Chinese Water Honey Peaches

mrsg47(7)July 23, 2012

Does anyone know if these are available in US yet? Would love to have one! Mrs. G

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mrs. G, I believe these are called honey peaches in the US; it is a type of peach and not a variety per se. There were some varieties imported many years ago but not since then. I have two of them, Pallas and Eagle Beak. Eagle Beak really must be seen, it has a huge "beak" on the end. The peach is very small and has a seed half the size of a regular peach. Very unusual. Pallas looks more like a regular peach. They are green-skinned so do not look particularly appetizing, and are far too soft for commercial growing. The flavor is definitely honeyed; I find Eagle Beak tastes better in my orchard but the folks in California seem to prefer Pallas. I believe Arboreum may have been selling trees of Pallas at some point. I have been having problems growing Eagle Beak, they split like crazy. This year they all split and I didn't get any fruits. Well, the squirrels were also helping themselves and they may have taken all the non-split ones.

In terms of flavor, they are good and different but I have yet to get a really "wow" taste out of them. I went through a lot of work to get the varieties and grow them and was a bit disappointed overall. It could well be that these varieties are not the very best representatives of the class. I have also had problems growing them due to bad luck; I found out this spring that my Eagle Beak has been suffering from borers for some time. So, I would not be surprised if the trees were not producing the best fruits possible. Honey peaches are supposed to be one of the oldest types of domesticated peaches, genetically they are quite different from standard peaches.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:22AM
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MrsG. It sounded like a Chinese native who translated locals name directly into English.

This Chinese "Water Honey" peach can be any number of varietyies... Depends on whether you are in northern part of country or southern part of country, or in between. Back 30-40 years ago or even earlier, only few vatieties of peaches grow in China so everyone called sweet and juicy peach " Water Honey" peaches which actually means honey water. The peach flavor back then is sweet for there weren't many sweeter peaches to choose from. But in nowadays' standard, the flavor is so so. There are many better varieties here to select and grow.
I had some of them are white flesh, some are yellow. These peach are cling stone peach, as most Chinese peaches are. When it full ripe, it turns very soft and juicy.

It was famouse in China because of Chinese traditional tale said the monkey king was managing the peach orchard in heaven where the " water honey " peach grow, along with the donuts' shaped peach. As we all know that moneys like fruits... so you know what happened when he was tasted to watch the peach orchard.
It is supposed to be a good enough peaches to be grown in heaven. If you are sure that the peach is growing in China is the same variety from heaven and can be grow down the earth, it might worth of the trying.

Last time I was in China, about a year ago, in Xi'an region where peaches and pomagranet grow well. Road vendors all sales "Water Honey" peaches. They bag the peaches so it looks perfect large with shade of pink/red. But the taste is bland, not much more flavor than some peaches I had here in U.S, and they are crunchy and Somehow became semi-cling stone too. Same name, differnt peaches.So be careful what you buy.

U.S agriculture is far advanced in the world. We developed so many varieties of superior quality fruits. Many friuts China is growing now are orginally imported from U.S.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:04AM
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Thank you so much Scott and Olympia Gardener. The Chinese peach I am looking for is large and white with a blush of reddish pink.

In 'Journey to the West', the Monkey King not only ate most of the Peaches in Heaven (they give you immortality if eaten), he got drunk! The pictures of these peaches on the internet look huge. Would love to give those a try. Thank you so much. Will try Arboreum this winter and see if they will have stock. Thanks again, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Mrs. G, I had some of these modern Chinese peaches last month in China which sound similar to what Olympia Gardener mentions. They were far too hard at first but softened and tasted good several days later. As I mentioned in another thread, they are also similar to the Zin Dai Jiu Bao variety I grow - large, white with pink blush, crunchy until they soften. I don't consider these the same as the original honey peaches which are very soft and more greenish. So if you want to get a peach like the modern Chinese ones you ate I would suggest this Zin Dai Jiu Bao.

I think many of these large modern Chinese peaches are in fact Japanese and Korean varieties which were developed fairly recently and imported into China. They are not like the current US varieties but they are clearly part of a modern breeding program, something that China did not have until very recently. I have seen very similar large white/pink blush peaches in both Japan and Korea. One of my other Chinese peaches from ARS is called Xiong Yue and its labeled "Okubo OP" meaning an open-pollinated seed of the (Japanese) variety Okubo. Okubo is in fact supposed to be a Japanese version of Honey peach. The squirrels have been stealing my Xiong Yue for the last few years but I may get some fruit this year.

It sounds like the naming has gotten confusing in China today since water honey peach is applied to many peaches. The Pallas and Eagle Beak varieties were imported from China around a hundred years ago and I expect they are more like the traditional Honey Peach of the Monkey King.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:39PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Sound a little like the Raritan Rose peaches I ate yesterday. They were big, soft, mostly white (little bit of red) and full of juice...not much flavor other then sugar.

Were peento peaches very common when you were in China?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:13PM
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MrsG , you are right on the monkey King ate all the peaches and got drunk. As a side note, these peaches are blossom and fruit every 8 thousands years! So we have to be patient and long live in order to taste it and achive the immortality.

Frank, peento peaches are not common in China, only grow as regional novalty.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Frank I found quite a few of them in the markets of Beijing, but they were always only a couple as opposed to big piles of regular peaches. I am wishing now I pulled out my cellphone camera and took pictures. They looked a lot like Saturn, and I think there were also some more greenish ones. I bought a few but they needed to ripen more, no flavor.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:32PM
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I was there last year in the beginning of August in Xian, China. It was still early for pomegranate but road vendor was already selling some. The variety of pomegranate is different from here in USA which has pinkish white color meat and is so sweet. You can see beautiful pomegranate orchard everywhere in the countryside.

As to the peach, I found the so called 'sweet honey' peach which has a pronounced "beak" at the end. It has a pinkish red and seemingly looks transparent white peach. It's full of flavor, sweet and juicy. The best peach I have ever tasted. My children love them. Three peaches are a little over a pound. It's pity they can not store long and easily bruised.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Jianhuayegreentree, many thanks for your comments. I have been researching the varieties on the internet and the honey peaches that look like the peaches I had in China were definitely white peaches, very soft and flavorful. They had some red and pink in their coloring and really looked like 'peach' shaped steamed buns! There are a few nurseries here in the US that have white peaches with a 'beak'. These peaches also seem a bit elongated and not round. I will look into buying one of those, as I am sure I cannot get a tree from China. Many thanks for your thoughts. Aren't those peaches good! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:21PM
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I found that Giordano Farms in San Jose, CA grows the special Chinese Peach. Anyone in that area care to take a drive and check them out? I have emailed the farm, asking for a whip or maiden. Doubt it will happen, but I really want one of these trees. Thanks, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:31PM
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hallo... does anyone knows if are there large sized honey peaches?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:05AM
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It is not a small or medium sized peach. I would considerate it a large peach based on the ones I ate in China. Hopefully my 'Chinese Honey Peach' will fruit next year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:05AM
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I hope this link still works. It is from the Wall Street Journal

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:09AM
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David Karp mentions them in this article.

Here is a link that might be useful: David Karp article

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:01PM
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