"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Blooming Apricot Trees

Blooming Apricot Trees

From Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History by Diana Wells:

“The apricot’s botanical name is Prunus armeniaca, which means ‘plum from Armenia,’ but apricots originated in China, where they were cultivated from ancient times for their blossoms, fruits, and kernels. They most likely traveled to the Middle East, along with other Chinese commodities such as silk… and Alexander the Great might have brought them home.

“The ancient world was familiar with apricots; their common name probably comes from the Arabic
al-barquq. When they were grown in Spain by the Moors their Spanish name became albaricoque. But apricots ripen early, and some etymologists suggest that their name perhaps comes from the Latin praecox (‘early’) and apricus (‘ripe’).”

From “A Garden Song” by Austin Dobson in The Writer in the Garden, edited by Jane Garmey:

All the seasons run their race
In this quiet resting-place;
Peach, and apricot, and fig
Here will ripen, and grow big;
Here is store and overplus —
More had not Alcinous!

From The American Gardener by William Cobbett:

“In England the kitchen-gardens of gentlemen are enclosed with walls from ten to sixteen feet high; but this, though it is useful; and indeed necessary, in the way of protection against two-legged intruders, is intended chiefly to afford the means of raising the fruit of Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, and Vines, which cannot, in England, be brought to perfection without walls to train them against; for, though the trees will all grow very well, and though a small sort of Apricots will sometimes ripen their fruit away from a wall, these fruits cannot, to any extent, be obtained, in England, nor the Peaches and Nectarines, even in France, north of the middle of that country, without the aid of walls….

“Hence, in England, Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots, and Grapes, are called Wall-Fruit. Cherries, Plums, and Pears, are also very frequently placed against walls; and they are always the finer for it; but, a wall is indispensably necessary to the four former.”


As far as I know, I had not previously photographed these blossoms before, on a tree that PlantNet tells me is an apricot tree. While it’s a very useful resource, it’s always a bit speculative to rely on PlantNet (or any other internet source) as a way to identify unfamiliar foliage — simply because so many flowers look like so many other flowers (especially in the early spring!), and naming conventions can be very confusing. There is an approximately equal chance that these are the blossoms of a wild cherry tree or almond tree — though after a while (a long while, of comparing random other-people’s images), I convinced myself that it was most likely an apricot. There was only one tree with blossoms like this that I could find at the gardens — and I could identify the cherry and almond trees — so that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Thanks for taking a look!

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