Friday, 14 January 2011

The Hunt For Wild Cherry

My first task of 2011 involves finding Wild Cherry and making a cough remedy. I don’t know of any Wild Cherry in my vicinity and can’t recall ever seeing any, help I thought! I’ve begged some Morello Cherry from a friend but I am having difficulty meeting up to get it.
 This week I had an herb day with my friend and fellow herb apprentice, Maria. We had a walk along the lane where she lives mapping Hawthorns, looking for Elders and taking note of everything else growing around us. We took a diversion over some fields where we found Elder for Maria’s bruise salve and then found ourselves in woodland.
 We walked through the trees and tried to identify what we could, hoping to find Wild Cherry. I turned to a tree and said “for all I know you could be a Cherry tree because I don’t know what one looks like”. Further on we came across two tree surgeons chopping down trees. I dared Maria to ask if they knew where there was any Wild Cherry. They turned off their machines and took off their ear protectors as Maria called to them. “What did we want to know for?” they asked.
 We explained about our quest to make a cough remedy and they took us to the cherry trees, right in the middle of the woods where I had spoken to the tree. One of the men broke off a piece of wood with buds on and told me that if we walked along hedgerows we could use it to identify the tree, but in the meantime we could take what we wanted from these trees.
 He showed us a Blackthorn in the hedge and explained that it was the same family as the Cherry and he also told us what trees were in the woods and where they were and explained that they had tried to make woodland of native trees. We noticed on a damaged tree that there was an amber like substance oozing out and starting to solidify. In return we explained what remedies the different trees gave us. I’m sure they thought we were mad but I think we all enjoyed sharing information.
Yesterday I stripped some bark from my wild cherry and made a tincture. I thought I might smell cherry when I cut into the bark and was disappointed not to, I remembered the smell from when I took the bark from my elder twigs last year which confirmed to me that I had the correct wood. My cherry sticks had dark coloured wood, an orangey colour.
 I filled a jar with my scraped off bark and then filled it up again with vodka. I “podged” it with a chop stick to get rid of any air bubbles and will let it infuse for 3-4 weeks.

Maria and Wild Cherry trees and twigs

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