Herb: Paradise Apple
Latin name: Malus pumila
Synonyms: Pyrus malus pumila
Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)
Medicinal use of Paradise Apple:The bark, and especially the root bark, is anthelmintic, refrigerant and soporific. An infusion is used in the treatment of intermittent, remittent and bilious fevers. The fruit is said to dispel gas, dissolve mucous, cure flux and be a tonic for anaemia, bilious disorders and colic. The leaves contain up to 2.4% of an antibacterial substance called "phloretin". This inhibits the growth of a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria in as low a concentration as 30 ppm. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "The cleansing remedy", "Despondency" and "Despair".
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Not known in a truly wild situation.
Edible parts of Paradise Apple:Fruit - raw, cooked in pies, cakes etc or fermented into cider. The taste can be sweet and pleasant. The fruit can be up to 6cm in diameter.
Other uses of the herb:Used as a rootstock for the cultivated apples, there are several named varieties. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark.
Propagation of Paradise Apple: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:Not known in a truly wild situation.
Known hazards of Malus pumila: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.