Prunus dulcis
Synonyms: P amygdalus
Family: Rosaceae

A deciduous tree from south-west Asia, it is grown for the edible kernel within the stone. It reaches 8-10 m (26-33 ft). The sweet, pink-blossomed almond is valued for the bland oil obtained from the nut. This is used in fine cookery and confectionery, while the remaining 'cake' is used in the production of soap and cosmetics.


This plant prefers a warm, dry, inland Climate, with most of the rainfall occurring in winter or early spring. Mediterranean conditions are perfect. In areas experiencing late frosts the flowers and subsequent yield will be damaged. Humid coastal areas will generally experience problems with fungal disease. A moderately rich soil, well drained and textured, is essential for encouraging deep root penetration. Phosphate and nitrogen based fertilizers encourage fruit formation and stimulate growth. Organic matter should also be added. It is best to prune the tree into a vase shape, with an open center. Clean out the dead wood and branches and keep the tree to a managable size. The almond bears fruit on the previous year's wood and from the spurs of older wood. Through judicious pruning, both old and new wood will remain productive. Harvest in summer. The fruit from the center of the tree is the last to ripen, so use this as a guide for harvesting. Shake the trees by hand and collect the fruit on a groundsheet spread out below. Some cultivars are self-fertile, others need a pollinator.


Zone 7 and above.

Allspice      Alnus