Monthly Archives: September 2012

Oenanthe javanica

Botanical Name : Oenanthe javanica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Oenanthe
Species: O. javanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms :Oenanthe stolonifera – Wallich ex DC.,Sium javanicum – Blume.

Common Name : Rau Can,Japanese parsley or Chinese celery

Habitat ;Oenanthe javanica is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea to Australia. It  grows in ditches, ponds and wet places in lowland areas all over Japan. Marshlands, lakeshores, muddy stream banks and shallow water at elevations of 600 – 3000 metres in most parts of China.

Description:
Oenanthe javanica is a perennial herb, growing to 1m.It is erect to decumbent, c. 1 m tall, glabrous. Stem stoloniferous, rooting at the nodes; roots fibrous. Upper leaves ternate; lower pinnate; leaflets oval to ovate; margin serrate. Umbels leaf opposed. Rays 10-20, stout. Calyx teeth dis¬tinct, linear, persistent. Pedicels 2-4 times longer than the flowers. Stylopodium conical, surrounded by the calyx teeth; styles 2 mm long. Fruit oblong, c. 2 mm long, 1 mm broad; dorsal and intermediate ridges obtuse, not prominent, lateral corky.

You may click to see pictures  of Oenanthe javanica

It is hardy to zone 10. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation:
Requires a wet fertile soil or shallow water and a sunny position. This plant is quite possibly not hardy in Britain, gives a hardiness zone of 10, which means that it is not frost tolerant. However  say that it grows in all areas of China and lowland Japan and this should include areas that do experience frosts and snow. Another report says that many forms of this species are not frost-hardy, though some forms have hardy roots. The sub-species O. javanica rosthornii is found at elevations up to 4000 metres in China and is sometimes also found in drier habitats such as grassland at forest margins – this form should be hardier than the species. There is also a lot of confusion over the correct name for this species. Some reports give O. stolonifera. DC. or O. stolonifera. Wall as the correct name whilst other reports say that these names are synonyms of O. javanica.  says that O. stolonifera japonica. (Miq.)Maxim. is a synonym of O. javanica. The Flora of China treats this as a highly variable single species under the name O. javanica and recognizes at least one sub-species. This species is occasionally cultivated for its edible root or for its edible leaves according to another report, there are some named varieties. There are two main forms of this species, a red form has edible shoots whilst a white form is grown for its medicinal root. In Japan this plant and six other herbs are customarily boiled in rice gruel on January 7th. The cultivar ‘Su Zhou’ is medium early and has few fibres plus an excellent taste.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is erratic. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Large 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. Layering[200]. Stem tip cuttings. Any part of the stem roots easily

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed.

Young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. The leaves are also used as a seasoning in soups etc. The flavour is reminiscent of carrots or parsley. The young shoots that sprout from the root in winter are best. A major vegetable in many parts of the Orient, the leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals (Analysis available). Root – cooked. Highly esteemed in Japan, the roots can grow up to 30cm long in water. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Seed is said to be edible.

Chemical Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Leaves (Dry weight)
298 Calories per 100g
*Water: 0%

*Protein: 19.9g; Fat: 3.2g; Carbohydrate: 62.8g; Fibre: 12.8g; Ash: 14.9g;

*Minerals – Calcium: 1202mg; Phosphorus: 585mg; Iron: 32mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 192mg; Potassium: 4713mg; Zinc: 0mg;

*Vitamins – A: 24mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.64mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2.34mg; Niacin: 10.6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 149mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Depurative; Febrifuge; Styptic.

The whole plant is depurative, febrifuge and styptic. A decoction is used in the treatment of epidemic influenza, fever and discomfort, jaundice, haematuria and metrorrhagia. The seed contains 3.5% essential oil. This is effective at large dilutions against pathogenic fungi.

A decoction of the whole plant is used in the treatment of epidemic influenza, fever and discomfort, jaundice, haematuria and metrorrhagia.   The seed contains 3.5% essential oil. This is effective at large dilutions against pathogenic fungi.

Other Uses:
Essential; Ground cover.

Spreading rapidly by means of suckers, it makes a good ground cover plant for wet situations. The variegated cultivar ‘Flamingo’ has been especially recommended.

