nectarine (nĕkˌtərēnˈ) [key], name for a tree ( Prunus persica var. nectarina ) of the family Rosaceae (rose family) and for its fruit, a smooth-skinned variety of the peach. The nectarine is a classical example of bud variation (see mutation). The nectarine tree occasionally produces peaches, and the peach tree nectarines. In appearance, culture, and care the nectarine is almost identical to the peach. It is cultivated in north temperate zones of both hemispheres, in America chiefly in the mild Pacific coastal area. The nectarine has been known for at least 2,000 years; in the 16th cent. it was called the nut of Persia. Nectarines are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Rosaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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