provide excellent peaches or nectarines. While the fruit is edible the seeds and wilted leaves are poisonous especially if eaten in quantity. This is not technically a wild peach tree as it has been found that they have been cultivated as early as 2000 BC. There are now 100s of cultivars available today.

The tree will grow quickly to 15-25 feet tall and wide with a rounded crown and upward-growing branches. It often wants to grow with multiple trunks but can be trained to a single trunk. Pruning is required to maintain a strong structure. The showy flowers appear in spring followed by the fruit in summer. The fall color is usually yellow.

If growing this three for the fruit, be prepared to follow a spraying regimen as they are susceptible to many insects. They also require a specific number of cold days with temperatures below 45 degrees. For best fruiting provide the tree full sun in moist, fertile, well-drained, acidic soil. 

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  Subject to many pests such as peach tree borer, plum curculio, oriental fruit moth, root nematodes, mites, and aphids. Very cold winter temperatures and late spring frosts often cause significant damage to the buds/flowers of peaches.  

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common  diseases.  The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home & Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common pests.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Nuts" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Bonfire', 'Carolina Belle', 'Carolina Red', 'China Pearl', 'Contender', Corinthian hybrids, 'Corinthian Pink', 'Cresthaven', 'Crimson Cascade', 'Dwarf Double Red', 'Fantasia', 'Flavortop', 'Kwanzan', 'Norman', 'Pink Cascade', 'Redgold', 'Redhaven', 'Summer Beaut', 'Sunglo', var. nucipersica, 'White Glory', 'Winblo'
Tags:
#deciduous#edible plant#flowering tree#fruit tree#showy fruits#edible fruits#pollinator plant#edible garden#fantz#larval host plant#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly#vhfn#vhfn-f#butterfly caterpillar host#frequent insect problems#poisonous seed#wildlife friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Bonfire', 'Carolina Belle', 'Carolina Red', 'China Pearl', 'Contender', Corinthian hybrids, 'Corinthian Pink', 'Cresthaven', 'Crimson Cascade', 'Dwarf Double Red', 'Fantasia', 'Flavortop', 'Kwanzan', 'Norman', 'Pink Cascade', 'Redgold', 'Redhaven', 'Summer Beaut', 'Sunglo', var. nucipersica, 'White Glory', 'Winblo'
Tags:
#deciduous#edible plant#flowering tree#fruit tree#showy fruits#edible fruits#pollinator plant#edible garden#fantz#larval host plant#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-fn#problem for dogs#problem for horses#eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly#vhfn#vhfn-f#butterfly caterpillar host#frequent insect problems#poisonous seed#wildlife friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Prunus
    Species:
    persica
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Wildlife Value:
    This is a larval host plant to Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). You may see three flights from February-November in the deep south and two flights from May-September in the north.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Edibility:
    Fruit edible raw or cooked. The seed contains hydrogen cyanide and should be discarded
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Juicy fleshy fruit in summer is yellow to orange, tinged with red with a large, rough pit (stone). They are fuzzy with hairs and called peaches. A recessive gene can cause the fruit to be smooth and hairless and they are called nectarines. Generally round or slightly oval and 3 x 3 inches.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Pink flowers in spring occur solitary or occasionally paired with 5 petals and appear before leaf-out. 1-1.5 inches across and pleasantly fragrant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are 2-6 by 1/2-1.5 inch, alternate, simple with a long-pointed tip, toothed margin and 2 small glands at the base of the blade. Under surface may have a few hairs while the upper surface is smooth. The leaves tend to curl inward along the central vein
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray with horizontal lenticels and becomes rough and scaly with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Description:
    Young stems are reddish and older stems are gray. New growth at the tips is green and smooth
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Messy
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    The pits contain cyanide compounds, which are poisonous. If a couple of pits are accidentally swallowed, it will not cause poisoning. The pits are more poisonous if they are ground up/crushed or the seeds are chewed. Fruit that has not been pitted should not be blended into a smoothie. Symptoms include Gasping, weakness, excitement, pupil dilation, spasms, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Cyanogenic glycoside, amygdalin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds