The Peen-to Peach Group
Florida Station Agricultural Bulletin. YEAR. Bull. 62. pp.505-
Peach culture, as an industry in Florida, has now assumed very considerable proportions, despite the many obstacles which have had to be overcome. When attempts were made in this state to grow the varieties adapted to and planted in the great peach growing districts of the more northerly states, failure was almost always the result. Much effort was wasted in the vain attempt to compel varieties totally unsuited to our exacting conditions, to grow where they would not.
That the peach industry has reached its present status is largely due to two things, the untiring efforts of a few men interested in the work, among whom must be mentioned G.L. Taber of Glen St. Mary and T.K. Godbey of Waldo and to the introduction of the Peen-to and Honey varieties. These with those of the Spanish race, selected seedlings from varieties introduced by the Spaniards long ago, constitute fully two-thirds of the varieties listed by our nurserymen and the orchards of the state show a far greater preponderance of varieties of these groups.
The Peento group of peaches is essentially adapted to subtropical conditions and they are peculiarly Florida peaches. With the exception of the parent and progenitor, the Peento every member of the group has originated in the state, and Florida must be credited with giving to the world an interesting and exceedingly valuable group of fruits.
The group is limited in its adaptations to the state of Florida, coast regions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, in brief to Pomological District six and the extreme southern portion of District five as defined in the Catalogue of Fruits of the American Pomological Society, Bulletin 8, Division Pomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But even within the above defined area, the adaptation of the different varieties is to a very large extent, a local matter. While some varieties of peaches succeed over a very large area and under what appear to be widely different conditions, on the other hand, as is the case with the varieties of the group under consideration, many peaches are adapted to very restricted areas. The recommendations as given in the latter part of the bulletin are based upon results obtained by the orchardists of the State.
A few years ago, the author would have hesitated greatly before publishing anything in regard to peaches on account of the destruction wrought by the San Jose scale. But that insect is no longer considered as a menacing factor in peach growing. The excellent results obtained through the various means of control as outlined in Bulletin 61 of the Florida Station by H.A. Gossard have changed the whole phase of the question. We are now in a position to say that Florida can control the early peach market and can compete successfully with other states in the sale of late varieties.
The Peento Peach in England
The Flat Peach of China, evidently a peach of the Peento group and with which the name Peen-to was considered synonymous by Downing, was introduced in to England sometime in the 19th century. What was believed to be the first fruit produced in England was grown by Mr. John Braddick and exhibited before the London Horticultural Society (1) in 1820, under the name Java peach. The tree came from Mr. Kirke, a nurseryman, who secured the variety from Java. The variety is also referred to by Lindley (2) and Knight (3).
History of the Peento Group in America
The first peach of the Peento group was introduced into this country by William Prince of Flushing, New York, proprietor of the Linnean Botanic Garden and the author of several important works on Horticulture. The introduction was made sometime previous to 1829 for in his “Treatise on Horticulture”, published in that year, he says: “about twenty trees are in possession of the author, which have been inoculated from the original introduced by himself.” It is highly probable that Prince secured his original tree from England.
Downing refers to the Peento peach but his description is not true for that variety as we know it. He had probably never seen the fruit and certainly he had no trees in his possession at the time of the publication of the second edition of his “Fruits and Fruit Trees of America,” 1885. In the foot note at the bottom of page 638, he says: “Should any one of our amateurs now possess it, we shall be much gratified to receive buds of it.” A foot note conveying the same sense is found on page 500 of the first edition, 1850.
All traces of the first introduction by Prince are lost and it is to P.I. Berckmans of Augusta, GA, that we owe this valuable group of peaches in the South. In 1869 Mr. Berckmans secured seed from Australia and from this seed, a peach was grown which was called, 'Peento'. While succeeding in South Florida, this Peento peach was not a success in North Florida for, though growing luxuriantly, a crop of fruit could not always be depended upon because of its early blooming habit. But from the parent variety has sprung a number of seedlings well adapted to the different parts of the state.
Characteristics of the Group
The trees are vigourous, upright in habit, prolific, and well-covered with foliage. After fruiting for a number of years, the heads become more open and spreading. The leaves are long narrow, pointed, finely serrated and with reniform glands at the base. The flowers are large and pink and are produced in great abundance. The fruit, with the exception of that produced by the Peento and one or two others, is roundish in outline, occasionally blunt pointed. The flavor of those varieties, which more closely resemble the parent Peento, have a decidedly or slightly noyau flavor. In other varieties this flavor is entirely lacking and it may be acid, subacid or sweet. The skin is easily removed and the stone may either be free or cling. For the most part, they are well-colored and of good appearance. The ripening period of the varieties of this group (known at present) extends from April to the middle of July or a little later though by far the greater number of varieties mature their fruit by July 1.
About twenty-two or three varieties of Peento peaches have been catalogued by Florida nurserymen. The catalogues for the winter of 1902 listed about fifteen varieties. The catalogue of the Florida State Horticultural Society gives ten varieties. Many of the varieties at first listed by nurserymen have given place to better varieties and many of them have entirely disappeared from cultivation.
The description of the Peento variety the progenitor of the whole group, is given first, after which the varieties are arranged alphabetically.
The past season has been one of extreme drought throughout the whole State of Florida. In consequence, the peaches have been undersized and due allowance will have to be made in the measurements, because of this fact.
