This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Almond, like the Pomegranate, is one of the very earliest trees mentioned in ancient literature. The history of the tree is bound up with that of the original annals of mankind; we have a reference to the produce in the beautiful old narrative in Genesis xliii. 11, the events related in which took place considerably over 8000 years ago. The native country of this charming tree, though the region has been pretty well ascertained, cannot be pointed out quite as precisely as one would wish. De Can-dolle thinks that the area may have extended from Persia westward to Asia Minor and Syria. Like many other trees of South-Western Asia, it certainly became diffused along the shores of the Mediterranean at a very early period. It was well known in Greece in the time of Theophras-tus, B c. 350, this author making copious mention of it, and thence probably it would be that the tree was conveyed to Italy. M. Porcius Cato, 150 B.C., and Columella, in the reign of Claudius, refer to the nuts under the names of Avellana grseca and Nux graeca, Cato remarking that the taste is acrid, which would seem to imply that the variety he was alone acquainted with was the bitter one.
At the present day the Almond occurs in hedges everywhere in Greece, Anatolia, Barbary, etc, not to mention Palestine, Turkestan, Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, and other localities probably primaeval. In Egypt it did not grow in the very olden times, or at all events, it was rare, as indicated by Jacob sending Almonds as part of his present to Pharaoh's Prime Minister - a proceeding which seems to indicate, collaterally, that it was a tree which in Canaan was always prosperous, flourishing and bearing fruit even in seasons when the cereals failed. In England the Almond is believed to have been cultivated since the days of the later Planta-genets, the original plants coming from Barbary, but nothing can be stated positively. Our climate is ill-adapted to its success as an orchard tree. Hence, although encouraged everywhere for the sake of its lovely vernal bloom, our market supply of the produce is derived from warmer latitudes. The so-called Jordan Almonds come, not as the name would seem to indicate, from Palestine, but from Malaga. - Gardener's Chronicle.