Difference between a Peach and a Nectarine

March 9, 2017 by Editorial Team

Google the scientific names of peach and nectarine, and you will find out (and would probably be surprised, too) that only one name will show up: Prunus persica. That means they belong to the same species. However, why are they regarded by many as two different fruits? What makes them different from each other? This article will discuss the difference between a peach and a nectarine.

Descriptions

Peaches

A peach, scientifically known as Prunus persica, is a large stone fruit that has a soft and sweet flesh. It is available in white and yellow variants, and its skin is noticeably fuzzy because of the presence of trichomes (fine hair growing on plants).

Peaches are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, fluoride, fiber, and iron, and are low in calories. They are widely used as fruit fillings for pies and cobblers and are also commonly eaten as a dessert fruit.

nectarine
Nectarines

On the other hand, a nectarine is a peach of a different variety, specifically the nucipersica or nectarina variety. According to research, this variety is born when a single recessive gene in peaches (gene “g”) is passed down from both parents.

A nectarine is small, sweet with a hint of tanginess, juicy, and fragrant with firm flesh. It comes in white and yellow varieties, although it may look “reddish” because it does not have trichomes on its coating. This is the same reason why it is sometimes called “shaved peach” or “fuzzless peach.”

A nectarine’s nutritional profile is similar to that of a peach, only it contains higher amounts of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. Additionally, because of the lack of trichomes that protect its skin, a nectarine is prone to bruises and diseases (e.g. brown rot and bacterial spot).

Comparison

The most obvious difference between the two is that peaches have a hairy coating while nectarines have a smooth skin. Aside from this, peaches are larger and softer whereas nectarines are smaller and firmer. Both are sweet, but nectarines have a hint of tangy taste. Although they are commercially regarded as different fruits, they can be interchanged in the culinary context.

Nectarines may look “reddish” because of the absence of trichomes (hair), but both are actually available in white and yellow varieties. Nectarines are also more prone to diseases and bruises. Additionally, nectarines higher amounts of nutrients than peaches.

In conclusion, nectarines are peaches, but not all peaches are nectarines.

Comparison Chart

PeachNectarine
Has hairy skinHas smooth skin
Large stone fruit; has a soft fleshSmaller; more fragrant; has a firmer, sweeter (with a hint of tanginess), and more juicy flesh
Contains vitamins, antioxidants, beta-carotene, potassium, fluoride, fiber, and iron,Contains the same nutrients as a peach but in higher amounts
Available in white and yellow varietiesCan be white or yellow but may look reddish because of the absence of trichomes
Not as prone to diseases and bruisesMore prone to diseases and bruises