Facts About Almond Blossom
The flowering of Almond blossoms is one of the earliest signs of emerging spring. Hence it is also termed as Awakener. This is why during the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat, flowering branches of almond trees are taken into synagogues as a celebration of spring.
The flower represents alertness, delicacy, charm and sweetness. In China, it is represented for feminine beauty, caution and fortitude in sadness. Christians relate it to divine approval or favor and the Virgin’s purity.
The blossoms are spectacular to look at which is why they have been captured in canvas by Vincent Van Gogh in his still lives art. The blossoms are also depicted in the glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly.
Almond blossoms are part of Prunus Dulcis deciduous trees that belong to the rose family. Similar trees in this group include plum, peach, cherry and apricot. The flowers are edible and can be eaten as such, but taste best when they are made in honeyed form.
The blossom honey is extremely sweet in flavor with a strong nutty taste that lingers long after savoring it. Taxifolin is a natural ingredient with anti-carcinogenic properties that is found in the flowers and other parts of Almond tree.
History of Almond blossom
Hot and dry climates with adequate irrigation is best for Almond trees. Almond tree origins are traced to Iran and the countries around it. It soon spread to the Mediterranean region near Syria and later into Southern Europe and Northern Africa.
At present, the tree is commonly grown in California, United States in large numbers. Besides Central Valley in California, Iran, Morocco, Italy and Spain are other main almond producing regions in the world. Almond tree has a wild form that is grown in some regions of Levant.
Domestication of almond started when sweet types were selected from the numerous bitter varieties. Prunus Fenzliana is supposed to be the wild predecessor of the domesticated almond species we grow now prevalently. The species is native to Western Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The wild species were initially grown unintentionally in garbage heaps by farmers but when they knew about its significance, they started growing the tree intentionally.
The earliest reports of almond cultivation are recorded as far back as 3000 BC to 2000 BC in the Numeria archaeological sites (Jordan). The Tutankhamun’s Tomb, which dates to 1325 BC, had almond fruit, which was speculated to be imported from the Levant. There are records of almond cultivation found in Edinburgh, Germany and even in Iceland.
Characteristic Of Almond Blossom
Typically, Almond trees grow to about 9 meters. The leaves are finely serrated and appear only after the Almond blossoms appear. The Almon blossoms color ranges from white to pale pink with a central part having magenta hue.
The stamens bear multiple pollens and are found surrounding a pistil, which on pollination forms the fruit.
The aroma of Almond blossoms is very sweet and resembles the fragrance of lily and jasmine. The taste of the flowers is mildly sweet, which is not that easy to discern.
Use Of Almond Blossom
Almond blossoms look beautiful and are mostly used for their visual appeal. The trees are grown for the beautiful flowers. They are also grown for the purpose of producing honey from the blossoms.
The flowers can be consumed in raw form by using them as a garnish overcooked food. However, the flowers are very delicate and do not withstand heat.
The blossoms are used to enhance other flavors of almond-like maraschino berries, marzipan, baked goods and in ice cream. They are also used in cocktail preparation along with orgeat syrup and amaretto liqueur.
Almond Blossom Flower Meaning
The name Almond is derived from Old French work – Alemande or almande. The Latin word, ‘amandula’ is also said to be behind the name formation. The work is a derivative of amygdala, which is part of Greek work amygdale.
Other names connected to almond nomenclature include ‘Knackmandel’, a German word, ‘Mandorlo’, which is Italian name for tree, ‘Mandorla’, the Italian name for the blossoms, ‘Almendra’ (Spanish) and ‘Amendoa’ (Portugese)
Amygaloid is an adjective that means ‘like Almond’. It was used to denote objects that are shaped like almond. The shape of almond is mix of ellipse and triangle.
How To Care For Almond Blossom?
Care for almond blossoms includes understanding the main needs of the tree such as water, food, soil and light. The tree can grow well in acidic soil, clay and sand but not in wet soil.
The best type of soil that favors the growth of the tree is loamy soil, which has a high concentration of organic materials.
The best time to plant the tree is during early spring. Make sure the pH of the soil ranges from 5.5 to 7.5 for proper growth.
Avoid planting in areas where there is a slow drain or where water puddles. Shrub borders and naturalized areas are best for flowering Almonds.
Almond blossoms also bloom well with related blooming shrubs. Covering the soil around the tree base with a mulch layer of 2 inches will help prevent moisture loss from the soil.
Watering of flowering almond plant requires to be done three or two times in a week. However, this should be adjusted in case of rain or freezing temperatures.
Early spring is the time for adding fertilizer. Fertilizer with low centration of nitrogen is required for increased production of flowers. Sunlight is necessary for flowers to blossom and for the growth of almonds.
Pruning is best done during peak spring after the flowers are in full bloom. Do light pruning for increased flowering during the subsequent season.
Pruning is necessary for proper branching and removal of dead wood. Make sure you do limit the pruning to one third and not higher than that.
As with other flowers, Almond blossoms are also prone to pests and diseases. Cankers, leaf spot, dieback, black know are some of the diseases to look for, while pests that affect the growth include aphids, spider mites, Japanese beetles, caterpillars, borers and scale. To control the diseases and pest keeping the tree well pruned and raking up the fallen leaves near the base helps.