The apricot seems closely related to the plum, as it buds and grafts readily and makes a good union of wood on stocks of some of the plum species, especially the Americana. But it also unites well with the wood of the peach and the domestica plums, but it fails to unite with the wood of the myrobalan stocks. In California it is propagated mainly on apricot and peach-seedlings by budding seedlings of the same season's growth (74. Budding the Same Season the Pits are Planted).
It is one of the most beautiful of the stone fruits, with handsome heart-shaped shining leaves and large white or pinkish-white blossoms. The tree runs into variations as to hardiness. Some good varieties, such as the Shense and the best Russian varieties, are as hardy as most of the domestica plums, but all varieties have the fault of blossoming very early. Hence it can only be grown profitably where there is little danger from spring frosts.
In its ancient home in central Asia, it has run into many varieties, varying, we are told, in season of blossoming and ripening of the fruit. Edward Regel gave it much study in the far East, and says : "The earliest apricots of Tashkend ripen in May, and toward the upper Amudaria, however, the apricots hang on the trees until August. The beautiful and delicately flavored varieties of Badach-shan before being dried are stoned and then pressed into a long shape like dates."
It is more than probable that later blossoming hardy varieties can be secured from north Turkestan and Bokhara. Henry Lansdell, D.D., in his interesting work on central Asia says that at Samarkand he measured the stem of an apricot-tree, loaded with large and beautiful fruit, that was five feet and three inches in circumference of trunk.
Samarkand is about on the 40th parallel, at an elevation of about two thousand feet above the sea. But it is in a river valley, near the centre of the broad continent, where the summers are hotter and drier than in Iowa and the winters will average much colder and drier. As this region is now accessible, the apricots of central Asia should be tested, especially the varieties latest to bloom in spring.