Peen-to (Berckman's cat. 1873 and 1877)
Flat or very decidedly oblate; medium to large, in size 1-1 13x16 or 1x2, frequently reaching three inches in diameter; cavity broad, shallow, reddish or green; stem short, stout; suture narrow, short, extending about half way to the apex; apex depressed, depression broad and rather shallow, suture side extending below the level of the apex; skin velvety, tough, rather thin, easily removed, bitter; color yellowish green, washed with red on exposed parts; flesh yellowish-white, firm, but melting and juicy; stone cling, rather deeply pitted and furrowed, small, flat, 3-8x11-16; quality very good; flavor sweet sometimes decidedly noyau; season May 15 to June 1.
The tree is rather upright in habit with slender branches, leaves long, narrow, pointed and finely serrated.
Described from specimens received from W.E. Embry of Dade City, FL. The Peento peach is adapted only to South Florida unless protection can be given it.
Introduced into the South in 1869 by P.J. Berckmans, Augusta, GA.
Angel (Taber's cat. 1891-92)
Rounded; size medium or large, 2X1 5-16X1 7-8; cavity rather broad, shallow open, stem short, stout; suture short, shallow extending from cavity to periphery about 3-4, remainder indistinct; apex blunt, rounded or very slightly tipped; skin very fuzzy before ripening, smooth and velvety afterwards, thick, not bitter; color a light creamy tint washed with red on exposed parts; flesh firm, white, juicy, stone free, pitted, short, oval brown, medium sized, 1 1/8 x 3/16 x 5/8; quality excellent; flavor agreeable, slightly acid; season June 15-July 4.
Tree open headed and a heavy bearer, requires thinning, a good shipper.
Described from specimens gathered in the orchards of J. Allen, Hampton, FL and Thomas Williams, Waldo, FL and from specimens forwarded by William Macklin, Dinsmore, FL. The specimens on account of the extreme drought were undersized.
The 'Angel' peach was grown from seed of Peento by Peter C. Minnich of Waldo, FL. The original tree was secured by G.L. Taber of Glen St. Mary, FL and by him propagated and distributed.
Barr's Early (Taber's cat 1892-93) Barr's Early Daisy. (Taber's cat sup. 1888-89)
This variety appears to have disappeared from cultivation. The following description is copied from Taber's catalogue 1891-92: “Seedling of Peento; resembles Bidwell's Early in shape; size medium to large; showy in appearance; sub-cling. Quality excellent and claimed to be a prolific bearer. Matures one week later than Peento.”
Barr's Late (Taber's cat sup. 1890, listed) Barr's Late Daisy (Taber's cat 1891-92)
Described in Taber's catalogue for 1891-92 as follows: “Seedling of Peento; resembles Barr's Early, but matures two weeks later. Quality excellent.” This variety has disappeared from nurserymen's catalogues and is no longer planted in commercial orchards.
Originated by Col. John Barr, of Micanopy, FL.
Bidwell's Early (Taber's cat. 1887-88)
Roundish oblong, size medium to large, 2 3/8 x 2 1/8 x 2 1/16, 2 1/8 x 2 ¼ x 2 1/8; cavity abrupt, open, rather wide, of medium depth; stem short; suture inconspicuous in some specimens, in others extending about half way along the side, shallow; apex rounded with a small recurved point; skin velvety; flesh firm, medium white, juicy; stone cling, thick, oval, medium size, 1x ¾ x 5/8; quality very good; flavor sweet, agreeable with slight noyau flavor; season May 20-June 15.
Described from specimens received from Walter Cooper of Sorrento, FL.
Originated by the late A.I. Bidwell at Arlington, FL from seed planted about 1882.
Bidwell's Late (Taber's cat 1890-91)
Round or roundish oblong; size large; color yellowish-white; flesh meaty, juicy; stone cling; quality excellent; season June 15-July 1.
Originated by the late A.I. Bidwell at Arlington, FL.
Oblong rounded, large, 2 1/8 in diameter; cavity rather deep, abrupt, of medium width; stem short, stout; suture almost entirely lacking, represented by a slight depression about a half inch long; apex rounded by a slight depression about a half inch long; apex rounded, oblique with very small tip; skin velvety, easily removed; color yellowish, quite red on exposed parts; flesh firm, white, melting slightly tinged with red beneath colored parts on skin, juicy; stone free, large, oval, pinted, 1 3/16 x ¾ x 5/8; quality very good; flavor sweet slightly noyau.
Described from specimens received from C.C. Shooter, Earleton, FL.
An early peach of fair quality originated by T.K. Godbey of Waldo, first fruited in 1900. A seedling of the Waldo peach.
Dorothy N. (Taber's cat. 1901)
Specimens of this variety have not been seen. The following notes are taken from the catalogue referred to above. Nearly round; size large; flesh yellow; stone free; flavor rich; subacid; quality fine; season July 5-15.
Originated by G.H. Norton of Eustis, FL.
Early Arlington (Taber's cat. Sup. 1890-91)
In the place referred to above, this variety is simply priced and the author has not been able to obtain a description of it.
Flat Peach of China
Prince Treat. Hort. 16-17 1829. Downing, Fruits and Fruit Trees of America. 500. 1850. Chinese Peach, (Cat. Fruits Lon. Hort. Soc. 96. 1831. Java Peach, (Trans. Lon. Hort. Soc. 512-513. 1822. Peen To, (Cat. Fruits Lon. Hort. Soc. 96. 1831.
A very singular variety from China, where the gardeners affect all manner of vegetable curiosities. The fruit is small size, about two inches in diameter, and so much flattened at the ends that only the skin and the flat stone remains, the fleshy part being crowded on either side. The tree is of rather dwarfish habit, and holds its leaves very late. The fruit is of very good flavor and is well worth a place in the gardens of the curious.
