Prunus cerasoides, seeds of Himalaya cherry
Prunus cerasoides belongs to the family of the Rosaceae, the rose family. The plant is native to East Asia. It occurs in the Himalayas up to 2400 m above sea level. Due to that it is also known as Himalaya cherry.
P. cerasoides grows as a tree. It can reach a height of about 30m. The bark is dark. From the bark one can gain a juice that helps against backache. Therefore the juice should be brought externally on the skin. The wood is relatively hard and is used to produce walking sticks.
The leaves of P. cerasoides are ovate and get 8 cm long and 3 cm wide. From the leaves one can gain a green dye.
The flowers are actinomorphic and hermaphrodite. They are beautiful whitish pink. In Europe P. cerasoides is used as an ornamental tree due to its wonderful flowers.
The fruit is a stone fruit that contains just one single seed. The stone fruit gets 15 mm in diameter and is fist yellow and get red when it is ripe. The fruit of the Himalaya cherry is eatable. It can be eaten raw but mostly it is eaten cooked. It is very acid. The seeds can be also eaten but one should not eat the seeds and as well the fruits if they already taste bitter. The bitter taste is a sign that the fruit and the seeds contain too much hydrocyanin. Hydrocyanin is a substance that is responsible for the bitter taste. In low amounts it can be quite healthy. It activates digestion and respiration and can raise the well- being. But one should be carefully because when the dosage is too high it can lead very fast to intoxication.
The seeds are also used to produce jewelry.
The seeds of P. cerasoides have to be stratified. The stratification should be done early in the year. Therefore the seeds have to be put into the fridge for 2 to 3 month. After that treatment they should be put 1 or 2 days into warm water before planting. Then they can be finally put into the substrate. At a temperature of about 23°C and constant moist substrate, germination occurs after 2 to 12 weeks. The seeds of P. cerasoides can be very slow in germination, too. Sometimes it takes 18 months, until the first seedlings emerge.
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