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On April 7, 1995, Gov. Zell Miller signed an act of the Georgia General Assembly designating the peach, (Prunus persica,) as Georgia's official state fruit. In an unrelated move, on July 8, 1995, the US Postal Service released two new stamps - one showing two peaches and one showing a pear - with first day of issue ceremonies held at the American Topical Association's 1995 show in Reno, Nev. The stamps were issued as self-adhesives in booklet and coil formats, as well as regular gum in booklet format. The stamps were not commemorating peaches and pears; rather, they are what the Postal Service terms "definitive stamps" - that is, they are regular stamps printed in great quantities, available for long periods of time, and are designed to carry the mail rather than commemorate something.
Georgia grown peaches are recognized for their superior flavor, texture, appearance and nutritious qualities that promote a healthy, balanced diet. Georgia is known as the "Peach State" because of the growers' reputation for producing the highest quality fruit.
Peaches were cultivated in China before written history, and moved to Persia (Iraq) along silk trading routes. The epithet persica denotes Persia, which is where Europeans first obtained peaches. Greeks and especially Romans spread the peach throughout Europe and England starting in 300-400 BC. Peaches came to the new world with explorers of the 16th-17th centuries, with Portuguese introducing it to S. America and Spaniards to N. America (Northern Florida/Georgia coast). Native Americans and settlers distributed the peach across N. America into southern Canada, and it is cultivated in 2/3 of the 48 contiguous states today.
The peach falls into the Prunoideae subfamily of the Rosaceae, often referred to collectively as "stone fruits". The subgenus Amygdalus contains the commercially important peach and almond. In addition, there are four other species closely related to peach: P. davidiana, P. kansuensis, P. ferganensis, and P. mira. The former two species have small fruit resembling peach, but poor eating quality and are used only as rootstocks. P. ferganensis offers the best fruit quality of the four, and is cultivated in the Fergana Valley region of the south central (former) USSR, and in western China. P. mira is a shrub form native to southern Tibet, Nepal, and northern India, where it is infrequently cultivated for its fruit.
There are thousands of peach cultivars worldwide, and far more are cultivated in economic quantities than for apple or pear. One reason for this is the ease with which peaches are bred (unlike apple and pear cultivars which are mostly the result of chance selection, not breeding).
A small tree with a spreading canopy, usually 2-3.5 m in cultivation. Trees are short-lived, generally living only 15-20 years, and even less in cultivation (e.g., the average tree life expectancy in Georgia is 8 years).
Act of the Georgia General Assembly
April 7, 1995
STATE GOVERNMENT - PEACH DESIGNATED OFFICIAL STATE FRUIT.
Code Section 50-3-70 Enacted.
No. 279 (House Bill No. 559)
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, so as to designate the peach as the official state fruit; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, Georgia is known throughout the world as the "Peach State"; and
WHEREAS, the peach growers of this state have earned a well-deserved reputation for consistently producing peaches of the highest quality; and
WHEREAS, Georgia grown peaches are recognized for their wonderful flavor, texture, and appearance and for their nutritious qualities which promote a healthy, balanced diet; and
WHEREAS, it is only fitting and proper that the peach be properly recognized as an official symbol of this state and that its use on motor vehicle license plates, state publications, state lottery tickets, and other materials be encouraged and expanded.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, is amended by adding a new Code section at the end thereof, to be designated Code Section 50-3-70, to read as follows:
The peach is designated as the official Georgia state fruit."
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
Approved April 7, 1995.
Source: Ga. Laws 1995, pp. 362-363.
The law designating the peach as the official Georgia state fruit is found in the Georgia Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 10.
TITLE 50. STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 3. STATE FLAG, SEAL, AND OTHER SYMBOLS
ARTICLE 3. OTHER STATE SYMBOLS
O.C.G.A. ? 50-3-70 (2008)
? 50-3-70. Official state fruit
The peach is designated as the official Georgia state fruit.
HISTORY: Code 1981, ? 50-3-70, enacted by Ga. L. 1995, p. 362, ? 1.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Peach
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Rosaceae - Rose family
Genus; Prunus L. - plum
Species: Prunus persica (L.) Batsch - peach