Prunus dulcis / almond

Prunus dulcis – almond tree species, use, pruning, planting, …

Almond

Prunus dulcis (Bot.)
Almond tree (Eng.)
Amandier, Amande douce (French)
Mandelbaum (German)
Rosaceae – rose family

When we are in February in Italy, Spain, Mallorca and southern France spend, we can enjoy the blooming amandelplantagen. Vincent van Gogh was so charmed by this tree, which he painted when he lived in Provence.

The almond tree is also with us a remarkable voorjaarsbloeier. It grows best in a sheltered position in full sun.

Origin and cultivation

The almond tree is native to Central Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. For over 2000 years, he cultivated in the Mediterranean region. It is believed that traders almond trees from China along the ancient silk route to Europe and the Middle East have brought. Spanish Franciscan monks brought the almond to California in the 17th century. The professional almond cultivation began in the 19th century.

Today, Italy and Spain, the main export areas. Almond cultivation in California is becoming increasingly important. California almonds are exclusively grown in California Central Valley. This area has a mild climate and fertile soils. Here are the almond tree to 6 m high and up to 50 years old.

Germany is cultivated almonds in warm regions of the Upper Rhine and the Bergstrasse.

naming

In all European languages​​, the name for this stone fruit back to the Greek amygdale or amygdalos. Prunus (generic) is derived from what actually proummon plum (dt. Pflaume) means. Dulcis meaning sweet and refers to the sweet kernels.

 

Plant Characteristics

The almond is a fairly large tree or shrub with an open canopy. He wanted to form his thorny branches with a gray bark. The leaves are oblong, cut along the edges and glossy dark green. From the axils of the leaves are usually three year old buds appear. Two of these are flower buds.

In the fall the buds begin to develop in February will flower. The flowers are in pairs. The sepals are oblong along the edge felt-like hairs. The petals are pink, some dark veined.

The almond tree is monoecious and pollinated by insects.

The flower develops during the summer to a gray-green, velvety hairy stone fruit like a small peach. The core is wrapped in three layers: a fuzzy, leathery layer containing yellow-brown, oval-shaped nuts that are occupied by shallow wells. The actual amandelpit is enveloped by a membrane.

Between mid-August and late October the shell breaks open, allowing the amandelpit it from falling out.

The almond is botanically not a nut, but should, like cherry, peach, plum and apricot to the stone fruit.

Depending on the crop area, the almond tree only after 6 to 8 years, the first fruits.

The flowers contain much nectar where all kinds of insects to come off.

types

We distinguish three types: sweet almond (var. dulcis), bitter almond (var.amara) and cracking almonds (var. fragilis). Sweet almonds are mild, aromatic, sweet and usually peeled onto the market. Only notes with Christmas packages offered, we find unpeeled almonds, which are often difficult to crack.

Crack Almonds are named after the thin, fragile skin easily. Further, they appear in the sweet almond.

White-flowered almond trees bear sweet fruits, flowers pink bitter almonds.

Prunus tenella Prunus triloba and almond trees are small decorative who like gardens are planted for their early and abundant flowering.

Recommended to breed a sweet almond harvest is ‘Ruby’.

 

History and mythology
Archaeological finds indicate that the almond is already in the Stone Age in Asia Minor and Greece played a role. During the Bronze Age was the cultivated almond. It is probably the oldest cultivated fruits of antiquity.

According to Greek mythology Thractische princess died because her beloved Phyllis Akamas in time returned from the Trojan War. They thought he had died. The gods turned her into an almond tree. When her lover came back anyway, he embraced the tree with broken hearts, so they began to blossom.

The Phoenicians traded with almonds devoted to the goddess Amygdale. The almond also played an important role during the ritual celebration of the Phrygian mother goddess of love and Kybele.

In the Old Testament, the almond tree several times mentioned as a symbol of the early awakening. In Christianity, he became the symbol of the Immaculate Conception. “Christ was conceived in Mary as amandelpit develops in the undamaged almond.

The Romans cultivated and refined almond trees already in the 4th century BC. They called the Greek almond nut (nux graeca). Old local names in the Southern Alps and valleys like Amandoley Mandolaire testify to this.

use
Sweet almonds are mainly used in cakes, sweets and marzipan. The seeds are also delicious raw or lightly toasted. They are widely used in Asian cuisine. They are in northern India next to poppy seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic and ginger is the most important means to bind sauces.

The most famous almond product of Western cuisine is marzipan, a kneaded mass of almonds, sugar and rosewater.

Almond oil is very expensive and is mainly used for cosmetic and medical skin creams.

The ancient writer Deskorides describes the bitter almond was used as medicine. He advises compresses with an infusion all kinds of skin diseases, injuries, headaches, respiratory diseases and in the liver.

In natural medicine is now bitter almond water (Oleum Amygdalarum aethericum) used in cough and vomiting. This drug is also used to flavor cakes and the taste of juices to improve healing.

diseases
The almond tree is sometimes suffer from gum disease, cancer or bacterial disease galena.

plants
Almond trees can be planted from November to March, the best in February when it is not freezing. When the soil is too wet, you can plant tree on a hill.

Pruning of the almond tree, the almond tree needs little pruning.

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