Almond, the name of a fruit and the tree bearing it. The fruit is commonly called a nut, but botanically it is not a true nut but a drupe. Almond trees belong to the rose family and are closely related to peach trees. They are grown for their beauty and for the commercial value of the nuts. Almond trees reach a height of about 30 feet (9 m) and have pink or white blossoms. They blossom earlybetween January and Apriland thus run a high risk of being damaged by frost. They have been cultivated in the Mediterranean regions and Central Asia for more than 4,000 years. Major producers are the United States (primarily California), Spain, China, Italy, Iran, Greece, Tunisia, and Turkey.Almond nuts are the kernels of the small almond fruit.
There are two kinds of almond trees. One produces a sweet, edible nut and the other a bitter, inedible nut. Sweet almonds are used as food or in food products, such as ice cream and candies. The oil of sweet almonds is used as a lubricant for delicate mechanisms, in cosmetic creams, and in medicine as a gentle laxative. The shells are burned as fuel and ground up for use as roughage in cattle feed.
The oil of bitter almonds is used after the poisonous acid (prussic acid) that gives the bitter taste has been removed. Bitter-almond oil is used as a flavoring in foods, soft drinks, and medicines, and as a fragrance for perfume, soaps, and cosmetics.
Flowering almond shrubs are two related species that are grown as ornamental plants. Green almond is another name for the fruit of the pistachio tree; it is not an almond. .)
The almond is Prunus dulcis or P. amygdalus. The sweet almond is of the variety dulcis; the bitter, variety amara. Flowering almond shrubs are P. glandulosa and P. triloba. All belong to the rose family, Rosaceae.