Leaves with reniform glands. Fruit small, so much flattened as to form a deep hollow at both ends, having at the top a singular broad, rough, five-angled eye. Skin pale yellowish-green, mottled with red on one side. Flesh pale yellow with a circle of red round the stone (from which it separates), sweet, juicy, with a slight noyau flavor. Beginning of September. Flowers large. (Description copied from Downing, see reference above.)
The variety described by Prince, Downing and others under the above name and with which the name “Peen-to” was considered by Downing and others synonymous is not the Peento peach as we know it in this state. Since the variety known in Florida and adjoining states under the name Peento originated from seed, this is not to be wondered at.
In strict adherence to the rules of Horticultural nomenclature, our Peento peach should not be so called. The name, however, has become firmly established, the “Peento” of Downing and English writers is unknown to us as a variety except through their writings. Hence the name Peento for our variety may be allowed to stand in American Pomological literature.
A close reading of the descriptions given above and on *************page 509 ***************will convince anyone that the conclusions regarding the identity of these varieties is correct. The frontispiece is from a photograph of a cut used by Downing in an article on “New and Singular Chinese Peaches” in The Horticulturist, Feb., 1847, page 382-384.
Florida's Own (Taber's cat sup. 1888-89)
This variety is no longer cultivated but in the supplement referred to above it was described as follows: “Seedling of the Peen-to, size large, shape nearly round, appearance handsome, skin white overspread with carmine. Flesh sweet, juicy, rich and melting. Sub-cling. Quality excellent. Claimed to be as early as the Peento and very prolific; the original not having missed a crop in four years. A few peaches of this variety that have been shipped North have brought exceedingly fancy prices and received pronounced endorsements from consignees.”
Oblate rounded or somewhat oblong; sixe large 2 5/16 x 2 3/16 x 2 5/16; cavity broad, open, and shallow; stem short, stout; suture shallow or almost lacking, ¾ inch long, narrow; apex rounded; fruit bulged at one side near the apex; skin quite fuzzy before maturity, when matured velvety; not bitter; color chrome yellow washed with red on exposed parts; flesh meaty, firm, not very juicy, yellow, red about the stone with radiating lines for about ¼ inch; stone free, large, brown, oval, pointed, thick, 1 3/16 x 7/8 x ¾; quality excellent; flavor pleasantly acid very agreeable; season June 15-July 1.
Described from specimens received from E.H. Hayward, DeLand, FL. This variety is a good freestone peach in many respects resembling the Elberta. It was originated by R.C. Hall of Volusia county, and is certainly worthy of attention.
Jewel (Taber's cat. 1895-96)
Roundish oblong; medium to large, 2 3/16 x 2 x 1 15/16”, 2 1/8 x 1 ¾ x 1 ¾; cavity of medium width, abrupt, open, rather deep; stem short, stout; suture frequently lacking, if present short, narrow, and deep; apex blunt pointed, point abrupt, short, and recurved; skin velvety, not bitter, easily removed; color creamy washed with red on exposed parts; flesh whitish slightly red about the stone, juicy; stone free reddish, oval, one in ch long; quality excellent; flavor sweet, agreeable of good character; season May 20-June 1. A good market variety. Though earlier than Waldo, it is quite reliable even in North Florida.
Described from specimens received from Walter Cooper, Sorrento, FL, C.C. Shooter, Earleton and Wm. Macklin, Dinsmore, FL.
The Jewel peach is a seedling of the Waldo and was originated by T.K. Godbey of Waldo, FL. It was first fruited about 1894 or '95. The variety was selected as being the best in an orchard of 500 Waldo seedlings. It blooms before and with the Waldo but ripens its fruit about two weeks earlier.
June Beauty (Taber's cat. Sup. 1888-89)
In Taber's catalogue sup. For the season of 1888-89 this description is given: “Seedling of the Peento. Follows Maggie in maturity. Sub-cling; shape roundish oblong. Size medium to large.”
Originated by Peter C. Minnich of Waldo, FL.
Oblong, large, 2 ¼ x 2 1/16 x 2 3/16”, 2 3/8 x 2 3/16 x 2 1/8”; cavity large rather abrupt, medium depth; stem short; suture wide, short, of medium depth, extending one-half or three-quarters inch along the side; apex rounded with a very short tip situated in a very shallow depression; skin velvety, quite fuzzy before ripening, thick and easily removed; color creamy washed with red on exposed parts; flesh firm, melting creamy, slightly pink around the pit, juicy; stone cling, 1 x ¾ x 9/16”; quality medium, rather lacking in character; flavor sweet, lacking in acidity, no trace of noyau; season first two weeks in June.
Described from specimens received from C.C. Shooter, Earleton, FL.
This variety was originated by Robert Kite of Waldo and was first fruited in 1885. In speaking of it, Mr. Godbey said that it was the first Peento seedling of natural peach shape that he had ever seen.
Laura (Taber's cat sup. 1890-91)
Specimens of this variety could not be secured. It is mentioned in Taber's price list, season 1890-91 and described in the catalogue for 1891-92 as follows: “Seedling of the Peento, originated in this county, where it has borne heavy crops for several years. Size very large; almost exactly round; flesh white, sweet, juicy, and of fine flavor; clingstone. Quality excellent. Ripens nearly with the Peento.”
Maggie (Taber's cat. Sup. 1888-89)
Roundish oblong, size medium to large; cavity open, abrupt and rather deep; stem short; suture extending about on fourth of distance along the side to apex, at the upper end continuous with the cavity gradually sloping off; apex rounded, small point set in a very shallow depression; skin velvety, thick; color very light yellow or yellowish white washed with red on exposed parts; flesh firm, white, melting and juicy, stone partly cling, brown, oval, large, 1 ¼ x 7/8 x 5/8”; quality very good indeed; flavor sweet, pleasant, of good character; season May 20-June 10.
