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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles
'Prunus simonii' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.
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A small deciduous tree of slender, pyramidal habit, the branches erect, young shoots glabrous. Leaves oval-lanceolate, finely toothed, 3 to 4 in. long, 1 to 11⁄4 in. wide, resembling those of the peach; stalk short, glanded. Flowers white, solitary or in pairs, up to 1 in. across, opening in March and April; petals obovate. Fruits 2 in. wide, 11⁄2 in. deep, tomato-shaped, very shortly stalked, uniform brick-red, smooth like a nectarine, the flesh apricot-yellow and pleasantly fragrant, aromatic, and very palatable.
There seems to be some doubt as to the origin of this tree, and although it is believed to be a native of north China, its wild habitat is unknown. It is cultivated about Peking, and was introduced originally to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris in 1867 by Eugene Simon, after whom it is named, and was put in commerce by Messrs Thibaut & Keteleer of Sceaux, near Paris, in 1872. It has borne fruits in the gardens of Aldenham House, Elstree, but this happens rarely, owing to flowers being so liable to damage by frost. Although called “Apricot” plum, its affinities are doubtful. Some authors regard it as a plum, but it appears rather to be intermediate between that and the nectarine. It is a useful fruit tree in California, and has been hybridised with P. salicina – the Japanese plum. Very distinct in its almost fastigiate habit.