Prunus armeniaca L. - Common apricot.
Taxonomic position.Family Rosaceae Juss., genus Armeniaca Mill.
For a long period of cultivation there were four basic forms of apricot: f. pendula Jasq. - with droop branches, f. variegata C. K. Schneid. - with variegated leaves, f. ovalifolia Ser. - with oval leaves, f. cordifolia Ser. - with wide cordate leaves.
Synonyms.Armeniaca vulgaris Lam., Prunus armeniaca var. typica Maxim.
Morphology and biology.Tree height reaches 6 to 12 m. Life length is 30-40 years (some get as old as 100 and even 200 years). Crown is round or gently stretched. Root system is presented by powerful pivoted root, and lateral branches off of it. Stem diameter is 30-60 cm. Color of stem and perennial branches cortex varies from dun to brown, with large grey diametrical lenticels. Young shoots are shiny with reddish-brown or brownish-olive cortex. Leaves are rounded or ovoid with spike on the tip and with ovoid or weak drawn-out base. Leaves reach (4.5) 6-9 (12) cm long; leaf width reaches (3) 5-8 (11) cm. The outlines of the edges of leaf blades vary from unequal-serrate (with small obtuse cops) to almost crenate. Leaf blades usually naked, rarely lightly pubescence. Petioles are dark-red, thin, long, channeled, with 1-6 glandules at the leave base. The single flowers are white or pinkish, with very short peduncles (or without them). Diameter of the flowers is 30-40 mm. Sepals are oval, dark red. The number of stamens varies from 25 to 45. Fruit is a drupe with juicy pericarp; anisoplural, compressed with sides rounded, obovate, almond or with flat-rounded form, usually pubescence. The length of the fruit reaches (2) 2.5 - 4 (5.5) cm; the weight of the cultivated types varies from 5.5 to 80 g. Color of the fruits varies from white, yellow, orange, orange-red, with flush or without it. Drupes are anisopleural also, rounded, oval, obovate or lancet form with good marked keel central abdominal edge and two side edges. Seeds are flat, obovate with dense light painted skin, bitter or sweet. 2n=16
Distribution.The most ancient fossilized remains of apricot (5-6 century B.C.) were detected in the Ferganskaja valley. In Russian culture, the apricot has been known since the 17th century. The region of the industrial cultivation of the cultural apricot includes Southern Ukraine, Crimea, Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzikistan, Kazahstan, Kirgizia, and in the Far East - Primorskij kray. North boundary of distribution of orchards, which have industrial value includes: Kiev, Zhitomir, Chernigov, Har'kov, Volgograd, Astrahan', Kyzyl-Orda, Alma-Ata, Primorskij kraj. Small gardens and single trees are in Orlov, Tula, Kaluga, Riazan and Moscow provinces, and Pribaltica (towns Kaunas and Riga) also. The very north point is Pereslavl-Zalesskij in Jaroslavl' region. The most popular cultivated varieties are: in Middle Asia: Arzomi, Babai, Isfarak, Hurmai, Vympel, Zarja Nostoka, Komsomolets; in Trans Caucasus: Abutalibi, Novrast, Gendganabal, Kaisi, Shalah, Spitak; in Moldova: Benderskij Rannij, Luize, Detskij, Dojna; in Ukraine: Nikitskij, Vengerskij Luchshij, Arzami, Til'ton, Kievskij Aromatnyi; in Far East: Amur, Luchshij Michurinskij, Habarovskiy; in southern regions of Russia: Krasnozhekij, Vengerkij, Krasnyj Partizan, Ananasnyj; in more northern regions: Zolotoe Leto, Yantarnyj, Krepkij, Severjanin and others.
Ecology.Prefers deep valley, well-drained soils; loessial, loamy and marl or sandy soils with clay under soil. Apricot demands good aeration of soil, absence of high saline soils and water stagnation. It is winter-hardy enough to survive temperatures down to -25-27 degrees Celsius, but since it has a very short period of winter rest it does not tolerate light spring frosts. High harvests in the dry districts occur only with irrigation. Watering is carried out before and after blossoming, 10-15 days before the beginning of fruit maturity and after harvest. Plant is responsive potash fertilizers.
Economic value.This is a food (fruit) plant. At the present time the square area of the stands cover more than 120 thousand hectares (38% of the area is in the Middle Asia region, 30% in the south of Ukraine), gross production is from 150 to 180 thousand tons. Average productivity of the cultivated types of apricot is 80-100 kg per tree (in Middle Asia may reach 800 kg per tree). Harvest is inconsistent over the years. Fruits mature early and are distinguished for their high gustatory merits and are used in a fresh and dry state, and for preserves. Sugar content is 4.6-20% (for middle Asian types 27%). Organic acids in the fruits are 0.3-2.6%, nitrous substances 0.05-2.7%, cellulose 0.4-2.7, pectin substances 0.05-1.08%. Fruits are notable for their high content of vitamins A and C. Oil extracted from seeds of the apricot is used as a foodstuff. Wood of apricot serves for manufacture. It is an ornamental plant. Good honey plant.
Reference citations:Cherepanov S.K. 1995. Vascular plants of Russia and adjacent states. St. Petersburg: Mir and semja-95. 852 p. (in Russian).
Kostina K.F. 1941. Apricot - Armeniaca Mill. In: Komarov V.L., ed. Flora of the USSR. V. 10. Moscow-Leningrad: Academia nauk USSR. 584-590 p. (in Russian).
Kramarenko A.A. 2001. Productivity of the apricot in the conditions of Moscow region. Bulletin of Main botanical garden. N. 182. Moscow: Nauka. 34-43 p. (in Russian).
Pavlov, N.V., ed. 1961. Flora of Kazakhstan. V. 4. Alma-Ata: Academy of Science of Kazakhstan SSR. 518-519 p. (in Russian).
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Volkov S.A. 1952. Culture of Apricot in the Primorsky Kraj. Materials of Far-East branch named by Komarov of Academy of Science USSR. V. I. 129 p. (in Russian).
Vvedensky, A.I., ed. 1955. Flora of Uzbekistan. V. 3. Tashkent: Academy of Science of Uzbekistan SSR. 375 p. (in Russian).
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