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The almond (Prunus amygdalus, syn. Prunus dulcis, Amygdalus communis, Amygdalus dulcis) is a species of tree native to the Middle East and South Asia. "Almond" is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. ithin the !enus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the sub!enus Amygdalus, distin!uished from the other sub!enera by the corru!ated shell (endocarp) surroundin! the seed. The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consistin! of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed (which is not a true nut) inside. Shellin! almonds refers to removin! the shell to reveal the seed. Almonds are sold shelled (i.e., after the shells are removed), or unshelled (i.e., with the shells still attached). Blanched almonds are shelled almonds that have been treated with hot water to soften the seedcoat, which is then removed to reveal the white embryo.

Almond blossoms with its fruit in Tudesh!, "sfahan, "ran. The almond is a deciduous tree, !rowin! #$%& metres (%'$'' ft) in hei!ht, with a trun( of up to '& centimetres (%) in) in diameter. The youn! twi!s are !reen at first, becomin! purplish where e*posed to sunli!ht, then !rey in their second year. The leaves are '$ + inches lon!,,%- with a serrated mar!in and a ).+ cm (% in) petiole. The flowers are white to pale pin(, '$+ cm (%$) in) diameter with five petals, produced sin!ly or in pairs and appearin! before the leaves in early sprin!.,)-,'Almonds be!in bearin! an economic crop in the third year after plantin!. Trees reach full bearin! five to si* years after plantin!. The fruit matures in the autumn, .$/ months after flowerin!.,'-,#-

The pollination of 0alifornia1s almonds is the lar!est annual mana!ed pollination event in the world, with close to one million hives (nearly half of all beehives in the 2SA) bein! truc(ed in 3ebruary to the almond !roves. Much of the pollination is mana!ed by pollination bro(ers, who contract with mi!ratory bee(eepers from at least #4 states for the event. This business has been heavily impacted by colony collapse disorder, causin! nationwide shorta!es of honey bees and increasin! the price of insect pollination. To alleviate almond !rowers from the risin! cost of insect pollination, researchers at the A!ricultural 5esearch Service (A5S) have developed a new line of self6pollinatin!

almond trees.,))- Self6pollinatin! almond trees, such as the Tuono almond tree, have been around for a while, but their harvest is not as desirable as the insect6pollinated 0alifornia 7onpareil almond tree. The 7onpareil tree produces lar!e, smooth almonds and offers 8&$8+9 edible (ernel per nut. The Tuono, on the other hand, has thic(er, hairier shells and offers only ')9 of edible (ernel per nut. :owever, there are advanta!es to havin! a thic( shell. The Tuono;s shell protects the nut from threatenin! pests such as the navel oran!eworm. A5S researchers have mana!ed to cross6breed the pest6resistant Tuono tree with 0alifornia;s attractive 7onpareil tree, resultin! in hybridi<ed varieties of almond trees that are self6pollinated and maintain a hi!h =uality of nut.,)'- The new, self6 pollinatin! almond tree hybrids possess =uality s(in color, flavor, and oil content, and reduce almond !rowers; dependency on insect pollination.,))-