The almond (Prunus dulcis) is a deciduous tree, growing up to 10 meters in height.
Names: Botanical – subspecies dulcis – Sweet almond. var. amara – Bitter almond.
Leaves: 3-12cm x 1-3cm, serrated margin and 1-3cm petiole. Leaves variable, usually alternate on older branches. Leaves on short branches approximate and often fascile. Leaf blade lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate.
Inflorescences: Solitary. Pedicel 3-4mm, 4-10mm in fruit, glabrous. Sepals broadly oblong to broadly lanceolate, 5-6mm, outside glaborous, margin pubescent, apex obtuse. Petals white or pinkish, oblong to obovate-oblong, 1.2-2 x 0.7-1.1cm, base tapering to a narrow claw, apex obtuse to emarginate. Stamens unequal in length. Style longer than stamens.
Fruits: Drupe obliquely ovoid to oblong-ovoid, compressed, 3-4.3 x 2-3cm, base mostly subtruncate, apex pointed to somewhat obtuse, mesocarp thin, splitting at maturity. Endocarp yellowish white to brown, ovoid, broadly ellipsoid or shortly oblong, asymmetric on both sides, 2.5-3cm, hard to fragile, ventral suture curved, dorsal suture generally straight, surface smooth and pitted with or without shallow furrows.
Wood: Reddish in colour. Timber is valued for cabinet making.
Climate: Mediterranean, warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Optimal growth temperature is between 15°C and 30°C, the tree buds have a chilling requirement of 300-600 hours below 7.2°C to break dormancy. Grows in sandy, loamy and clay soils, but well drained soils are preferred. Cannot grow in full shade.
Distinctive Features: Almond Nuts.
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