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Uses

Toxic parts

The seed can contain high concentrations of hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is readily detected by its bitter taste. Usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm, any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten[1]. 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[2][3][4][5]. Very harsh, it is normally used in pies, jellies etc[6][7]. Dark and juicy, it is sometimes edible raw when fully mature[8][9]. The fruit can be dried and is then quite nice raw[10]. The fruit is up to 8mm in diameter and contains a single large seed[11].

Seed - raw or cooked. Very nutritious, they are added to pemmican[7]. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.

The bark and twigs are a tea substitute[12][7].

Fruit

Unknown part

Tea

Material uses

The plant forms thickets by means of suckers from its extensive root system and can be planted for erosion control[13]. It is a pioneer species of abandoned fields and cut-over lands[14].

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[15]. A green dye is obtained from the inner bark in spring[6]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[15]. A purplish-red dye is obtained from the fruit[6].

Wood - close grained, moderately strong, hard, heavy, does not burn easily. The wood weighs about 36lb per cubic foot[11]. It is not valuable because of its small size and irregular shape, but is used for skewers etc[16][13][14].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Chokecherry was widely employed medicinally by many native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, valuing it especially for its astringency and beneficial effect upon the respiratory system[17]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

The roots and the bark are a blood tonic, astringent, pectoral, sedative, tonic and appetite stimulant[18][19][20]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, coughs and colds[17]. An infusion of the root bark has been used as a wash for burns, old sores and ulcers[17]. The inner bark is used externally in the treatment of wounds[21]. A decoction of the inner bark has been used as a treatment for laryngitis and stomach aches[17]. The bark is sometimes used as a flavouring agent in cough syrups[11]. The dried and powdered fruits are used to stimulate the appetite, treat diarrhoea and bloody discharges of the bowels[21][17]. The astringent unripened fruit has been used by children as a treatment for diarrhoea[17]. The fruit juice has been used as a treatment for sore throats[17].

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[22].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Pioneer


Earth stabiliser

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[23]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[23]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[24]. 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[25][23]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[23]. Layering in spring.

Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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



Cultivation

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[25]. Requires a sunny position[25]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[25]. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[26].

A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild[14], it has a tendency to form thickets of considerable extent from root sprouts[11]. Sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, and sold in local markets[18], there are a number of named varieties some of which have much less astringent fruit[7]. The fruit is not very freely borne in Britain[25], though good crops are borne almost annually in the wild[11]. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged[22].

Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[23].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Prunus virginiana. 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 virginiana.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Prunus virginiana
Genus
Prunus
Family
Rosaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
2
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
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Prunus virginiana0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Prunus virginiana0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Prunus virginiana0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Prunus virginiana0.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

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    References

    1. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana. Indiana University Press ISBN 0-253-28925-4 (1977-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Arnberger. L. P. Flowers of the Southwest Mountains. Southwestern Monuments Ass. (1968-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada. National Museum of Natural Sciences (1978-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.7 Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292780206 (1982-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    13. ? 13.013.113.2 Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas. University of Texas Press ISBN 0-292-78958-3 (1987-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Turner. N. J. Plants in British Columbian Indian Technology. British Columbia Provincial Museum ISBN 0-7718-8117-7 (1979-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.317.417.517.617.7 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.2 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Ontario. ISBN 0889025649 (1989-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.121.2 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.122.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    23. ? 23.023.123.223.323.423.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    24. ? Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Athens Ga. Varsity Press ISBN 0942375009 (1987-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.125.225.325.425.5 Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    26. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    27. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)

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