Almond-FOR Erasmus+ project

Collaborative dictionary of mythological plants

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FUNDED BY EUROPEAN UNION

TARGET GROUP NUMBER: 7

Scientific name: Almond nobilis

Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Prunus

Species: P. dulcis

Vulgar name

English: Almond

Spanish: Almendro

Basque: Arbendolondoa

Italian: Mandorlo

Greek: Αμυγδαλιά

Morphological description

The almond is a decidous tree growing 4–10 m (13–33 ft) in height, with a trunk of up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter. The young twigs are green at first, becoming purplish where exposed to sunlight, then grey in their second year. The leaves are 3–5 inches long, with a serrated margin and a 2.5 cm (1 in) petiole. The flowers are white to pale pink, 3–5 cm (1–2 in) diameter with five petals, produced singly or in pairs and appearing before the leaves in early spring. Almond grows best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The optimal temperature for their growth is between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F) and the tree buds have a chilling requirement of 300 to 600 hours below 7.2 °C (45.0 °F) to break dormancy.

Almonds begin bearing an economic crop in the third year after planting. Trees reach full bearing five to six years after planting. The fruit matures in the autumn, 7–8 months after flowering.


The almond fruit measures 3.5–6 cm (1–2 in) long. In botanical terms, it is not a nut, but a drupe. The outer covering or exocarp, fleshy in other members of Prunus such as theplum and cherry, is instead a thick, leathery, grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull. Inside the hull is a reticulated, hard, woody shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the endocarp. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally two occur.

Source consulted

Uses, threats and singularity

Uses:

Almonds are edible fruit seeds, that are high in nutritional value. They are known to lower cholesterol and keep lifestyle diseases at bay. These crunchy nuts have a delicate flavor, are used in cuisines and also to extract oils.

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Threats:

Almond trees can be attacked by an array of damaging organisms, including insects, fungal pathogens, plant viruses, and bacteria. Symptoms can vary depending on the organism attacking the plant. Ziram is a fungicide used on almond trees to protect against leaf blight and scab.

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Singularity:

  • In Greece, ground blanched almonds are used as the base material in a great variety of desserts, usually called amygdalota (αμυγδαλωτά). Because of their white colour, most are traditionally considered "wedding sweets" and are served at wedding banquets. In addition, a soft drink known as soumada is made from almonds in various regions.
  • Source consulted

Symbolism

Filides and Acamas

The Greek mythology explain this symbology through the myth of Fílide and Acamas lovers. All civilizations who have known the almond have rejoiced at the sight of the first fires almond symbols of youthful love .

Source consulted

Bajo ese almendro florido,

todo cargado de flor

-recordé-, yo he maldecido

mi juventud sin amor.

Hoy, en mitad de la vida

me he parado a meditar...

¡Juventud nunca vivida,

quién te volviera a soñar!

Antonio Machado

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