In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit trees (genus Prunus) and of some other plants with a similar appearance that flower profusely for a period of time in spring.

Colloquially flowers of orange are referred to as such as well. Peach blossoms (including nectarine), most cherry blossoms, and some almond blossoms are usually pink. Plum blossoms, apple blossoms, orange blossoms, some cherry blossoms, and most almond blossoms are white.[2]

Blossoms provide pollen to pollinators such as bees, and initiate cross-pollination necessary for the trees to reproduce by producing fruit.[3]

Blossom trees have a tendency to lose their flower petals in wind-blown cascades, often covering the surrounding ground in petals. This attribute tends to distinguish blossom trees from other flowering trees.

Medicinal uses

The ancient Phoenicians used almond blossoms with honey as a tonic, and sprinkled them into stews and gruels to give muscular strength. Crushed petals were also used as a poultice on skin spots and mixed with oil, for dry skin and sunburn. Crushed petals on an insect bite will soothe and a tea made from whole flowers clears up mouth ulcers and swollen gums.[4]

In the ancient herbals the crab apple was revered as a cure for boils, abscesses, splinters, wounds, coughs, colds and a host of other ailments ranging from acne to kidney ailments. Many dishes made with apples and apple blossom are of medieval origin. In the spring, monks and physicians would gather the blossoms and preserve them in vinegar for drawing poultices and for bee stings and other insect bites.

Originating in China and south east Asia, the earliest orange species moved westwards via the trade routes. Orange blossom has been found to be sedative, antispasmodic, and was used as a remedy for depression, anxiety, nervous debility, and insomnia. A tea infusion made from orange blossoms is also used for mild stomach upset and as an aid to digestion.[5] Orange blossom oil (or Neroli) is used by physicians and aromatherapists to settle heart palpitations and gently calm a person suffering from shock. Some health care practitioners use it to lower blood pressure. It soothes tense muscles and muscle spasms. It can bring relief of menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome. Neroli also soothes the irritation and itching of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.[6]

In 17th century Italy peach blossoms were made into a poultice for bruises, rashes, eczema, grazes and stings. Tea made from the blossoms or leaves can be used as a detoxifier for the kidneys and the significant phosphorus, calcium, and iron content has a tonic action on the blood. Even today in rural areas peach blossom tea is made to ease kidney ailments and urinary infections and clear the body of toxins.

In ancient Greek medicine plum blossoms were used to treat bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and tighten loose teeth. Plum blossoms mixed with sage leaves and flowers were used in plum wine or plum brandy as a mouthwash to soothe sore throats and mouth ailments and sweeten bad breath.