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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][2][3]. More acid than a plum but it is very acceptable raw when fully ripe, especially after being touched by frost[12, 34, K]. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter and contains one large seed[4]. 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[5]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[5]. Trees are fairly wind resistant and can be grown as a shelterbelt hedge[4].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark of the root and branches is febrifuge and considerably styptic[6]. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a mild purgative for children[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[7].

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[4]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[4]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[8]. 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[9][4]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[4]. Layering in spring.

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



Cultivation

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[1][9]. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position[9][4]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[9]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[1]. Occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties[4]. It has been derived in cultivation from the bullace, differing in having a sweeter fruit[4]. Damsons can be grown successfully against a north facing wall[10]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[7]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[4].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus insititia. 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 insititia.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus insititia
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
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
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
6 x 5 meters
Fertility
?
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type












References

  1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-01-01)
  2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-01-01)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-01-01)
  4. ? 4.004.014.024.034.044.054.064.074.084.094.104.114.12 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-01-01)
  5. ? 5.05.15.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-01-01)
  6. ? 6.06.16.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-01-01)
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-01-01)
  8. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-01-01)
  9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-01-01)
  10. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-01-01)
  11. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-01-01)
Facts about "Prunus insititia"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Belongs to familyRosaceae +
Belongs to genusPrunus +
Has binomial namePrunus insititia +
Has common nameDamson +
Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
Has edible partFruit + and Seed +
Has edible useUnknown use +
Has environmental toleranceHigh wind +
Has fertility typeBees + and Insects +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has growth rateModerate +
Has hardiness zone5 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useDye +
Has mature height6 +
Has mature width5 +
Has medicinal partUnknown part +
Has medicinal useFebrifuge +, Purgative + and Styptic +
Has search nameprunus insititia + and damson +
Has shade toleranceLight shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy +, Clay + and Heavy clay +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy namePrunus insititia +
Has water requirementsmoderate +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedYes +
PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedYes +
PFAF propagation notes migratedYes +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Tolerates windYes +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Prunus insititia +, Prunus insititia +, Prunus insititia +, Prunus insititia +, Prunus insititia + and Prunus insititia +