Mystery fruit - looks like apricot?

Mama_OtterSeptember 3, 2012

My neighbors have a huge old gnarled tree in their back yard, and this year it produced something that looks like miniature apricots. They look like apricots only smaller and rounder. They don't taste exactly like a cot... more of a mixed fruit flavor? The pit looks like a cherry pit, not the almond shape of a cot.

This pic shows the adult size of this fruit. What have I got here?

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Apricot, possibly a seedling tree and therefore capable of any number of unusual qualities.

They are small by any standard though; I'd hope you'd get better sized fruit with good pruning, etc. Small fruit is often the result of heavy fruit set without thinning.

Have you cooked or dried some? That could bring out the flavor more.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 5:43PM
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I agree that they sure do look like apricots. The confusion around the taste might be because store bought apricots are consistently uninteresting and disgusting compared to those fresh off the tree (though often larger). Size of fruit (and seed) is a probably the least useful criteria for identification, as it can vary so much from tree to tree and year to year. I've certainly seen many apricots that size though, the healthy/vigor of the tree and access to water appear to be most important to fruit size in my climate, where there are many wild apricot trees that have never been pruned and still have good sized fruit.

Another strange thing though is the ripening time. Most apricots ripen around July, so it is very late for them.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Wondering if they're fuzzy.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bizarre, I have never seen an apricot with a cherry-shaped pit. Can you get pictures of the seed and/or leaf? Also what zone are you in?


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Sorry I haven't been able to post back sooner. I really appreciate you folks taking time to help solve this mystery. I'll try to address the questions and comments in order...

Mark, I wasn't sure if by "seedling" you meant a sapling or a young tree. This tree is very large and ancient. Don't think it has ever been pruned! This year the tree was so loaded with these tiny cots that the lower branches bowed almost to the ground. No, I didn't dry or cook any of these little guys; they were wonderfully delicious and juicy, and a nice little bite-sized snack as is!

Fabaceae_native, I was raised in CA, back when the valley was full of orchards and not people... nothing compares to the taste of a sun-ripened apricot. I won't even buy them in a store. Was lucky enough here in Idaho to have a close neighbor who has two nice cot trees. She detests them... so I was busy canning and drying!

No, ltilton, they are not fuzzy, not like a peach anyways. And Scott, after examining the leaves and comparing them to a "known" apricot tree, I would have to say: this is definitely an old, neglected apricot tree. I did take a couple of pics tho...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Well, it still looks apricoty to me; a little moth-eaten and gnarly and in need of control, just like me, but still a 'cot.

I'm interested in Scott's observation about the round seed. Don't know what to make of that.

Mama Otter, a "seedling" tree is simply a tree that has grown from a seed; it can be any age. I can see why you found that confusing. The reason that might matter is that because if it is a seedling (and it almost surely is, judging from how close to the ground it forks) it will be a blend of whatever genetic material the bugs and wind carried to it from area trees. So anomalies are possible. If I am wrong and it is a grafted tree then it would be true to type, and in that case somebody here would most likely have been familiar with it, or ones like it.

I still have reservations -if somebody as well-versed in identification as Scott wants to know more about seed shape, I'd like to hear more about it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Can we see a picture of the pit or are all of the 'apricots' gone by now? Thanks, Mrs. G

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

My guess is the seeds are more plump compared to some apricots. But, its an apricot, the leaves are a dead ringer. I have seen apricot varieties with more plump-looking seeds, not like a cherry but somewhere between normal apricot and cherry.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:20PM
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Yes, you're right, Scott... "plump-looking seeds...somewhere between normal apricot and cherry."

MrsG47, the cots are gone now except for the few left on the tree, being nibbled on by wasps. You can see a few in the 2nd photo above. The pits?? I SAVED THEM... hehe. Thought that one day a planted seed would grow into my own Mini-Cot tree.

OK, folks, here's the cot pit pic...(say that 3 times fast)
mini compared to regular

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:11PM
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We thought that they oughter

be Mama Otter's


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:18PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

If this tree were pruned and thinned properly would the size of the apricots and their pits be larger?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Are there many apricots that aren't fuzzy? I'm wondering if the tree could be some kind of cross.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 12:07AM
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I think the fruit is somewhat fuzzy, just not overly so.

And peaches, for that matter, can range from quite to barely fuzzy.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Those pits are really interesting. Maybe you have a new cross!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Thanks Mark, for that Otter-notter post...On my face, a smile,that stayed awhile.

Well, I've got about 20 of these pits... thinking of gathering more off the ground. There's thousands!

I really hope it IS a cross, and that the seed will not produce a regular apricot. I will experiment and let you know in a couple of years...hehe.

I am going to start a new thread, about another cot tree that has been severely pruned that I need advise on.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:46PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Maybe the owner will not mind if you get some scion off of it in February. It would be fun to graft it and see what comes.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:59PM
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New name the 'Mama Otta Cotta'!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:37PM
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