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Identification help please

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:36 pm
by dcbuk
Hi hopefully somebody can put me in the right direction. Came across these today on a tree. Kind of look like grapes but to me resemble a variety of a plum. Did tear one open and had a small stone inside like a damson plum but the shape is totally different. Definitely not a Sloe berry, hopefully these are a variety of the plum family and is save to use in gin :sign11:

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:36 pm
by Green Aura
The leaves look like laurel. A quick look on Google suggests it might be cherry laurel which is poisonous. So unless you can get a local ID I wouldn't touch it.

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:26 pm
by Odsox
Yes I agree with GA, it is definitely a Cherry Laurel, I have one in my garden.
I'm not sure about the fruit being poisonous, but I've never heard of anyone eating them, so they probably are.

The leaves are also supposed to be poisonous due to their cyanide content, but my grandmother used to poach a leaf in milk to make an almond flavoured drink, and she survived till she was 90.
Mind you the kernels of plums, apricots, almonds and even apple pips contain Prussic acid (cyanide) and they are recommended to be shelled and boiled up when making jam.
There you go, waffling again .... :iconbiggrin:

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:29 pm
by Brewtrog
RHS website says that some varieties may have edible fruit, however the RHS website also says that the fruit can be harmful if ingested. I wouldn't claim to have any knowledge myself, but think I'd leave well enough alone.
Odsox wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:26 pm
The leaves are also supposed to be poisonous due to their cyanide content, but my grandmother used to poach a leaf in milk to make an almond flavoured drink, and she survived till she was 90.
Well, cyanide does supposedly taste like bitter almonds, but I'm sure there must be better ways of getting the flavour into your food :lol:

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:50 am
by Odsox
Brewtrog wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:29 pm
I'm sure there must be better ways of getting the flavour into your food
Well, bear in mind that I'm talking about over 100 years ago when artificial flavourings and even natural essences were not even thought of, so any flavourings were restricted to what was available growing locally.
Lots of things happened in those days that would be deemed unacceptable or unwise today, for instance I was teethed with a rabbit's collar bone (so I was told), you would probably have your child taken into care if you did that now. :iconbiggrin:

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:35 pm
by dcbuk
Oh dear, not sounded good. I was hoping they'd be ok and to put in a gin or vodka like I usually do with damsons and sloe. Shame as they look nice but not worth the risk. Thanks for all the input.

Re: Identification help please

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:06 am
by Green Aura
There'll be plenty of other stuff about, just keep looking.