Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sphagneticola trilobata

Botanical Name ;Sphagneticola trilobata
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Sphagneticola
Species: S. trilobata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym: Complaya trilobata,Silphium trilobatum,Thelechitonia trilobata,Wedelia paludosa,Wedelia trilobata

Common Name:Bay Biscayne Creeping-oxeye,Rabbit’s Paw

Chuukese: atiat

English: creeping ox-eye, Singapore daisy, trailing daisy, wedelia

Kosraean: rosrangrang

Marshallese: ut mõkadkad, ut telia

Palauan: ngesil ra ngebard

Pohnpeian: dihpwoangoahng suwed, ngkahu, tuhke ongohng

Tongan: ‘anselmo

Habitat :Sphagneticola trilobata is native to the Neotropics (Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean; now grown almost worldwide in tropical and other warm places”  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 165). and is widespread as an invasive species in the Pacific.

Description:
Sphagneticola trilobata is a creeping, mat-forming perennial herbs; stems rounded, rooting at the nodes, 1-3 (-4) dm long, the flowering portions ascending, coarsely strigose to spreading hirsute, sometimes subglabrous.  Leaves fleshy, usually 4-9 cm long, (1.5-) 2-5 cm wide, irregularly toothed or serrate, usually with a pair of lateral lobes.  Peduncles 3-10 cm long; involucre campanulate-hemispherical, ca. 1 cm high; chaffy bracts lanceolate, rigid; ray florets often 8-13 per head, rays 6-15 mm long; disk corollas 4-5 mm long; pappus a crown of short fimbriate scales.  Achenes tuberculate, 4-5 mm long, few achenes maturing in cultivated plants in Hawai‘i”  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 373-374).

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Propagation:  Usually vegetatively, but Bill Sykes reports observing mature achenes on plants (pers. com.). Stems form new plants where they touch the ground and pieces readily take root. Commonly spread by dumping of garden waste.

Medicinal Uses;
Used for hepatitis, indigestion due to sluggish liver, white stools, burning in the urine and stopping of urine, and for infections – boil 1 cup of fresh herb (stems, leaves, and flowers) in 3 cups water for 5 minutes and drink 1 cup warm before each meal.  To bathe those suffering from backache, muscle cramps, rheumatism, or swellings, boil a large double handful of fresh stems and leaves in 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes.  Said to pull  “heat” out of the body.  For painful joints of arthritis, mash fresh leaves and stems; spread on a cloth and apply to area, wrapping securely with a warm covering.   Also used to clear the placenta after birth.

Other Uses:Sphagneticola trilobata is cultivated as an ornamental plant in the garden.

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/Sphagneticola_trilobata

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/sphagneticola_trilobata.htm

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1303/

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

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Inula conyza

Botanical Name : Inula conyza
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Inula
Species: I. conyza
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Conyza squarrosa – L.,Inula squarrosa – non L., Inula vulgaris – Trevis.

Common Name : Ploughman‘s spikenard

Habitat :Inula conyza is native to Central and southeastern Europe, including Britain, from Denmark to N. Africa and the Near East. It grows on dry or rocky slopes and cliffs, also in open scrub on calcareous soils

Description:
Inula conyza is a biennial or Perennial plant  , It grows  to 1.2m by 0.4m.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. 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 and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil in a sunny position. The basal leaves of this species are often mistaken for the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea. The basal leaves form a rosette that covers the ground for 30cm or more, destroying the grass underneath. All parts of the plant are refreshingly aromatic.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or 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 seed, it is worthwhile trying a sowing in situ in the spring or the autumn.
Medicinal Uses:
Antiscrophulatic; Emmenagogue; Vulnerary.

The herb is antiscrofulatic, emmenagogue and vulnerary. The older herbalists considered inula conyza a good wound herb, and it was frequently taken in decoction for bruises, ruptures, inward wounds, pains in the side and difficulty of breathing. It also had a reputation as an emmenagogue, and the juice of the while plant was applied externally to cure the itch.

Other Uses:
Incense; Insecticide; Parasiticide.

The leaves are burnt and used as an insecticide and parasiticide, especially against fleas. Even the smell of the plant is said to drive fleas away. The root used to be burnt upon a fire in order to scent a room.

