Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012. All rights reserved. The peach is the third most produced temperate tree fruit species behind apple and pear. This diploid species, Prunus persica, is naturally self-pollinating unlike most of the other cultivated Prunus species. Its center of diversity is in China, where it was domesticated. Starting about 3,000 years ago, the peach was moved from China to all temperate and subtropical climates within the Asian continent and then, more than 2,000 years ago, spread to Persia (present day Iran) via the Silk Road and from there throughout Europe. From Europe it was taken by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers to the Americas. It has an extensive history of breeding that has resulted in scion cultivars with adaptability from cold temperate to tropical zones, a ripening season extending for 6-8 months, and a wide range of fruit and tree characteristics. Peach has also been crossed with species in the Amygdalus and Prunophora subgenera to produce interspecific rootstocks tolerant to soil and disease problems to which P. persica has limited or no resistance. It is the best known temperate fruit species from a genetics perspective and as a model plant has a large array of genomics tools that are beginning to have an impact on the development of new cultivars.