Peaches older than humans at 2.6 million years

So strange for a short lived tree to have such a long history.


Read both articles…found both very, very interesting. Would love to have tasted one. Great post…thank you!


Very interesting. I’ve read about other fruits that had lots of flesh, labeled as evolutionary anachronisms, They have lost the big mammals who ate the fruits and dispersed the seeds, so now it’s up to humans to perpetuate them for our own purposes. Pawpaws, persimmons , and avocados are examples. It’s interesting to think that fruit might have once fed a mammoth or ground sloth, long ago,

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Gingkos are I believe one of the oldest of the fruiting trees whose nearly unchanged leaves are often found in very old fossils. I think their flesh odor was to attract meat eating dinosaurs.
At least I read that somewhere long ago.

The flowering trees such as peach really broke out after the dinosaurs were gone. Some think they may have contributed to their demise. Pushing out conifers to colder regions as the flowering trees did better in the warmer regions limiting plant eater dinosaur food. Thus disrupting the food chain. Mammals and flowering plants were the new species to take over the world. Just about at the same time.

Also read both articles. Thanks for posting Drew.

The only thing I doubt is that the archaeologist said the fruit was probably delicious. It probably wasn’t. Many have remarked some seedling peaches are somewhat bitter (although some percentage of seedlings will produce tasty peaches). I’ve tried only one, and it wasn’t very good. I also had peaches from a peach rootstock and those weren’t very good either.

I suspect it’s modern breeding which has produced peaches “unnaturally sweet” and “unnaturally large” .

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I would agree with that with just about any fruit. A good sport, or chance luck produced what we grow now. The article on Avocados is also interesting. Thanks Bear! I’m going to grow out seedlings, if they are bad, I’ll top work and use as a rootstock. These will be planned crosses though, not random self pollinated junk.

I bet too it wasn’t sweet or delicious to todays standards. In the context though of those that likely consumed them, I bet they were to die for.
I find it very reasonable though that much later, ancient man would have made long journeys if necessary to reach the places where these peaches grew. I wonder at what point ancient man discovered (probably by mere chance or accident) a sprouting seed and realized maybe he/she could in fact, transport those and plant them in convenient places? The first orchardist.

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Who knows about the taste? I’ve eaten a fair number of wild fruits and berries that were really good, some that tasted awful. Modern breeding might add good shipping qualities, color, size, texture, and nice appearance, at expense of flavor.

For me, wild strawberries are much better than domesticated. Small but delicious.
Wild plums, different - very soft, astringent skin and some interesting flavors. Not as sweet as domesticated, but good.
Depends on the species and maybe on each plant tasted.
Pawpaws are close to being wild, and have really variable flavors.

Another example is Red Delicious apple. From what I read, decades of selecting redder and prettier fruits have resulted in what should be renamed, “Red Cardboard” apple. But the original strain is said to be much better. So in that case, over-domestication would be detrimental.

Appleseed, I’ve seen a number of theories about the flavor of ginkgo fruits. Noting that botanists don’t consider then fruits, although they look like that to us. I’ve collected bags of them and the odor lingers on my hands for days. It makes sense to me that carrion-eating plants would like them. Maybe sort of like the beetles that like pawpaw flowers. Maybe we should freeze ginkgo fruits and put them under pawpaw trees in the spring to attract insects. Too late to collect this year’s crop :slight_smile:

I was thinking of that too when I was typing. My example would be mulberries. I’ve had some wild ones which tasted pretty good (others pretty bland). I’m not sure that would be the case w/ apple and peaches. A few years ago a researcher went to the origin place of apples (also Asia) to collect wild germplasm. He wrote the wild apples weren’t very tasty (by today’s standards) but had high disease resistance.

I agree it’s all speculation, and it can interesting to speculate.

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Right Olpea, and although I’m with you on your assertion of their supposed deliciousness, Bear makes a great point about strawberries. Although I do grow them, I’m no expert or aficionado for sure, but I do remember as a kid eating wild strawberries from a meadow that were the best I’ve ever had. I’ve also had those ones that occasionally come up in lawns that were terrible.
I also still think that wild black/red/orange rasberries that grow around here are far better than any I’ve ever purchased (I don’t grow these). I guess in summation, evolution would (I think) drive the fruits to be as attractive as need be, without putting any more draw on the parent than evolutionary design deemed necessary.
I think it is totally plausible that the peaches were really awesome, albeit tiny.
I think when we think about something like “wild” (or seedling) peaches we think of (as you did) those seedlings you had sampled. I doubt very much that’s a fair assessment. We are talking about taking something meddled with by man and essentially undoing it. The result isn’t likely to be positive for a whole host of reasons, of which, I’m sure everyone here is well aware of. BUT millions of years of oppurtunities for genetic mutations (sports) to come along and be more attractive to their suitors (and therefore more successful from a survival standpoint) cannot be under estimated in my opinion.
They almost for sure, were as good as they needed to be…and maybe then some.

I’m probably getting too serious here, but this kind of history coupled with fruit growing excites my limited mental faculties.
I absolutely agree it is ALL mere speculation and also that this speculation is not only interesting but also fun (at least for me) !

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