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.
Fruit - raw or cooked
. A good size, it is about 25mm x 25mm and contains one large seed
. Sour and scarcely edible
. The fruit is occasionally eaten.
Seed - raw or cooked. A bitter taste, they are normally used as an almond flavouring. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.
An edible oil is obtained from the seed
- it is used as an almond flavouring
. The oil resembles olive oil
A potential rootstock for apricots
A green dye can be obtained from the leaves.
A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit
The seed is analgesic, antiasthmatic, antiseptic, antitussive and emollient
. It is used in the treatment of coughs, asthma, acute or chronic bronchitis and constipation
The seed contains 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
Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe
. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible
. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate
. 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.
Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame.
Layering in spring.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Prunus sibirica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone
. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present
. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position
This species is reputed to be hardy to about -50°c and as such is of potential use for conferring greater cold tolerance in breeding programmes with the closely related apricot, P. armeniaca.
Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Prunus sibirica. 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 sibirica.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
? 2.02.12.2 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
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? 5.05.15.2 [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)
? 6.06.16.2 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
? 7.07.17.2 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
? 8.08.18.2 Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
? 9.09.19.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
? 10.010.110.2 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
? 11.011.111.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
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