Although Almonds are not much cultivated in this part of our country, they are entitled to notice. The species are fruit trees, or ornamental trees and shrubs, both much esteemed for the gay colour and early appearance of their flowers; these vary in their colour from the fine blush of the apple blossom to a snowy whiteness. The chief obvious distinction is in the fruit, which is flatter, with a coriaceous covering, instead of the rich pulp of the Peach and Nectarine, opening spontaneously when the kernel is ripe. It is a native of Barbary, China, and most eastern countries. There are twelve sorts described in the catalogue of the Linnaean Botanic Garden at Flushing; some of which are represented as new varieties from France and Italy, where they are cultivated extensively for their fruit.
In France, they have above a dozen species or varieties, besides a hybrid, called the Almond Peach. The common and bitter Almond are only to be distinguished by the taste of the kernels of their fruit, which is the only part used. The tender-shelled is in the greatest esteem, and next, the Sweet, and Jordan. The bitter cuticle or skin of Almonds is taken off by immersion in boiling water.
The sweet Almond and other varieties are used as a dessert in a green or imperfectly ripe, and also in a ripe or dried state. They are much used in cookery, confectionary, perfumery, and medicine.
The Almond is propagated by seed for varieties, or for stocks; and by budding on its own, or on Plum stocks, for continuing varieties. The Almond tree bears chiefly on the young wood of the previous year, and in part upon small spurs or minor branches; it is therefore pruned like the Apricot and Peach, and its culture in other respects is the same.