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Botanical Name: Prunus americana lanata
Species: P. americana
Synonyms: Prunus lanata. (Sudw.)
Habitat : Prunus americana lanata is native to Central and Southern N. America – Indiana to Illinois, south to Texas. It grows on the hillsides and river bottom lands.
Prunus americana lanata is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in). The leaves are somewhat stout with pubescent, usually glandless petioles; twigs often become somewhat spinelike at the tips. White flowers usually appear before the leaves and are borne in fasicles of two to five on the tip of spur branchlets or from axillary buds formed the previous season. Fruits are yellow to red plums (drupes), at least 0.8 inch (2 cm) long with yellow flesh and a compressed stone. Although this species sometimes produces small, hard plums, the fruits are generally fleshy and highly palatable. Occassionally trees cultivated for plums escape and persist. Horticultural varieties can be distinguished from the native species by their larger petals, smaller flower clusters (one to three per node), and sometimes by the gland-tipped teeth of the leaves.
It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, doing well on limestone. 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 in a sunny position. 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. 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. Used mainly in jellies. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter, it has a thick succulent flesh 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. Wood – heavy, hard, close-grained, strong. The tree is too small for the wood to be of commercial value.
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 : 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.