An Eco-sustainable World
ShrubbySpecies Plant

Prunus webbii

Prunus webbii

The Webb Almond (Prunus webbii (Spach) Vierh.) is a species with a shrub or tree habit belonging to the Rosaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subkingdom Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta division,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Subclass Rosidae,
Rosales Order,
Rosaceae family,
Subfamily Amygdaloideae,
Tribe Amygdaleae,
Genus Prunus,
P. webbii species.
The term is basionym:
– Amygdalus webbii Spach.
The terms are synonyms:
– Amygdalus webbii Spach;
– Prunus webbii (Spach) Fritsch;
– Amygdalus salicifolia Boiss. & Balansa;
– Amygdalus webbii var. salicifolia (Boiss. & Bal.) Boiss..

Etymology –
The term Prunus comes from prunus, in Pliny, Latinization of the Greek προῦμνη proúmne susino, pruno in Theophrastus and Dioscorides, probably derived from a pre-Greek language of Asia Minor, see also prunum prugna, plum from the Greek προῦνον proúnon in Galen.
The specific webbii epithet was attributed in honor of the English botanist Philip Barker Webb (1793-1854), who made collections in Italy, Greece, Asia Minor, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Brazil and studied the Iberian and Canary flora; his herbarium, one of the most important of the time, is kept in Florence.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Prunus webbii is a plant that grows around the northeastern Mediterranean Sea, from Sicily, through Greece, Crete and the Aegean Islands, the Balkans and Anatolia, and possibly as far as Iraq or Iran.
In Italy its presence has been found only in Puglia and Sicily (found rare and on the Iblei mountains) but its presence elsewhere is not excluded.
Its habitat is that of Mediterranean scrub areas, where it lives in shrubby formations and degraded soils, with an altitude distribution between 0 and 600 m. s.l.m .. In Sicily, in the Iblea area, it forms thick spots with Calicotome often on the edge of cultivated land.

Description –
Prunus webbii is a plant generally found in the form of a 2-3.5 m tall shrub, with a globular shape and intricate branching.
The bark is smooth and gray in colour, except that of the branches of the year which, however, in the first periods of vegetation, takes on a reddish colour.
The branches are spread apart, with the terminal ones equipped with thorns of a few centimeters equipped with both flowers and leaves.
The leaves have a 1-2 cm petiole and a strictly lanceolate lamina of 6-9 x 20-35 mm, serrated on the edge, thinner than that of Prunus dulcis (almond tree).
The flowers have white or pink petals of 10 mm, obovate-spatulate.
The anthesis is between February and March.
The fruits are nuculan (drupaceous fruits) dry and leathery, greenish-grey, tomentose, ovoid (20 x 16 x 10 mm), with mucronate apex and flattened base, with dehiscent pericarp when ripe, hard, compact endocarp with pointed and prickly apex , bitter-tasting seed.
The seed contained in the shell is ocher in color and is bitter.

Cultivation –
Prunus webbii is a plant that grows spontaneously in shrub formations and degraded soils, with an altitude distribution of up to 600 m. a.s.l..
It is a typical element of the eastern Mediterranean which is also of considerable interest as a wild progenitor of the cultivated almond tree.
For this reason it would be interesting to deepen this species as a study of its characteristics for possible developments.
The plant reproduces by seed.
However, the seeds that reach the ground are very few as many are attacked by insects or taken by birds such as the Garrulus glandarius (Linnaeus, 1758).

Customs and Traditions –
Prunus webbii is a species thought to have contributed some genes to the domesticated almond tree Prunus dulcis, although the extent of the contribution is debated and not yet fully understood.
From an ecological point of view, the species is probably in decline; in fact, the sites affected by its presence are subject to various stresses, some dependent on man (fires, grazing, stone removal, cultivation of the land, etc.) and others of an environmental type linked to the succession of increasingly hotter seasons.
In any case, insights into this species in the study of its germplasm would be interesting for the purpose of greater biodiversity also in the agricultural world.

Method of Preparation –
Prunus webbii is a plant present, even with a rare presence, in some landscapes of the eastern Mediterranean.
There are no known food or medicinal uses and it was most likely used in the past as a source of timber.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Photo source:

Attention: The pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not in any way represent a medical prescription; we therefore decline all responsibility for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *