Pulchritude: Almond Tree

Sweet Almond Tree

The almond tree bears the fruit that yields almonds.  Prior to being shelled an sold raw, cold pressed for its oil, used to make milk, or ground to make flour, almonds were beautifully packaged by nature as a drupe within an exocarp (soft shell) and endocarp (hard shell).  Almonds are actually seeds, not nuts.  The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) is believed to have originated in the mediterranean Middle East before being domesticated and grown across the world.  The kernels of wild almonds are bitter and produce cyanide, whereas domesticated almonds were selected for their sweetness thousands of years ago.  Almond domestication is believed to date back to 3000-2000 BC.

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