Ungrafted peach tree
Scientific name:Prunus persia,
Tree deciduous or evergreen. Stems erect, scandent, arching, prostrate. Buds usually with several exposed scales, sometimes with only 2. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, simple or compound stipules paired. Sepals usually 5, rarely fewer or more, imbricate; epicalyx segments sometimes also present.
Requires a well-drained moisture absorbent soil. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Best not grown in acid soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but it is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Requires shelter from north and north-east winds and also from spring frosts. Widely cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate areas and continental climates, there are many named varieties.
The leaves are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, parasiticide and mildly sedative. They are used internally in the treatment of gastritis, whooping cough, coughs and bronchitis. They also help to relieve vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy, though the dose must be carefully monitored because of their diuretic action. The dried and powdered leaves have sometimes been used to help heal sores and wounds. The leaves are harvested in June and July then dried for later use. The flowers and gum from the stems are diuretic and sedative. They are used internally in the treatment of constipation and oedema. The seed is anti-asthmatic, antitussive, emollient, haemolytic, laxative and sedative.
It is used internally in the treatment of constipation in the elderly, coughs, asthma and menstrual disorders. The root bark is used in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice. The bark is harvested from young trees in the spring and is dried for later use. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer.
The tree requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil but can thrive in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. The tree refers a pH in the range 6 to 7.
The seed requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. The stored seed is best given 2 months warm followed by 3 months cold stratification to protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate.