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Peach and nectarine are both members of the genus and species Prunus persica, and probably differ by only a single gene for skin pubescence (hairs on the fruit surface). One probably originated as a mutation of the other, but we do not know which came first. The species originated in China and was taken by traders from there into Persia, Greece, Italy, and other temperate areas of Europe. Peach and nectarine varieties may have yellow or white flesh. In Virginia different varieties ripen over a wide range of dates, from early June until mid-September. Varieties also differ in fruit size, susceptibility to some diseases and susceptibility to low winter temperatures, chilling requirements, and fruit disorders such as fruit cracking and split-pit. Descriptions of some of these characteristics are included in the next section of this publication.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
February 23, 2015