The peach is native to northwest China, where it has been cultivated for 4,000 years. The tree – cousin to cherry and plum – spread westward through trade, reaching Greece by 300 bce.
Peaches’ fuzzless sister – nectarines – have been around for at least 2,000 years, but their first mention is from medieval French. Peaches have been known to grow on nectarine trees and vice versa.
Like date palms, peaches and nectarines are dioecious.
Peaches and nectarines have either white or yellow flesh. The fruit is classified as either freestone – where the seed easily separates from the fruit, or clingstone – where the seed adheres to the fruit.
There are hundreds of peach and nectarine cultivars.
Nectarines have twice as much vitamin A as peaches and are a richer source of potassium. Peaches are one of the few fruits to have a significant amount of niacin (B3). Peaches and nectarines also offer dietary fiber and various phytonutrients.