Our climatic conditions favor the good growth of apricots, which is why the apricot fruit is called “Prunus armeniaca” or “Armenian plum” in Latin. Apricot is the oldest and sweetest fruit of the Armenian land.
In the spring of 69 B.C., the Romans who invaded Armenia tasted the unusually delicious fruit from a unique tree and were delighted. On behalf of Alexander the Great, the Roman commander Lucullus had soldiers bring apricot seedlings from Armenia to their countries, where the fruits were called “Armenian Fruit.” Apricot was unknown in Europe 2,000 years ago.
The apricot tree, known as “Tsiraneni” in Armenian, spread to European countries in the form of seedlings brought from the Armenian plateau to Greece and Rome. Apricot cultivation in Armenia has an ancient history. During excavations in Garni, under the guidance of Armenian naturalist Babken Arakelyan, apricot seeds more than 6,000 years old were discovered. Assyrian, Greek, and Armenian cuneiform records, as well as works of Armenian chroniclers, testify that apricot trees, known as “Tsiranut,” constituted the majority of fruit trees (40-50%) in the Ararat Valley, historical Aragatsotn, Syunik, Vayots Dzor, and other provinces since Neolithic times, for thousands of years.
Today, on the southern slopes of Mount Aragats, in the gorge of the Amberd River, the wild varieties of Armenian apricot trees, the ancestors of cultivated apricots, are still preserved. Between 1970 and 1986, botanists conducted experiments by crossing common Armenian apricots with Central Asian and European wild varieties. The Armenian apricot trees showed the highest characteristics as a result of these experiments, indicating their ancient origin and longer developmental path.
After analyzing and evaluating archaeological and historical literature, as well as the results of apricot tree experiments, many botanists have concluded that Armenia is one of the oldest centers or homelands of apricot trees.