There are 2 types of almond trees, Prunus dulcis (sweet almond) and Prunus dulcis var. amara (bitter almond); it is very difficult to tell them apart. How the sweet almond was selected remains a mystery. The bitter almond nuts are broader and shorter than those of sweet almonds.
The flowers appear before the leaves, bright pink in bud but fading to pale pink or white.
Elliptic oval leaf. Oval, finely serrated, alternate on the branch. In bud the leaves are folded in half.
Drupe: outer fleshy parts surround a shell with a seed inside.
Fruit: Sweet almonds feature in sweet and savoury dishes worldwide. Bitter almonds contain ‘prussic acid’ which has to be removed before use.
Fruit: sweet almond oil is a very gentle oil, often used as a base oil for essential oils.