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Uses

Toxic parts

The seed can contain high levels of hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten[1]. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[2][3][4][5]. The fruit is often used in ice creams, pies, jams etc[6]. When fully ripe, the fruit of the best forms are very juicy with a rich delicious flavour[K]. Wild trees in the Himalayas yield about 36.5kg of fruit a year[7]. The fruit of the wild form contains about 5.2% sugars, 2% protein, 1.6% ash. Vitamin C content is 2.3mg per 100g[7]. The fruit is a good source of vitamin A[8]. Fruits of the wild peach are richer in nutrients than the cultivated forms[7]. The size of fruit varies widely between cultivars and the wild form, it can be up to 7cm in diameter and contains one seed[9]. Flowers - raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a garnish[6]. They can also be brewed into a tea[6]. The distilled flowers yield a white liquid which can be used to impart a flavour resembling the seed[6]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat if it is too bitter, seed can contain high concentrations of hydrocyanic acid. See the notes above on toxicity. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[10]. Although the report does not mention edibility it can be assumed that it is edible. The seed contains up to 45% oil[11]. A gum is obtained from the stem. It can be used for chewing[12].

Flowers

Fruit

Unknown part

Material uses

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[13]. Yellow according to another report[14]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[13]. A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed[10]. It is used as a substitute for almond oil in skin creams[15]. The bruised leaves, when rubbed within any container, will remove strong odours such as garlic or cloves so long as any grease has first been fully cleaned off[16]. A gum obtained from the stem is used as an adhesive[12].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Antihalitosis[7]. The leaves are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, parasiticide and mildly sedative[17][11]. They are used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis[15]. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action[17]. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds[17]. The leaves are harvested in June and July then dried for later use[16]. The flowers are diuretic, sedative and vermifuge[16][17][18][7][11]. They are used internally in the treatment of constipation and oedema[15]. A gum from the stems is alterative, astringent, demulcent and sedative[16][17][18][7][11]. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient, haemolytic, laxative and sedative[16][17][18][7][11]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation in the elderly, coughs, asthma and menstrual disorders[15]. The bark is demulcent, diuretic, expectorant and sedative[16]. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis[15]. The root bark is used in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice[11]. The bark is harvested from young trees in the spring and is dried for later use[16]. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17[11]. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this[K]. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution[11]. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[15].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[9]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[9]. The stored seed is best given 2 months warm followed by 3 months cold stratification[19]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[19]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[20][9]. A very low percentage[19]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[9]. Layering in spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Prunus persica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[2][20]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[20]. Best not grown in acid soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but it is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[2]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7[9]. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position[20]. Requires shelter from north and north-east winds[20] and also from spring frosts[9]. Widely cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate areas and continental climates, there are many named varieties[6]. There are numerous divisions of the varieties according to skin colour etc. Perhaps the most useful from the eaters point of view is whether it is free-stone (the flesh parts easily from the seed) or cling-stone (the flesh adheres to the seed)[200, K]. Trees are normally hardy in southern Britain[20], tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c when they are dormant[21], but they require some protection if cropping is to be at all reliable[20]. This is not due so much to lack of cold hardiness, more to the cooler summers in Britain which do not fully ripen the wood and the fruit, plus the unpredictable winters and springs which, in a mild spell, can excite the tree into premature flowering and growth which is then very liable to damage in any following cold spell. Hand pollination at this time can improve fruit-set[9]. The cultivar 'Rochester' is more likely than most cultivars to succeed outdoors in Britain[9]. In general it is best to site peaches in a very warm sheltered sunny position, preferably against a south or west facing wall[9][22]. Most cultivars are self-fertile[9]. Trees are often grafted onto plum or other rootstocks but are said to be better when grown on their own roots in southern Britain[20]. Trees are not generally long-lived[9], this is partly because of the need for the tree to produce a constant supply of new wood since most fruit is formed on one-year old wood (though some fruit spurs are formed)[9]. Garlic is a good companion for this plant, helping to prevent disease, especially peach leaf curl[23][8]. Tansy grown below peach trees helps to keep them healthier[8]. Peach leaf curl can also be prevented by protecting the plants from winter and early spring rains, perhaps by covering them in plastic[9]. Plants grown or overwintered indoors do not suffer from leaf curl[24]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[15]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[9].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus persica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Prunus persica.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus persica
Genus
Prunus
Family
Rosaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    6 x 6 meters
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-01-01)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-01-01)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-01-01)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Harrison. S. Wallis. M. Masefield. G. The Oxford Book of Food Plants. Oxford University Press (1975-01-01)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-01-01)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.5 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-01-01)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.57.67.77.8 Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K. Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region. Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi. (1982-01-01)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-01-01)
    9. ? 9.009.019.029.039.049.059.069.079.089.099.109.119.129.139.149.159.16 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-01-01)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.3 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.711.811.9 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-01-01)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.3 Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
    13. ? 13.013.113.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-01-01)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-01-01)
    15. ? 15.015.115.215.315.415.515.615.715.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-01-01)
    16. ? 16.016.116.216.316.416.516.616.716.8 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-01-01)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.317.417.517.6 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-01-01)
    18. ? 18.018.118.218.3 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-01-01)
    19. ? 19.019.119.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-01-01)
    20. ? 20.020.120.220.320.420.520.620.720.8 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-01-01)
    21. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-01-01)
    22. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-01-01)
    23. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-01-01)
    24. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2 Pan Books, London. ISBN 0-330-37376-5 (1998-01-01)
    Facts about "Prunus persica"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Belongs to familyRosaceae +
    Belongs to genusPrunus +
    Has binomial namePrunus persica +
    Has common namePeach +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partFlowers +, Fruit +, Unknown part + and Seed +
    Has edible useUnknown use +, Gum +, Oil + and Tea +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Bees +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone5 +
    Has imageIllustration Prunus persica0.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useAdhesive +, Cleanser +, Dye + and Oil +
    Has mature height6 +
    Has mature width6 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAlterative +, Anthelmintic +, Antiasthmatic +, Antihalitosis +, Antitussive +, Astringent +, Demulcent +, Diuretic +, Emollient +, Expectorant +, Febrifuge +, Haemolytic +, Laxative + and Sedative +
    Has primary imageIllustration Prunus persica0.jpg +
    Has search nameprunus persica + and peach +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy namePrunus persica +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
    Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedYes +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedYes +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedYes +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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