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Uses

Toxic parts

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Edible uses

Notes

Fruit - raw or cooked[1]. Intensely bitter[2][3][4][5]. Some native North American Indian tribes saw the fruit as a great delicacy and an important food source, though others only ate it occasionally because of its bitter taste[6]. The fruit is 8 - 15mm in diameter with a thick flesh, and contains one large seed[1]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.

Fruit

Material uses

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[7].

A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[7]. The bark is used to ornament baskets and is also split into strips and used for making baskets that are watertight and resist decay[5][6]. The bark is both strong and flexible as well as being ornamental[6]. The thin outer bark can be peeled off the tree in the same way as birch trees[8]. It has been used to make baskets, mats, ropes and as an ornament on bows, arrows etc[8][6]. The bark can also be made into a string[6].

Wood - close-grained, soft, brittle[4]. It is sometimes used for furniture because it takes a high polish[1]. An excellent fuel[5].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Bitter cherry was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints[6]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

The bark is blood purifier, cardiac, laxative and tonic[6]. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis and eczema[6]. A decoction of the root and inner bark has been taken daily as a treatment for heart troubles[6]. An infusion of the bark, combined with crab apple bark (Malus spp) has been used as a cure-all tonic in treating colds and various other ailments[6]. The bark, stuck on with resin, has been used as a dressing for wounds, swellings etc[8][6]. An infusion of the rotten wood has been used as a contraceptive[6].

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being[9].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[10]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[10]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[11]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.

Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame[3][10]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[10].

Layering in spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Prunus emarginata. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[3][10]. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[2]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[3][10]. This species is unable to tolerate much shade competition from other trees[1].

A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild[1]. The flowers diffuse a soft honey scent[12]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[9].

Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[10].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus emarginata. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Prunus emarginata.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus emarginata
Genus
Prunus
Family
Rosaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    5 x meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.5 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.4 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.4 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    6. ? 6.006.016.026.036.046.056.066.076.086.096.106.116.126.136.14 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.510.6 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    12. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    13. ? Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press (1955-00-00)

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