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Nanny Berry

Nannyberry, also known as sweet viburnum or sheepberry, is a deciduous shrub which produces edible berries. It can be grown as a large shrub or a tree and is often used in large numbers as a hedge shrub. The fruit of the nannyberry can be eaten raw, stewed, or baked.


The nannyberry plant is commonly used to attract a variety of wildlife, including insects such as bees and butterflies, which feast on the flowers and nectar. The leaves are broad, very finely toothed, about 3″ long and strongly pointed. In late spring flowers form in large clusters of showy white blossoms that can be spotted from quite a distance.


The leaves of this fruit and also the juice extract from the bark, seeds and berries are useful in treating respiratory diseases, digestive and menstrual problems. This berry is used for making tea, jam, jelly, and dried fruit. Nannyberries may also have medicinal benefits.


Teas made from the leaves have been used to treat cases of the measles. This versatile brew also heals painful, burning urination (dysuria). As an effective diuretic, nannyberry leaf tea acts on the kidneys to promote the regular flow of urine.


Each small, oval berry contains one large, flat circular seed. The fruits of the nannyberry remain attached to the plant well into the winter months, long after all the leaves have fallen away. The flavour of the berries reportedly changes and deepens if they are left on the plant until after the first frosts.


The nannyberry is also referred to as the wild raisin because it attains its fully ripened state when it appears to be shrivelling and drying up. Those berries not scooped up by appreciative summer birds remain on the bush well into the winter. The leaves light up with brilliant colours during fall, not unlike an autumnal Christmas tree.


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