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Botanical Name: Prunus triloba var. multiplex(Pronunciation: PROO-nus try-LOW-buh variety MULL-tih-plecks)
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Prunus
Species: P. triloba
Habitat :E. Asia – China, N. Korea. Forests and thickets at elevations of 600 – 2500 metres
A decidious Shrub .
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen from June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Height: 10 to 15 feet
Spread: 10 to 15 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: vase, round
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: double serrate, serrate, dentate
Leaf shape: elliptic (oval), obovate
Leaf venation: pinnate, reticulate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches, 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: yellow, copper
Fall characteristic: showy
Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristics: attracts squirrels/mammals; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.
It is also very suitable in a shrub border as a tall accent. It can be sculptured nicely into a unique form with proper pruning and training and is well suited for container gardening. Regular pruning is needed for best flowering performance. Branches cut in early spring can be forced into bloom indoors.
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. 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 when growing in a sunny position. Any pruning is best done soon after the plant has flowered, to within 4 – 5 buds of the previous years wood. This encourages heavier flowering in the following year because it flowers best on the previous years growth. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c. Although very hardy, the plant flowers in early spring and it is best grown against a sunny wall in order to give some protection to the flowers. Another report says that plants are not reliably hardy in the open garden, which is rather strange considering the plant has been given a hardiness rating of 5. This species is named after a cultivated form grown in gardens, the true wild form is P. triloba simplex. (Bunge.)Rehd. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value. 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.
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. Very easy. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.
Fruit – raw or cooked. It is possible edible. The fruit is about 13mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.
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.
A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit.
Known Hazards : 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.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.