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Northern Arizona University Arboretum

Kirsten Aamodt
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Peach treePrunus persica

This is likely another planting by Mr. Lemuel Littleman. Fruit trees were originally planted on campus not just because they provided shade, spring flowers, and beauty, but also because of the fruit. Before and during the Depression Era, most of the food provided to NAU students was locally raised or grown. NAU, which was, at that time, Arizona State Teachers College, had its own dairy barn and probably also raised some of its own beef and poultry. You can imagine that during the Depression when food was relatively expensive, a good fruit harvest, like we had in 2004, would mean fresh apples for the winter and hot apple pie in the dining hall. This year’s harvest of the few remaining apples trees on campus would yield tons of fresh apples.

Apple production is a fairly dependable crop in Flagstaff, while that of peaches, pears, apricots, and cherries is much less dependable, due to our variable spring fruit set. Good years, like 2004, would also provide harvests of these less hardy crops.

This particular peach tree is a very old variety with white flesh and may, in fact, be the Hopi peach. The Hopi have cultivated this peach for generations and many believe in its spiritual introduction. The Spanish introduced other white flesh peaches to the New World over 400 years ago. It is thought that peaches were introduced to Spain thousands of years ago by way of China through the Middle East, Italy, and Europe. Today, most commercial peaches are derived from the 1880s yellow flesh variety “Elberta.”

For more information on peach trees, visit the links below:

Hopi Tutskwa Permiculture
Plants for a Future

2009 Arizona Board of Regents, Northern Arizona University
South San Francisco Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011