Herb: Sheepberry


Latin name: Viburnum lentago


Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle Family)



Medicinal use of Sheepberry:

The bark is antispasmodic. A decoction of the roots has been used to treat irregular menstruation and the spitting of blood. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of measles. An infusion of the leaves has been drunk, or a poultice of leaves applied, in the treatment of dysuria.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
9 m
(30 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Rich soils along woodland borders, edges of streams etc, it is also found on rocky hillsides etc.

Edible parts of Sheepberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. It can also be dried for winter use. The fruit is variable in size and quality, the best being about 15mm long, pulpy, very sweet, somewhat juicy and pleasant tasting but with a thick skin and a single large seed. The fruit is said to be best after a frost but it is sometimes dry.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant is grown as a hedge in N. America. Wood - heavy, hard, close grained, malodorous. Of no commercial value due to the small size of the trees.

Propagation of Sheepberry:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested "green" (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring - pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich soils along woodland borders, edges of streams etc, it is also found on rocky hillsides etc.

Known hazards of Viburnum lentago:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.