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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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apricot Prunus armeniaca (syn Armeniaca vulgaris), a fruit belonging to the rose family and closely related to the plum, peach, cherry, and almond. The apricot’s original wild ancestor has long since vanished, but it is generally accepted that its home was in, or mainly in, China, and that it was the Chinese who first cultivated the fruit, before 2000 bc. Laufer (1919) gave a plausible account of its spread westwards by silk dealers, which resulted in its reaching Iran (where, significantly, it had only a descriptive name, zard-alu, meaning ‘yellow plum’) in the 2nd or 1st centuries bc, and Greece and Rome in the 1st century ad.