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Bay; Laurel (Laurus Nobilis; Umbellaria californica)

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Harvest & Use
Bay leaves can be picked any time of year. They ward off evil spirits (but you gotta Believe), weevils, fleas, and lice. They also make themselves useful in soups, casseroles, and (I read this on the Internet) martinis. Supposedly, they go well in uncolas (7-Up, Sprite, etc.): Experiment on your kid. The effect of a leaf in soup is intensified by mincing. The flavor is less intense when the leaves are fresh. The laurel makes a good hedge when regularly clipped. The flowers attract bees. Many other plants with the name "laurel" are not true laurels and as a pleasant surprise tend to be toxic, e.g., cherry laurel, rose laurel, and mountain laurel. However, California bay (AKA Oregon myrtle) is a pungent, but safe, substitute for sweet bay.
Appearance
A broad-leafed evergreen tree reaching 35' in height in zones 9 and 10, less in colder regions. Young leaves are elliptical, dark glossy green, growing dull with age.
Cultivation
Bay will grow in most soils; ideal pH is 6.2. It prefers sun but will tolerate some shade. Hardy to about 5 F. Propagate easily from cuttings of current year's growth.
Comment
Sweet bay, the culinary standard, is L. nobilis. California bay is U. californica. Both contain eugenol, the active ingredient in oil of bay (also oil of clove). Eugenol is carminative, which is science-talk for "It makes you burp and fart" (Atkins:135). Ovid relates (subtextually) that to use bay leaves is complicit with the patriarchy ("Daphne" is Greek for laurel):

[Daphne] , fleeing the very word "lover," took her delight in woodland haunts and in the spoils of captured beasts, emulating Diana, the maiden goddess, with her hair carelessly caught back by a single ribbon.
Many a suitor wooed her but, turning from their entreaties, she roamed the pathless woods, knowing nothing of men and caring nothing for them, heedless of what marriage or love or wedded life might be. Again and again her father said: "It is your duty to marry and give me a son-in-law, my child." Often he repeated "My child, it is your duty to give me grandchildren." But she blushed, hating the thought of marriage as if it were some crime....
As soon as Phoebus saw Daphne, he fell in love with her.... He eyed her hair as it hung carelessly about her neck and sighed: "What if it were properly arranged!" He looked at her eyes, sparkling bright as stars, he looked at her lips, and wanted to do more than look at them. He praised her fingers, her hands and arms, bare almost to the shoulder. Her hidden charms he imagined lovelier still.
But Daphne ran off, swifter than the wind's breath, and did not stop to hear his words: "I implore you, nymph, daughter of Peneus, do not run away! Though I pursue you I am no enemy.... Alas how I fear you trip and fall, lest briars scratch your innocent legs, and I be the cause of your hurt. These are rough places through which you run--go less swiftly, I beg of you, slow your flight, and I in turn shall pursue less swiftly!"
He would have said more, but the frightened maiden fled from him, leaving him with his words unfinished; even then, she was graceful to see, as the wind bared her limbs.... Her hair streamed in the light breeze, and her beauty was enhanced by her flight. But the youthful god could not endure to waste his time on further blandishments and, as love itself prompted, sped swiftly after her.
Thus the god and nymph sped on, one made swift by hope, one by fear; but he who pursued was swifter, for love's wings assisted him. He gave the fleeing maiden no respite, but followed close on her heels, and his breath touched the locks that lay scattered on her neck, till Daphne's strength was spent.... Then she saw the waters of the Peneus: "O father," she cried, "help me! If you rivers really have divine powers, work some transformation, and destroy this beauty which makes me please all too well!" Her prayer was scarcely ended when a deep languor took hold on her limbs, her soft breast was enclosed in thin bark, her hair grew into leaves, her arms into branches, and her feet that were lately so swift were held fast by sluggish roots, while her face became the treetop. Nothing of her was left, except her shining loveliness.
Even as a tree, Phoebus loved her. He placed his hand against the trunk, and felt her heart still beating under the new bark. Embracing the branches as if they were limbs he kissed the wood: but even as trunk, she shrank from his kisses. Then the god said: "Since you cannot be my bride, surely you will at least be my tree. My hair, my lyre, my quivers, will always display the laurel. You will accompany the generals of Rome, when the Capitol beholds their long triumphal processions.... You will stand by Augustus' gateposts too, faithfully guarding his doors, and keeping watch from either side over the wreath of oak leaves that will hang there. Further, as my head is ever young, my tresses never shorn, so do you, at all times, wear the crowning glory of never-fading foliage." ....the laurel tree inclined her newmade branches, and seemed to nod her leafy top, as if it were a head, in consent.