Scented Plants

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Oenanthe+javanica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oenanthe_javanica
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=200015685
http://web.telecom.cz/atzhoranek/kat1/oenanthe_javanica_flamingo.htm
http://www.victoria-adventure.org/aquatic_plants/craig2/oenanthe_javanica.html

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Papaver bracteatum

Botanical Name : Papaver bracteatum
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. bracteatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Synonyms: Papaver orientale

Common Name :Iranian poppy

Habitat : Papaver bracteatum is native to W. Asia – Armenia, N.E. Iran, Turkey. It grows in meadows, usually in sub-alpine zones, but also on stony slopes in the lower mountain zone.

Description:
Papaver bracteatum is a sturdy perennial poppy with large deep red flowers up to 8 inches (20 cm) across on stiff stalks up to 4 feet (1.22 metres) high with a prominent black spot near the base of the petals. It is related to the commonly cultivated oriental poppy, Papaver orientale.

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Non-horticultural use of this species is for the production of thebaine, which is commercially converted to codeine and semi-synthetic opiates. Papaver bracteatum does not contain morphine or codeine and no other narcotic alkaloids in significant amounts. Oripavine was reported in minute traces but would not exert a relevant activity.

It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Succeeds in an ordinary good soil and in dry soils, tolerating drought when established. Plants prefer a deep soil that is poor and dry rather than rich, they dislike moist conditions. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. A deep-rooting and almost indestructible plant, every scrap of the running root system that is left in the ground can grow into a new plant. There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. A good bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow June in an outdoor seedbed. Plant into permanent positions in September. Seed can also be sown in spring and may then flower in late summer. Division in March or October with care. Another report suggests that division is very simple. 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. Root cuttings 10cm long, November/December in a cold frame.

Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The young seed heads are used as a condiment, they are hot and acrid. Some caution is advised, see the notes  below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Diaphoretic.
The petals are sudorific.The roots are used medicinally.  Their constituents include thebaine.  It is possible to derive codeine and other pain-killing substances from thebaine.  Unlike opium alkaloids, thebaine does not have additive narcotic properties, it cannot be used directly and it thus poses no dancer of drug addiction: morphine, the precursor of the addictive-drug heroin, can be obtained only with great difficulty from it.  For pharmaceutical purposes, therefore, there may be considerable social and economic benefits in introducing this poppy into cultivation in place of Opium Poppy.  Crop scientists have discovered that Iranian Poppy can provide up to 37 kg of codeine per hectare compared with Opium Poppy’s much lower yield of 3 kg per hectare.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been found for this plant, many species in this genus are toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaver_bracteatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Papaver+orientale
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

http://www.interq.or.jp/www1/chungush/flower/kesi.htm

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Papaver somniferum

Botanical Name : Papaver somniferum
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. somniferum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Common Name:Poppy

Habitat :Papaver somniferum is native to Europe to Asia, though the original habitat is obscure. A rare casual in Britain.
It grows  in a truly wild situation.

Description:
Papaver somniferum is an annual plant  growing to 0.6m by 0.2m. It has many sub-species or varieties and cultivars. Colors of the flower vary widely, as do other physical characteristics such as number and shape of petals, number of flowers and fruits, number of seeds, color of seeds, production of opium, etc.

click to see the pictures..>..(01).....(1).……..(2).……...(3).…..(4)...…(5).…….

Papaver somniferum Paeoniflorum Group (sometimes called Papaver paeoniflorum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double, and are grown in many colors. Papaver somniferum Laciniatum Group (sometimes called Papaver laciniatum) is a sub-type of opium poppy whose flowers are highly double and deeply lobed, to the point of looking like a ruffly pompon.

A few of the varieties, notably the Norman and Przemko varieties, have low morphine content (less than one percent), much higher concentrations of other alkaloids. Most varieties, however, including those most popular for ornamental use or seed production, have a higher morphine content, with the average content being 10%

The opium poppy is the principal source of most naturally occurring ?-opioid receptor agonist opioids. The opium poppy is, by definition, the root source of all opioids considered opiates. Opiates are extracted from opium and poppy straw. Opium (also called “raw opium”) is the latex harvested by making incisions on the green capsules (seed pods). Poppy straw is the dried mature plant except the seeds, harvested by mowing.

