Almond, the seed of Amygdalus communis, a small tree belonging to the Drupaceous subdivision of the rose family, native to North-West Africa, and perhaps also of Western Asia. The flowers are solitary and generally pink, and appear before the lance-shaped leaves, which in the bud are folded in halves. The fruit is egg-shaped, downy externally, with a tough, fibrous mesocarp, and a wrinkled stone. It has long been widely cultivated, and many varieties exist, differing in the hardness of the stone and in the flavour of the seed. Sweet Almonds (A. communis, var. dulcis) include the large thin-shelled Jordan (from the French jardin), the Valencia Almond, imported as a dessert fruit from Malaga, and the smaller Barbary and Italian forms. The Bitter Almond (var. amara) yields an essential oil, employed in confectionery, but dangerous from sometimes containing prussic acid.