Almond Blossoms With Five Or Six Petals

Almond Blossoms With Five Or Six Petals

Almond With Five Petals

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Most almond blossoms have five petals. However, there are many flowers on an almond tree that contain six petals. What is the relevance of this? I don’t know, but I have noticed this for years and have even wondered if this particular attribute affected the productivity of the almond tree. Some may wonder if I have too much time on my hands (which I don’t), but in 2013 I decided to count flowers on several varieties of almonds to see the relative differences between trees with flowers that have five petals and flowers that have six petals.

I chose five varieties and sampled flowers from all sides and heights of the tree, and proceeded to count the number of petals each flower had. The following numbers show my results:

Variety % Flowers With Five Petals % Flowers With Six Petals
Nonpareil 98.8 1.2
Sonora 88.1 11.9
Wood Colony 79.5 20.5
Butte 88.8 11.2
Fritz 98.8 1.2

        
Now that it has been established that there are differences, the next question is “does it even matter?” I have always wondered if there was any difference in percent set between five-petaled and six-petaled blossoms (i.e. if there was any type of precocity effects). I don’t currently have that answer but, at the time of this writing I am counting the percent set of the two different petal types. One may be wondering why would anyone care. I believe it could be a very relevant phenotype to a plant breeder. If in fact a cultivar with a different number of petals had a greater precocity, logically it would be advantageous to breed or make selections of varieties that had this attribute. In a couple of weeks I will know if there is a difference.