--Metamorphoses, Book I. Ovid.

Maybe you could interpret your use of bay as an act of solidarity (O Sister!) rather than complicity (maybe you couldn't care less). An alternative version of the tale has Daphne's mother, Gaea or the Earth, transforming and rescuing her. (For those woefully uneducated in the classics: the last passage in the Ovid explains the use of bay leaves to crown the heads of poets and as a symbol of victory...and also the source of its evergreen nature in another evergreen--the male ego.) Delphic priestesses held bay leaves between their lips when they prophesied. A millennia or two later, the Elizabethan herbalist and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper wrote that bay is "a tree of the Sun, and under the celestial sign Leo, and resisteth witchcraft very potently, as also all the evils old Saturn can do the body of man." Bay laurel belongs to the family Lauraceae, which also includes the avocado, camphor and cinammon trees. It is probably native to the Mediterranean region.
Cultivars of Repute
These varieties have been selected for ornamental rather than culinary qualities.
* Aurea: The leaves have a golden tint.
* Undulata: Leaves have undulating margins.
* Also available is California Bay (or Oregon Myrtle), Umbellaria californica. It is more strongly flavored than true bay, used culinarily the same way (but in halved amounts), and evergreen. It grows to 75' under ideal conditions; it's native to coastal south Oregon and northern California. This is the politically correct bay leaf. The wood is also beautiful and widely coveted for carving. The plant is hardy to 0 F. There are some reports that deer turn up their noses at California Bay.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Bryan [A]

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Blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius; R. ursinus)

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Harvest & Use
The fruit attracts birds. The brown thrasher, gray catbird, northern cardinal, northern mockingbird, and white-eyed vireo commonly nest in blackberry and raspberry thickets (Ortho: 32-33). Flowers attract butterflies, notably the western tiger swallowtail.
Appearance
Blackberries come in thorned or thornless varieties, as well as upright or rambling. Rambling varieties are less hardy, and best for zones 7-9.
Cultivation
Blackberries fruit on two-year old canes. After they have finished fruiting, the canes should be pruned away at the base. Chill hours: 200-700.
Comment
Two varieties of blackberry were imported to the US in the 19th century: the evergreen blackberry and the giant Himalayan blackberry. They escaped cultivation, hybridized with each other and with native blackberries, and produced the "weed" blackberry that takes over yards and empty lots on the west coast. "Weed" blackberries produce less fruit than cultivated varieties (they are dioecious), and are thornier. Loganberries, boysenberries, and marionberries are named varieties of blackberry hybrids. Depending on who wants to step on whose toes in the world of academia today, the Official Word may be that these varieties are complex blackberry-raspberry crosses or merely cultivated varieties of a wild blackberry. The marionberry was not named after the Washington D.C. politician, despite its seediness.
Cultivars of Repute
* Upright & thornless: Arapaho (spreads aggressively), Navajo.
* Semi-upright & thornless: Darrow, Ebony King, Ranger, Chester (best choice for zone 9).
* Rambling: Boysen, Cascade, Loganberry, Marion, Sylvan, Thornless Boysen, Thornless Evergreen, Waldo (thornless).
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Grigson [R,L]

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Blueberry, Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum)