Scented Plants:
Plant: Fresh Crushed Dried
All parts of the plant are refreshingly aromatic.

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=Inula+conyza

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

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Inula+conyza

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

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Asclepias tuberosa

Botanical Name :Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. tuberosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Butterfly Weed, Canada Root, Chigger Flower, Chiggerflower, Fluxroot, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Posy, Orange Milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Pleurisy Root, Silky Swallow-wort, Tuber Root, Yellow Milkweed, White-root, and Windroot, and also Butterfly Love.

Habitat :Asclepias tuberosa is native to N. America – S. Ontario and New York to Minnesota, south to Florida and Colorado.
It grows on dry open sandy and gravelly soils and grassy places by the sides of roads.

Description:
It is a perennial plant growing to 0.3–1 metre (10 in–3 ft 3 in) tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5–12 cm long and 2–3 cm broad.

You may click to see the picture

 

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects, lepidoptera.It is hardy to zone 3.

Identification:
The plant looks similar to the Lanceolate Milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), but is uniquely identified by the larger number of flowers, and the hairy stems that are not milky when broken. It is most commonly found in fields with dry soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained light, rich or peaty soil. Prefers a sandy soil and a sunny position. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Prefers a dry soil. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Another report says that this species is only suited to the warmer areas of Britain. A very ornamental plant, but it is not easy to establish or to keep in British gardens. Resents root disturbance, plants should be pot-grown from seed and planted out in their permanent positions when young. Plants are particularly at risk from slugs, however, and some protection will probably be required until the plants are established and also in the spring when the new shoots come into growth. The flower can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Root;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Sweetener.

Whilst most parts of this plant have been used as food, some caution is advised since large doses can cause diarrhoea and vomiting – see the notes above on toxicity. Flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. The tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods – cooked. Harvested when 3 – 4 cm long and before the seed floss begins to form, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. In hot weather the flowers produce so much nectar that it crystallises out into small lumps which can be eaten like sweets, they are delicious. Root – cooked. A nutty flavour. Some reports say that it is poisonous. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed is very small, however, and commercial usage would not be very viable.

Medicinal Uses:

Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Cathartic;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  ExpectorantPoultice;  Tonic;  Vasodilator.

Pleurisy root is a bitter, nutty-flavoured tonic herb that increases perspiration, relieves spasms and acts as an expectorant. It was much used by the North American Indians and acquired a reputation as a heal-all amongst the earlier white settlers. Its main use in present day herbalism is for relieving the pain and inflammation of pleurisy. The root is antispasmodic, carminative, mildly cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, tonic and vasodilator. The root was very popular as a medicinal herb for the treatment of a range of lung diseases, it was considered especially useful as an expectorant. It has never been scientifically examined and warrants further investigation. It has also been used internally with great advantage in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, rheumatism etc. Use with caution, This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women. See also the notes above on toxicity. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried. A poultice of the dried, powdered roots is used in the treatment of swellings, bruises, wounds, ulcers, lameness etc.

Although it has fallen into disuse, butterfly weed was a well-recognized remedy for all sorts of lung ailments, including bronchitis, consumption, typhoid fever, and pleurisy.  It is a lung tonic that relieves congestion, inflammation, and difficult breathing by increasing fluidity of mucus in the lungs and bronchial tubes.  It promotes the coughing up of phlegm, reduces inflammation and helps reduce fevers by stimulating perspiration.  A warm tea of butterfly weed relieves digestive disturbances, diarrhea and dysentery.  The settlers learned of its use from the Native Americans, who chewed the raw root to alleviate lung problems.  They also put the powdered roots on wounds to stop bleeding and pounded fresh roots into a poultice to place on bruises, rheumatism, inflammation, and lameness in the legs.  It has also been used to treat certain uterine problems and estrogenlike components have been reported.

Other Uses:
It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted

Fibre;  Latex;  Oil;  Pollution;  Stuffing.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark and is used in making twine, cloth etc. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a kapok substitute, used in life jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. The plant is a potential source of latex, used for making rubber. This species is the only member of the genus that does not have latex in its sap. The seedpods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. Candle wicks are made from the seed floss. The seed contains up to 21% of a semi-drying oil.

