Tree of the week: Prunus armeniaca – Apricot

The exact origin of the Apricot is unknown however, it is believed to have come from northern and western China, central Asia, Japan and Korea. Its scientific name Prunus armeniaca indicates that this tree was historically cultivated in Armenia for centuries before it was spread by the Romans to European countries. While this fruit is produced throughout South Africa, the bulk of production takes place in the Western Cape. Some of the common varieties grown in South Africa include Royal, Bulida and Palsteyn.

In Spring, the tree produces beautiful white to pink blossoms which will either be single or in pairs. The fruit of the apricot is round with a prominent rib on the side, varying in colour from yellow to orange, and often with a reddish blush. The pulp is usually yellow, but some cultivars may be white. Most varieties of this tree are self-fertile however, planting two cultivars increases the quality and quantity of fruit produced.

Prunus armeniaca grows well in areas with cold, dry winters (400–600 hours below 7,2 °C during winter) for proper dormancy and flower bud development. The cultivation of Apricots is not suitable in areas with a subtropical climate.

Although it is mainly grown for fruit, the tree is lovely in the landscape and provides valuable shade in the summer. Potatoes or tomatoes should not be planted anywhere near Apricot trees as they hinder each other’s growth. Apricot trees also dislike barley, oats, wheat and fruit salad plant.

Information sourced from Sun trees