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Harvest & Use
Average yield from a mature plant is about 12 lbs. Large-fruited varieties are usually best for fresh-eating while smaller fruit retains its flavor best in cooking. One pint of fresh blueberries contains about 3 grams of protein, 420 IU vitamin A and 60 mg of vitamin C. Tea from the leaves is a common herbal remedy for bladder and kidney infections. Space 2-3' apart for a hedge or 6' apart for individual bushes. The fruit attracts birds. The American robin, gray catbird, and northern mockingbird sometimes nest in the highbush blueberry (Ortho: 32-33). Larvae of the striped hairstreak butterfly use it for food; also used for nectar.
Appearance
The highbush blueberry in ideal conditions typically grows about 6' tall. It is an excellent edible landscaping plant: ornamental, disease-resistant, bountiful and yummy. Bronze tinges the new growth in spring, turning to dark glossy green in summer, followed by autumn hues ranging from burgundy to yellow. Blueberries have delicate, pearly, bell-shaped flowers, and awful mauve berries (kidding!). The bare winter branches are a brilliant woody color, and a striking contrast in snow. Blueberry bushes are easy on the eyes all year round.
Cultivation
The environmental element blueberries are fussiest about is the soil. It needs to be moist (but not waterlogged) at all times, rich in organic matter, and acidic. Consequently, blueberries benefit enormously from acidic mulches, such as sphagnum peat moss, conifer needles, or oak leaves. Ideal soil pH is from 4.2 to 5.2. Blueberries produce their best fruit if the roots are well-established, which means the flowers should be pinched off the first season after planting in order to divert energy to the roots. Yearly, prune all low (usually brushy) growth and horizontal growth, up to half the total amount of wood on the plant. Wood older than 4 years produces inferior fruit and should be cut out at the ground. Blueberries may need part-shade in very hot climates, otherwise they want full sun. Like most Vaccinium, the blueberry is highly intolerant of salinity and other chlorides. Powdery mildew is the only real pest, unless you count the birds. The branches break easily; flowers (and subsequent fruiting) are frost-resistant. According to USDA breeder and blueberry pioneer Frederick Coville, "When blueberry flowers are pollinated with pollen from their own bush, the berries are fewer, smaller and later maturing than when pollen comes from another variety." Plants are usually propagated by hardwood cuttings. 700-1200 chill hours.
Comment
Elizabeth White and USDA breeder Frederick Coville initiated cultivation of the blueberry in New Jersey's Pine Barrens, where it grows wild. They released the first variety, 'Pioneer' in 1912. John McPhee describes the role of blueberries in the seasonal work cycle of the "pineys" in his book The Pine Barrens (1967):

In June and July, when the wild blueberries of the Pine Barrens ripened on the bush, the pineys hung large homemade baskets around their necks, bent the blueberry bushes over the baskets, and beat the stems with short clubs. The berries, if just ripe enough, rained into the baskets. Fred Brown told me one day that he had knocked off his share of "huckleberries" in his time, and that many people still go out after them every summer. In the vernacular of the pines, huckleberries are blueberries, wild or cultivated. Huckleberries are also huckleberries, and this confuses outsiders but not pineys. Fred explained to me, when I pressed him, that "hog huckleberries" are huckleberries and "sugar huckleberries" are blueberries. He said, "Ain't nothing for a man to go out and knock off two hundred pounds in less than a day."

Another upright species of blueberry, rabbiteye, can be grown in the deep south, although its fruit comes less highly recommended; the rabbiteye blueberry grows up to 15' and tolerates less acidic soil. See 'O'Neal' and 'Woodard' below.
Cultivars of Repute
* Berkley: vigorous, spreading, gnarled plant with extremely large, lightest blue, mildly flavored berries. Ripens in August.
* Bluecap: hardy to zone 4, relatively drought resistant (for a blueberry), extremely productive. Ripens July - August.
* Bluecrop: disease resistant, tolerant, productive, reliable. In other words, popular. Upright form with red fall color; the berries ripen early, through July and August.
* Blueray: hardy to -25 F, with very large, plentiful, sweet fruits and good fall color. Ripens midseason, late July-August.
* Briggita: a very late-ripening variety from Australia.
* Darrow: reported to be less cold-hardy than standard. The fruit is large, tangy, and late-ripening.
* Dixi: late-ripening high quality fruit on a spreading bush; popular in (you guessed it) Dixie and hardy to zone 7.
* Earliblue: a vigorous upright productive bush whose berries ripen in early July.
* Elizabeth: named after Elizabeth White; reputed to be the gourmet's choice; ripens midseason or later.
* Jersey: productive, hardy to zone 4; the small fruit (best for cooking) ripens from August to first frost; plant is upright and vigorous; fall color is bright yellow.
* Legacy: an ornamental yet tasty variety, ripening in August; fall foliage is bright orange or evergreen in mild winters.
* Olympia: The fruit is sweet, medium sized, and flavorful, unaffected by bad spring weather, and ripe by mid-summer. The berries retain their flavor well when baked. Ripens in mid-July. Developed in Pacific Northwest. [6-8]
* O'Neal: a southern (rabbiteye) variety, growing six feet tall. Good for zones 7-9.
* Patriot: hardy to at least zone 4; large berries; ripens midseason; may be a lowbush hybrid.
* Rubel: an old selection, bred in the pine barrens, hardy to zone 4 with small flavorful berries.
* Spartan: disease resistant. Fall color is red. The fruit is large, ripening in early July or even June, and more acid than average.
* Stanley: old variety from the pine barrens with sweet berries ripening in July-August.
* Toro: bears consistently regardless of spring weather; fruit ripens mid-summer. More ornamental than average, with pink flowers, red wood and wide leaves. Prefers cold winters.
* Woodard: a rabbit-eye selection with large sweet fruit, zone 7-9
Evergreen vaccinium with blueberry-ish fruit (less hardy)
* JonBlue (V. darrowii)
* Sunshine Blue: grows to 4', low chill requirement, good in zones 7-9.
* Evergreen Huckleberry (V. ovatum), intolerant of full sun, grows to 6' (less in sun), hardy to zone 7.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Bryan [A]
* Grigson [R,L]

