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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, cooked or dried for later use[1][2][3]. A pleasant tart taste[4][5], it is considered by some people to be a great delicacy[6]. A thin, slightly acid, astringent flesh[7]. The fruit can be mixed with lemon to make a sauce[3]. The fruit only has a very thin flesh, it is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed[8][5]. Seed - raw or cooked[1][9][6]. The seed can be ground into a meal, leached to remove the bitterness and then mixed with flour to make bread etc[3]. The seed meal can be leached by placing it in a basket and then pouring warm water over it[6]. 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[10].

A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[10].

Wood - heavy, hard, strong, close grained. Usually too small to be of commercial importance, it is used mainly as a fuel[7][5].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

An infusion of the leaves, or of the bark and roots, has been used as a cough medicine[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[11].

Unknown part

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[8]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[8]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[12]. 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[13][8]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[8].

Layering in spring.

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



Cultivation

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[13]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in full sun but prefers a position with some shade[8]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[13]. Prefers some chalk in the soil but it is apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[14].

This species is not very hardy in Britain, though it should succeed when grown against a sunny wall in the milder areas of the country[15][16]. Young plants are very susceptible to frost damage, though they become somewhat hardier as they age[16]. It is hardy in the mildest areas of the country[13]. Trees are moderately fast-growing when young, though they slow with age. They often live more than 100 years in the wild[5]. Heavy fruit crops are produced periodically[5]. The flowers are sweetly scented[17]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[11].

This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[8].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus ilicifolia. 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 ilicifolia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus ilicifolia
Genus
Prunus
Family
Rosaceae
Imported References
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
9
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
    4 x meters
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.2 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.35.45.55.6 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.46.5 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.58.68.78.8 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    12. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    14. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    15. ? Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-00-00)
    17. ? Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)

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