22. Prunus dulcis (Miller) D. A. Webb, Feddes Repert. 74: 24. 1967.
Sweet almond, amandier
Amygdalus dulcis Miller, Gard. Dict. ed. 8, Amygdalus no. 2. 1768; A. communis Linnaeus; Prunus amygdalus Batsch
Trees, not suckering, 50–80 dm, not thorny. Twigs with terminal end buds, glabrous. Leaves deciduous; petiole (8–)10–25 mm, ˂usually winged distally˃, glabrous, usually glandular distally or on margins at bases of blades; blade oblong to lanceolate, 2.5–10 × 1–3 cm, base obtuse, margins crenulate-serrulate to crenate-serrate, teeth blunt, glandular, apex acuminate, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences solitary flowers or 2-flowered fascicles. Pedicels 1–5 mm, glabrous. Flowers blooming before leaf emergence; hypanthium cupulate, 4–7 mm, glabrous externally; sepals erect-spreading to spreading, oblong-ovate, 4–8 mm, margins entire, ˂tomentose˃, surfaces glabrous; petals pink to nearly white, obovate, elliptic, or suborbiculate, 12–25 mm; ovaries hairy. Drupes gray-green, ovoid-oblong, ˂compressed˃, 25–40 mm, velutinous; mesocarps leathery (splitting); stones ellipsoid, strongly flattened, ˂pitted˃. 2n = 16.
Flowering Feb–Mar; fruiting Jul–Sep. Roadsides, canyons, grasslands; 20–500 m; introduced; Calif., Idaho, Wash.; w Asia; n Africa.
The United States now dominates world almond production with over 40% of the annual crop, all of it grown in or near the Central Valley of California. The in-shell “nuts” sold in stores are the pits of drupes with the leathery mesocarp removed. Almond is among the earliest blossoming trees and one of the first signs of spring in areas where it is grown.