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Almond Tree

In winter they sleep,

but In February they blossom,

In March they are robust.

Nowhere else in Cyprus will you

find so many.

The village of Limnati has a distinctive feature which makes it special amongst the other villages of Cyprus. It is the village of the almond tree. Nowhere else in Cyprus are there so many almond trees.

According to local tradition, the residents of the community used to plant these xeric trees so that they would absorb the high levels of ground humidity. Moreover, according to the residents, almond trees are less demanding and more productive than any other xeric cultivation.  

Tens of thousands of almond trees, planted in order, create a beautiful and colourful image in spring, thus making the scenery simply charming. Also charming is the landscape during the harvest of the almonds. It is then when the entire family goes to the fields, with some members beating the ripe almonds with a stick so they would fall on bags spread on the ground while some others are there to collect them and either take them home or to the cooperative society.  

The almond tree is a local Mediterranean deciduous tree of small dimensions. The cultivation of the almond tree appears to have spread in other Mediterranean countries by the Greeks and the Romans, whereas its cultivation in Cyprus is dated back to the very ancient years.  

The almond tree belongs to the family of the Prunus trees and its naming constitutes the common name of the species Prunus amygdalus communis.

Its main feature is that it blossoms before its leaves appear. Its flowers are impressive, white and pleasant to smell, whereas its petals bear a slightly rosy colour just before blossoming. Its leaves are bayonet, notched with a small stem. Its crops, the well-known almonds, are edible oval drupes with a sharp edge. Its shell, instead of being fleshy like all other stone fruits, is in fact a green and grey shell with a thin down which contains one or two seeds enclosed in a wooden shell with multiple holes. The seeds have a white flesh and their variety determines whether they are sweet or bitter.

The taste of the almonds determines the usage of the different varieties. The sweet almonds are used as table dry nuts, in the making of sweets, in almond byproducts, in drinks, as well as in the extraction of edible oil. The bitter almonds are used in the pharmaceutical industry as palliatives for asthma and cough, as well as in perfumes. Moreover, a type of oil which contains prussic acid also known as hydrogen cyanide and which is a well-known poison is also extracted from these almonds. This substance is removed from the core of the seeds by washing them with alkali so that the almond oil produced could be used in the production of perfumes.  

The almond tee is an indigenous plant originating from western Asia and South Africa and apart from Cyprus it is widely cultivated in Greece, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. 

Almond wood is heavy and hard and is considered to be suitable for fine carpentry.  



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