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Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:16 am
by fuzzy
Firstly I would like to say hello. I am really new to foraging and I am looking to get more involved with trying new locations and different plants, as over the years I have only really been picking brambles and elderberries for wines and jams. I am used to spending time outdoors and interested in nature but never had a lot of time to do foraging before.

I have come across 2 different tress in an area and I am not sure what they are, I have attached photos of their fruit. They are both about 12 – 15 feet tall.

The one with the red berries looks interesting as they are bigger that hawthorn berries.
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The purple one would looks like plums in the photo but they are lot smaller and there are a lot of fruits at different stages on the same tree, some green and others purple. The trees are really old so the fruit may just be small due to the age or something?

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Any help would be great.

Thanks
Neil

Re: Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:48 am
by Zech
Hi Neil,

The first one I recognise and have it flagged in my mind as "Poisonous garden plant" but I don't actually know what it is, so I'm probably wrong.

The second one looks like a member of the plum family, possibly bullaces (quite sweet) or sloes (not sweet, but good in gin or wine. That is, make wine from them, don't just dump them in wine, though who know - it might be good).

Re: Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:48 am
by benner
Hello :wave:

Not sure about the first one but I have seen that growing around here somewhere...I'll ask my mum, she'll probably know!

Second one definitely looks like a good alcohol making ingredient :drunken: or pudding ingredient, of course!

Ben

Re: Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:25 pm
by tosca
The first one looks like a cotoneaster of some kind (try google images) if so, good for birds but not sure about humans, and the second either bullace or damson, hard to tell from a photo for me. Someone will know.

Re: Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:25 pm
by fuzzy
Thanks for the help.

The 1st one is really red and shiny, it looks quite fleshly and in good supply on a few trees. I was interested to know if it was edible but there is plenty other berries of a similar size that I do know are safe so possibly best that I stick to those just now.

The 2nd fruit is on the edge of what was a walled garden of a house that is long long gone and the land abandoned / waiting for developers to build on. The trees all seem to be in a line so they may have been deliberated planted many years ago. I don’t think I have even had a bullace so I can compare it.

I am think its probably safe to eat as they do look very edible but does anyone think there is any reason I should not just try one and see. Are there any similar looking fruits that would making doing this unsafe?

Thanks
Neil

Re: Identification help

Posted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 5:38 pm
by benner
Mum suggested cottoneaster but not certain...

The other certainly looks very plummy. Try a small bite you'll soon know if it's edible.

Re: Identification help

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:39 am
by tosca
I've never tried a bullace, but they are simply a wild plum and possibly the same ones we get in abundance here in different colours so should taste like a plum if soft and ripe. If they are deliberately planted on a border l would say they are probably damsons. You wouldn't want to eat them raw but both fruits make great jam and chutney. And wine if you feel like it. You can also bottle them both in syrup then water bath for use in pies and crumbles.

You would know if they were sloes, they are awful raw, small, and have wicked thorns....the fruit of the blackthorn.

Re: Identification help

Posted: Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:35 am
by MKG
Hi Neil, and welcome to Ish :wave:

To reinforce what everyone seems to be saying about photo 2, they look like members of the plum family to me. If there's a "plum-stoney" kind of thing in the middle, then they're definitely of the plum family. If they're native UK trees, then the fruit is perfectly safe to eat (although not necessarily pleasant - sloes are incredibly sour), and I cannot find a single example of toxic plum anywhere. If you lived in the tropics, I might warn you that there's a plum of which every part BUT the fruit is toxic (although even that is toxic until ripe) but, as you're in the UK, I needn't do that.

And there's a row of those trees? I hope you're a winemaker :iconbiggrin:

Mike