- The almond (Prunus amygdalus, syn. Prunus dulcis) is a species of tree native to Iran and surrounding countries but widely cultivated elsewhere. 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, inside. 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.
- The almond fruit is 3.5–6 cm (1+3⁄8–2+3⁄8 in) long. In botanical terms, it is not a nut but a drupe. The outer covering or exocarp, fleshy in other members of Prunus such as the plum and cherry, is instead a thick, leathery, grey-green coat (with a downy exterior), called the hull. Inside the hull is a woody endocarp which forms a reticulated, hard shell (like the outside of a peach pit) called the pyrena. Inside the shell is the edible seed, commonly called a nut. Generally, one seed is present, but occasionally two occur. After the fruit matures, the hull splits and separates from the shell, and an abscission layer forms between the stem and the fruit so that the fruit can fall from the tree.