Where in natural conditions bird cherry is common?
In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere 20 species of bird cherry grow, in the territory of the former USSR - seven. For food and medicinal purposes, only one species is used - common bird cherry, or carpal, which grows in the European part of the USSR, the Caucasus, Western Siberia, Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Under natural conditions, grows in riverine forests, shrubs, along the banks of rivers and lakes, on islands, forest glades (in moist places on fertile soil).
What substances are contained in fruits and which of them are prepared?
Fruits can be consumed fresh and processed. The pulp is juicy and soft with a sweet-astringent taste. Rich in tannins - 15%, sucrose - 5%, amygdalin and essential oil, citrine (vitamin P) - 2000 mg%, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) - 32 mg%, organic acids (malic, citric, etc.). It is good to make juices, compotes, refreshing drinks, decoctions, and flour (grind dry fruits with seeds to a powdery state), which can be used as a filling for pies, cheesecakes, and baking cherry cakes, making jelly, and jelly.
What is the dietary and therapeutic value of bird cherry?
Fresh fruits, leaves, flowers, bark, buds have bactericidal, fungicidal and insecticidal properties, disinfect the air, destroying pathogenic bacteria with volatile phytoncides. Water infusion of fruits - a refreshing and disinfectant rinse for the oral cavity, a decoction of fruits is good to use for indigestion (astringent), water infusion of flowers - for eye diseases, water infusion of leaves - for lung diseases, water decoctions from the bark - as a diuretic and diaphoretic facilities.
© Christer Johansson
What are the biological and economic features of bird cherry?
Bushes or trees up to 17 m high. The bark, leaves and flowers have a specific smell. The bark is black and gray with well-defined whitish-yellow lentils. Leaves are elliptical in shape, 15 cm long, 7 cm wide, with sharp-edged edges, easily falling red-brown glands located at the ends of the teeth. Petioles 2 cm long with several pieces of iron. Flower petals are white, anthers are yellow, inflorescences are long (up to 12 cm), in drooping hands, with a pleasant aroma. It blooms in May - early June almost every year, but does not bear fruit every year (periodically) as a result of damage to flowers by late spring frosts. The fruits are spherical, 8 mm in diameter, black with a sinuous-notched bone. The fruit mass is 0.3–0.5 g. 1 kg contains 3-4 thousand raw fruits and 17 thousand seeds. Productivity is always higher in well-lit areas. The distribution of bird cherry is restrained due to the fact that it is actively damaged by pests that affect fruit trees.
Are there any other types of bird cherry that can be used?
Yes. Bird cherry Virginia from North America was introduced everywhere in the USSR. It grows along the banks and in floodplains of rivers on fertile moist soil. It differs from bird cherry by lower growth, smaller leaf size, large inflorescences and lack of aroma. Blooms 1.5-2 weeks later. The taste of the fruit is sweet, slightly astringent. More resistant to pests, due to late flowering annually abundant fruiting.
© Anneli Salo
How to propagate bird cherry seeds?
Freshly picked seeds of bird cherry ordinary or Virginia must be separated from the pulp and, not allowing to dry, stored in wet sand in a refrigerator or basement. It is better to sow in autumn (spring sowing requires a long and complex stratification). Before the beginning of autumn frosts, sow the seeds in a previously prepared loose, fertile soil to a depth of 1-1.5 cm (the distance between the furrows is 15 cm, in a row - 2 cm). The next year, the seedlings must be watered often, as the bird cherry is a moisture-loving culture. Constant weeding with loosening of the soil contribute to good seedlings and better growth of seedlings. Thick seedlings should be thinned out, leaving a distance of 5-7 cm between the plants in a row. For two years, seedlings can be grown at the planting site, but in the spring of the second year you need to prune the root root with a shovel.
In what ways can bird cherry still be propagated?
Root offspring, layering and green cuttings (when propagating larger-fruited and sweet forms).
In what place should bird cherry be planted?
Given the shade tolerance, it can be planted in slightly shaded areas, on the border of the site on the north side. It is necessary to take into account the demanding bird cherry to a constant soil moisture. It should be planted in the same way as the red-fruited mountain ash.
© Andrew Butko
How to care for bird cherry?
With minimal care and watering (in the dry period), bird cherry grows and develops rapidly. It begins bearing fruit in the third year after planting with a two-year-old seedling. Two years after planting, it is necessary to begin the formation of the plant. It tolerates pruning. Every spring, you need to reduce the crown, cutting off all branches and shoots by half the length (otherwise it will be difficult to harvest), as well as cut the extra and diseased shoots, shoots, root offspring.
When and how to harvest?
The fruits ripen in August, but it is better to take them off in September, in dry weather at the end of the day, and put them in baskets or boxes. Then the fruits must be cleaned of impurities of leaves, branches, stalks and dried. From one tree you can get about 20 kg of fruit.
How to dry the fruits?
It is necessary to dry the fruits in ovens (dryers) at a temperature not exceeding 40-50 ° C, in good weather - outdoors in the sun, sprinkling with a layer of no more than 2 cm on nets, bedding made of fabric or paper, periodically mixing. Well-dried fruits are wrinkled, folds are sometimes covered with a whitish-gray or reddish coating of crystallized sugar. They have a characteristic faint odor and a sweet, slightly astringent taste. Store in a room in paper bags.
- The ABC of the Gardener: A Reference Book - Compiled by V. I. Sergeev.