Monthly Archives: March 2012

Rudbeckia hirta

Botanical Name : Rudbeckia hirta
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Rudbeckia
Species: R. hirta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names :Brown-eyed Susan, Brown Betty, Brown Daisy (Rudbeckia triloba), Gloriosa Daisy, Golden Jerusalem, Poorland Daisy, Yellow Daisy, and Yellow Ox-eye Daisy, Coneflower

Habitat :Rudbeckia hirta is native to most of North America.An occasional garden escape in Britain. Grows in the disturbed soils in Texas

There are three regional varieties of Rudbeckia hirta, the wild black-eyed Susan, with one occurring naturally throughout much of North America from British Columbia to Newfoundland and south to Texas and Florida. The species is absent only from the Southwest. Black-eyes Susans grow in prairies, dry fields, open woods, along road shoulders and in disturbed areas.

Description:
Rudbeckia hirta is a biennial/Perennial plant, that  can reach a height of 1 m. It has alternate, mostly basal leaves 10-18 cm long, covered by coarse hair. It flowers from June to August, with inflorescences measuring 5-8 cm in diameter (up to 15 cm in some cultivars), with yellow ray florets circling a brown, domed center of disc florets.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, hoverflies.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in an ordinary medium soil in sun or shade. Requires a moist soil. Prefers a well-drained soil[188]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -25°c. This species is a biennial or short-lived perennial. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in situ

Medicinal Uses:

Traditional medicine:
The roots but not seedheads of Rudbeckia hirta can be used much like the related Echinacea purpurea. It is an astringent used as in a warm infusion as a wash for sores and swellings. The Ojibwa used it as a poultice for snake bites and to make an infusion for treating colds and worms in children. The plant is diuretic and was used by the Menominee and Potawatomi.  Juice from the roots had been used as drops for earaches.

The plant contains anthocyanins.

Other Uses
*A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers.

*The Black-eyed Susan was designated the state flower of Maryland in 1918.

*Butterflies are attracted to Rudbeckia hirta when planted in large color-masses.

*Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden planting; some popular ones include ‘Double Gold’, ‘Indian Summer’, and ‘Marmalade’.

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/Rudbeckia_hirta

http://www.floridata.com/ref/r/rudb_hir.cfm

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Rudbeckia+hirta

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Catalpa bignonioides

Botanical Name : Catalpa bignonioides
Family: Bignoniaceae
Genus: Catalpa
Species: C. bignonioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:  Bignonia catalpa – L., Catalpa syringaefolia – Sims.

Common Names:Southern Catalpa,Common Catalpa, Cigartree, and Indian Bean Tree

Habitat : Catalpa bignonioides is native to the southeastern United States in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Despite its southern origins, it has been able to grow almost anywhere in the United States and southernmost Canada, and has become widely naturalized outside its restricted native range.
It grows in rich moist soils by the sides of streams and rivers.

Description:
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15-18 meters tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter with brown to gray bark, maturing into hard plates or ridges. The short thick trunk supports long and straggling branches which form a broad and irregular head. The roots are fibrous and branches are brittle. Its juices are watery and bitter.
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The leaves are large and heart shaped, being 20-30 cm long and 15-20 cm broad. The bright green leaves appear late and as they are full grown before the flower clusters open, add much to the beauty of the blossoming tree. They secrete nectar, a most unusual characteristic for leaves, by means of groups of tiny glands in the axils of the primary veins.

The flowers are 2.5-4 cm across, trumpet shaped, white with yellow spots inside; they grow in panicles of 20-40. In the northern states of the USA, it is a late bloomer, putting forth great panicles of white flowers in June or early in July when the flowers of other trees have mostly faded. These cover the tree so thickly as almost to conceal the full grown leaves. The general effect of the flower cluster is a pure white, but the individual corolla is spotted with purple and gold, and some of these spots are arranged in lines along a ridge, so as to lead directly to the honey sweets within. A single flower when fully expanded is two inches long and an inch and a half wide. It is two-lipped and the lips are lobed, two lobes above and three below, as is not uncommon with such corollas. The flower is perfect, possessing both stamens and pistils; nevertheless, the law of elimination is at work and of the five stamens that we should expect to find, three have aborted, ceased to bear anthers and have become filaments simply. Then, too, the flowers refuse to be self-fertilized. Each flower has its own stamens and its own stigma but the lobes of the stigma remain closed until after the anthers have opened and discharged their pollen; after they have withered and become effete then the stigma opens and invites the wandering bee. The entire Pink family behave in this way.

