There is always something of value in the woods. Those somewhat scruffy little trees-so fluffy with flowers in the spring can really help you. Of course, unless you are out of pocket-leave them for the birds.
Along with Pomegranates, Prunus avium and the rest of the cherry family have a quite narrow relation to the rest of the plant DNA bank. There is actually no co-relative to the Pomegranate,which stands alone.
One of the most interesting things I found out about Prunus avium is that it is called Wild Cherry but that it has leaves, flowers and fruit which are actually cherry shapes, whereas the true Wild Cherry has Spring flowers which look more like a Black Walnut flower- about 100 small white florets on short bracts surrounding the three inch stem of blooms.The true Wild Cherry (our area is rife with them on the sedgeways) is also called Black Choke Cherry, Atlantic Ninebark, Rum Cherry, Cerasus Nigra and C. sylvestris. Its' tiny fruit are oval and more like a small plum to look at. At one point I was told that these little trees were actully Umeboshi plums- the true source of Chinese Plum sauce. I have tried the real Umeboshi paste when I lived close to Chinatown in Toronto in my youth, and the taste quite resembles the bitter, flat taste of the Choke Cherry, though sugared and perhaps simmered with peaches.The link above is to an image bank source.Very valuable. Another image source you might explore isThe Vascular Plant Image Galleryat the Texas A & M University.
When I was researching theWild Cherry I found a huge list of valuable medicines which come from Cerasus nigra. Among many other themes, it is an analgesic, anodyne, blood cleanser, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, vermifuge, good for womens' ailments, cancer, burns and measles.In other words the wise survivor-farmer should not be without one of these lovely trees. I have only seen one of them more than nine feet high, and its gorgeous bloom in the Spring is really impressive, as an 18 foot tree. Bear in mind, when you are planning herbal experiments of your own
I have had an intersting experience with the true wild cherry. I found what looked to be rose leaves poking out of the gravel path in my former garden. I dug them out and found that they stemmed from a Nectarine pit. Thinking with excitement that I would grow a Nectarine in my back yard, I raised it with love in my backyard until it was six feet high, or until I vacated my rental. The leaves turned to slightly papery, tough leaves which resembled pear leaves. The blossoms finally came in the fourth year to resemble the wild cherry tassel of white florets, and they did, indeed, leave small, glossy plum-shaped fruit. I was not disappointed, but I have always wondered how in hell the Wild Cherry came out of the Nectarine pit?
(I have included, in anherb recipes link* ) that too many leaves or fruit are harmful in quantity- the leaves and fruit contain hydrogen cyanide which when overdosed can cause respiratory failure or even death. Prunus avium does not show any contra-indications in two herb books, by comparison, but you know what happens to the digestion when you eat a pound of cherries. Neither would you swig back a bottle of cough syrup as the expectorant produced fromcherry barkis potent enough from a tablespoon.Cherries. I just buy as many as I can afford when the markets present their exquisite, slightly almond-tasting glossy fruits, tumbled as they are with their stems still attached so that one may dangle one or two above the lovers eager lips, perhaps under a warm sky sprinkled with stars.What I did not know when I purchased my coveted award of expensive summer cherries is thatsweet cherriesinhibit the buildup ofLDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein)
We live with so many "miracle cures " all about us, just growing wild all over the woods, and often called a nuisance by gardeners and farmers. Way back in the hip seventies, I resolved to be a survivor, to know what the natual world had to offer in the event of illness from nuclear fallout, monoxide pollution and water contamination. The frightening list was endless. I discovered the lovely world of herbs and natural foods. My Dad was from the Medical side of the world and continuously called me a crank, and the Natural Foods advisors "quacks". HA! I guess many of us have shown our forebears what excellent cuisine truly offers in terms of health balance, immunity and maintenance. Our wierd herb remedies have become medicinal realities. Our health has reflected the miraculous in the world. I know that I would have literally died without my herbal and freak foods backup, for example, like the time I discovered that Yarrow tea and Evening Primrose Oil powerfully expelled a potentially dangerous calciferous factor in a problem leading to MS.
Perhaps you think of these personal discoveries as waffle, but even a hobbyist can discover, through personal experimentation and even through insight meditation how to use a substance in a way never supposed possible before, since scientific research takes a lot of time and money. In the back of my mind, there is a little meditation I once did on ancient Pomegranates and a great healer, Christ. If I subsequently put Pomegranates together with Prunus avium or Wild Cherry, will I have an ultra-remedy for chest ailments? Hmmm...
Pirated Notes from Edible Landscaping Index
A must to visit!
Appearance ( Sour Cherry)
"The sour cherry is squatter than the sweet cherry; both have a typical spread of about 30 ft., but the sour rarely grows taller than 25 ft. Deep green, long serrated leaves, with attractive rust-brown bark make the cherry a popular ornamental. Most varieties bloom late and ripen early."
Appearance (Prunus avium) Sweet Cherry
"The sour cherry is shorter than the sweet cherry; both have a typical spread of about 30 ft. Deep green, long serrated leaves, with attractive rust-brown bark make the cherry a popular ornamental. Flowers are prolific and white. "
Appearance (Black Chokecherry)
"The genus Aronia belongs to the Rosaceae family. Aronia includes a number of plants known as chokeberries. They are not to be confused with the chokecherry, a Prunus species. The black chokeberry, A. melanocarpa, is the most pleasing to one's tongue and stomach. Chokeberry species are indigenous to northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia to Michigan to northern Florida. But, Aronia have not been commercially cultivated in the U.S. since the turn of the century, and the scarce home cultivation has been mainly for ornamental effect. A. melanocarpa today is much more popular in Eastern Europe and Russia (especially Siberia) than its native land. One company is attempting to sell "Aronia juice" in the United States. See The Wildland juice company's Web site ( http://www.aronia.com )
The above notepad is from copyright: Edible Landscaping Index
The photo in the
cherries.htm page is courtesy of: HRB
Article entitled "Cherries"is copyright Susan Risk 2001 (Northdays Image)