From opium and poppy straw, alkaloids are extracted such as morphine, thebaine, codeine and oripavine. Morphine is the predominant alkaloid found in the varieties of opium poppy plant cultivated in most producing countries

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

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:
Prefers a rich well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Requires a moist soil but does not do well on wet clays. Prefers a sandy loam or a chalky soil. Plants often self-sow in British gardens. The opium poppy is a very ornamental plant that is often cultivated in the flower garden. There are many named varieties, some of which have been developed for their edible uses. The plant is widely grown, often illegally, in warm temperate and tropical climates for the substances contained in its sap. These are often used medicinally as pain killers, especially in the treatment of terminally ill patients suffering extreme pain, they are also used for their narcotic effects by some people. These substances are highly addictive and lead to a shortening of the life span if used with any frequency. In cool temperate zones the plant does not produce sufficient of the narcotic principles to make their extraction feasible and cultivation of the plant is perfectly legal in Britain. Plants have ripened their seeds as far north as latitude 69°n in Norway. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Seed – raw or cooked. Much used as a flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads etc, it imparts a very nice nutty flavour. The crushed and sweetened seeds are used as a filling in crepes, strudels, pastries etc. Highly nutritious, the seed contains about 22.7% protein, 48% fat, 9.8% carbohydrate, 7.1% ash. It is also a good source of lecithin. The seeds are rather small, but there are large numbers of them contained in capsules 3cm or more in diameter and so they are easy to harvest and utilize. The seeds are perfectly safe to eat, containing very little if any of the narcotic principles. However, although the seeds contain no narcotic alkaloids, analysis of the urine following their ingestion may produce similar results to the analysis of the urine of morphine or heroin addicts. Edible young leaves – raw or cooked. They must be used before the flower buds have formed. In some countries they are eaten at the seedling stage. One report says that the leaves do not contain any narcotic principles. Some caution is advised, see notes at top of the page. A high quality edible drying oil is obtained from the seed. It has an almond flavour and makes a good substitute for olive oil.

Chemical composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Seed (Fresh weight)
*533 Calories per 100g

*Water: 6.8%

*Protein: 18g; Fat: 44.7g; Carbohydrate: 23.7g; Fibre: 6.3g; Ash: 6.8g;

*Minerals – Calcium: 1448mg; Phosphorus: 848mg; Iron: 9.4mg; Magnesium: 2.3mg; Sodium: 21mg; Potassium: 700mg; Zinc: 0mg;

*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.95mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.17mg; Niacin: 0.98mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Astringent; Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Hypnotic; Narcotic; Sedative.

The opium poppy contains a wide range of alkaloids and has been a very valuable medicine, especially useful in bringing relief from pain. Its use (especially of the extracted alkaloids opium and morphine which it contains) can become addictive, however, and so it should be treated with extreme caution and only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The dried juice (latex) from the unripe green seed vessels is a rich source of the active alkaloids, including morphine, . It is extracted by making shallow incisions in the capsules as soon as the petals have fallen. Care must be taken that the incisions do not penetrate to the interior of the seed capsules. The latex exudes from the capsules and dries in contact with the air – it is then scraped off. This latex is anodyne, antitussive, astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative. As well as its pain-relieving properties, the latex has also been used as an antispasmodic and expectorant in treating certain kinds of coughs, whilst its astringent properties make it useful in the treatment of dysentery etc. A homeopathic remedy is made from the dried latex. This is used in the treatment of a variety of complaints, including constipation, fevers and insomnia.

In folk medicine poppy heads were used in poultices to cure earache and toothache and a remedy for facial neuralgia was to lay the warmed leaves on the skin.  Medieval doctors pounded the seeds with those of sea holly and mixed them with wine to make a lotion for washing the ears, eyes and nostrils of those suffering from insomnia.  Another cure was to mingle the juice with milk and other agents and make them into sleeping pills.  An infusion made from the powdered capsules of poppy was once applied externally to sprains and bruises and a poppy flower poultice applied to excessive redness of the skin.  A flower compress reduced inflammation and helped watering eyes and also helped to banish dark circles around the eyes.  Morphine, heroin, codeine and papaverine are all derived from the milk juice of the opium poppy.  One poppy product, laudanum, an addictive tincture of opium, was a universal cure-all, widely prescribed by doctors in the 19th century-its abuse celebrated by De Quincey, Coleridge and Baudelaire, among others. It was frequently administered to relieve pain and calm excitement, and was also used in bad cases of diarrhea and dysentery.  It has both hypnotic and sedative effects.  Opium tincture and extract may be used internally to treat depression.
TCM:  Contains the leakage of Lung qi: for chronic coughs; binds up the intestines: for chronic diarrhea and dysenteric disorders; Stabilizes the lower burner: for polyuria, spermatorrhea or vaginal discharge; Alleviates pain: for any kind of pain, especially that of the sinews, bones or epigastrium.

