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(Armeniaca), a genus of fruit-bearing trees or bushes of the rose family and plum subfamily. The trees reach a height of 15 m. The leaves are elliptical or broadly oviform, with elongated lobes at the top. The flowers, one per bud, are white or pink, and they open before the leaves. The fruit is a meaty or dryish drupe, usually fuzzy, and the pit is almost completely smooth. There are eight strains in Asia.
In the USSR there are five species of apricots: the common apricot (Armeniaca vulgaris) with juicy and edible fruit, which includes most of the cultivated strains; the juicy but not tasty Manchurian apricot (Armeniaca manshurica); the Siberian apricot (Armeniaca sibirica) and the related David apricot (Armeniaca Davidiana) with inedible fruit; and the black, or hairy, apricot (Armeniaca dasycarpa) with reddish purple or dark purple, fuzzy, tart fruit, including the cultivated strains Tlor tsiran, Aleksan-driiskii chernyi, and Ol’Khrod.
Apricots grow best on sunlit, well-aerated and drained slopes with light (subsandy, loamy, or sandy) or stony soils; they cannot grow in heavy clay or salty soils. Stagnant subsoil water near the surface has a detrimental effect on the root system. The apricot bears fruit quickly—within three or four years. Apricots are cultivated in northern India, Iran, China, North and South Africa, southern Europe, North America, and Australia. In the USSR they are cultivated in Central Asia, Transcaucasia, and the south of the European part of the country.
The fruit contains 4 to 20 percent sugar, malic, citric, and other acids, 0.38–1.27 percent pectins, and up to 10 mg of carotene. The seeds contain 29–58 percent fat. Apricots are consumed fresh, dried (variously called kaisa, kuraga, or uriuk), or canned (stewed apricots, juice, or jams). In the USSR apricots are planted in field-protecting forests and as seedling stock for peaches. In regions with a favorable climate, apricots bear fruit annually and yield a harvest of 8–12 tons per hectare or more. The major strains of apricot in the USSR include Krasnoshchekii, Ananasnyi, and Krasnyi partizan in the European part; Khurmai, Sub-khany, Isfarak, and Kursadyk in Central Asia; and Shalakh and Sateni in Transcaucasia. Highly frost-resistant strains—for instance, the Tovarishch, Luchshii michurin-skii, and Vynoslivyi—are particularly interesting because they can be planted farther north. In commercial cultivation, apricots are grafted onto wild apricots or cherry plums; more rarely, they are grown from seeds. Trees are planted every 6–8 m in rows that are 8 m apart. The best shapes for the crown are the improved vase or the un-layered, on a trunk 50–80 cm high. Shoots cluttering the top of young and fast-growing trees are cut off. Long and thick year-old shoots that dangle from the sides are shortened by one-third to two-thirds. Fully grown and fruit-bearing trees are pruned every year. Apricot orchards are treated with organic and mineral fertilizers every three or four years in the following amounts (in kg of active substances per ha): phosphorus, 50–80, potassium, 10–15, and nitrogen, 30–50. In addition to fall and spring water-supply irrigation, apricot orchards in dry regions are treated with vegetation irrigation from two times a year (in the European part of the USSR) to six times a year (in Central Asia). The irrigation norm is 300–400 cubic m per ha for young orchards and 500–700 cubic m per ha for fruit-bearing orchards. Apricots are damaged by weevils and flatheaded borers and attacked by gray rot, clasteriosporium, and bacterial cancer.
REFERENCESKostina, K. F. Abrikos. Leningrad, 1936.
Shitt, P. G. Abrikos. Moscow, 1950.
Kovalev, N. V. Abrikos. Moscow, 1963.