Herb: Indian Cherry


Latin name: Rhamnus carolinianus


Synonyms: Frangula caroliniana


Family: Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn Family)



Medicinal use of Indian Cherry:

A tea made from the bark is emetic and strongly laxative. It is used in the treatment of constipation with nervous or muscular atony of the intestines. An infusion of the wood has been used in the treatment of jaundice.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
12 m
(39 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Rich woods, sheltered slopes, borders of streams and limestone ridges. Swamps and low ground.

Edible parts of Indian Cherry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit has a thin rather dry flesh with a sweet and agreeable flavour. The fruit is about 7 - 10mm in diameter and contains 2 - 4 small seeds. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - rather hard, light, close grained, not strong. It weighs 34lb per cubic foot. Too small to be of commercial value.

Propagation of Indian Cherry:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed will require 1 - 2 months stratification at 5C and should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth, autumn in a frame. Layering in early spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich woods, sheltered slopes, borders of streams and limestone ridges. Swamps and low ground.

Known hazards of Rhamnus carolinianus:

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been found for this species, there is the suggestion that some members of this genus could be mildly poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.