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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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peach Amygdalus persica, a fruit distinguished by its velvety skin, to which the Roman poet Virgil drew attention when he wrote of searching for ‘downy peaches and the glossy plum’.

Like the plum and the apricot, the peach belongs to the rose family and is classified as a drupe, i.e. a fruit with a hard stone. Of all the fruits in this family, with the possible exception of the cherry, the peach is the most celebrated in literature, in the Orient as well as the West. It is a fruit of temperate but warm climates, which will not endure either tropical heat or severe cold. The nectarine, which has a smooth skin, is treated separately, although of the same species.