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A deciduous bush or small tree; leaves ovate, the apex long drawn-out; 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, half as wide, reddish at first, then bright green and glabrous above, with axil tufts of down beneath, margins finely toothed; stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Flowers mostly solitary, white or pink. Fruits scarcely stalked, about 1 in. long, yellow except on the sunny side, covered with a velvety skin; the flesh scanty, dry, harsh and scarcely edible; stone sharply edged; kernel of nut with an almond-like, bitter taste.
Native of the mountains of E. Siberia (Dahuria), where, according to Pallas the Russian botanist, some mountain-sides are covered with its pink blossoms in May, when the northern sides are purple with Rhododendron dauricum. It is also found in the Ussuri region, Mongolia, etc. Although an old tree in gardens (it was cultivated at Kew one hundred years ago), and still offered for sale by continental dealers, it is scarcely known in England nowadays. So far as I have seen, it has very little to recommend it for gardens, being of about the same value as the wild apricot, to which it is very closely akin. Its leaves have usually much more elongated points.
According to the Flora SSSR (Vol. 10, p. 595) this species withstands temperatures of – 50° C. (90° F. of frost) in some parts of its range.
P. armeniaca var. mandshurica Maxim.
Armeniaca mandshurica (Maxim.) Skvortz