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Herbs & Plants

Prunus cerasus marasca

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Botanical Name : Prunus cerasus marasca
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. cerasus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name: Maraschino Cherry

Habitat : Prunus cerasus marasca is native to S.E. Europe to W. Asia. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Description:
Prunus cerasus marasca is a deciduous Tree growing to 8 m (26ft 3in). It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
Cultivation:
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[1]. Prefers an acid soil according to another report. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Hardy to about -20°c. This sub-species is a vigorous tree found in Dalmatia, where its fruits are employed in the manufacture of the famous Maraschino liqueur. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants produce suckers freely. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
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. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Oil; Oil; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Neither bitter nor sweet, the fruit is pleasantly acid and can be eaten out of hand, used in pies, preserves etc or dried for later use. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. When refined it is used as a salad oil.    The leaves are used as a tea substitute. A gum obtained from the trunk is used for chewing.

Medicinal Uses:
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.
Other Uses:
Adhesive; Dye; Gum; Gum; Hedge; Hedge; Oil; Oil; Wood.

An edible drying oil obtained from the seed is also used in cosmetics. The gum obtained from the stem is also used as an adhesive. Plants can be grown as a hedge, succeeding in fairly exposed positions. 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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_cerasus
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+cerasus+marasca

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Herbs & Plants

Quercus robur

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Botanical Name : Quercus robur
Family: Fagaceae
Genus:     Quercus
Section: Quercus
Species: Q. rob
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fagales

Synonym: Tanner’s Bark.

Common Names :Oak, English oak or pedunculate oak or French oak

Habitat :   Quercus robur is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, the Urals and Crimea. It grows often on the dominant woodland tree, especially on clay soils and in the eastern half of Britain, but avoiding acid peat and shallow limestone soils

Description:
Quercus robur is a large deciduous tree, with circumference of grand oaks from 4 m (13 ft) to exceptional 12 m (39 ft).[citation needed] Majesty Oak with the circumference of 12.2 m (40 ft) is the thickest tree in Great Britain,[citation needed] and Kaive Oak in Latvia with the circumference of 10.2 m (33 ft) is the thickest tree in Northern Europe.[citation needed] Q. robur has lobed and nearly sessile (very short-stalked) leaves 7–14 cm (2.8–5.5 in) long. Flowering takes place in mid spring, and their fruit, called acorns, ripen by the following autumn. The acorns are 2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) long, pedunculate (having a peduncle or acorn-stalk, 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) long) with one to four acorns on each peduncle.

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It is a long-lived tree, with a large widespreading crown of rugged branches. While it may naturally live to an age of a few centuries, many of the oldest trees are pollarded or coppiced, both pruning techniques that extend the tree’s potential lifespan, if not its health. Two individuals of notable longevity are the Stelmuž? Oak in Lithuania and the Granit oak in Bulgaria, which are believed to be more than 1,500 years old, possibly making them the oldest oaks in Europe; another specimen, called the ‘Kongeegen’ (‘Kings Oak’), estimated to be about 1,200 years old, grows in Jaegerspris, Denmark.[citation needed] Yet another can be found in Kvilleken, Sweden, that is over 1,000 years old and 14 metres (46 ft) around.[2] Of maiden (not pollarded) specimens, one of the oldest is the great oak of Ivenack, Germany. Tree-ring research of this tree and other oaks nearby gives an estimated age of 700 to 800 years old. Also the Bowthorpe Oak in Lincolnshire, England is estimated to be 1,000 years old making it the oldest in the UK, although there is Knightwood Oak in the New Forest which is also said to be as old. Highest density of the Q. robur grand oaks with a circumference 4 metres (13 ft) and more is in Latvia.

Cultivation:
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade. Succeeds in heavy clay soils and in wet soils so long as the ground is not water-logged for long periods. Dislikes dry or shallow soils but is otherwise drought tolerant once it is established. Tolerant of exposed sites though it dislikes salt-laden winds. The oak is a very important timber tree in Britain, it is also a very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly, there are 284 insect species associated with this tree. It has often been coppiced or pollarded for its wood in the past, though this should not be done too frequently, about once every 50 years is the average. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year. Older trees have a thick corky bark and this can protect them from forest fires, young trees will often regenerate from the base if cut down or killed back by a fire. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus. Immune to attacks by the tortix moth. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

Edible Uses: Coffee; Gum.

Seed – cooked. Nourishing but indigestible. Chopped and roasted, the seed is used as an almond substitute[8]. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread. The seed contains bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. An edible gum is obtained from the bark. Another report says that an edible manna is obtained from the plant and that it is used instead of butter in cooking. This report probably refers to the gum.

Medicinal Uses:
The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used, but it is the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong astringent bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by water and spirit. The odour is slightly aromatic.

Like other astringents, it has been recommended in agues and haemorrhages, and is a good substitute for Quinine in intermittent fever, especially when given with Chamomile flowers.

It is useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, either alone or in conjunction with aromatics. A decoction is made from 1 OZ. of bark in a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and taken in wineglassful doses. Externally, this decoction has been advantageously employed as a gargle in chronic sore throat with relaxed uvula, and also as a fomentation. It is also serviceable as an injection for leucorrhoea, and applied locally to bleeding gums and piles.

Other Uses:
Quercus robur’ is planted for forestry, and produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior and furniture work. The wood of Q. robur is identified by a close examination of a cross-section perpendicular to fibres. The wood is characterised by its distinct (often wide) dark and light brown growth rings. The earlywood displays a vast number of large vessels (~0.5 mm (0.020 in) diameter). There are rays of thin (~0.1 mm (0.0039 in)) yellow or light brown lines running across the growth rings. The timber is around 720 kg (1,590 lb) per cubic meter in density.

Within its native range Quercus robur is valued for its importance to insects and other wildlife. Numerous insects live on the leaves, buds, and in the acorns. Q.robur supports the highest biodiversity of insect herbivores of any British plant (>400 spp). The acorns form a valuable food resource for several small mammals and some birds, notably Eurasian Jays Garrulus glandarius. Jays were overwhelmingly the primary propagators of oaks before humans began planting them commercially, because of their habit of taking acorns from the umbra of its parent tree and burying it undamaged elsewhere. Mammals, notably squirrels who tend to hoard acorns and other nuts most often leave them too abused to grow in the action of moving or storing them.

Quercus robur is cultivated as an ornamental tree in the temperate regions of most continents. A number of cultivars are grown in gardens and parks and in arboreta and botanical gardens. The most common cultivar is Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’, and is the exception among Q. robur cultivars which are generally smaller than the standard tree, growing to between 10–15 m and exhibit unusual leaf or crown shape characteristics.

Known Hazards : Possible digestive complaints. May delay absorption of alkaloids and other alkaline drugs

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.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oakcom01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_robur

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Quercus+robur