The fruit is a long, thin bean like pod 20-40 cm long and 8-10 mm diameter; it often stays attached to tree during winter. The pod contains numerous flat light brown seeds with two papery wings.

It is closely related to the Northern Catalpa (C. speciosa), and can be distinguished by the flowering panicles, which bear a larger number of smaller flowers, and the slightly slenderer seed pods.

*Bark: Light brown tinged with red. Branchlets forking regularly by pairs, at first green, shaded with purple and slightly hairy, later gray or yellowish brown, finally reddish brown. Contains tannin.

*Wood: Light brown, sapwood nearly white; light, soft, coarse-grained and durable in contact with the soil.

*Winter buds: No terminal bud, uppermost bud is axillary. Minute, globular, deep in the bark. Outer scales fall when spring growth begins, inner scales enlarge with the growing shoot, become green, hairy and sometimes two inches long.

*Leaves: Opposite, or in threes, simple, six to ten inches long, four to five broad. Broadly ovate, cordate at base, entire, sometimes wavy, acute or acuminate. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins prominent. Clusters of dark glands, which secrete nectar are found in the axils of the primary veins. They come out of the bud involute, purplish, when full grown are bright green, smooth above, pale green, and downy beneath. When bruised they give a disagreeable odor. They turn dark and fall after the first severe frost. Petioles stout, terete, long.

*Flowers: June, July. Perfect, white, borne in many-flowered thyrsoid panicles, eight to ten inches long. Pedicels slender, downy.

*Calyx: Globular and pointed in the bud; finally splitting into two, broadly ovate, entire lobes, green or light purple.

*Corolla: Campanulate, tube swollen, slightly oblique, two-lipped, five-lobed, the two lobes above smaller than the three below, imbricate in bud; limb spreading, undulate, when fully expanded is an inch and a half wide and nearly two inches long, white, marked on the inner surface with two rows of yellow blotches and in the throat on the lower lobes with purple spots.

*Stamens: Two, rarely four, inserted near the base of the corolla, introrse, slightly exserted; anthers oblong, two-celled, opening longitudinally; filaments flattened, thread-like. Sterile filaments three, inserted near base of corolla, often rudimentary.

*Pistil: Ovary superior, two-celled; style long, thread-like, with a two-lipped stigma. Ovules numerous.

*Fruit: Long slender capsule, nearly cylindrical, two-celled, partition at right angles to the valves. Six to twenty inches long, brown; hangs on the tree all winter, splitting before it falls. Seeds an inch long, one-fourth of an inch wide, silvery gray, winged on each side and ends of wings fringed

Cultivation:
Prefers a good moist loamy soil and a sunny position that is not exposed. Tolerates heavy clay soils. Very resistant to atmospheric pollution[188]. Plants become chlorotic on shallow alkaline soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, probably more in continental climates, they grow best in areas with hot summers. Protect plants from late frosts when they are young. A very ornamental plant, it is fast-growing in the wild where it often flowers when only 6 – 8 years old. The sweetly-scented flowers are borne in forked panicles at the end of branches. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. The trees transplant easily. The crushed foliage has an unpleasant smell. Another report says that the leaves are attractively scented when bruised. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown outdoors, or in a cold frame, as soon as it is ripe. Stratify stored seed for 3 weeks at 1°c and sow in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings, 10cm long, in a frame. They should be taken in late spring to early summer before the leaves are fully developed. Root cuttings in winter

Medicinal Uses:
Antidote; Antiseptic; Cardiac; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Sedative; Vermifuge.

