In addition to the prickly hairs of the berry itself the sap of the plant can cause skin irritation in susceptible people, similar but not as severe as poison sumac - its close relative.
Seeds are best started indoors or in cold frames. Pre-soak the seed in room temperature water overnight as it has a hard shell and germination rates are low. They can be grown in pots for several seasons before dedicating them a spot of their own. They can also be grown from hardwood cuttings taken from wild specimens or via Chip Grafting for the more horticulturaly astute.
The berries are sometimes dried to grind into a powder used as a thickening agent for some recipes. Herbalists create a tincture to treat cold sores and sore throats. The Native Americans in the region also had culinary and medicinal uses for them.
The leaves are high in tannin. They were once collected in the autumn and used as a dye. An oil was extracted from the seeds that was used to make candles.
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