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Almond
Almond (Prunus dulcis )

A deciduous tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft).
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

The seed pr kernel can be eaten raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder for use in confections etc. The whole seed can also be roasted, sprouted or used in cakes, confectionery and pastry. The sweet-flavoured forms have a delicious flavour but bitter forms should not be eaten in any quantity

Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. The almond is often cultivated in the temperate zone for its edible seeds, there are many named varieties. It prefers a Mediterranean climate with a clear distinction between winter and spring, in milder maritime areas it can be induced into flower too early in the season and is then very liable to be damaged by frosts. There is also likely to be a shortage of pollinating insects around when the tree is in flower so hand pollination may improve the crop. Although partially self-fertile, better crops are obtained if at least 2 cultivars are grown. There are two basic forms of almonds, one with bitter seeds and one with 'sweet' seeds. Although the bitter forms are used in making marzipan and as a food flavouring, the seeds themselves should not be eaten. Trees are hardier when grown on a plum rootstock.

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