Described from specimens received from Walter Cooper, Sorrento, FL. A very good early peach ripening with Bidwell's Early and Yum Yum, the former of which it closely resembles.
Originated by Peter C. Minnich of Waldo, FL.
Mascotte (Griffing Bros.' cat. 1898)
Specimens of this variety have not been received. The following notes have been taken from the catalogue referred to above. Size large, 2 ½ to 2 ¾ inches in diameter, nearly round with small point; color creamy yellow washed or flecked with carmine shading to deep red on exposed side; flesh creamy white, red about the stone, juicy, flavor subacid rich; stone free; season a few days later than Waldo.
Raised from seed of Waldo by Griffing Bros. Co. First fruited when two years old in 1894.
Orlando (Taber's cat. Sup. 1890-91)
The variety is listed but no description is given.
Queen of the South (Taber's cat. Sup. 1890-91, listed, Taber's cat. 1891-92)
This variety has been replaced by better ones. It is described thus in the catalogue referred to above: “Seedling of Peento. Size large; nearly round,; flesh sweet and of good flavor, clingstone. Ripens a week later than the Peento.
Rounded oblong, rather flattened at both base and apex, size large, 2 1/8 x 2 5/8 x 2 3/8, 2 1/8 x 2 ¼ x 2 5/16; cavity very broad, shallow, sloping gradually; stem very short, stout; suture almost entirely lacking, represented by a slight, broad, shallow depression extending for about one-half inch down the side; apex flat with a very slight depression; skin velvety, free from bitterness, thin, easily removed; color quite yellow (chrome) washed with dull red on exposed parts; flesh yellow, red about the stone, firm and juicy; stone free, brown, oval, thick, pitted and abruptly pointed, 1 5/16 x 1 3/16 x 1 1/16; flavor sweet with slight acid, agreeable; season July.
Described from specimens received from E.H. Hayward, DeLand, FL, July 16, 1902. The leaves are large, long, narrow, pointed and finely serrated.
Suber (Taber's cat. 1896-97)
Oblong rather rounded; large, 2⅛ x 2 x 2, 2 x 2⅛ x 2”; cavity rather narrow, abrupt and deep; stem short; suture narrow, shallow, extending about one-third the distance along the side; apex rounded; skin velvety, leathery, separating easily; color creamy yellow flushed with pink on exposed parts, flesh whitish, firm, meaty; stone cling; quality excellent; flavor sweet, slightly noyau, good character.
Described from specimens received June 13, 1902 from J.P. Mace, Lake Helen, FL.
The Suber peach was
originated by a colored man of the same name at Lake Helen in Volusia
County, Florida. The variety is one of the best for the southern
part of the state.
[Description in The Peaches of New York. -ASC]
Waldo (Taber's cat. Sup. 1888-89)
Roundish oblong, medium to large, small when not thinned, 2 ¼ x 2 1/16 x 2 1/16”; cavity narrow, rather abrupt; depth medium; stem 1/4” long; suture sometimes lacking, when present ¾ “ or less in length, shallow, narrow; apex blunt pointed, tip sometimes recurved; skin velvety, leathery, easily removed, free from bitterness; color yellow specked or washed with a delicate tint of red on exposed parts; flesh yellowish white, slightly pink about the stone; juicy; stone free, reddish, oval, pinted, medium size, 1 ¼ x ¾ x ½ “; quality excellent, flavor sweet without noyau; season May 25 to June 10 in North Florida.
Described from specimens received from J. Allen, Hampton, FL; Wm. Macklin, Dinsmore, FL and Walter Cooper, Sorrento, FL. The Waldo is one of the best varieties for North Florida. It is inclined to overbear and should be carefully thinned.
The Waldo peach was originated by T.K. Godbey of Waldo, FL. The variety first fruited as a seedling two years old in 1888. It originated from seed of the Peento peach but appears to contain a certain amount of Honey strain.
Yum Yum (Taber's cat. Sup. 1888-89)
Rounded oblong; size large, 2 1/8 x 2 ¼ x 2 ¼; cavity rather wide, sloping, medium depth; stem short; suture shallow or lacking, if present extending to the periphery; apex blunt, rounded, indented with an indication of a tip set in the shallow depression; skin velvety, leathery, quite smooth; color very light creamy tint specked and washed with delicate red deeper on more exposed parts; flesh white, firm, meaty, juicy; stone cling, oval, thick, 1 1/8 x ¾ x 5/8 “; quality very good; flavor sweet with pleasant mixture of noyau; season June 1-20.
Described from specimens gathered in the orchard of J. Allen, Hampton, FL, June 24, 1902. A very good peach. In general characteristics resembling Bidwell's Early, Maggie and Suber.
Originated by Dr.
Cushing of Waldo, FL.
[Description in The Peaches of New York. -ASC]
In the Southern part of the state, Angel and Waldo have given good satisfaction, but such varieties as Bidwell's Early, Bidwell's Late, Dorothy N, Jewel, Maggie, Peento and Suber should be planted. Bidwell's Early, Jewel, Maggie and Suber appear to be the favorites at present.
In the northern part of peninsular Florida, Angel, Bidwell's Late, Jewel and Waldo are the most successful varieties. Of these, Angel and Waldo are perhaps the most reliable and can be depended upon to give satisfaction. Hall and Rival, which closely resemble each other and which ripen with and later than the Angel should be given a thorough trial. The region to which they are adapted has not yet been determined, but they are both varieties of every fine quality, and should be planted wherever they will succeed.
