Peach. (Amygdalus persica), probably a native of China, where it has certainly been cultivated from the 5th century B.C., but introduced from Persia into Greece, probably by Alexander, a century later. It is commonly grafted on the plum or almond-(q.v.). The nectarine is merely a smooth-fruited variety, differing, however, in flavour. The stone orendocarp in both is coarsely furrowed, and the leaves are conduplicate in the bud. The flowers, which appear before the leaves, are of a delicate pink. The fruit in the peach has a separable woolly
epicarp. Though deliciously flavoured and refreshing, since it contains 85 per cent. of water and 8 per cent. of pectose and gum, it does not contain much nutriment. Peaches grow luxuriantly in America, where they are employed in distilling a brandy and as food for pigs, and whence we import them either tinned or dried.