|Picture Notes: I shot these pictures on a visit to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve on 03/03/2013. Mr. Tracy Omar, Science and Gardens Supervisor at the Springs Preserve Botanical Gardens for helped me to identify this as a dwarf peach tree.|
Description: The peach, Prunus persica, is a deciduous tree, native to China and South Asia, where it was first cultivated. Often referred to as a stone fruit (drupes), it bears an edible juicy fruit also called a peach. Peaches and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. Nectarines have smooth skin, while peaches have fuzzy skin. The peach was brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Though recently the U.S. is becoming more known for it peach production (where the three largest producing states are California, South Carolina, and Georgia, Georgia), China is still the world's largest producer of peaches and nectarines.
There are hundreds of peach and nectarine cultivars. These are classified into two categories-the freestones and the clingstones. Freestones are those for whom the fruit flesh separates readily from the pit. Clingstones are those for whom the flesh clings tightly to the pit. Many horticulturalists have created mutations of flowering peaches, selected for ornamental display rather than fruit production. Semi-dwarf trees grow to 9.8 to 13 feet; dwarf trees grow to 6 feet 7 inches to 9 feet 10 inches. Prunus persica grows to 13-33 feet tall with lanceolate leaves that are 2.8-6.3 inches long, and .79-1.2 inches broad, pinnately veined. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, 1-2 inches in diameter, pink, with five petals. The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a velvety skin. The single, large seed is red-brown, oval shaped, approximately .5-1 inch long, and is surrounded by a wood-like husk. Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits (drupes).