For the coast region of Texas, Angel, Jewel and Waldo are recommended.
In conclusion, I desire to acknowledge the kindly help rendered by Mr. G.L. Taber, Glen St. Mary, FL, and by Mr. T.K. Godbey, Waldo, FL, as well as by many others whose names are mentioned in the foregoing pages. Prof. John Craig of Cornell University and Prof. H.C. Irish of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, have assisted with notes and references and to them I also express my appreciation of their kindness.
H. Harold Hume
Considerable work has been done on these groups, which will constitute a second publication on peach growing in the state.
1. Trans. London Hort. Soc. Vol. IV, 512-513, Pl. XIX., 1822.
2. Ibid. Vol. V, 549, 1824.
3. Ibid. 271-273, 1824. A letter from Knight to the Secretary, received Jan. 7, 1823.
Florida Station Agricultural Bulletin. YEAR. Bull. 73. pp.135-
The peaches grown in this State comprise a large number of varieties, classified into six distinct groups. The leading varieties are included in three of these groups, viz: Peen-to, Spanish and Honey. The peaches belonging to the other three groups are grown only to a very limited extent. Two of these groups- Persian and Northern Chinese- are adapted to more Northern conditions and will not do well in our warm climate. The Oriental Bloods include a small number of varieties that do fairly well in some sections of the southern part of the State.
The Peento peach group includes a large number of varieties well adapted to central and some parts of South Florida. The history, varieties and importance of this group, have been thoroughly discussed by Prof. H. Harold Hume, in Bulletin No. 62, of this Station. The Spanish group includes more varieties than any other. The peaches, from which all of these varieties have sprung, were introduced into this State by the Spaniards several centuries ago. These peaches have become so well adapted to our climate and soil conditions, and are so widely disseminated throughout our State, that they are often referred to as native peaches. Most of these varieties have originated in this State.
The Honey Peach group includes a large number of valuable peaches. They are distinct, both in form and flavor, from the fruit of all the other groups. They have a very rich, honey flavor, from which characteristic the group derives its name. With the exception of the parent- the Honey- and one or two other varieties, every member of the group originated in Florida; most of these have been originated by Mr. G.L. Taber, of Glen Saint Mary, FL. This peculiar group of peaches, then, is another of the valuable acquisitions to Horticulture made by this State. These peaches ripen at a very desirable season- immediately following the Peento peaches.
The Honey group is well adapted to sub-tropical conditions, and is perfectly at home in the central and northern sections of Florida. It is especially well adapted to northern Florida, southern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
As most of the peaches of this State are grown in central and north Florida, and as these groups- Peento, Spanish and Honey are well adapted to these regions, it can readily be seen why these groups constitute most of the peaches grown in this State.
As nothing has ever been published, heretofore, on this interesting group of peaches, the necessity of a publication of this kind is apparent. This is intended to be a companion to Bulletin No. 62, Florida Experiment Station, on “The Peen-to Peach Group,” by H. Harold Hume. Practically the same general outline that was adopted in that publication has been followed in this Bulletin.
Peach growing in this State is already an industry of considerable importance and is now increasing rapidly. Florida is so situated that she ought to place her peaches on the market earlier than any other State. Central and northern Florida are also well adapted to peach growing, and there are thousands of acres of land in these sections on which peaches can be, and will be, profitably grown. The conditions, however, are quite different here from those in other States, and somewhat different methods must be followed in growing them. As there is no publication on peach culture, by this Station, and as frequent inquiries are made regarding the different phases of the work, such a publication will be issued as soon as possible.
Home of the Honey Peach
The peach is a native of China. All the different groups have originated there or have originated from peaches which originally came from China. The Honey Peach originated in China, and undoubtedly has been cultivated there for many centuries, for it reproduces itself almost exactly from seed.
History of the Honey Peach in Europe
The Honey peach has been grown in parts of Europe for over a half century. It was introduced into France shortly after it had been introduced into America. In 1852, M. Montigny, French Consul to Shanghai, sent stones of the Honey peach to the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, France. An old synonym for the Honey peach was De Montigny, which was applied to it because of this French Consul having introduced it.
This seed was planted and the seedlings fruited for the first time in 1860, the variety being described in 1861, by M. Carriere in Revue Horticole, page 11. It was introduced into England, from France in 1862. According to Robert Hogg (1), the name Honey Peach had its origin in England, for he says: “The name Honey Peach, which has been given it in England, is expressive of the peculiar richness of its flavour.” This cannot be true, however, for J.T. Devan referred to them as Honey Peaches in 1846- sixteen years before they were introduced into England.
History of the Honey Peach in America
Although there is now a large number of varieties of Honey peaches cultivated in America, and all of these except the original variety- Honey- have originated in America, yet the history of this group in America covers a period of only a little more than half a century. Furthermore, it was not cultivated to any great extent previous to 1870. Most of the varieties belonging to this group have originated in Florida, and since 1885.
In 1846, A.J. Downing, of Newburg, N.Y., received from one of his neighbors, John Caldwell, some peach pits, which had sent to Mr. Caldwell by one of his friends, Dr. J.T. Devan of Canton, China. Dr. J.T. Devan in his letter to John Caldwell speaks of them as “pits of the Honey Peach.” Downing, in the Horticulturist, speaks of them as “some stones of what is evidently a new and very distinct kind of peach.”
The following extract is from J.T. Devan's letter to Mr. Caldwell: “I have received as a present from a Chinese gentleman a few 'Honey peaches.' I have never been able to procure any such at the fruiterers.
