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Prunus americana

Botanical Name: Prunus americana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus:Prunus
Section: Prunocerasus
Species: P. americana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: American Plum, American Wild Plum, Wild Plum, Large yellow sweet plum

Habitat : Prunus americana is native to North America from Saskatchewan and Idaho south to New Mexico and east to Québec, Maine and Florida.It grows on rich soils in mixed deciduous woodland, by streams, on the borders of swamps and in hedgerows.

Description:
Prunus americana grows as a large shrub or small tree, reaching up to 15 feet (4.6 m). It is adapted to coarse- and medium-textured soils, but not to fine soils. The shrub is winter-hardy, but has little tolerance for shade, drought, or fire. Its growth is most active in spring and summer, and it blooms in midspring. It propagates by seed, but the rate of spread by seed is slow.

The roots are shallow, widely spread, and send up suckers. The numerous stems per plant become scaly with age. The tree has a broad crown. The branches are thorny. The leaves are alternately arranged, with an oval shape. The leaf length is usually 2–4 in (5.1–10.2 cm) long. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green and under side is smooth and pale. The small white flowers with five petals occur singly or in clusters in the leaf axils. The globular fruits are about 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter.

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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.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Pest tolerant, Specimen. 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. Trees are probably hardy to as low as -50°c when fully dormant. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild, it is cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America, where there are many named varieties. It flowers well in Britain but rarely fruits well here. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants often produce suckers at the roots and form thickets. The branches are brittle. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Edible, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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. Difficult, if not impossible. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Difficult, it not impossible. Suckers in late winter.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw, cooked in pies etc or used in preserves. The flesh is succulent and juicy, though it is rather acid with a tough skin. The best forms are pulpy and pleasant tasting. The fruit is best cooked, and it can also be dried for later use. The fruit is about 25mm 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.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiasthmatic; Astringent; Disinfectant; Diuretic; Miscellany; Poultice.

A tea made from the scraped inner bark is used as a wash to treat various skin problems and as a mouth wash to treat sores. A poultice of the inner bark is disinfectant and is used as a treatment on cuts and wounds. The bark is astringent, diuretic and pectoral. It has been used to make a cough syrup. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, kidney and bladder complaints. An infusion of the twigs has been used in the treatment of asthma. 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:Broom; Disinfectant; Dye; Miscellany; Rootstock; Soil stabilization; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A red dye can be obtained from the roots. This species is widely used as a rootstock for cultivated plums in North America. The tough, elastic twigs can be bound into bundles and used as brooms for sweeping the floor. Trees often grow wild along streams, where their roots tend to prevent soil erosion. Wood – heavy, hard, close-grained, strong. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial value because the trunk is too small.

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_americana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+americana

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Reduce Your Trash & Save The Earth

Are you worried that you’re hurting the environment by producing too much trash? Here are some methods you could use to cut it down:

1. No soda in cans
2. No water in plastic bottles
3. No coffee in disposable cups
4. No throwaway plastic razors and blade cartridges
5. Using non-disposable feminine-hygiene products that aren’t bad for women and are good for the planet
6. No Indian food in throwaway takeout tubs
7. No Italian food in plastic throwaway tubs
8. No Chinese food in plastic throwaway tubs
9. Taking your own reusable containers to takeout joints
10. Buying milk in returnable, reusable glass bottles
11. Shopping for honey and pickled veggies and other goods in jars only from merchants who will take back the jars and reuse them
12. Returning egg and berry cartons to the vendors at the farmers’ market for reuse
13. Using neither paper nor plastic bags and bringing your own reusable bags when grocery shopping
14. Canceling our magazine and newspaper subscriptions and reading online
15. Putting an end to the junk mail tree killing
16. Carrying a reusable cup and water bottle
17. Carrying reusable cloths for everything from blowing your nose to drying your hands
18. Politely asking restaurant servers to take away paper and plastic napkins, placemats, straws, cups and single-serving containers
19. Pretending McDonalds and Burger King and all their paper and plastic wrappers just don’t exist
20. Buying no candy bars, gum, lollypops or ice cream that is individually packaged
21. Making your own household cleaners to avoid all the throwaway plastic bottles
22. Using baking soda from a recyclable container to brush your teeth
23. Using baking soda for a deodorant to avoid the plastic containers that deodorant typically comes in
24. Using baking soda for shampoo to avoid plastic shampoo bottles
25. Keeping a worm bin to compost food scraps into nourishment that can be returned to the earth instead of toxins that seep from the landfills
26. Switching to cloth diapers
27. Not buying anything disposable
28. Not buying anything in packaging
29. Shopping for food only from the bulk bins and from the local farmer’s market where food is unpackaged and fresh
30. Forgetting about prepackaged, processed food of any description
31. Giving your second-hand clothes away to charities
32. Offering products you no longer need on Freecycle instead of throwing them away
33. Using old clothes for rags around the apartment instead of paper towels

Sources No Impact Man July 18, 2007

Related Links:

Get Rid of Your Trash and Save the Earth

Bag Wars — Paper vs Plastic: The Real Truth

Our Oceans are Turning Into Plastic

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