Pharmacological Effects: Morphine is a very strong analgesic; in fact, it is the standard by which all other analgesics are judged.  It raises the pain threshold and also reduces the pain reflex.  That is, even though the pain sensation is still perceived, it is no longer regarded as particularly uncomfortable.  Codeine has approximately 1/4 the analgesic effect of morphine.  Morphine and codeine are both hypnotics, but they induce only a light and restless sleep.  Morphine is a strong and highly selective respiratory depressant.  The dosage that acts in this manner is lower than an analgesic dosage.  Codeine’s effect on respiration is much weaker than that of morphine.  Also a strong cough suppressant.  Morphine causes peripheral vasodilation and histamine release, which can lead to orthostatic hypotension.  Morphine in very low doses causes constipation by increasing the resting tone and markedly decreasing propulsive contractions in the wall of the gut, while decreasing the secretion of digestive juices.  The constipating effect of opium is only really noticeable at the start of the treatment.  It soon diminishes and can if necessary be corrected with small doses of rhubarb or the like

Other Uses:
The seed yields 44 – 50% of an edible drying oil. Very good for lighting, it burns for longer than most oils. The oil is also used in paints, soap making etc.

Ornamental cultivation :
A red opium poppy flower used for ornamental purposes .Once known as the “common garden poppy”, live plants and seeds of the opium poppy are widely sold by seed companies and nurseries in most of the western world, including the United States. Poppies are sought after by gardeners for the vivid coloration of the blooms, the hardiness and reliability of the poppy plants, the exotic chocolate-vegetal fragrance note of some cultivars, and the ease of growing the plants from purchased flats of seedlings or by direct sowing of the seed. Poppy seed pods are also sold for dried flower arrangements.

click to see the picture

It has been suggested that, since “opium poppy and poppy straw” are listed in Schedule II of the United States’ Controlled Substances Act, a DEA license may be required to grow poppies in ornamental or display gardens. In fact the legal status of strictly ornamental poppy gardens is more nuanced, and destruction of ornamental poppy installations or prosecution of gardeners (except those caught extracting opium via capsule scarification or tea extraction) are virtually unheard of. During the early spring, opium poppies can be seen flowering in gardens throughout North America and Europe, and beautiful displays are found in many private planters, as well as in public botanical and museum gardens (e.g. United States Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden, North Carolina Botanical Garden, residential garden, Seattle, WA, and residential garden, Hartford, CT).

click to see

Many countries grow the plants, and some rely heavily on the commercial production of the drug as a major source of income. As an additional source of profit, the seeds of the same plants are sold for use in foods, so that cultivation of the plant is a significant source of income. This international trade in seeds of Papaver somniferum was addressed by a UN resolution “to fight the international trade in illicit opium poppy seeds” on 28 July

Known Hazards: This plant contains a number of very toxic compounds, many of which are extracted and used as pain killers etc in medicine. They are also used to make various highly addictive narcotic drugs. However, in the cooler climate of Britain these compounds are not formed in sufficient quantity to make their extraction worthwhile. There are no toxins in the seeds.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Papaver+somniferum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaver_somniferum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

http://www.chiangmai1.com/chiang_mai/sub/papaver.shtml

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/germ/Papa_som.html

Conopodium majus

Botanical Name : Conopodium majus
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Conopodium
Species: C. majus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Bunium flexuosum – Stokes, Conopodium denudatum – Koch.

Common Name ;Pignut, Hognut, and more indirectly Saint Anthony’s nut

Habitat ;Conopodium majus is native to Europe, including Britain, from Norway to Spain, east to Italy and Corsica. It grows in  Woods, hedgerows and fields. It is never found on alkaline soils

Description:
Conopodium majus is a small herbaceous perennial common in woods, grasslands, and hedgerows across Europe. It flowers from May to June producing white flowers in compound umbels and has finely divided leaves.It has a smooth, slender, curving stem, up to 1 m high, much-divided leaves, and small, white flowers in many-rayed terminal compound umbels.

The stem terminates in a single tuber up to 20cm below ground with thin fibrous roots growing across its surface (Hather 1993). This storage organ is edible with a nutty flavour similar to chestnut and available all year round.