“I herewith send you the pits. These peaches are remarkable for their honied sweetness, and are ripe about the first of June. Their shape is also peculiar, it being like the sketch* on the opposite side of this paper, form, pointed at one end, rich yellow and red in colour, very deeply grooved, and about the size of this sketch. Yours with respect, J.T. Devan.” (Downing's The Horticulturist, Vol. 1.) This letter was dated Canton, June 18, 1846.
This is the earliest introduction of the Honey peach, and the only one ever made, so far as is know to the writer.
This letter leads one to infer that the Honey peach may have been cultivated only to a very small extent at that time, for he says, “I have never been able to procure any at the fruiterers.” Yet it is very probable that it had been cultivated for a long time, for, according to Downing's “Fruits and Fruit Trees in America,” this Honey peach reproduced itself with great exactness. Downing planted these pits, but fearing that the climate of Newburg, N.Y., would be too severe, he sent cuttings from the seedlings to Mr. Henry Lyons, of Laurel Park, Columbia, S.C. Mr Lyons planted these cuttings and on July 30, 1856, obtained his first fruit, consisting of three peaches. This is the first time that this peach fruited in America. Mr. Lyons says that the fruit he obtained “corresponds very nearly with the plate.” He adds further: “I exhibited it on yesterday to the fruit committee of our State Agricultural Society; all agreed it was the most remarkable, distinct and richest peach they ever tasted.”
In 1857 Mr. P.J. Berckmans, of Augusta, GA, propagated, by contract, a few hundred trees of this Honey peach, for Mr. Henry Lyons. In 1858 Mr. Berckmans purchased these trees of Mr. Lyons, with full and sole right to propagate and sell. These trees were then put upon the market without restrictions as to propagating, and were distributed throughout the South. The various nurseryman of that time then began propagating it and in this way the Honey peach was soon disseminated throughout various sections of the South.
James Fitz, in “The Southern Apple and Peach Culturist” (1872), speaks of the Honey peach as “A new variety from South Carolina, where it ripens the last of June.” By this time, however, it had found its way into the various fruit sections of the Central and South Atlantic States, as is shown by the many fruit lists given by nurserymen and Horticultural Societies of that time.
Introduced into America in 1846 by J.S. Devan, of Canton, China. Introduced into the South in 1858 by P.J. Berckmans, of Augusta, GA.
Described from specimens received from the Griffing Bros. Co., Komoko, FL.
Climax (Taber's cat. 1887-88)
Form roundish oblong; size medium, 2 1/8 x 1 ¾ x 1 ¾, 2 x 1 7/8 x 1 5/8 inches; color greenish yellow washed with red; apex conical distinct, straight or slightly recurved; cavity shallow and open; stem short and stout; suture running from base to apex, very deep near base, often split; skin fuzzy, thin and rather tender; flesh white, tinged with red about the stone, firm, meaty, juicy; flavor sweet, rich, very agreeable; quality excellent; stone free, elliptical long with a long recurved point, deeply furrowed, light brown, basal half blood red, 1 3/8 x ¾ x ½ inch; season June 15 to July 1.
The tree is a rapid upright grower and good bearer. The fruit is excellent and is a good hipper. A seedling of Honey.
Described from specimens received from Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, FL and the Griffing Bros. Co., Komoko, FL.
[For more information, see Climax entry in The Peaches of New York -ASC]
Colon (Taber's cat. 1893-94)
Form roundish oblong; size large, 2 x 1 ¾ x 1 ½ inches; color yellowish white, splashed and dotted with bright red; apex recurved, conical with sharp point; cavity deep and open; stem short and stout; suture distinct, shallow except near base; skin smooth, slightly fuzzy, thin and tender; flesh white streaked with red, bright red about the stone, juicy; flavor subacid, spicy; quality very good; stone free, elliptical, sharply pointed, deeply furrowed and pitted, reddish, large, 1 5/8 x ¾ x 5/8 inch; season, June10-25.
This is a seedling of a Honey seedling, originated by G.L. Taber, of Glen St. Mary, FL, in 1892.
Described from specimens grown at the University of Florida.
Early Cream (Taber's cat. 1888)
The following description is copied from Mr. G.L. Taber's catalogue for 1891-92:
“Seedling from the Honey. Size large, of handsome appearance and fine quality; freestone. This resembles Kite's Honey so strongly that the two varieties are believed to be identical. As this variety has been largely advertised, however, under this name, it is herewith offered with this explanation. Buds of this variety were obtained direct from the introducer.”
Mr. Taber's Catalogue for 1891-92 lists the two as synonymous, giving Early Cream the preference, and Kite's Honey seems to have then dropped out of existence, as far as name is concerned.
It was impossible to obtain specimens of this variety for description.
Ferdinand (Taber's cat. 1893-94)
Form rounded, oval, flat, bulged on one side; size medium to large, 1 ¾ x 1 13/16 x 1 11/16 inches; color dull yellow, well covered with dull red; apex short, blunt, recurved; cavity abrupt, deep, narrow; stem short and stout; suture a mere line; skin velvety, thick and tough, adhering closely to the flesh; flesh firm and meaty, juicy, white, streaked with red, bright red about the stone; flavor insipid, poor; quality poor; stone cling, oval, plump, short, straight point, deep red, 1 ¼ x ¾ x 5/8 inch; season July 1-15.
This peach is a seedling of the Honey seedling and was originated by Mr. G.L. Taber, of Glen St. Mary, FL, in 1892. This is a good commercial peach, although of poor quality.