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Blueberry, Lowbush; Huckleberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)

Categories
Harvest & Use
Tea from the leaves is a common herbal remedy for bladder and kidney infections.
Appearance
Flowers are pinkish white. Plants grow up to 3 ft tall (average is about 1 ft) and spread up to 6 ft. The bare winter branches are an attractive red-clay color, and create a brilliant contrast in snow.
Cultivation
The lowbush blueberry needs a consistent supply of nitrogen. Ideal pH is between 4.5 and 5.5. Plants must be severly cut back every few years to stimulate new growth: Young shoots have a higher density of flowering and fruiting than old ones. Plants spread by rhizomes, and develop a taproot. Some varieties are self-fertile, but more prolific when cross-pollinized. General care is the same as for the highbush blueberry.
Comment
Eastern Native Americans cultivated this species of blueberry. Several different V. species get called "lowbush," and several other species plus a completely different genus sometimes get called "huckleberry." All are low-growing plants that produce small, blue, seedy berries. The true huckleberry genus is Gaylussacia, and according to Waverly Root the tastiest species is G. baccata. True huckleberries are not cultivated: obtain them from the wild or not at all.
Cultivars of Repute
The Kentville Research station in Nova Scotia developed these lowbush cultivars and several others.
* Brunswick: 1' tall bush with 1/2" berries. Notable features: unreliable production, top-rated flavor, requires cross-pollination. Ripens mid-July to mid-August.
* Chignecto: a wild selection from Nova Scotia. Vigorous but unprolific, with top-rated flavor. Ripens mid-July to mid-August.
Highbush X lowbush hybrids (no rhizomes, usually hardy to-30 F):
* Friendship: half-inch berries; leaves turn intense red in fall.
* Northblue: A vigorous, 2-3' bush that spreads up to 5'. It produces 5-8 lbs. fruit per bush. The fruit is slightly acid. Notable features: reliability, fall color, large flavorful fruit.
* North Country: 2' tall and 3' wide yielding about 5 lbs of fruit, with red fall foliage. The fruit is mild.
* Northsky: 12-18" bush spreading 3', yielding about 4 lbs. of small berries that are top-rated for sweetness and flavor, and that freeze well. Hardy to -40 F.
* Patriot: an offspring of 'Earliblue', growing to 4'. The fruit is large, flavorful, plentiful, and easy to pick. 'Patriot' may be a pure highbush variety.
* Polaris: reputed to be the hardiest hybrid, with strong flavored, aromatic berries. The bush reaches 4' x 4' at maturity. A new selection.
* St. Cloud: productive variety. Plant size is reported by some as 2', by others as 5'. Fruit ripens early, is moderately sized, and sweet.
Evergreen vaccinium with blueberry-ish fruit (less hardy)
* JonBlue (V. darrowii)
* Sunshine Blue: grows to 4', low chill requirement, good in zones 7-9.
* Evergreen Huckleberry (V. ovatum), needs part-shade, grows to 6' (less in sun), hardy to zone 7.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Reich [C, L]
+ Kentville Research Station: http://res2.agr.ca/kentville/
+ Here's a homepage about lowbush blueberries; as of 4/17/00 it was kinda glitzy and slow to download by modem:
http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/1045/berries.html

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Burnet (Poterium sanguisorba)

Categories
Harvest & Use
Pick the leaves any time of year: young for fresh eating, old for cooking or vinegar. They have a cucumbery flavor, and similar aroma. Francis Bacon recommended planting burnet in pathways, with mint and thyme, to "perfume the air most delightfully, being trodden on and crushed." It's often used as a border plant to a garden. Burnet gets miffed if you try to store it; freezing is the recommended method, if you must.
Appearance
Burnet foliage is a low-lying rosette with long arching stems, usually about a foot high but sometimes reaching two feet (longest when in flower). The leaves are dark blue-green, toothed and crinkled. The flowers are minor, thimble-shaped and red or pink. May be deciduous in the cold end of its range.
Cultivation
Burnet does well in full sun or light shade, and sandy soil. It doesn't like high humidity. It is prone to rot in wet soil or if planted too deeply. Propagate by seed (it will self-sow, if flowering is allowed) or division. Burnet has a long taproot, so it's not fond of potting. Tolerates poor soils, prefers dry soil; prefers pH from 6.0 to 8.0. Prune old leaves and flower heads to promote fresh growth.
Comment
Burnet is a member of the Rosaceae family.

