Amygdalus nana L. - Russian almond, dwarf almond

Taxonomic position.

Family Rosaceae Juss. genus Amygdalus L.

Morphology and biology.

Deciduous shrub, that grows 1-1.5 (2) m tall, having divaricated upright branches with numerous shortened twigs. Bark is whitish or reddish-brown on one-year shoots and reddish-gray or gray on perennial ones. Leaves are 3.5-7 cm long and 0.8-2 cm wide (leaf length exceeds the width by 3-4 times); they are set in bundles on shortened twigs; alternate, simple, all naked, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate on growth shoots; acuminate on the apex; serrate-dentate along the edge. Flowers open concurrently with leaves; they usually have short pedicels (about 2 mm long) and are most often settled on shortened shoots, surrounded by fulvous-brown bud scales. Sepals are oblong-ovate, glandular-denticulate. Flowers are pink. Petals are obovate or oblong-oval, blunted, sometimes superficially emarginate, 10-17 mm long and 4-9 mm wide. Fruits are broad ovoid drupes 1-2 cm long, flattened on the sides, densely and coarsely tomentose-villous, whitish-stramineous. Stones are flattened, with superficially and irregularly reticular-sulcate surface and with a thick ventral suture, straight or slightly drawn slantwise at the base. Entomophilous. Autochore. Plant is propagated by seed and summer cuttings. Seeds require stratification for 2-3 months at 0-5 degrees Celsius. Blossoms in April or early May; fruits ripen in July. 2n=16.


Western Europe, southern part of Eastern Europe, Crimea, Caucasus (Ante-Caucasus), Western Siberia (southern parts, foothills of Western Altai, upper course of the Tobol), northern Kazakhstan.


Xerophyte. It is a light-demanding plant. Grows in shrubby steppes, on steppe meadows, along rivers and brooks; commonly inhabits the edges of forest-steppe oak woods; together with other steppe shrubs participates in the formation of the undergrowth in steppe pinewoods. It grows in mountains up to 1200 m above sea level.

Utilization and economic value.

It has uses as a food and medicine. Kernels of the fruits are used to prepare bitter almond butter. This species was used by I.V. Michurin in crosses, and the obtained varieties were very frost-resistant.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev D.D., Korovina O.N. 1981. Wild relatives of cultivated plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. 216-217 p. (In Russian)
Koropachinskiy I.Yu., Vstovskaya T.N. 2002. Woody plants of the Asian part of Russia. Novosibirsk: Publishing House of SB RAS, Branch "Geo". 295-297 pp. (In Russian)
Linchevsky I.A., Fedorov A.A. 1941. Almond - Amygdalus L. Flora of the USSR. V. 10. Moscow-Leningrad: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. 535-537 pp. (In Russian)
Sokolov S.I., Svjaseva O.A., Kubli V.A. 1980. Areas of distribution of trees and shrubs in the USSR. V. 2. Leningrad: Nauka. 107 p. (In Russian)

© I.G. Chukhina


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