Herb: Black-Wood

Latin name: Cotoneaster racemiflorus

Synonyms: Cotoneaster fontanesii, Cotoneaster nummularius, Mespilus racemiflora

Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Medicinal use of Black-Wood:

The plant is aperient, expectorant and stomachic.

Description of the plant:


2.4 m
(7 3/4 foot)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Shrubby thickets on stony slopes. To elevations of 2400 metres in Kashmir.

Edible parts of Black-Wood:

Yields a manna-like substance called shir-khist, it is rich in sugars. It contains about 13% sacchrose, 37.5% dextrose. No details of which part of the plant yields the manna, it is most likely to be the stem.

Other uses of the herb:

A rose-tan dye is obtained from the fruit. The wood is used in basket making.

Propagation of Black-Wood:

Seed. Members of this genus hybridize freely so, if you require seed that breeds true, it is important to obtain it from a known wild source or from a controlled fertilization of garden plants. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it will usually germinate in the spring. Stored seed germinates faster if given 3 months warm stratification at 15C and then 3 months cold stratification at 4C. The seed usually germinates within 1 - 18 months at 15C but it can take 2 years. Pot the seedlings up as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into nursery beds or into their permanent positions when they are more than 10cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, preferably with a heel, November in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shrubby thickets on stony slopes. To elevations of 2400 metres in Kashmir.

Known hazards of Cotoneaster racemiflorus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.