 

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURE…...(01)....(1).…..(2)……..(3)..…....

It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

The rounded “nut” (inconsistently described by authorities as a tuber, corm, or root) is similar to a chestnut in its brown colour and its size (up to 25 mm in diameter), and its sweet, aromatic flavour has been compared to that of the chestnut, hazelnut, sweet potato, and Brazil nut. Palatable and nutritious, its eating qualities are widely praised, and it is popular among wild food foragers, but it remains a minor crop, due in part to its low yields and difficulty of harvest.

Cultivation:
Never found on alkaline soils in the wild. See the plants native habitat for other ideas on its cultivation needs. This species responds to cultivation by producing larger tubers. With careful selective breeding it is probably possible to produce a much more productive plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually quick and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out when in early summer. It is also possible to sow in situ, though this requires a lot more seed to produce the same amount of plants from a protected sowing. Division in late summer as the plant dies down.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.

Tubers – raw or cooked. A very pleasant food with a flavour somewhat between a sweet potato and hazelnuts, with a hot aftertaste of radish. We have never detected this hot aftertaste, and feel that the flavour is reminiscent of brazil nuts. There is only one tuber on each plant, this is rather small and difficult to harvest, but the size could probably be increased by cultivation.

Medicinal Uses
The powdered roots have been recommended as a cough remedy.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conopodium_majus
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Conopodium+majus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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Pontederia cordata

Botanical Name ; Pontederia cordata
Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Pontederia
Species: P. cordata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Commelinales

Common Name ;Pickerelweed (USA) or Pickerel weed (UK)

Habitat ;Pontederia cordata is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Florida andTexas. A garden escape occ naturalized in Britain.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Description:
Pontederia cordata is a perennial herb  growing to 0.75m by 0.45m.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The species grows as an emergent plant, that is, in flooded conditions, so the plant is generally dependent upon aerenchyma in the stem to carry oxygen into the roots. Its metabolism, is, however, also tolerant of low soil oxygen. It is often found in areas where water levels fluctuate naturally, with spring flooding and later summer emergence. Apart from flooding, the species is also influenced by soil fertility, tending to grow in the more fertile bays of large lakes, for example. Like many aquatic plants, it is negatively affected by salinity and grazing. It is also negatively affected by competition from other wetland plants. Like many wetland plants, it can survive infavorable conditions as buried seeds in the soil.

The plant flowers in late summer. The purple flowers have yellow markings which may assist in attracting bees for pollination.One bee species known to pollinate the flowers is Dufourea (Halictoides) novaeangliae. Once the plant begins to produce seeds, the stem supporting the infloresence bends to submerse the fruits and seeds. Seeds are dormant at the time of dispersal and will not germinate without stratification for 6-8 weeks.

The flowers of the species are tristylous, meaning the styles of individual plants occur in three different morphs, with most populations containing all three. Leaf shape, which varies considerably across populations, within populations, and even within individuals, has been the source for many taxonomic synonyms. Like many wetland and aquatic plants, the species can reproduce asexually by means of branching rhizomes, and hence can form large clonal stands.

Cultivation;  
A water or bog garden plant, it requires a rich soil[56] and prefers growing in water 15 – 30 cm deep. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant, it forms spreading patches by means of a thick creeping rhizome. There is a species of bee (Dufourea novae-angliae) which visits this plant for nectar and pollen and does not visit any other species of plant. The reproductive biology of Pontederia cordata has been well studied. It is a tristylous species, and most populations contain all three forms. At least some degree of self-incompatibility exists, being strongest with the short-style forms and weakest with the midstyle forms.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in pots standing in 2cm of water in a cold frame. Cover the seed lightly with silver sand. Submerse in 3cm depth of water after the seedlings emerge. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in water in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division is best in April but it can be done 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. Lateral shoots.

Edible Uses  :    
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed – raw, cooked like rice or dried and ground into a powder. A very acceptable nutty flavour and texture when raw, they are said to be excellent if the seed is lightly roasted in an oven. Young leafstalks – raw or cooked. The whole plant is edible cooked or raw. It can be added to salads, cooked like spinach or added to soups.

Medicinal Uses:  
An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive.

Other Uses:
Pickerelweed near Ottawa, OntarioThis plant is cultivated as an ornamental garden plant, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Pontederia+cordata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontederia_cordata

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