The Bayberry is a very interesting shrub. It’s height varies from 2 to 12 ft, depending on variety and location. It prefers acid soil and has roots that fix nitrogen, allowing it to grow in poor soil. The bayberry, or candleberry, has long been an important plant in the new world and cultivated by our agrarian ancestors.
Bayberries are an excellent source of candle wax. It has been called the “candle berry” and the “tallow shrub”. Candles made from bayberry wax are prized because they burn slow and don’t melt or slump in the summer heat. Bayberry fruit produces about 1 lb of wax for every 15 lbs of berries, so if you are interested in planting them for wax production it would be a good idea to plant a number of them.
The fragrant leaves can be used as an insect repellent
Roots can be prepared as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery.
If you would like more information on growing and using Bayberries you can check out the entire plant profile, including a tutorial on rendering the wax At This Link
The American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), has long been a standard homestead shrub and was used extensively by American Indian tribes for many different things. Elderberries can grow anywhere from 9 to 15 ft tall and prefers moist, well-drained, sunny sites, but also can grow in dry soils. It is a dominant understory species in riparian woodlands. The shrub is known to do well in hedgerows.
Elderberries are very high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and has very high immune boosting properties. It has been long considered one of the best treatments for the flu.
Both ripe berries and flowers can be used for food and the berries make an excellent wine.
Elderberry shrubs are fast growing and make an excellent “edible hedge”, wind break or concealment screen.
Indian used elderberry twigs and fruit in creating dyes for basketry.
Elderberry branches can be used to make arrow shafts.
Whistles can be constructed by boring holes into stems.
The pith of the stem can be removed and used as tinder for starting fires.
Hollowed out stems can be used as spiles (spouts) for tapping sugar maple trees.
You can find more in depth information on growing and using Elderberry At This Link
Siberian Pea Shrub
The Siberian Peashrub is a tall bush that can reach heights of 6 to 19 ft. The plant has thorns, and is hardy to -40 F, prefers full sun, and can tolerate dry conditions well. It is native to Asia and eastern Europe and has been used for food, fiber, and dye by people in that region for centuries. It is a legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil, a pioneer plant and a producer of large numbers of seed pods.
Peashrub seeds are 23% protein, contain 12% fatty oils, and make an excellent chicken feed. History records that Siberian peasant farmers during WW2 overwintered their laying flocks on peashrub seeds when they were cut off from outside supplies.
Peashrubs have many thorns and can be planted as a defensive fence or hedge that will slow down and discourage invaders.
The fiber from the peashrub stalks can be used to make a strong cordage
Russians used to make a blue dye from peashrubs
You can find additional information HERE
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