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Russian Almond (Prunus tenella)

 
steward
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Anybody has experience with this Russian almonds? Apparently the seed is very similar to the almonds we are accustomed to, only smaller.

There is a nursery in Ontario that sells them: Rhora's Nut Farm and Nursery
 
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havent heard of them before but definately seem intriguing:)
 
Adrien Lapointe
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They interest me because they will grow in colder climates. I think one could use the russel-burbank method to select for bigger and tastier fruits.

I have read of people growing almond trees from store-bought almonds in USDA zone 5. Again, I guess one could select for cold-hardier trees from the store-bought varieties.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Here is a picture I found of the seeds of the ornamental varieties.


source
 
pollinator
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I always thought that Russian Almonds were poisonous aka bitter almonds. Maybe they bred the cyanide out of it.
Very interesting, I have been looking for a dwarf almond tree and it looks like I might have found it.
 
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Don't know about its edibility, but this has been the first year its flowered for me, so definitely a nice ornamental if nothing else.
 
S Bengi
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I email the nursery and they said that it is edible, but everywhere else I look says that they are not edible.
But if they sweet and bitter almonds, the same for apricots, why not for russian almond. But I would eat it only if it came from that vendor (nuttrees.com)

Maybe next yeah, I will buy two plants.
 
Lance Kleckner
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pfaf.org gives it 3 out of 5 for edibility rating and says this:
Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is quite variable in quality, the best forms are somewhat mealy with a fairly nice flavour[K]. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter and contains one large seed[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity. Oil from the seed is used as an almond flavouring, it is inferior to the bitter almond oil obtained from P. dulcis[46].
 
S Bengi
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So I contacted the nursery to buy two plants but they don't want to ship to USA. can anyone help me with getting it shipped to usa?
 
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I have tried to eat the seeds but all that I have tried were very bitter. Can't see that the fruit is edible, minimal flesh covered in a very hairy/bristlly skin. Although it flowers very early it is still a regular producer of fruit in zones 2/3, Canadian prairies. I do have a few seeds I could try to send but again it is very bitter. Would be an interesting selection project if you have access to a genetically diverse population. With an introduced plant one really never knows this as the introduced populations may all originate from a few seeds or plants. It also likely could be readily hybridized with the commercial almonds and even with peaches. All in all a very interesting plant with a lot of potential considering its cold hardiness.
 
steward
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If you are willing to plant it from seed, no international shipping involved.
This company is in Sandwich, MA, and has the seed ($5.75 for 1 oz; +/- 35 seeds)
They are one of the best sources for Tree/Shrub seeds anywhere.
Russian Almond

This would be an excellent choice for hedgerows in cold climates. Many forms of wildlife love it.
Spreads extensively by suckering. Hardy to Zone 2. And quite ornamental.
See: Prunus tenella - North Dakota

Prunus-tenella.JPG
[Thumbnail for Prunus-tenella.JPG]
 
S Bengi
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Than you John for the vendor source, but like Denis said most of the seedlings that vendors sell is "bitter".
And as of such I am looking for "improved" selections such as the one the that the Canadian vendor above is offering.
So if you know of any American vendors that are selling "improved" selections please let me know.
 
Lance Kleckner
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S Bengi wrote:Than you John for the vendor source, but like Denis said most of the seedlings that vendors sell is "bitter".
And as of such I am looking for "improved" selections such as the one the that the Canadian vendor above is offering.
So if you know of any American vendors that are selling "improved" selections please let me know.



Is there a specific reason you want to grow this rather than actual almonds that can grow in your zone?
This seems like a plant for northern areas that can't grow actual almond and still the best ones would be subpar to actual almonds.
And people like me that are a little too cold for almonds, I think a dual purpose apricot tree with edible kernels would be
better than what this species cranks out.

 
S Bengi
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I already have a duel purpose apricot, hazelnut, yellowhorn and plans to buy chickapin chestnut.
However I would also like to have even more nut trees

There are a couple reason why I prefer Russian Almond over the others such as
1) Hall Hardy peach+almond hybrid (too tall)
2) All In One (not adapted to the humidity, pest/microbes pressure, too tall)
3) Garden Prince (not cold hardy enough)
4) Others (too tall and wide because they would need another pollinator)

For a little background:
I live on a tiny city plot of land and I have about 4 dozen fruit+nut trees, the only reason why I can fit so much is because I get dwarf (8ft) cultivars.
So while I could easily get a 18ft plant that would sadly mean that I can only plant 2 tree vs 7 dwarf trees.
 
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I did not know this plant....it seems very interesting !!! Does it need cross pollination or is it self-fertile?
 
Denis Huel
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I am fairly certain it requires cross pollination. Plant several seedlings.
 
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Here is a link to these in the US if someone is ordering -- no recommendation here for the tree, but Lawyer is a great place to order from!

http://www.lawyernursery.com/productinfo.aspx?productSpecies=Prunus%20tenella&categoryid=104
 
Denis Huel
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They certainly are a very tough and carefree plant. The earliest plant to bloom for me in the Northern Great Plains but rarely fail to produce a crop of almonds. A little breeding work to produce a non bitter seed strain would result in a very useful plant.
 
Lance Kleckner
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I only have one, did produce some, though they disappeared, so don't know if they were filled or not. May need to get more if need cross pollination.
 
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Adrien, re: growing almonds from seed in zone 5, from what I understand the tree will be quite happy, but it blossoms out so early that you have a good chance of frosts killing them. Although I wonder what would happen if you planted a tree on the shady side of a hill, away from any frost pockets. You might be able to delay flowering for a couple weeks?
 
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I have two Dwarf Russian Almonds and I just adore these plants! I live in a zone 3-4 in Montana and we get extremely limited rainfall in the summer. My almonds have been in the ground for 4 years now and each year in early June they turn pink and heady with blossoms. They also have been producing more almonds than I had anticipated. About 80% of the nuts are sweet, with the remainder too bitter to risk. The nuts themselves are puny, but again, where we live, any food cultivated to fruition is considered a miracle. And I think their flavor is lovely—subtle and sophisticated. After 4 years the bushes are less than 5’ tall and about 5’ wide.
These were purchased at our local landscape guru https://cashmannursery.com
I would give these little gems a try, if you live in a climate that is less than ideal for nut growing.
 
gardener
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Katrina, it's very interesting that most are not bitter but that some are.  Is the ratio of bitter to non-bitter the same on both of your shrubs, or does one have the majority of those bitter nuts?
 
Devon Olsen
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Just ordered a bundle of 25 or 30 of these to plant out this spring, hope they do well
 
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