Family: Rosaceae

Synonyms: Amygdalus mira. Persica mira.

Common Name: Smoothpit Peach. smooth stone peach, smooth-pit peach, Tibetan peach, 

 Local Name: Aaroo (आरू), Behmi, Behimi or Tirul

Aaroo is seen growing at slopes in mixed forests, mountain valleys. open hillsides, ravines, woodland, garden sunny, edge and in dappled shady places. It is found wild in the forests of dry temperate region upto an altitude of 4,000 meters in the Western Himalayas. It grows best in sun or partial shade, but well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, though it fruits better in a sunny position.

Aaroo tree bearing fruits

         Inhabitants of Western Himalayas harvest edible fruits from wild habitat for their local use. They also cultivate this tree sometime in their garden or homeyards for its fruits and seed oil. This oil is used as a cooking oil or hair oil. Inhabitants eat edible fruits both raw or cooked. Fruits have a bitter flavour in spite of that these are taken both raw when ripe and cooked mostly in the form of pickle.

Aaroo tree are used as a best rootstock for grafting almonds and for dwarfing peach trees, they are also resistant to powdery mildew.

Close-up of aaroo flowers

Aaroo Plant:

Plant is a small deciduous tree growing to 3- 10, m tall, trunks 16 cm in diameter.


Aaroo in full bloom

The leaves are lanceolate, 5–10 cm long and 1.2–4 cm wide.

The flowers are pinkish white.  

The fruit is about 3cm in diameter, ovoid fruit has white flesh.

 Seed one large

Aaroo tree in wild habitat

Fruits of aaroo can be harvested from rainy to autumn season on rotations for ensuring their regeneration and sustainable harvesting.

Edible Uses:

Fruits of aaroo are edible both raw or cooked. Fruits are pickled and are also marketed. Seed oil is used for cooking. Fruits, though a bit sour but eaten and sometimes kernels are also added in sweet dishes as a substitute for almond. These are also sun dried and used later on for making a hard alcoholic liquor that is quite popular with locals. Oil is also extracted from seed, it is used for cooking as well as hair oil.

Aaroo Pickle:

Ingredients:

Raw aaroo fruits, 1 kg; mustard oil, 7-8 table spoons; coriander powder, ½ table spoon; fenugreek powder,1/4 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chillies, 10-12. mustard seeds, 1 table spoon, salt acc.to taste.

Harvested Aaroo

Method:

Dip aaroo unripe fruits in boiling water for ten minutes. Completely dry fruits in full sunlight for full day. Put mustered oil in a pan and saute sun dried fruits with spices. One table spoon mustard seeds are then added to make them sour.

Seek advice from a professional before using this plant medicinally

Medicinal Uses:

A massage of aaroo seed oil is recommended for patients suffering from disorders of joints.   The plant contains amygdalin and prunasin substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or pruccic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of wellbeing (Bown. D.1995).

Other Uses:

The wood used as timber and for making agricultural implements. Aaroo tree are used as a best rootstock for grafting almonds and for dwarfing peach trees,

References:

Bown. D. (1995): Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN,0-7513-020-31.

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