Archive for August 19th, 2011

Apricot – Prunus armenianca


Cultivated for almost 3000 years, this tree followed the Silk Road from China to Armenia. Later it was introduced to southern Europe by Alexander the Great in approximately the 4th century BC. Pliny credits the Romans with cultivation by 100 BC, and the Greeks had their own name for the fruit, “the golden eggs of the sun.” The Spanish brought them to the western hemisphere, planting them first in Mexico and later transporting them north to the missions in California.


The fruit can be eaten out of hand or dried, stewed, grilled, poached or made into jam or jelly. The seeds or kernels of the apricot are used in the Italian liqueurs Amaretto and amaretti biscotti. The oil expressed from the kernels is used as cooking oil.


Healers have valued the apricot for its medical properties for thousands of years. The fruit, kernel, leaves, blossoms, and oil have been used. It was used to treat cough, fever, skin problems, constipation, infertility, eye inflammation, spasm, worms and parasites, gallstones, and vaginal infections.


The expressed oil can be found in cosmetics, soaps, and skin products. It is also used in perfumery, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves, and a dark grey to green dye from the fruit.