A tea made from the bark has been used as an antiseptic, antidote to snake bites, laxative, sedative and vermifuge. As well as having a sedative effect, the plant also has a mild narcotic action, though it never causes a dazed condition. It has therefore been used with advantage in preparations with other herbs for the treatment of whooping cough in children, it is also used to treat asthma and spasmodic coughs in children. The bark has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria. The leaves are used as a poultice on wounds and abrasions. A tea made from the seeds is used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis and is applied externally to wounds. The pods are sedative and are thought to have cardioactive properties. Distilled water made from the pods, mixed with eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) and rue (Ruta graveolens) is a valuable eye lotion in the treatment of trachoma and conjunctivitis.

Other Uses:
Wood.
A fast-growing tree with an extensive root system, it has been planted on land that is subject to landslips or erosion in order to stabilize the soil. Wood – coarse and straight-grained, soft, not strong, moderately high in shock resistance, very durable in the soil. It weighs about 28lb per cubic foot. It is highly valued for posts and fencing rails, and is also used for interior finishes, cabinet work etc.

Scented Plants:
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a sweet perfume.
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has an unpleasant smell. Another report says that the bruised leaves have an attractive aroma.

Known Hazards: The roots are highly poisonous

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Catalpa+bignonioides

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Catalpa+bignonioides

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/cabi.html

http://woodyplants.nres.uiuc.edu/plant/catbi70

http://www.plantcare.com/encyclopedia/catalpa-2150.aspx

http://www.vilmorin-tree-seeds.com/seeds/broadleaved-trees/entry-12923-catalpa-bignonioides.html

http://www.rarewoodsandveneers.com/images/productimages/rarewood/Catalpa%20bignonioides,%20Southern%20Catalpa.jpg

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Petasites palmatus

Botanical Name :Petasites palmatus
Family : Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus : Petasites Mill. – butterbur
Species : Petasites frigidus (L.) Fr. – arctic sweet coltsfoot
Variety : Petasites frigidus (L.) Fr. var. palmatus (Aiton) Cronquist – arctic sweet coltsfoot
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision : Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division:  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class : Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass:  Asteridae
Order : Asterales

Common Names :Sweet Butterbur ,Western Coltsfoot,Sweet Coltsfoot

Habitat :Petasites palmatus is native to  N. America – Newfoundland to Massachusetts, west to Alaska and south to California. It grows in Low woods, glades and damp clearings. Swamps and along the sides of streams.

Description:
Petasites palmatus is a deciduous  perennial plant growing to 1′h x 3′w   at a fast rate. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.


Leaves – round to heart- or kidney-shaped at stem base. 5 – 20 cm wide, deeply divided (more than halfway to centre), into 5 to 7 toothed lobes, green, essentially hairless above, thinly white-woolly below; stem leaves reduced to alternate bracts.

Flowers – in clusters of several to many white, 8 – 12 mm wide heads on glandular, often white-woolly stalks, mostly female or mostly male; ray flowers creamy white; disc flowers whitish to pinkish; involucres 7 – 16 mm high, bracts lance-shaped, hairy at base.; appearing early-summer.

Fruit – hairless, linear achenes, about 2 mm long, 5 to 10 ribs; pappus soft, white; appearingmid-summer.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, but prefers a deep fertile humus-rich soil that is permanently moist but not stagnant, succeeding in shade, semi-shade or full sun. Requires a moist shady position. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very invasive plant, too rampant for anything other than the wild garden. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:   
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or in early spring. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division succeeds at almost any time of the year. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses   :
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Salt.

Young flower stalks, used before the flower buds appear, are boiled until tender and seasoned with salt[172, 177, 183]. Flower buds – cooked[183]. Leafstalks – peeled and eaten raw[105, 177, 183, 257]. The ash of the plant is used as a salt substitute[46, 61, 95, 102, 183]. To prepare the salt, the stems and leaves are rolled up into balls whilst still green, and after being carefully dried they are placed on top of a very small fire on a rock and burned[213].

Medicinal Uses:

Pectoral;  Salve;  TB.

The roots have been used in treating the first stages of grippe and consumption. The dried and grated roots have been applied as a dressing on boils, swellings and running sores. An infusion of the crushed roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes. A syrup for treating coughs and lung complaints has been made from the roots of this species combined with mullein(Verbascum sp.) and plum root (Prunus sp.).

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Petasites+palmatus

http://www.borealforest.org/herbs/herb27.htm

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=pefrp

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Mirabilis multiflora

Botanical Name : Mirabilis multiflora
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Genus: Mirabilis
Species: M. multiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common name : Colorado four o’clock

Habitat ;Mirabilis multiflora is native to the southwestern United States from California to Colorado and Texas, as well as far northern Mexico, where it grows in mostly dry habitat types in a number of regions. Habitat ;Mirabilis multiflora is native to the southwestern United States from California to Colorado and Texas, as well as far northern Mexico, where it grows in mostly dry habitat types in a number of regions. Semi-desert, foothills. Roadsides, open canyons. Late spring, summer, fall.

Description:
Mirabilis multiflora is a perennial herb growing upright to about 80 centimeters in maximum height. The leaves are oppositely arranged on the spreading stem branches. Each fleshy leaf has an oval or rounded blade up to 12 centimeters long and is hairless or sparsely hairy. The flowers occur in leaf axils on the upper branches. Usually six flowers bloom in a bell-shaped involucre of five partly fused bracts. Each five-lobed, funnel-shaped flower is 4 to 6 centimeters wide and magenta in color.


It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
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 can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Requires a fertile well-drained soil in full sun or part-day shade. Plants flower in their first year from seed and, although they are not very hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -10°c when in a suitable situation, they can either be grown as half-hardy annuals or the tubers can be harvested in the autumn and stored overwinter in a cool frost-free place in much the same manner as dahlias. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed remains viable for several years. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth.

Edible Uses:
The dried root can be ground into a powder, mixed with cereal flours and used to make a bread[257]. This bread is eaten to reduce the appetite[257].

Medicinal Uses:

Hallucinogenic; Poultice; Stomachic.

The root is used in the treatment of stomach complaints. A pinch of the powdered root is said to relieve hunger, it can also be used after overeating to relieve the discomfort. A poultice of the powdered root can be applied to swellings. Large quantities of the root are said to cause intoxication. The root was chewed by native North American Medicine men to induce visions whilst making a diagnosis.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Mirabilis+multiflora

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirabilis_multiflora

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Cola acuminata

Botanical Name : Cola acuminata
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Cola
Species: C. acuminata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names :Local name:
Cola is called differently by different tribes:

Tribe Ewondo call it Abeu and tribe Boulou call it Abel

Habitat :Cola acuminata is native to Democratic Republic of Congo.Grows in the forest areas.

Description:
Cola acuminata is an evergreen tree of about 20 meters in height. Its germination can reach 2 to 3 months at a fast rate, and has long and ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends that have a leathery texture. The trees have yellow flowers with purple spots, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the cola. This tree reaches 25 meters in height and is propagated through seeds. C. nitida and C. acuminata can easily be interchanged with other Cola species.

 

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Cultivation:
Originally a tree of tropical rainforest, it needs a hot humid climate but can withstand a dry season on sites with a high ground water level. It may be cultivated in drier areas where ground water is available. C. nitida is a shade bearer but develops a better spreading crown which yields more fruits in open places. Though it is a lowland forest tree it has been found at altitudes over 300 m on deep rich soils under heavy and evenly distributed rainfall.

Regular weeding is a must and this can either be done manually or by using herbicides. Some irrigation can be provided to the plants, but it is important to remove the water through an effective drainage system as excess water may prove to be detrimental for the growth of the plant. When not grown in adequate shade, the kola nut plant responds well to fertilizers. Usually, the plants need to be provided with windbreaks to protect them from strong gales.

Harvesting and storage: Kola nuts can be harvested by hand, by plucking it at the tree branch. Like in western countries and other countries of the world, it has been harvested by the use of harvesters. When kept in a cold and dry place, Kola nut can be stored for a long time.

