seeds of Prunus spinosa, Blackthorn
Prunus spinosa Samen
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Prunus spinosa, also known as blackthorn, is a plant species of the family Rosaceae. The plant’s synonyms include Druparia spinosa, Prunus acacia, and Prunus acacia. The other common name for the plant is sloe. Prunus spinosa is indigenous to Western Asia and Europe. The plant presently grows in Tasmania, Northwest Africa as well as the eastern half of North America. Prunus spinosa is a deciduous shrub capable of growing to a height of 5 metres. The plant has thorny branches, a stiff, thick bark and, ovoid leaves. Each leaf is ovoid, has a toothed margin, and attains a length of 2 to 4.5 cm and a width of 1.2 to 2 cm. Flowers are white and have a diameter of 1.5 cm. The plant produces both male and female flowers that rely on insects for their pollination. Fertilisation results in purple-blue drupes 10 to 12 mm across. Prunus spinosa has edible seeds, fruits and flowers. The fruits are either eaten raw or cooked. An additional use of the fruit lies in the making of syrups, jellies and conserves. The fruit’s astringent flavour is also the one chosen for various gins and liqueurs. One can also pickle the fruit. The seeds are cooked along with the fruit or on their own. The plant’s leaves make a unique tea whose flavour is often improved through adding the fruit. The edible flowers are often sweetened with sugar or crystallised. Prunus spinosa is a source of many herbal remedies. Such remedies allegedly have diuretic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aperient, depurative, antiflatulent and febrifugal properties. Such qualities are believed to be instrumental in the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach disorders. Other conditions include kidney problems, stomach weakness and bladder disorders. Prunus spinosa is a rich source of tannins and green dye. The shrub is also useful when planted as a hedge and as a source of wood.
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