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The peach is known as a species of Prunus that bears an edible juicy fruit. It is a deciduous tree. The flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves; they are solitary or paired, pink, with five petals. The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a velvety skin in different cultivars.
Although its botanical name, Prunus persica, suggests the peach is native to Persia, it actually originated in China where it has been cultivated since the early days of Chinese culture. Peaches were mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the tenth century B.C and were a favored fruit of emperors. The Persians brought the peach from China and passed it on to the Romans. The peach was brought to America by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century and eventually made it to England and France in the seventeenth century, where it was a popular albeit rare treat.
Although Thomas Jefferson had peach trees at Monticello, United States farmers did not begin commercial production until the nineteenth century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia. Although the Southern states lead in commercial production of peaches, they are also California, Michigan, and Colorado. Today, peaches are the second largest commercial fruit crop in the States, second only to apples.
Peaches are rich in vitamin A, which has been shown to help prevent cancer. The fruit also contains high amounts of fiber and vitamin C. Eating peaches can be good for managing weight, preventing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and preventing heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.