News and Events

Botanical Buzz - Almonds

Friday, January 09, 2015

Fresh, vibrant and exciting, the Sensory Gardens of the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden always live up to their reputation of delivering a unique experience to visitors.

To a child, the Sensory Gardens is a magical place.  A winding ever-changing path takes them on an experiential journey.  They are entranced by the kaleidoscope of colours, multitude of textures, soothing sounds, changing lights and delightful scents. The popular stepping stones provide a little thrill of adventure and no one can resist running their hands through the fountains. It is no wonder that the Sensory Gardens are often full of children and laughter.

To the discerning gardener, the Sensory Gardens are a triumph of design and a place from which to draw inspiration. Council staff will always be happy to provide details of botanical specimens.

A recently added species, Prunus dulcis more commonly known as the almond tree, has an ancient relationship with humankind. Almond trees were domesticated over five thousand years ago and now support a multi-billion dollar global industry.

The almond tree is native to the Middle East and South Asia.  It is closely related to the peach but its fruits have a tough, leathery coating rather than a juicy pulp. Almonds are cultivated for their seeds which are often mistakenly described as nuts.

Wild almonds, the ancestors of today’s cultivars, are poisonous. They contain amygdalin which readily metabolises to produce hydrogen cyanide, a potent toxin.

California produces 80 percent of the world’s crop of these highly versatile, nutritionally packed seeds. In 2013 Californian farmers produced over 1.55 million tonnes of almonds. Australia produces 6 percent of the world’s commercial crop.

Almonds may be eaten on their own or used as ingredients in many modern and traditional recipes from all over the world.

The wonderful collection of fruit trees in the Sensory Gardens remind children that fruit grows on trees and not on supermarket shelves.
                                                                                                                                By Ian McAlister & Karen Hagan