Whether or not the peach has proceeded from the almond, it has certainly given rise to nectarines, or smooth peaches, as they are called by the French. Most of the varieties, both of the peach and nectarine, reproduce themselves truly by seed. Gallesio (10/29. 'Teoria della Riproduzione Vegetale' 1816 page 86.) says he has verified this with respect to eight races of the peach. Mr. Rivers (10/30. 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1862 page 1195.) has given some striking instances from his own experience, and it is notorious that good peaches are constantly raised in North America from seed. Many of the American sub-varieties come true or nearly true to their kind, such as the white-blossom, several of the yellow-fruited freestone peaches, the blood clingstone, the heath, and the lemon clingstone. On the other hand, a clingstone peach has been known to give rise to a freestone. (10/31. Mr. Rivers 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1859 page 774.) In England it has been noticed that seedlings inherit from their parents flowers of the same size and colour. Some characters, however, contrary to what might have been expected, often are not inherited; such as the presence and form of the glands on the leaves. (10/32. Downing 'The Fruits of America' 1845 pages 475, 489, 492, 494, 496. See also F. Michaux 'Travels in N. America' English translation page 228. For similar cases in France see Godron 'De l'Espece' tome 2 page 97.) With respect to nectarines, both cling and freestones are known in North America to reproduce themselves by seed. (10/33. Brickell 'Nat. Hist. of N. Carolina' page 102 and Downing 'Fruit Trees' page 505.) In England the new white nectarine was a seedling of the old white, and Mr. Rivers (10/34. 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1862 page 1196.) has recorded several similar cases. From this strong tendency to inheritance, which both peach and nectarine trees exhibit,--from certain slight constitutional differences (10/35. The peach and nectarine do not succeed equally well in the some soil: see Lindley 'Horticulture' page 351.) in their nature,--and from the great difference in their fruit both in appearance and flavour, it is not surprising, notwithstanding that the trees differ in no other respects and cannot even be distinguished, as I am informed by Mr. Rivers, whilst young, that they have been ranked by some authors as specifically distinct. Gallesio does not doubt that they are distinct; even Alph. De Candolle does not appear perfectly assured of their specific identity: and an eminent botanist has quite recently (10/36. Godron 'De l'Espece' tome 2 1859 page 97.) maintained that the nectarine "probably constitutes a distinct species."
Hence it may be worth while to give all the evidence on the origin of the nectarine. The facts in themselves are curious, and will hereafter have to be referred to when the important subject of bud-variation is discussed. It is asserted (10/37. 'Transact. Hort. Soc.' volume 6 page 394.) that the Boston nectarine was produced from a peach-stone, and this nectarine reproduced itself by seed. (10/38. Downing's 'Fruit Trees' page 502.) Mr. Rivers states (10/39. 'Gardener's Chronicle' 1862 page 1195.) that from stones of three distinct varieties of the peach he raised three varieties of nectarine; and in one of these cases no nectarine grew near the parent peach-tree. In another instance Mr. Rivers raised a nectarine from a peach, and in the succeeding generation another nectarine from this nectarine. (10/40. 'Journal of Horticulture' February 5, 1866 page 102.) Other such instances have been communicated to me, but they need not be given. Of the converse case, namely, of nectarine-stones yielding peach-trees (both free and clingstones), we have six undoubted instances recorded by Mr. Rivers; and in two of these instances the parent nectarines had been seedlings from other nectarines. (10/41. Mr. Rivers in 'Gardener's 'Chronicle' 1859 page 774, 1862 page 1195; 1865 page 1059; and 'Journal of Hort.' 1866 page 102.)
With respect to the more curious case of full-grown peach-trees suddenly producing nectarines by bud-variation (or sports as they are called by gardeners), the evidence is superabundant; there is also good evidence of the same tree producing both peaches and nectarines, or half-and-half fruit; by this term I mean a fruit with the one-half a perfect peach, and the other half a perfect nectarine.