Seed - raw or cooked. Very nutritious, they are added to pemmican. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity.The bark and twigs are a tea substitute.
A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A green dye is obtained from the inner bark in spring. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A purplish-red dye is obtained from the fruit.Wood - close grained, moderately strong, hard, heavy, does not burn easily. The wood weighs about 36lb per cubic foot. It is not valuable because of its small size and irregular shape, but is used for skewers etc.
The roots and the bark are a blood tonic, astringent, pectoral, sedative, tonic and appetite stimulant. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, coughs and colds. An infusion of the root bark has been used as a wash for burns, old sores and ulcers. The inner bark is used externally in the treatment of wounds. A decoction of the inner bark has been used as a treatment for laryngitis and stomach aches. The bark is sometimes used as a flavouring agent in cough syrups. The dried and powdered fruits are used to stimulate the appetite, treat diarrhoea and bloody discharges of the bowels. The astringent unripened fruit has been used by children as a treatment for diarrhoea. The fruit juice has been used as a treatment for sore throats.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.
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A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild, it has a tendency to form thickets of considerable extent from root sprouts. Sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, and sold in local markets, there are a number of named varieties some of which have much less astringent fruit. The fruit is not very freely borne in Britain, though good crops are borne almost annually in the wild. 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
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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