Almonds

Almonds

The Almond Fruit is not a nut but a drupe. The outer covering or exocarp, fleshy in other members of Prunus such as the plum and cherry, is instead a thick, leathery, grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull. Inside the hull is a reticulated, hard, woody shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the endocarp. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally two occur. California is the only state that produces almonds commercially.

Almonds begin bearing an economic crop in the third year after planting. Trees reach full bearing five to six years after planting. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowerin. Selection of the sweet type from the many bitter types in the wild marked the beginning of almond domestication. It is unclear as to which wild ancestor of the almond created the domesticated species. Ladizinsky suggests the taxon Amygdalus fenzliana (Fritsch) Lipsky is the most likely wild ancestor of the almond in part because it is native of Armenia and western Azerbaijan where it was apparently domesticated.