Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cherry trees?

A tree puzzle is solved and a small grammatical rant.

In the spring, I thought I had a cherry tree beside the house, providing us shade. It had the right bark and flowers. However as cherries began to ripen, the fruit on this tree did not. In August the fruit ripened to a dark purple, these weren't cherries - but I didn't know what it was. The birds have not been eating the fruit (yet) so I know they are not tasty. I have only seen one purple dropping in our yard. I decided to see if I could figure out what this tree is - after some searching I came up with Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). Further research led to this uninformative description that I had to share. My comments in the []

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.
[So it doesn't matter the soil type it just likes soil]The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils [again not caring what the soil is like as long as it is there] and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade [a sentence that gives some info]. It requires moist soil [this contradicts the well drained soil].

So to restate this paragraph "The plant can tolerate many soil conditions and likes partly sun to full sun." I am not the strongest writer, I admit that, however I really dislike descriptions that give next to no information. I understand that my sentance my leave out some information and can be expanded upon but to say the tree prefers and then list a range encompassing most soil conditions.

Now back to the tree itself

The fruits, called sloe, apparently are very bitter until first frost and then lose some of the bitterness, the fruits are what sloe gin is made from. I don't know enough about the correct ID of this plant though to eat it. However all is not lost, later in the article it has this info

The bark is a good source of tannin. It is used to make an ink. The juice of unripe fruits is used as a laundry mark, it is almost indelible. The pulped ripe fruit is used cosmetically in making astringent face-masks. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The bark, boiled in an alkali, produces a yellow dye.

The page lists some references for the dye, I may just have a good dye source in my backyard.

I need to write a longer post at what I have been up to, I have a bunch of stories I can share.

1 comment:

Wily Jeneric said...

You've been up to more than just identifying dye trees? Oh, yes, you've been identifying pictures on my blog! Good job, that!