Described from specimens received from the Griffing Bros. Co., Komoko, FL.
Florida Gem (Taber's cat. 1890-91)
Form oval in outline, almost three-sided; size medium to large, 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ x 1 ½ inches; color greenish yellow, washed with deep red on exposed parts; apex conical, long, recurved, very prominent; cavity open, wide, abrupt, medium deep; stem short and rather thin; suture an indistinct line, almost wanting; skin even fuzzy, thin, tough, adhering closely to flesh; flesh firm, juicy, white with a trace of pink about stone; flavor very sweet,m agreeable; quality of the best; stone free, elliptical, straight with recurved point, reddish, 1 1/8 x 5/8 x ½ inch; season June 20th to July 5th.
This is a seedling of Honey. It is one of the best Honey peaches for both home and commercial purposes.
Described from specimens received from the Griffing Bros. Co., Komoko, FL.
Form oval, very irregular, nearly three-sided; size medium to large, 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ x1 ¾, 1 7/8 x 1 ¾ x 1 5/8 inches; color dull greenish yellow, well washed and streaked with deep red; apex conical, distinct, slightly recurved, medium in length; cavity abrupt, deep, rather open; stem short and medium thick; suture a mere line; skin very fuzzy, thin, tough and adhering closely to fruit; flesh firm, meaty, juicy, with faint trace of red about stone; flavor sweet, of good character; quality excellent; stone free, oval, plump with broad recurved point, red, 1 1/8 x ¾ x 9/16; season, June 20th to 30th.
This peach is a new peach originated by the Griffing Bros. Co., Macclenny, FL, about 1900. It is destined to become a prominent commercial and home peach.
Specimens received for description from Griffing Bros., Komoko, FL.
Imperial (Taber's cat. 1890-91)
Form roundish oblong, irregular, often flat and bulged on one side; size large, 2 x 2 x 1 ¾, 2 1/8 x 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ inches; color greenish yellow, slightly washed with red on exposed side; apex long, conical, recurved, and slightly pointing towards one side; cavity deep, wide and open; stem short and stout; suture deep near base in some, in others a mere line; skin very fuzzy, becoming smooth as it ripens, thin and tough, adhering closely to flesh; flesh white, firm, meaty and juicy; flavor sweet, excellent; quality very good; stone free oblong, recurved, long sharp point, plump, deeply furrowed, light brown often bright red in furrows, large, 1 ¼ x ¾ x ½ inch; season June 15-30th.
This is undoubtedly one of the very best peaches belonging to the Honey group; the tree is a vigorous upright grower and heavy bearer; the fruit is firm and stands shipping well.
This is a seedling of the Honey and was originated by Mr. G.L. Taber, of Glen St. Mary, FL, in 1890.
specimens received from Messrs. Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, Fla.
[For more information, see Imperial entry in The Peaches of New York -ASC]
Kite (Taber's cat. 1888)
The following description is copied from Taber's supplement to price list of 1888-89: “A seedling of the Honey, supposed to be crossed with Peen-to. A magnificent peach, much larger than the Honey, measuring two by two and one-half inches in diameter; resembles Honey in shape, but without so sharp a point. Skin yellow, washed and flecked with red. Flesh fine-grained, sweet juicy, and of excellent flavor. Perfect freestone. The original tree is a strong grower, and has borne heavy crops for four years. Fruit very smooth, ripens uniformly and never cracks. Ripens June 15-25th.”
The following description is copied from Mr. G.L. Taber's Catalogue for 1889-90:
“Seedling of the Honey, supposed to be crossed with Peen-to. A magnificent peach, much larger than the Honey, measuring two by two and one-half inches in diameter. Resembles Honey in shape, but without so sharp a point; skin yellow, washed and flecked with red; flesh fine-grained, sweet, juicy and of excellent flavor; perfect freestone. The original tree is a strong grower, and has borne heavy crops for four years. Fruit very smooth, ripens uniformly and never cracks. Quality best. Ripens June 15-25th.”
Oviedo (Taber's cat. 1895-96)
Form roundish oblong, bulged on one side; size large, 2 ¼ x 1 7/8 x 1 7/8, 2 x 1 ¾, 1 ¾ inches; color greenish yellow, marbled with dull red on exposed parts; apex short, recurved, cavity shallow, open and regular; stem short and thick; suture a mere line, deeper near basal end; skin fuzzy, becoming smooth as it ripens, thin and tough; flesh sweet and agreeable; quality very good; stone free, elliptical, curved, with long recurved point, deeply furrowed, light brown, partially covered with blood red, 1 ½ x ¾ x ½; season, June 20-30.
This is one of the best Honey peaches; the tree is a rapid grower and heavy bearer; and an excellent peach for shipping.
It is a seedling of the Honey and according to the Griffing Bros. Co. Catalogue, this peach was originated in 1892 by S.J. Kennard, of Waldo, Fla.
Described from specimens received from Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, Fla.
Pallas (Berckman's cat. 1878)
Form nearly round, slightly pointed; size medium to large, 2 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ inches; color light yellow, well covered with deep red; apex straight, short, cavity deep and narrow; stem short and medium thick; suture deep on basal half, mere line above middle; skin fuzzy and velvety, thin, tender, loosely attached to flesh, not bitter; flesh white, mealy, soft and rather juicy; flavor slightly acid, with rich, sprightly, vinous aroma; quality excellent; stone free, oval straight point, pits and furrows shallow, bright red, 1 ¼ x ¾ x ½ inch; season June 15-30.
It is a seedling of Honey and was originated in 1878 by Dr. L.E. Berckmans, of Augusta, GA.
