Apricot (old Eng. apricock, Fr. abricot, Ger. Aprihose; probably from Lat. arbor prœcox, early tree), the fruit of prunus Armeniaca or Armeniaca vulgaris, of the order rosacea. It is a small, rapidly growing tree, attaining to the height of 20 to 30 feet, with a somewhat spreading head, the leaves heart-shaped, smooth, and shining. The flowers are usually white and appear before the leaves - indeed, blossoming before any other fruit tree in the early spring. The fruit seems to be intermediate between the peach and plum, having the outside of the former and the stone of the latter. The tree is a native of Armenia, and also of the Caucasus, Cabool, the Himalayas, China, and Japan, and by cultivation has been introduced throughout the temperate zone. The tree was cultivated by the Romans, and is mentioned by both Pliny and Dioscorides. The Roman generals introduced it into Gaul and Britain, although the first notice that has been found of its being in England is by Turner, whose "Herbal " was printed in 1562. There it seldom ripens its fruit unless trained against a wall. In California vast quantities are raised, of a large size and fair quality, ripening before the peach. In its wild state the fruit is small, of a waxen yellow color, rosy-cheeked, and of a pleasant, slightly acid flavor.
It is dried in large quantities in the East under the name mishmish, and the preserved apricots of Damascus are favorably known to all travellers, and sometimes imported into the United States. The best varieties are the Moor Park and the Brussels and Breda, the last two being especially adapted to the confectioner's purposes. The Siberian apricot is cultivated for its foliage and flowers. The chief enemies of this fruit in the United States are a species of curculio, which causes the early dropping of the immature fruit; the black wart, which attacks the branches; and another fungus which destroys the leaf. Apricots are seldom seen in the New England markets, and they are by no means common in New York.
Apricot - Fruit, Flower, and Pit.