Spring flower 19: Peach

Family Rosaceae
Genus Prunus
Subgenus Amygdalus
Species P. persica

Peach actually is is the same subgenus as almonds, shared with both having a large pit with ridges. Michigan production was 6,000 tons in 2019, so it is not super important here. It does have a value in the US though. Worldwide, the top peach producing countries are China, Spain, Italy, Greece and US (Table 1).

Table 1. World’s Top Peach Producing Countries

Rank Country Production (Tonnes)
1 China 14,294,973
2 Spain 1,799,685
3 Italy 1,250,721
4 Greece 938,000
5 United States of America 775,189
6 Turkey 771,459
7 Iran 422,365
8 Egypt 360,723
9 Chile 332,824
10 Korea 295,281

I suspect in Michigan and other peach producing states, honey bees are rented for pollination, although the bee dependence index for peach is only 50%.

Peach flowers have a similar attraction index to apples and cherries, which I rate as a 7 out of 10. Most bees are observed foraging for pollen only, so nectar production must be small to non-existent.

1. Peaches seems to be in peak bloom, photos taken in Nanchang(28.46┬║ N, 115.49 ┬║ E) , Jiangxi, China (right next to my home province of Hunan). April 2, 1 pm, 2012.

2. Part of a tree, the “bokeh” of defocused background flowers make it nicer looking.

3. Closeup of two flowers. Some are more pink, others whiter. Not sure if it is age of the flowers or different varieties. But the color variation among these two flowers (left one is whiter).

4. Apis cerana (the Eastern hive bee, or the Asian honey bee) foraging on peach flowers.

5. Apis cerana working on peach flowers. It seems to be working for pollen.

6. Another shot.

7. Apis mellifera (the Western hive bee, or the Western honey bee), also working on peach flowers.

8. I almost forgot, I had a cover photo published, with a bee on a peach flower. This was using a very old point and shoot 3.2 megapix camera (Nikon Coolpix 990). Shot in Beijing. I should have lots more peach flowers with bees in my computer.

Part of “Bee Flowers” series by Zachary Huang, Michigan State University.

Posted March 30, 2020

Author: Zachary Huang

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