A decoction of the leaves is used as an insecticide. Some cultivars can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre or more apart each way. 'Repandens' has been recommended. Wood - heavy, hard, durable, elastic, takes a good polish but requires long seasoning. Highly esteemed by cabinet makers, it is also used for bows, tool handles etc. It makes a good firewood.The wood is burnt as an incense.
All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic and purgative. The leaves have been used internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccup, indigestion, rheumatism and epilepsy. Externally, the leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for rheumatism.A homeopathic remedy is made from the young shoots and the berries. It is used in the treatment of many diseases including cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems, rheumatism etc.
Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring. High percentage.Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame.
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A very cold hardy plant when dormant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. The fresh young shoots in spring, however, can be damaged by frosts[186, K]. Plants are dioecious, though they sometimes change sex and monoecious trees are sometimes found. Male and female trees must be grown if fruit and seed is required[K]. The fruit is produced mainly on the undersides of one-year old branches. A very long lived tree, one report suggests that a tree in Perthshire is 1500 years old, making it the oldest plant in Britain. Another report says that trees can be up to 4000 years old. It is, however, slow growing and usually takes about 20 years to reach a height of 4.5 metres. Young plants occasionally grow 30cm in a year but this soon tails off and virtually no height increase is made after 100 years. A very ornamental tree, there are many named varieties. Very resistant to honey fungus, but susceptible to phytopthera root rot. The bark is very soft and branches or even the whole tree can be killed if the bark is removed by constant friction such as by children climbing the tree. Plants produce very little fibrous root and should be planted in their final positions when still small.The fruit is greatly relished by thrushes.
Problems, pests & diseases
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