almond pollination

Asked September 18, 2018, 11:46 AM EDT

Will peach pollen cause almonds to be bitter? What I'm asking if a almond flower ovaries take on pollen from a nearby peach tree, will the almonds be bitter? Peach kernels are known to have a fair amount of cyanide, about 85% of what apricots have. I guess you could assume apricot could do this too? Since the almond kernel is a seed, half the genetics come from the pollen parent. So thinking they might be bitter, or not as good as another almond pollinating the ovaries.

Macomb County Michigan

1 Response

Almonds require cross pollination as they are self infertile. Almond will hybridize with peach and several other members of the Prunus genus and peaches have been used in breeding to bring self compatibility genes into almonds.
I see that bitterness in almonds is caused by a single recessive gene and many almond cultivars are heterogeneous for the trait. That means the pollen and the ovule would carry either the dominant gene or the recessive gene and if both the pollen and ovule had the recessive gene the kernel would be bitter. So about one quarter of the kernels would be bitter due to have two copies of the recessive gene and 75% would be sweet having one or 2 copies of the dominant sweet gene.
I doubt the bitter kernels are due to cross pollinating with peach unless most of the kernels are bitter