Propagation: Usually by seed, although cuttings are sometimes used. Trees will bear in 7-10 years from seed.

Chemical constituents of kola nut:
*caffeine (2–3.5%)
*theobromine (1.0–2.5%)
*theophylline
*phenolics
*phlobaphens (kola red)
*epicatechin
*D-catechin
*tannic acid
*sugar
*cellulose
*water

Medicinal Uses:
Kola nut stimulates the central nervous system and the body as a whole.  It increases alertness and muscular strength, counters lethargy, and has been used extensively both in western African and Anglo-American herbal medicine as an antidepressant, particularly during recovery from chronic illness.  Like coffee, kola is used to treat headaches and migraine.  It is diuretic and astringent and may be taken for diarrhea and dysentery.  It will aid in states of depression and may in some people give rise to euphoric states.  Through the stimulation it will be a valuable part of the treatment for anorexia.  It can be viewed as specific in cases of depression associated with weakness and debility.

Other Uses:
In addition to its medicinal value, Cola plays a significant social role in Cameroon. Among Moslems from the north, Cola is sacred. In other communities, in particular the Bamiléké, Cola is a sign of love and friendship. Furthermore, Cola is consumed in ceremonies in particular dowry ceremonies, ‘tontines’, funerals, wake-keepings, etc. Some people consume Cola to reduce tiredness, hunger and to stay awake. Others consume it for its stimulant effect. Cola from the north is also used to tint clothing. Cola is also used in breweries (Nkongmeneck, 1985).

Kola nuts are perhaps best known to Western culture as a flavouring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavoured beverages, although the use of kola (or kola flavoring) in commercial cola drinks has become uncommon. However, recently the use of Kola nut has been reintroduced, most notably in Whole Foods Market 365 Cola  as part of their trend to use natural rather than artificial ingredients. It is also used in Barr’s Red Kola, Red Bull’s new Simply Cola, Harboe Original Taste Cola, Foxon Park Kola, Blue Sky Organic Cola, Sprecher’s Puma Kola, Virgil’s Real Cola, Hansen’s Natural Original Cola, and Cricket Cola, and formerly in Royal Crown Premium. In Barbados the Kola nut is made into a sweet drink known as Clayton’s Kola Tonic.

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/Cola_acuminata

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_nut

http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/factsheet/Cola_eng.pdf

http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/cola_nut.htm

http://www.britannica.hk/botany/kola-nut-369346.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Acacia cornigera

Botanical Name : Acacia cornigera
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Acacia
Species: A. cornigera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names :Bullhorn Acacia ,Cockspur ,Bullhorn wattle

Habitat : Acacia cornigera is  native to Mexico and Central America.

Description:
The common name of “bullhorn” refers to the enlarged, hollowed-out, swollen thorns (technically called stipular spines) that occur in pairs at the base of leaves, and resemble the horns of a steer. In Yucatán (one region where the bullhorn acacia thrives) it is called “subín”, in Panamá the locals call them “cachito” (little horn). The tree grows to a height of 10 metres (33 ft).

You may click to see the pictures of Acacia cornigera

Bullhorn Acacia is best known for its symbiotic relationship with a species of Pseudomyrmex ant (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) that lives in its hollowed-out thorns. Unlike other acacias, Bullhorn acacias are deficient in the bitter alkaloids usually located in the leaves that defend against ravaging insects and animals. Bullhorn acacia ants fulfill that role.

The ants act as a defense mechanism for the tree, protecting it against harmful insects, animals or humans that may come into contact with it. The ants live in the hollowed-out thorns for which the tree is named. In return, the tree supplies the ants with protein-lipid nodules called Beltian bodies from its leaflet tips and carbohydrate-rich nectar from glands on its leaf stalk. These Beltian bodies have no known function other than to provide food for the symbiotic ants. The aggressive ants release an alarm pheromone and rush out of their thorn “barracks” in great numbers.

According to Daniel Janzen, livestock can apparently smell the pheromone and avoid these acacias day and night.[2] Getting stung in the mouth and tongue is an effective deterrent to browsing on the tender foliage. In addition to protecting A. conigera from leaf-cutting ants and other unwanted herbivores, the ants also clear away invasive seedlings around the base of the tree that might overgrow it and block out vital sunlight.

