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Almond

The almond tree is a typical Mediterranean deciduous small tree. The cultivation of the almond tree appears to have spread in other Mediterranean countries by the Greeks and the Romans. In Cyprus, it has been cultivated ever since the ancient years. 

The Almond tree belongs to the family of roses, which are today parts of the Prunus species and it constitutes the common name for the species of Prunus amygdalus communis.

The main feature of the almond tree is that is blossoms before its leaves appear. Its flowers are impressive. They are white and fragrant, whereas before blossoming their petals appear somewhat rosy. The leaves of the almond tree are bayonet and notched on the edges with a small petiole. Its seeds, which are usually edible, the well- known almonds, are oval drupes with one pointed edge. The outside part of the crop, instead of being fleshy like other fruit-baring drupes, is in fact a green and grey shell covered in thin down which contains one or two seeds, enclosed in a wood-like shell with several small holes. The seeds are white and sweet or bitter, according to their variety.   

The taste of the almonds specifies the use of their varieties. Sweet almonds are used as table dry nuts, in the making of sweets, almond by-products, drinks, as well as in the extraction of oil. Bitter almonds are used in medicine as sedatives for asthma and cough, as well as in fragrances. Extracted from these almonds is an oil which contains hydrocyanic acid, which is a well-known poison. This substance is removed from the cores of the almonds by washing them with alkali and so the almond oil produced is used as air freshener.   

The almond tree is a native plant of western Asia and South Africa. However, it is widely cultivated in countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.

The wood of the almond is heavy and hard and is suitable for fine carpentry.   

 
 
 
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