peach1 / pēch/ • n. 1. a round stone fruit with juicy yellow flesh and downy pinkish-yellow skin. ∎ a pinkish-yellow color like that of a peach. ∎ inf. an exceptionally good or attractive person or thing: what a peach of a shot! 2. (also peach tree) the Chinese tree (Prunus persica) that bears this fruit. PHRASES: peaches and cream 1. (of a person's complexion) of a cream color with downy pink cheeks. 2. fine; satisfactory: it's not all peaches and cream. peach2 • v. [intr.] (peach on) inf. inform on: the other members of the gang would not hesitate to peach on him if it would serve their purpose.
PEACH (Heb. פַּרְסֵק or אֲפַרְסֵק, mishnaic), the tree and the fruit of the Persica vulgaris (Prunus persica). This tree was first grown in Ereẓ Israel during the Greco-Roman era, hence its name afarsek, i.e., "Persian apple" in the Mishnah (Gr. μῆλον περσικόν). Characteristic of the peach are the red fibers extending from a deeply grooved kernel. The Mishnah accordingly lays it down that peaches become liable for tithing "after they begin to show red veins" (Ma'as, 1:2). Under suitable conditions, peaches can grow to a substantial size, and the aggadah states that it happened that a single peach became large enough to provide more than a meal for a man and his ass (tj, Pe'ah 7:4, 20a). The Mishnah states that the peach used to be grafted onto the almond (as it is today) and forbids the practice since it constitutes kilayim ("*mixed species"; Kil. 1:4). On the other hand, the statement (tj, Kil. 27a according to the reading of the Mussafia in his additions to the Arukh) that the grafting of a walnut tree on a peach produces the fruit karyah-persikah ("Persian walnuts"), a sort of crossbreed between the walnut and the peach, belongs to agricultural folklore.
The name nucipersica ("Persian nut") occurs on an inscription discovered in a Roman villa and this name entered into the botanical literature of the Middle Ages for a species of peach with a skin as smooth as that of the outer husk of the walnut. It is certain that these two unrelated species cannot be grafted and no hybrid can be produced from them. After the ruin of Jewish agriculture in Ereẓ Israel at the end of the talmudic era, peach plantations all but disappeared. During recent years, however, they have been planted in large numbers and are found in abundance.
Loew, Flora, 3 (1924), 159–63; J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 101–3. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 30.
peach, fruit tree (Prunus persica) of the family Rosaceae (rose family) having decorative pink blossoms and a juicy, sweet drupe fruit. The peach appears to have originated in China, where it was mentioned in literature several centuries before Christ. It was introduced into Persia before Christian times and was spread by the Romans throughout Europe. Several of its horticultural varieties were brought by the Spanish to North America, where it became naturalized as far north as Pennsylvania by the late 17th cent. The numerous varieties of peaches under cultivation are generally distinguished as clingstone or freestone; the latter include the famous Elberta peach. The nectarine is a smooth-skinned peach with both freestone and clingstone varieties. In the United States commercial peach production centers in California and in the S Atlantic states. Elsewhere the peach is cultivated in S Europe, Africa, Japan, and Australia. The tree is prey to frost and is attacked by various fungi, virus diseases, and insect pests, against all of which careful precautions must be taken by growers. Purple-leaved and double-flowering forms are cultivated as ornamentals. In China where the flower is much used in decoration it is considered a symbol of longevity. The peach is closely related to other species of Prunus—e.g., the cherry, plum, and almond—of which Darwin thought the peach was an ancient variety. Peaches are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.