Entry Detail

wild cherry

Entry Type:  
Scientific Name:  
Common Name:  
wild cherry
Myaamia Name:  
mahkwa wiiloomiši

Media not available.
Myaamia Archival Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
Costa, D. 2022 Related Info 

mahkwa wiiloomiši literally means "bear food tree"

Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 Description 

"Badgers willow is m'kwa wilominzhi  bears food (wilo) = bush; English wild cherry"

Gatschet, A.S. ca. 1895 Use - Technology 

"äshakani grist mill hollow tree or wood for pounding hominy.  The hole was burnt out by coals of fire, gradually going further down, ashwood, sassafras were used for its purpose, and wild cherry.  An Ottaway man on Spring River [NE OK] makes them now - he is called jábuk.  The handle to pound with has to be made of dogwood or ironwood." 

Rafert, S. 1992 Use - Medicinal 

The bark was used as a tonic and cough syrup.

Kinietz, W.V. 1965 Use - Medicinal 

The bark of the root chewed and held a long time on the gums to cure an infection. "Also, the bark of the root of the cherry tree chewed and held for a long time on the gums cures the falling sickness" ("Item l'ecorce de la racine de Cerisier maches et tenue longtems sur la Gencive guerit du mal de Terre").

The author is describing tribal customs from the upper Midwest, probably including some of the Miami-Illlinois tribal groups. – Michael Gonella
Anonymous 1724 Use - Medicinal 

The bark is crushed or chewed and used to treat wounds: "De l'ecois de merisier a grappe, machee ou pilee pour les playes". 

The author is describing tribal customs from the upper Midwest, probably including some of the Miami-Illlinois tribal groups. – Michael Gonella
Gonella, M.P 2003-2006 Use - Medicinal 

The fruit is eaten as a laxative.

Olds, J., Olds, D. and D. Tippman 1999 Use - Medicinal 

The inner bark from the west side of tree boiled and made into tea for cough syrup.

Info from an additional interview with Mildred Walker in 2004 also used. – Michael Gonella
Walker, M. 2004 , June 2 Use - Medicinal 

Tea is made by boiling "spicnert", horehound, comfrey, cherry bark and "alicompain".

Peoria, Eastern Shawnee, Wyandotte, Seneca-Cayuga, Miami and Ottawa Tribes 2003 Use - Medicinal 

Leaves are used by the Myaamia

Botanical Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Gleason, H.A. and Cronquist, A. 1991 Habitat 

Occurs in woods, roadsides, streams banks, and forest edges in eastern and western Myaamia lands.

Related Sources  
Reference Source Reference Type Data Comments
Coulter, S. 1932  

The dried stem bark collected in autumn is used in small doses (2 gm) acts as an astringent, tonic and sedative, and is used in cough syrups. Prussic acid is present in the bark, but normally in too small amounts to give the sedative effects.

Bush, L. L 1996  

Human-charred Prunus sp. material recovered from excavations at an early 19th century Myaamia village site.

Gonella, M.P 2003-2006  

The Myaamia terms neehpikicaahkwa and katoohwakimišaahkwi may refer to any of the other native cherry species in the Prunus genus including choke-cherry (Prunus virginiana), sand-cherry (Prunus pumila), and wild red cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), but Prunus serotina was the most common of these species described in the three main regional floras (Coulter 1899, Small 1903, and Steyermark 1963) which include distributional maps of Missouri counties and eastern Miami territories.

Gleason, H.A. and Cronquist, A. 1991  

It is unclear whether the Myaamia word mahkwa wiiloomiši indicates a native cherry or cultivated cherry or both. There are four edible native cherries: (1) P. serotina, wild black cherry, has 1cm thick black fruits and is abundant on roadsides throughout eastern Myaamia lands; (2) P. virginiana, choke-cherry, has 8-10cm thick black fruits and occurs in a variety of habitats; (3) P. pumila, sand-cherry, has 1-1.5cm thick black fruits; and (4) P. pensylvanica, pin-cherry, has 6mm thick red fruits.

There are five introduced cherries: (1) P. padus, European bird-cherry, which has 6-8mm thick black, inedible fruits, (2) P. mahaleb, Mahaleb-cherry, with 6mm thick dark red to black, bitter fruits; (3) P. avium, sweet-cherry, with 1.5-2.5cm thick fruit; (4) P. cerasus, sour cherry or pie-cherry, with 1.5-2cm thick tart, red fruit; and (5) P. fruticosa, ground-cherry, with 1cm thick, dark red fruits. All five introduced cherries occur in a variety of habitats in cultivation or as escapes within eastern and western Myaamia lands.

Kerr, J. 1835  

"mυgalomere, cherry tree" and "nυpekecυqυ, cherry tree"

Anonymous 1837  

Wild cherry is mentioned.

Dunn, J.P. 1908  

"neehpikicaahkwa" cherry tree

Steyermark, J.A. 1963  

The wood is reddish-brown and resembles mahoghany, and is used for furniture, tool handles, and musical instruments. The bark is bitter and aromatic and is used for its astringent properties in cough medicines, expectorants and sore throats. The fruit is edible.

Clark, J.E 1993  

The Shawnee collected this plant.