Prunus armeniaca

Rosaceae (Rose family)
Northern China

An important commercial feature of the Santa Clara Valley before the days of silicon, the apricot tree can be found as an orchard survivor in residential areas and on campus is planted in home gardens. Squirrels and blue jays are eager to get the fruit before you do. The fallen pits are harvested by rodents who gnaw the smallest possible hole that gives access to the kernel and amass the curiously shaped leftovers in their abominable retreats.

Peaches (P. persica), nectarines (which are basically fuzz-free peaches), and plums (P. domestica) are found in backyards, but there is also a peach against the north wall of the Old Union near two hawthorns. Almond trees (P. dulcis), which are rather like peach trees, occur in residential areas, and fruit readily where cross-pollination can occur. The flowering varieties have double flowers. Bitter almonds, reputedly inedible, have been found in the Stanford Avenue greenbelt, possibly as a result of bitter almond root stock being used for grafts, and are possibly dangerous to eat. The soft kernels, when dried, certainly have a distinctive taste. Apricot trees require some maintenance.

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.