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Chayote; Mirliton; Vegetable Pear (Sechium edule)

Categories
Harvest & Use
The vine is edible and the tips are tender and often steamed for eating. The fruit is prepared like a summer squash. It ripens in autumn. The tubers are also edible. Hey, that's an edible landscaping triple-whammy: greens, fruit, and root. And the seed is edible too! Chayote is a rampant vine that will grow up or along anything. It can cover a few hundred square feet in optimal conditions, and is often used to conceal landscaping eyesores. Chayote fruit withers when stored in dry conditions: humidity and a temperature of around 55 F are ideal. It is low in calories and sodium, medium in potassium.
Appearance
Big sprawling agressive green vine with trivial flowers. The fruits are pyriform, light-green, and squash-like.
Cultivation
Chayote will grow in zone 8, with heavy mulching. The roots rot in soggy soil. The entire fruit can be planted, but again, extremely well-drained (and warm) soil is necessary to assure germination over rot. Flowering is usually in late summer or early fall; subsequent fruiting depends on the subsequent month being frost-free. The plant is dioecious and bee-pollinated. Chayote is naturally disease-resistant (scarce commercial cultivation probably helps). The vine climbs via tendrils.
Comment
"Mirliton" is a cajun name. Kourik has a lot to say about chayote. One hears it rhymes with "coyote."
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Kourik [C, R]
* Schneider [R]

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Cherry, Nanking; Downy C; Mountain C (Prunus tomentosa)

Categories
Harvest & Use
The unripe fruit may be pickled, and at one time was considered a delicacy boiled in honey. The ripe fruit is tart, often used in place of pie cherries. It attracts birds. The pit is large. Most cherries and plums are larval food plants for the pale swallowtail butterfly.
Appearance
Nanking cherry flowers early, before it leafs out; blooms are white and in clusters of two to four. The leaves are dark green. The fruit is bright red, and half an inch wide. A mature plant averages 7' tall and wide.
Cultivation
Rich, well-drained soil brings out the best in Nanking cherry; clay is not its thing. Shade will significantly reduce flowering, although the plant can survive in part-shade. Damp conditions increase risk of leaf-spot. Fruiting requires cross-pollination. The flowers are frost resistant. Propagate by seed, cuttings, grafts. Plants propagated by cuttings don't develop a taproot and therefore are drought intolerant, otherwise the plant tolerates drought. There are reports of rabits taking a fancy to Nanking cherry. Mediocre tolerance for salinity at best.
Comment
The Nanking cherry is native to northeast China.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Reich [C, L]

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Cherry, Sour (Prunus cerasus)

Categories
Harvest & Use
The fruit is picked when fully ripe. Although tart, the fully ripe fruit can be enjoyed fresh if you're not a wimp. The sour cherry is much better for cooking than the sweet. It is often combined with rhubarb in pie. Most cherries and plums are larval food plants to the pale swallowtail butterfly.
Appearance
The sour cherry is squatter than the sweet cherry; both have a typical spread of about 30 ft., but the sour rarely grows taller than 25 ft. Deep green, long serrated leaves, with attractive rust-brown bark make the cherry a popular ornamental. Most varieties bloom late and ripen early.
Cultivation
Cherries are usually pruned to a "central leader." Sour cherries tolerate soggy soil better than sweet. Most cherries require 700-1200 chill hours.
Comment
Cherries were cultivated by the Greeks and Romans two millennia ago. Pliny reports that the Roman general Lucullus imported the sour cherry to Europe from the town of Cerasonte in Asia Minor, hence its Latin and common names. Modern experts disagree with Pliny; Waverly Root cites documented evidence that the Etruscans cultivated cherries. Maybe the Etruscans grew sweet cherries, and Cerasontians sour. The origin of the cherry is in hot dispute. Thomas Jefferson included sour cherries in the first orchard at Monticello, along with some more unusual fruits such as figs, pomegranates, and quinces. Cyanide in cherry leaves was recently implicated in a series of stillborn foals plaguing the US race-horse industry.
Cultivars of Repute [best zones]
* Balaton: The fruit is larger and sweeter than average. The tree grows up to 18' tall.
* English Morello: late ripening, tolerates heat better than average, grows to 10'. The fruit is milder than average.
* Meteor: flowers and ripens late; requires less pruning than average. [4-8]
* Montmorency: grows to about 18'; the standard variety for canning; fruit is yellowish red with clear juice. [5-9]
* Northstar (dwarf): A productive 8' tree that requires 1000 chill hours; resists leaf spot and other fungi. The fruit is deep red. [4-8]
* Jan & Joy are recently developed hybrids (prunus jacquemontii X japonica) which taste like sour cherries and grow on 3-4' tall bushes. They resist pests and disease well, susceptible to brown rot in rainy springs. They require each other for pollination.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Grigson [R,L]
* Schneider [R]

