The apricot trees on out Littleton farm are in bloom this week, attracting large numbers of honeybees. Among the earliest fruit trees to bloom in the spring, they rarely produce fruit on our property since heavy frosts and sub-freezing nights are common here in March and April. Nevertheless, they are festooned with numerous pink-white flowers, offering nectar for the bees.
Native to Armenia, apricot trees were cultivated across the Persian Empire and were later taken to many areas of the globe; Spanish explorers brought them to California, where most of the apricot production now occurs in the United States (Washington and Utah are also large producers). Like peaches, this "stone fruit" will only grow in areas that have winter seasons and are thus planted in Temperate latitudes. While they do best in sunny areas with well-drained soil, apricot trees do not tolerate excessive heat.
Here along the Colorado Front Range, their late winter beauty is a welcome sight. If our warm weather persists, we may even get apricots this year; since I'm not fond of their taste, I'll leave them for the wildlife.