Herb: Garland Crab
Latin name: Malus coronaria
Synonyms: Pyrus coronaria
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Medicinal use of Garland Crab:An infusion of the bark has been used to ease a difficult birth and also in the treatment of gallstones, piles and as a wash for sore mouths. A cold infusion of the bark has been used as a wash for black eyes, sore eyes and snow blindness. A decoction of the root has been used to treat suppressed menses and so can cause an abortion, especially early in the pregnancy.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Bottoms, wooded slopes, thickets and clearings in most soil types and moisture levels.
Edible parts of Garland Crab:Fruit - raw or cooked. Fairly large, it is up to 5cm in diameter. Harsh and acid, it is mainly used for jellies but can be eaten raw when it is fully ripe. The fruits can be buried in the ground overwinter and will have lost much of their acidity by the spring. The fruit can also be dried and stored for later use. Rich in pectin, so it can be added to pectin-low fruits when making jams or jellies. Pectin is also said to protect the body against radiation.
Other uses of the herb:The plant can be used as a rootstock for cultivated apples, conferring a greater hardiness. Wood - heavy, close-grained, not strong. It weighs 43lb per cubic foot. Used for making levers, the handles of tools, small domestic items and fuel.
Propagation of Garland Crab:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. It usually germinates in late winter. Stored seed requires stratification for 3 months at 1°C and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as it is received. It might not germinate for 12 months or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. If given a rich compost they usually grow away quickly and can be large enough to plant out in late summer, though consider giving them some protection from the cold in their first winter. Otherwise, keep them in pots in a cold frame and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of mature wood, November in a frame.
Cultivation of the herb:Bottoms, wooded slopes, thickets and clearings in most soil types and moisture levels.
Known hazards of Malus coronaria:All members of this genus contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide in their seeds and possibly also in their leaves, but not in their fruits. Hydrogen cyanide is the substance that gives almonds their characteristic taste but it should only be consumed in very small quantities. Apple seeds do not normally contain very high quantities of hydrogen cyanide but, even so, should not be consumed in very large quantities. 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.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.