Medicinal Uses:
Root and bark are used in snakebite remedy.  Bushmasters instruct that the snakebite victim should cut a piece of the bark equal to his forearm and chew this, swallowing the juices, and applying the leftover fibers as a poultice to the bite; the victim can then start walking home while chewing on the root and swallowing the juice.  The poultice is said to delay reaction time to the toxin, adding 6-8 hours of time to allow victim to get help. It has been used as traditional medicine for relief of mucous congestion for infants. Babies are given water containing the ants (once they’ve been squeezed and strained). Acne and other skin conditions can be bathed with water in which the thorns have been boiled.  For male impotency, boil a 2.5 x 15 cm strip of bark in 3 cups water for 10 minutes and take 1 cup before meals for 7 days.  If results are slow, double the strength of the tea for 3 more days.  For infantile catarrh, catch 9 of the small black ants that inhabit the thorns (they protect the tree from attack from harmful insects); squeeze these into ½ cup boiled water, strain and give to infant by teaspoon until consumed.  For onset of asthma attacks, cough, and lung congestion, boil 9 thorns (including their ants) in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes.  Said to be useful also for treatment of poisoning and headaches.

Other Uses:
The thorns of A. cornigera, are often strung into unusual necklaces and belts. In El Salvador the horn-shaped thorns provide the legs for small ballerina seed dolls which are worn as decorative pins.

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/Acacia_cornigera

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://www.vlbanting.com/costaricageneralscenes.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Acacia_cornigera_2.jpg

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Celosia argentea

Botanical Name : Celosia argentea cristata
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Celosia
Species: C. argentea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Celosia cristata – L.

Common Names:Plumed cockscomb,Common Cockscomb

Habitat :Celosia argentea is native to most tropical countries of the world.  It grows in  Open moist places to elevations of 1600 metres in Nepal

Description:
Celosia argentea  is a tender annual that is often grown in gardens. It is propagated by seeds. The seeds are extremely small, up to 43,000 seeds per ounce.

The Century cultivars are usually taller (1–2 feet), and are bright red, yellow, orange, or pink. The Kimono cultivars are generally smaller (4 inches – 1 foot), and have more muted colors, though similar to the Century cultivars. Other colors, such as white, burgundy, orange-red, etc., can be found. Certain varieties will grow to 3–4 feet in height.

It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
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 :
Requires a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position. Widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, especially in S. Europe. It is often used in summer bedding schemes. There are many named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early to mid spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. consider giving them some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away strongly.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves and young shoots – cooked. Used as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Astringent; Haemostatic; Hypotensive; Ophthalmic; Parasiticide.

The flower and seed is astringent, haemostatic, ophthalmic, parasiticide and poultice. It is used in the treatment of bloody stool, haemorrhoid bleeding, uterine bleeding, leucorrhoea and diarrhoea. As a parasiticide it is very effective against Trichomonas, a 20% extract can cause the Trichomonas to disappear in 15 minutes. The seed is hypotensive and ophthalmic. It is used in the treatment of bloodshot eyes, blurring of vision, cataracts and hypertension, but should not be used by people with glaucoma because it dilates the pupils. The seed also has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Pseudomonas.

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/Celosia_argentea

http://www.visoflora.com/images/original/celosia-argentea-cristata-visoflora-3257.jpg

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Celosia+argentea+cristata

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Celosia_argentea_cristata01_ies.jpg

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Dactylis glomerata

Botanical Name :Dactylis glomerata
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Dactylis
Species: D. glomerata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names :Cock’s-foot or orchard grass

Habitat :  Dactylis glomerat is native to Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.

Dactylis glomerata occurs from sea level in the north of its range, to as high as 4,000 m altitude in the south of its range in Pakistan. It is widely used for hay and as a forage grass.

It is a principle species in the UK National Vegetation Classification habitat community the very widespread MG1 (Arrhenatherum elatius grassland), and thus can be found where Arrhenatherum elatius, (also known as False Oat grass), occurs.

