Veronicastrum virginicum

Botanical Name : Veronicastrum virginicum
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Veronicastrum
Species: V. virginicum
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms : Leptandra virginica (L.) Nutt., Veronica virginica L

Common Names : Culver’s root, Culver’s-root, Culverpsyic, Culver’s physic,Bowman’s root,Blackroot;

Habitat :Veronicastrum virginicum is  native to the United States.It grows in  Eastern N. America – Ontario to Manitoba, south to Massachusetts, Alabama and Texas. It is frequently found in wet to wet-mesic prairies and sometimes moist upland sites  on Meadows, rich woods, thickets and prairies

Description;
Veronicastrum virginicum is an erect perennial herb that grows 80-200 cm in height. The leaves are serrated and arranged in whorls of 3-7 around the stem. The inflorescence is erect with slender and spike-like racemes. The stamens are crowded and protrude in a brush-like fashion perpendicular to the raceme . The corollas are white and are roughly 2 mm. in length. These plants flower from mid-summer to early fall.

You may click to see  pictures of  Veronicastrum virginicum

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile moisture retentive well drained soil. Prefers cool summers. Prefers a sunny position[188]. Hardy to at least -20°c. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient quantity the seed can be sown outdoors in situ in the autumn or the spring. Division in autumn or spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Cathartic; Cholagogue; Emetic; Hepatic; Laxative; Tonic.

Native Americans used this plant as a remedy for several ailments including as a laxative,(A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative. The roots are harvested in the autumn and should be stored for at least a year before use.) treatment for fainting and treating kidney stones.  The root was used as a blood cleanser. It was used for ceremonial purification to cleanse the body by inducing vomiting by drinking tea made from the plant’s dried root.  The fresh root is a violent cathartic and possibly emetic, the dried root is milder in its action, but less certain. The root also gently excites the liver and increases the flow of bile. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhea, coughs, chills and fevers, and also to ease the pain of backaches. A tea made from the roots is strongly laxative.

Other Uses: It is cultivated as a garden flower in the Eastern United States.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronicastrum_virginicum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Veronicastrum+virginicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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