Bergenia ciliata

Botanical Name : Bergenia ciliata Sternb.
Family :  Saxifragaceae
Genus :Bergenia
Species :Bergenia ciliata

Synonyms : Bergenia ligulata – Engl.,Megasea ciliata – Haw.,Saxifraga ciliata – (Haw.)Royle.,Saxifraga ligulata – Wall.,Saxifraga thysanodes – Lindl. B.ligulata E.L
Common Name : Pashanbhed, Pakhanbad, Dhoklambu, Patharchat, Silphoda

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Habitat : E. Asia – Himalayas from Afghanistan to E. Tibet.  On moist rocks and under forest shade, 1900 – 2600 metres in Kashmir .Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Description:
An evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3m by 0.5m. Leaves few, spreading, 4-11 x 3-10 cm, glabrous or hirsute, suborbicular to orbicular or broadly obovate, base cordate or sometimes rounded, apex rounded or sometimes abruptly acuminate; margin entire to occasionally denticulate at top, ciliate. Petiole 1-2(-5)cm long, glabrous or hirsute. Inflorescence a one sided raceme or corymbose, often subtended by an ovate leafy bract; bract glabrous or sparsely ciliate; scape and inflorescence greenish or pink tinged. Peduncle up to 10 cm long; flowers pink to purplish, pedicellate. Sepals c. 7 mm long, oblong. Petals 10 x 4 mm, unguiculate, limb orbicular. Filaments c. 1 cm long, pink to red. Carpels 2. Styles c. 7 mm long. Carpels and styles green or pinkish. Capsule 13 x 6 mm, including styles. Seeds elongated, c. 1 mm long, brown, minutely tuberculate.

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It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from March to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in full sun or light shade in most soils but prefers a deep fertile soil that does not dry out fully. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are at their best in a medium-heavy soil. Succeeds in shade or semi-shade-. The leaf colour is best when plants are grown in a poor soil in a sunny position[188]. Dislikes cold winds . The plant is hardy to about -20°c, but the flowers and young leaves are rather sensitive to frost so it is best to choose a position with shade from the early morning sun. This species is only hardy in sheltered gardens of south and west Britain. If the leaves are cut back by frost then they are soon replaced by fresh leaves in the spring. The roots of this plant are commonly collected from the wild for medicinal purposes. Overcollection in many areas of its range are a cause for conservation concern. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The different species of this genus will hybridise freely when grown near each other.

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Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in a greenhouse. Make sure that the compost does not dry out. Two weeks cold stratification can speed up germination which usually takes 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Fresh seed, sown as soon as it is ripe in late spring is liable to germinate better than stored seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late spring after flowering or in autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Edible Uses:
The flowers are boiled and then pickled.

Medicinal Uses:
Lithontripic; Ophthalmic; Poultice; Tonic.

A juice or powder of the whole plant is used to treat urinary troubles in Nepal. The juice of the leaves is used as drops to relieve earaches . The root is used as a tonic in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea and pulmonary affections. The root juice is used to treat coughs and colds, haemorrhoids, asthma and urinary problems. Externally, the root is bruised and applied as a poultice to boils and ophthalmia, it is also considered helpful in relieving backache. The root of this plant has a high reputation in indigenous systems of medicine for dissolving stones in the kidneys.

Other Uses
Ground cover; Tannin.

The root contains 14 – 16% tannin. A good ground cover plant, forming a slowly spreading clump.

Resources:
http://server9.web-mania.com/users/pfafardea/database/plants.php?Bergenia+ciliata
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242308319
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bergenia_ciliata.JPG

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