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Cherry, Sweet (Prunus avium)

Categories
Harvest & Use
The only fruit birds prefer to cherries is mulberries; since mulberries also bear prodigous amounts of fruit, you can divert birds from your cherries by planting a mulberry tree nearby. Most cherries and plums are larval food plants to the pale swallowtail butterfly.
Appearance
The sour cherry is shorter than the sweet cherry; both have a typical spread of about 30 ft. Deep green, long serrated leaves, with attractive rust-brown bark make the cherry a popular ornamental. Flowers are prolific and white.
Cultivation
Many sweet cherry varieties will not pollinize each other; sour cherries are biologically capable pollinizers, but tend to bloom later than sweet cherries. Cherries are usually pruned to a "central leader." They are shallow-rooted, and susceptible to many pests and diseases. Most varieties require 700-1400 chill hours.
Comment
Don't take any wooden nickels, and don't buy any organic maraschino cherries (unless you're paying with wooden nickels). For more helpful commentary, see: Cherry, Sour
Cultivars of Repute [best pollinized by]
The 'Montmorency' sour cherry will pollinize most sweet cherries.
1. Bing: best in dry climates, zones 6-8; black fruit. [4,5]
2. Royal Ann: The large yellow fruit is highly rated fresh, but prone to crack in heavy rain. Soak it in brine and red dye no. 40, and you have a maraschino. 'Royal Ann' dislikes severe heat. [4,5]
3. Emperor Francis: light-colored fruit, reliable and productive [4,5]
4. Van: very hardy [2,3,5,6]
5. Angela: highly-rated flavor, very prolific; ripens in July. [1,2,3,4,6]
6. Kristin: black fruit ripens in July; the hardiest sweet cherry. [1,4,5]
7. Spur Bing: a 10' tree with average fruit quality. [4,5]
* 'Stella' and 'Lapins' are self-fruitful, and will pollinize all other sweet cherries.

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Chestnut, Chinese (Castanea mollisima)

Categories
Harvest & Use
Chestnuts contain more water and less oil than most nuts, and consequently don't store as well. They are also starchier than the typical nut, and have often been used like the potato or for flour.
Appearance
Long leaves turn autumn gold; fragrant (or smelly depending on your point of view) yellow catkins cover the chestnut in drooping clusters. The Chinese chestnut is the smallest tree of the chestnut family.
Cultivation
Chestnuts of all species require very little care. The chestnut weevil can be a problem, mainly in the eastern US. The Chinese chestnut is immune to the blight Endothia parasitica which decimated the American chestnut.
Comment
A number of hybrids of Chinese, Japanese, European, and American hybrids are available. They are presumably blight resistant. Chinapkins, of the genus Castanopsis are probably the evolutionary ancestor of chestnuts and oaks: they have nuts like chestnuts and twigs like oaks.
Cultivars of Repute
Information about who will pollinize whom in the world of chestnut hybrids is difficult to find; safety suggests planting only trees with a common heritage for reliable pollination.
* Chinese:
Crane
Nanking
Orrin.
* American X Chinese:
Alachua
Carolina
Douglas #2
Sleeping Giant.
* European X Chinese:
Layeroka: early ripening, erect form, pollen sterile.
Skioka: good pollinizer, productivity only fair; reported to be blight resistant
Skookum: vigorous, pollen sterile.
* Japanese X European (and possibly Chinese):
Colossal: popular variety with large nuts.
General References
[C= cultivation; R = recipes; L = lore; A = all]
* Kourik [C, R]

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Next Section

Blueberry, Highbush Vaccinium corymbosum Burnet Poterium sanguisorba Cherry, Nanking; Downy C; Mountain C Prunus tomentosa