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Desert Almond

Scientific Name:
Prunus fasciculata
Native Name(s):


Prunus fasciculata is a shrub that grows less than 3 m. in height with many thorny branches. The leaves are deciduous, and have a linear to narrow-oblanceolate shape up to 20 mm long. Inflorescences are subsessile clusters of 1 to 2 flowers. The flowers have glaborous petals which are white to yellow and 4 to 6 mm long. The fruits are 7 to 15 mm long and gray to red-brown in color. This species blooms from March to May.  

Identification Tips

Prunus fasiculata can be distinguished from Prunus emarginata and Prunus virginiana by its thorny branches and inflorescences of only 1 to 2 flowers. 

Starch Granules

This species is starch deficient. No starch granules were observed from seeds.


Prunus fasciculata grows between 700 to 2200 m in elevation within creosote-bush scrub, Joshua-tree or pinyon-juniper woodlands.


This species grows in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.


Although ethnographic data on the use of  Prunus fasciculata by Surprise Valley Paiute is lacking, there is information on its use by the Cahuilla and Kawaiisu of southern California. The fruit was considered a delicacy and an important food sources to the Cahuilla (Bean 1972). The plant was also used by the Kawaiisu to make arrows for hunting and drills for fire making (Zigmond 1981). 

Distribution Map: