The Universal Herbal: Empetrum Nigrum; Black-berried Heath, Crow or Crake-berry.

The Universal Herbal;
or botanical, medical and agricultural dictonary.
Containing an account of All the known Plants in the World, arranged according to the Linnean system. Specifying the uses to which they are or may be applied, whether as food, as medicine, or in the arts and manufactures.
With the best methods of propagation, and the most recent agricultural improvements.
collected from indisputable Authorities.
Adapted to the use of the farmer - the gardener - the husbandman - the botanist - the florist - and country housekeepers in general.
By Thomas Green.
Vol. I
Printed at the Caxton Press by Henri Fisher.
Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty.
Procumbent. This is a small decumbent shrub. The outer bark is deciduous, and of a brown colour, the inner yellow; branches rough with the remains of the petioles. The terminating bud consists of five membranaceous leaflets, hairy at the edge; this puts forth five little branches, of which four are in a whorl. The leaves are in fours, they are somewhat three-cornered, with a white linear keel, and petioled; flowers axillary, sessile, solitary, surrounded by a bracte resembling an outward three-parted calix; calix whitish; petals purple; filamenta very long, and purple, with brownish black antherae. The female is like the male, but the stem is redder; the leaves deep green, in fives; pistil black; berries brownish black when ripe. — Native of the northern parts of Europe, generally in elevated situations, both on dry, barren, and moorish or boggy soils. It is found in the moors, from the Baltic to the Eastern Ocean, in Kamtschatka, and the American isles. The mountains of Lapland, and the mines of Fahlun in Sweden, also produce it; and in the latter, it has been known to survive, when every other plant had perished with cold. In Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and the northern counties of England, it is common; and the Scottish Highlanders, with their children, eat the berries, but they are no desirable fruit, and, if taken in large quantities, are said to bring on a slight head-ache. The Russian peasants, however, eat them, and the Kamtschadales gather great quantities of them to boil with their fish, or to make a sort of pudding with the bulbs of their lilies. They are esteemed antiscorbutic, and diuretic. Grouse and heath-cocks feed upon them, and they give their excrement a tinge of purple. When boiled in alum-water, they afford a dark purple dye, and are said to be used in dyeing otter and sable skins black, when boiled with fat. Cattle do not seem to browse on this shrub. Linneus says, it flowers in April with the elm; in England, it flowers in April and May.

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