Taxonomic placing: Angiospermae, Dicotyledoneae, Rosaceae.
Common name: Almond.
Almond is the vernacular name given to deciduous trees of the species Amygdalus communis L. (sometimes called Prunus amygdalus, more recently also Prunus dulcis), as well as to their fruit (the nut). Almond, which is of Mediterranean provenance, is nowadays grown in the USA, in Mediterranean countries, in Iran and in China. It has bitter and sweet varieties, the former grown for the extraction of flavors and for amygdalin, a toxic cyanogenic glycoside, which can cause severe poisoning. The sweet, or edible varieties have two groups, hard- and soft-shelled; the latter encompass the edible almonds.
Almond trees require deep, fertile and well-drained soils, warm springs and dry summers. Most almond varieties are not self-fertilized, which requires the planting of two or more varieties, selected in consideration of their flowering dates, in each orchards. They blossom in early spring, prior to leaf growth.
The nuts are harvested in mid-summer, nowadays often by mechanical means (limb shakers), and hulled as soon as possible. After appropriate drying the kernels can be stored in low temperatures for several months.
The world crop of almond nuts came to about 1,840,000 tons in 2002, the major producers being the USA, Spain, China and Italy. In the year 2000 there were 2770 hectares planted to almonds in Israel.
Major almond pests in the Middle East
Anonymous, 2003. FAO Production Yearbook for 2002, #56. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Anonymous, 2003. Statistical Abstract of Israel, #54. Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem.
Cohen, M. (Ed.) 2000. A Guide to Integrated Pest Management of Stone Fruits in Israel. Pest Identification, Monitoring and Treatment Thresholds. Fruit Board of Israel (in Hebrew).
Deshpande, S.S., Sathe, S.K. and S.S. Kadam. 1995. Other nuts. In: Salunkhe, D.K. and Kadam, S.S. (eds.) Handbook of Fruit Science and Technology, Production, Composition, Storage and Processing, pp. 523-525. Marcel Dekker, New York.
Socias i Company, R. and Gradziel, T.M. 2017. Almonds, Botany, Production and Uses. CABI, UK.
Woodroof, J.G. 1979. Tree Nuts: Production, Processing, Products. Avi Publishing, Westport, Connecticut.