The almond is a species of tree native to Iran and surrounding countries, including the Levant. The almond is also the name of the edible and widely cultivated seed of this tree. Within the genus Prunus, it is classified with the peach in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by corrugations on the shell (endocarp) surrounding the seed.
- The fruit of the almond is a drupe, consisting of an outer hull and a hard shell with the seed, which is not a true nut.
- Shelling almonds refers to removing the shell to reveal the seed.
- Almonds are sold shelled or unshelled. 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.
- Once almonds are cleaned and processed, they can be stored over time. Almonds are used in many food cuisines, often featuring prominently in desserts, such as marzipan.
The almond tree prospers in a moderate Mediterranean climate with cool winter weather. California produces over half of the world's almond supply. Due to high acreage and water demand for almond cultivation, and the need for pesticides, California almond production may be unsustainable, especially during the persistent drought and heat from climate change in the 21st century. Droughts in California have caused some producers to leave the industry, leading to lower supply and increased prices.