The apricot tree is a hardy, deciduous tree, growing to a height of approx. 10 meters. It belongs to the same genus (Prunus) as peach, plum, cherry, almond and blackthorn (sloe).
Originates from China, Himalaya region and other parts of temperate Asia.
However, formerly it was believed that its original habitat was Armenia.
Hence the botanical name Armeniaca.
The apricot tree has broad, ovate to rounded leaves with finely toothed edges and reddish petioles.
The beautiful, fragrant flowers or blossoms are white with a reddish tint. They have five regular sepals and petals and many stamens.
Bloom takes place very early in the spring.
The yellow/golden-red, fleshy and juicy stone fruits (drupes) have thin, downy skin and yellow flesh.
The fruit contains a big, smooth stone or pit with a single seed or kernel. The kernels of several apricot varieties are edible.
The apricot fruits are eaten fresh, dried or preserved, added to savory dishes, and used in the making of juice, jams, marmalades, candy, syrups, brandy, schnapps and liqueurs.
Essential oil from the apricot kernels is used for culinary and cosmetic purposes. Apricot kernel oil is often used as a substitute for oil of almonds, which is much more expensive.