This is a peach of excellent quality and one of the best Honey peaches for home purposes. It is not considered a very good commercial peach, as it is a poor shipper.
Described from specimens received from Messrs. Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, Fla.
[For more information, see Pallas entry in The Peaches of New York -ASC]
Sangmel (Taber's cat. 1893-94)
Form oblong, bulged on one side, slightly pointed; size medium, 1 3/8 x 1 ½ x 1 3/8 inches; color light yellow, exposed parts streaked with deep red; apex pinted, straight, blunt; cavity abrupt, narrow and rather deep; stem short and thick; suture barely marked at cavity; skin smooth, velvety, thin tender, separating easily from the flesh; flesh firm, meaty, juicy, yellowish, red just beneath the skin and pink about the stone; flavor sweet, slightly subacid and of good character; quality of the best; stone free, straight, elliptical, pointed, pits and furrows medium deep, brown with tinge of red, 1 1/8 x 5/8 x ½; season June 25-July 10.
This peach is a Honey seedling and was originated in 1892 by Mr. G.L. Taber, Glen St. Mary, Fla.
Described from specimens obtained from the Griffing Bros. Co., Komoko, Fla.
Stanley (Griffing Bros.' cat. 1889)
Form roundish oblong; size medium to large, 2 x 1 7/8 x 1 7/8, 1 ¾ x 1 ¾ x1 ¾ inches; color greenish white, washed and marbled with deep red on exposed parts; apex short, conical, nearly straight, often a mere point; cavity deep, rather open; stem short and thick; suture well marked, deep near base, often split; skin thick and tough, fuzzy; flesh white, rather soft, easily breaking down; flavor insipid, sweetish, with a tinge of bitter about the stone; quality poor; stone cling, oblong, plump, with blunt point, dull brown, large, 1 1/8 x 5/8 x ½; season June 10-20.
This peach is a seedling of the Honey and was originated at the Griffing Bros. Nursery at Macclenny, Fla.
This variety is very subject to brown rot, and easily breaks down in transportation, hence a poor commercial peach.
Described from specimens received from Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, Fla.
Taber (Taber's cat. 1893-94)
Form roundish oblong, pointed; size large, 2 ½ x 2 x 1 7/8 inches; color white and well covered with red; apex conical, long, recurved; cavity abrupt, deep and open; stem short and stout; suture well marked at basal end; skin fuzzy, thin and tender, not bitter; flesh white, streaked with red, red about stone, firm, juicy; flavor subacid, rich; quality of the very best; stone cling, elliptical, recurved, pointed, furrowed and pitted, brown, large, 1 ¼ x3/4 x ½; season June 15-25.
A seedling of a Honey seedling; originated by Mr. G.L. Taber, Glen St. Mary, Fla., in 1892.
This is a heavy bearer, of excellent quality and a good home peach; it often cracks in the suture, hence it is not so desirable as some other Honey peaches for commercial purposes.
Triana (Taber's cat. 1893-94)
Form roundish oblong, slightly pointed; size large, 2 1/8 x 1 7/8 x 1 7/8 inches; color yellowish white, exposed parts washed with maroon; apex conical, blunt, slightly recurved, cavity deep and rather open; stem short and thick; suture deep on basal half, a mere line above the middle; skin fuzzy but quite smooth when thoroughly ripe, thin, tender, bitter, adhering closely to flesh; flesh white, marked with red about stone, meaty, juicy; flavor sweet, spicy and very agreeable; quality excellent; stone free, oval, plump, point long and recurved, furrowed, bright red, large 1 5/16 x ¾ x ½; season June 20-July 5.
It was introduced by Mr. G.L. Taber, of Glen St. Mary, in 1892.
This is one of the best Honey peaches. It is of excellent quality, a good bearer and shipper.
Described from specimens obtained from Messrs. Jarvis & Dockrell, Fulton, Fla.
[For more information, see Triana entry in The Peaches of New York -ASC]
Townsend (Taber's cat. 1892-93)
The following description is taken from the catalogue referred to above: “Seedling from the Honey. Fruit large, oblong; color greenish yellow, washed with red; flesh white, juicy, excellent flavor; perfect freestone. Ripens July 1st to 10th.”
This peach has not been listed in fruit catalogues for a number of years. It was probably just a different name for some other variety of the Honey group.
This group of peaches is well adapted to central and northern Florida. It is also at home in the southern portion of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. These peaches can endure more cold and are later than those belonging to the Peento group and therefore should be more largely planted in the northern section of the State.
The Honey variety, which is the parent and progenitor of this whole group of peaches, is no longer a favorite. It has been in cultivation so long that it has, like all other fruits, given way to newer and better varieties. Or, as the growers term it, “It is worn out.” It cannot be recommended for extensive planting.
The selection of varieties is so much a matter of personal taste and local conditions that it is almost useless to attempt to give a list of the varieties. In central and northern Florida, Colon, Florida Gem, Imperial and Triana are the favorite varieties.
In West Florida and the southern half of the Gulf States, Colon, Climax, Florida Gem, Imperial, Pallas, Taber, and Triana are the favorite varieties.
The writer wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance received from Prof. H. Harold Hume, G.L. Taber, of Glen St. Mary, Dr. P.J. Brackett, Pomologist, Washington, D.C., and P.J. Berckmans, Augusta, GA. He also wishes to thank the Griffing Bros., of Komoko, Fla., and Messrs. Jarvis & Dockrell, of Fulton, Fla., who furnished most of the varieties for description.
*Frontispiece = sketch
1. Robert Hogg, The Fruit Manual. 5Th Edition, pp. 450.