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Types of Apricot Trees

By Caroline Fritz ; Updated September 21, 2017
The hardy apricot tree is prized for its fruit.
apricots on the tree image by Ashley Djuricin from Fotolia.com

The apricot tree is a hardy, though finicky, fruit. Although there are mainly three different types of native apricot—the Chinese apricot, Japanese apricot and desert apricot—the tree has been cultivated successfully in the United States, and several varieties of the apricot tree are available for planting. The trees do well in areas with cold winters, warm springs and dry summers.

Chinese Apricot and Cultivars

The Chinese apricot is native to northern China and throughout central Asia. The tree reaches a height of around 33 feet, with dark brown bark and oval leaves. Its genus, Prunus armeniaca, has been cultivated widely over the centuries and there are varieties available for planting in several growing regions. In the United States, these types include Deatrich, Gldcot, Hargrand, Jerseycot, Puget gold and Vivagold.

Japanese Apricot

The Japanese apricot, also called the winter plum, is not native to the United States but can be grown in southern climates in hardiness zones 6 through 8, according to The United States Department of Agriculture. The tree grows to a height of 20 feet and its bark is thin and prone to injury. The leaves are oval shaped and the tree flowers in late winter and early spring. The fruit is edible, although sour, and is routinely pickled and eaten in Japan.

Desert Apricot

The desert apricot, classified as a tree-shrub, is native to the southwestern United States. The tree grows to a height of 12 feet and its bark is reddish-brown. The leaves are rounded ovals and the flowers bloom in the early spring. The fruit, which is edible and eaten by wildlife, ripens in the summer. The tree usually grows in canyons in sandy soil.


About the Author


Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.