It has been introduced into North America, New Zealand and Australia, and is now widely naturalised. In some areas, it has become an invasive species. Other names include cocksfoot, cocksfoot grass, and (in cultivation in the USA) orchard grass.

It can be found in meadows, pasture, roadsides, and rough grassland.

Description:
Dactylis glomerata is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).with grey-green leaves 20–50 cm long and up to 1.5 cm broad, and a distinctive tufted triangular flowerhead 10–15 cm long, which may be either green or red- to purple-tinged (usually green in shade, redder in full sun), turning pale grey-brown at seed maturity. The spikelets are 5–9 mm long, typically containing two to five flowers. It has a characteristic flattened stem base which distinguishes it from many other grasses.

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It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:   
Succeeds in most good soils and also under the shade of trees. Prefers a light well-drained soil, it does not thrive on heavy or poorly drained soils. Plants tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 31 to 176cm, an annual temperature range of 4.3 to 23.8°C and a pH in the range of 4.5 to 8.2. The plant is adapted to humid temperate climates. It grows on almost any type of soil, but thrives best on heavier types, such as clays and clay loams. A drought-resistant plant, it will withstand high temperatures. Prefers areas with 480-750 mm annual rainfall, but will produce on rather poor dry soils. Plants are hardy in all parts of Britain, though they are less winter-hardy than Phleum pratense or Bromus inermis and do not extend as far north in Europe. A very variable plant. There are both diploid and triploid forms. Numerous strains have been developed, some coarse and stemmy, others good for hay and early grazing. Local ecotypes in the Mediterranean region are adapted to long hot dry summers. In Europe two types have been developed, one for pasture and one for hay. Pasture types produce more basal leaves and generally are more spreading than the hay types. Selections made in Canada, Sweden and Finland are improved for winter hardiness. Improved strains are more leafy, persistent and later flowering than unimproved commercial types. An important food plant for the caterpillars of several lepidoptera species. The plant is occasionally grown for lawns and is particularly well adapted for growing under shade. However, this species does not make a good lawn grass because it is too coarse.

Propagation:  
Seed – surface sow in a cold frame in the spring and do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination should take place within three weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. There is between 725,000 and 1,450,000 seeds per kilo. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ in the spring. Division in spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Miscellany.

Reported to be oestrogenic. the plant is a folk remedy for treating tumours, kidney and bladder ailments

Other Uses  
Miscellany;  Soil stabilization.

Plants form impenetrably dense clumps and when planted close together in drifts make an excellent ground cover. Having a deep root system, the plant is also useful for checking soil erosion. The plant can be grown for biomass, annual productivity ranges from 2 to 37 tonnes per hectare. If soil fertility is low, a large portion of the total production occurs in the spring, but if the soil is highly fertile, production is well distributed throughout the growing season.

Cock’s-foot is sold in small containers at a height to about 10-15 cm labelled as “cat grass” for indoor cats to eat.

Cock’s-foot is widely used as a hay grass and for pastures because of its high yields and sugar content, sweeter than most other temperate grasses. In dry areas such as much of Australia, Mediterranean subspecies such as subsp. hispanica are preferred for their greater drought tolerance. It requires careful grazing management – if it is undergrazed it becomes course and unpalatable.

 Known Hazards:   This plant is an important cause of hayfever.

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/Dactylis_glomerata

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dactylis+glomerata

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://www.british-wild-flowers.co.uk/D-Flowers/Dactylis%20glomerata.htm

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Guarea rusbyi

Botanical Name : Guarea rusbyi
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Guarea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonym : Guarea guidonia (L.) Sleumer

Common Name :Cocillana
Other Names: Grape Bark, Guapi, Guarea guara, Guarea guidonia, Guarea spiciflora, Guarea trichilioides, Sycocarpus rusbyi, Trompillo, Upas.

Habitat : Guarea rusbyi is native to tropical Africa and Central and South America.This plant  prefers Wet soil a pH of 7 . All plants need light to allow the photosynthesis process of converting carbon dioxide to growth sugars to take place. Some plants need more sun-light than others. For this plant those sunlight conditions are well described as … Full sun

Description:
Guarea rusbyi is a large tree 20-45 m tall, with a trunk over 1 m trunk diameter, often buttressed at the base. The leaves are pinnate, with 4-6 pairs of leaflets, the terminal leaflet present. The flowers are produced in loose inflorescences, each flower small, with 4-5 yellowish petals. The fruit is a four or five-valved capsule, containing several seeds, each surrounded by a yellow-orange fleshy aril; the seeds are dispersed by hornbills and monkeys which eat the fleshy aril.

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Medicinal Uses:
Patrs used: The bark

Constituents:
An alkaloid- rusbyine. Glycoside. Resins. Volatile oil- 2.5%. Tannins.. Fixed oil. Flavonols. Anthraquinones.
G. cedrata and G. thompsonii contains limonoids, such as dreagenin and methyl 6-acetoxyangolensate. Also sesquiterpenes and glycerides.

G. glabra has pentacarbocylic triperpenoids, including glabretal.

Used widely in cough syrups in a similar way to Ipecacuanha.

Some people apply cocillana root bark directly to the skin for skin tumors.

RESEARCH
G. guidonia- from Brazil has demonstated anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and is used for that purpose.
(BHP1983,PNC).

Other Uses:
The timber is important; the African species are known as Bossé, Guarea, or Pink Mahogany, and the South American species as Cramantee or American Muskwood. It is said to possibly cause hallucinations if ingested.

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/Guarea

http://www.innerpath.com.au/matmed/herbs/Guarea_rusbyi.html

http://www.plant-supplies.com/plants/guarearusbyi.htm

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-408-COCILLANA.aspx?activeIngredientId=408&activeIngredientName=COCILLANA

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Erysimum capitatum

Botanical Name : Erysimum capitatum
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Erysimum
Species: E. capitatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Cheiranthus capitatus – Douglas,Erysimum asperum – (Nutt.)DC.

Common Names :Coastal Wallflower, Sanddune wallflower, western wallflower, or prairie rocket

Habitat: Erysimum capitatum is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to Indiana, south to Texas and California. It is  found in many habitats from southern British Columbia to California at 750 – 3600 metres. Open dry flats and hillsides, from the lowest valleys to about 3,000 metres in the mountains

Description:
Erysimum capitatum is Biennial/Perennial growing to 0.6m.It is a mustard-like plant with thin, erect stems growing from a basal rosette and topped with dense bunches of variably colored flowers.It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Theys are most typically bright golden, yellow, tangerine-colored, but plants in some populations may have red, white or purple flowers. Each flower has four flat petals. Seed pods are nearly-parallel to the stem. Although quite variable in appearance, it is an attractive garden plant.

It is hardy to zone 6. There are several natural variants of this plant. Each is treated separately, with certain variants considered endangered species in some areas. For example Erysimum capitatum var angustatum, the Contra Costa wallflower, is an endangered plant in the state of California.

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

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Dislikes acid soils. Tolerates poor soils. Grows well on a sunny wall and is indeed longer lived in such a position. A polymorphic species, it is possibly a form of E. asperum.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination usually takes place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Odontalgic; Poultice; Skin.

A preventative against sun burn, the plant was ground up then mixed with water and applied to the skin. It relieves the pain caused by overexposure to heat.  A poultice of the whole pounded plant has been applied to open fresh wounds and rheumatic joints. An infusion of the whole plant has been used as a wash on aching muscles.  The crushed leaves have been sniffed as a treatment for headaches.  A poultice of the warmed root has been applied to treat the pain of toothache.  An infusion of the crushed seed has been drunk and used externally in the treatment of stomach or bowel cramps. For chest pains or pneumonia, as a tea; or powdered, mixed with Osha and water and applied to the chest as a poultice.  It is sometimes used as a preventative in households where some members have coughs; for chills from exposure to cold weather; and at the onset of cold symptoms

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/Erysimum_capitatum

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Erysimum+capitatum

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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