Herb: Nepalese White Thorn


Latin name: Pyracantha crenulata


Synonyms: Crataegus crenulata, Mespilus crenulata


Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)



Medicinal use of Nepalese White Thorn:

The powdered, dried fruit, combined with yoghurt, is used in the treatment of bloody dysentery.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
6 m
(20 feet)

Flovering:
May to
July

Habitat of the herb:

Shrubberies, open slopes, cultivated areas, 1000 - 2400 metres from Kashmir to S.W. China. Slopes, roadsides, streamsides, among shrubs, grassy places, valleys.

Edible parts of Nepalese White Thorn:

The leaves are made into a tea-like beverage. The fruits are rich in sugar. The ripe fruit is eaten fresh. The fruit is 6 - 8mm in diameter.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant makes an excellent hedge. Wood - hard, very close and even grained. Used for walking sticks.

Propagation of Nepalese White Thorn:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Remove all the fruit flesh since this can inhibit germination. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification, sow it as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, mid-August in a cold frame. Pot up in October or the following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shrubberies, open slopes, cultivated areas, 1000 - 2400 metres from Kashmir to S.W. China. Slopes, roadsides, streamsides, among shrubs, grassy places, valleys.

Known hazards of Pyracantha crenulata:

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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.