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Prunus besseriana - Schott.

Common Name Dwarf Almond
Family Rosaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Habitats Not known
Range Europe to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Prunus besseriana Dwarf Almond


Prunus besseriana Dwarf Almond

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 
Prunus besseriana is a deciduous Tree. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Amygdalus besseriana.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment  Oil

Fruit[177, 183]. No more details are given. The fruit contains a single large seed. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[183]. It is similar in flavour and quality, though a little inferior to 'bitter almond oil'[183]. A bitter almond oil is produced from the plant[183]. (This is a separate report from the seed oil and so is probably an essential oil obtained by infusing the leaves[K]).

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[238].

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Other Uses

Dye  Oil  Rootstock

The plant is used as a frost-resistant rootstock[183] (for the peach?) A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[11, 200]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[238]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Layering in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Subject : Prunus besseriana  
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