The History of the Peach

As with many stone fruits, peaches originated in China. It is in the Rosaceae, or Rose, family; genus species Prunus Persica. From China this delectable fruit spread to Persia, where it was widely cultivated. Alexander the Great furthered its spread into Europe - paintings of peaches were even found on the walls of Herculaneum, preserved despite the destruction of Vesuvius. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers brought it to the Americas and in the 17th century it was introduced to England and France. It was widely popular and in the Victorian era was served wrapped in a fine napkin as a dessert. Peaches were planted all along the East Coast of the United States by the 18th century, though commercial production of peaches in America took a bit longer, not really beginning until the 19th century. California is now the leading producer of peaches in the United States.

Ancient Romans referred to peaches as malum persicum - the “Persian Apple.”

Thomas Jefferson grew peaches at Monticello.

In Ancient China, the peach was a favorite food of emperors and kings - thought to increase longevity and ward off evil spirits. It is now associated with wishes for a long, healthy life and friendship.

Peach blossoms are pink.

Japanese folktale hero Momotaro - “Peach Boy” - was born inside a giant floating peach.

Atlanta, Georgia has over 65 streets with the word Peachtree - but they are not named for peach trees.