Herb: Juneberry


Latin name: Amelanchier canadensis


Synonyms: Amelanchier oblongifolia, Mespilus canadensis


Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)



Medicinal use of Juneberry:

A tea made from the root bark (mixed with other unspecified herbs) was used as a tonic in the treatment of excessive menstrual bleeding and also to treat diarrhoea. A bath of the bark tea was used on children with worms. An infusion of the root was used to prevent miscarriage after an injury. A compound concoction of the inner bark was used as a disinfectant wash.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
6 m
(20 feet)

Flovering:
April

Habitat of the herb:

Swamps, low ground, woods and thickets. Grows in woods and hedgerows in Britain.

Edible parts of Juneberry:

Edible fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit contains a few small seeds at the centre, it has a sweet flavour with a hint of apple. It can be eaten out of hand, used in pies, preserves etc or dried and used like raisins. We have found the fruit to be of variable quality, with some forms having a distinct bitterness in the flavour whilst others are sweet, juicy and delicious. When the fruit is thoroughly cooked in puddings or pies the seed imparts an almond flavour to the food. The fruit is rich in iron and copper. It is about 10mm in diameter. Trees can yield 7 to 15 tonnes per hectare.

Other uses of the herb:

This species can be used as a dwarfing rootstock for Malus spp. (the apples) and Pyrus spp. (the pears). Plants can be grown as an informal hedge. Any trimming is best done after flowering. A fairly wind-tolerant species, it can be used to give protection from the wind as part of a mixed shelterbelt. Wood - hard, strong, close grained. Used for tool handles, small implements etc.

Propagation of Juneberry:

Seed - it is best harvested "green", when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring - takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of the herb:

Swamps, low ground, woods and thickets. Grows in woods and hedgerows in Britain.

Known hazards of Amelanchier canadensis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.