The almond tree resembles peach, to which it is closely related. It grows to 25 feet, but under cultivation is usually held to under 20 feet by pruning. The leaves are simple, lanceolate and glabrous. The nuts are enclosed in a fleshy husk which becomes dry and fibrous and splits open allowing the nuts to drop out or be easily separated at maturity. The shell is porous to woody, and encloses the oblong, flattened kernel. The latter is up to over an inch long and half as wide. Almonds are marketed both in the shell and as shelled kernels.
Production in the U.S.: About 75,000 tons (in shell weight).
Use: Direct eating, and in confections.
Part of plant consumed: Inner kernels only.