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/Asclepias_tuberosa

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Asclepias+tuberosa

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

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Passiflora mollisima

Btanical Name : Passiflora mollisima
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus  : Passiflora

Synonyms: Passiflora tripartita mollisima – (Kunth.)Holm-Niels.&P.M.Jørg.,Tacsonia mollissima – Kunth.

Common Name :Banana Passion Fruit (It was given this name in New Zealand, where passionfruit are also prevalent. In Hawaii, it is called banana poka. In its Latin American homeland, it is known as curuba, curuba de Castilla, or curuba sabanera blanca (Colombia); taxo, tacso, tagso, tauso (Ecuador); parcha (Venezuela), tumbo or curuba (Bolivia); tacso, tumbo, tumbo del norte, trompos, tintin or purpur (Peru).)

Habitat :Passiflora mollisima is native and commonly found in the wild in Andean valleys from Venezuela and eastern Colombia to Bolivia and Peru. It is believed to have been domesticated only shortly before the Spanish Conquest. Today it is commonly cultivated and the fruits, which are highly favored, are regularly sold in local markets. In 1920, the United States Department of Agriculture received seeds from Guayaquil, Ecuador (S.P.I. No. 51205), and from Bogotá, Colombia (S.P.I. No. 54399). The vine is grown in California as an ornamental under the name “softleaf passionflower”. It has never succeeded in Florida; is grown to some extent in Hawaii and the State of Madras, India. The climate of New Zealand seems highly suitable for it and it has been grown there, more or less commercially, for several decades.

Description:
Passiflora mollisima is an evergreen vigorous climber growing to 20 or 23 ft (6-7 m), its nearly cylindrical stems densely coated with yellow hairs. Its deeply 3-lobed leaves, 3 to 4 in (7.5-10 cm) long and 2 3/8 to 4 3/4 in (6-12 cm) wide, are finely toothed and downy above, grayish-or yellowish-velvety beneath. The stipules are short, slender and curved. The attractive blossom has a tube 3 to 4 in (7.5-10 cm) long, gray-green, frequently blushed with red, rarely downy; corolla with 5 oblong sepals and deep-pink petals flaring to a width of 2 to 3 in (5-7.5 cm); and a rippled, tuberculated, purple corona. The fruit is oblong or oblong-ovoid, 2 to 4 3/4 in (5-12 cm) long, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 in (3.2-4 cm) wide. The rind is thick, leathery, whitish-yellow or, in one form, dark-green, and minutely downy. Very aromatic pulp (arils), salmon-colored, subacid to acid and rich in flavor, surrounds the small, black, flat, elliptic, reticulated seeds.

You may click to see the picture


It is hardy to zone 6 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

There are several species of Passiflora mollisima, for example:
*P. tripartita var. mollissima :
*P. tarminiana :

 

Mollissima and its close relative Passiflora mixta are vines with cylindrical stems densely coated with yellow hairs, and are vigorous climbers, growing up to seven metres. The leaves are a shiny green with clearly defined veins, the flower is large, pink and green petalled with a yellow and white centre. The fruit is yellow-orange when ripe and contains a sweet edible orange-colored pulp with black seeds.

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 well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season, otherwise it is not fussy. One report says that this plant is hardy to climatic zone 6 (tolerating frosts of -20°c) but this is surely a misprint. The top growth is said to tolerate slight air frosts and plants are said to be hardy on a wall in the mild areas of Britain, being commonly grown around Penzance. In S. America plants can tolerate occasional lows to -5°c. Outdoor grown plants should have their roots restricted in order to reduce vegetative growth and encourage fruiting. Plants do not generally fruit well in Britain[88]. In order to improve the chances of producing fruit it is best to hand pollinate using pollen from a flower that has been open for 12 hours to pollinate a newly opened flower before midday. Cultivated for its edible fruit in S. America. Yields of 300 fruits per vine and 30 tonnes per hectare are recorded in S. America. A climbing plant, attaching itself to other plants by means of tendrils that are produced at the leaf axils. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow late winter or early spring in a warm greenhouse. If sown in January and grown on fast it can flower and fruit in its first year. The seed germinates in 1 – 12 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. It you are intending to grow the plants outdoors, it is probably best to keep them in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Mulch the roots well in late autumn to protect them from the cold. Cuttings of young shoots, 15cm with a heel, in spring. Leaf bud cuttings in spring. Cuttings of fully mature wood in early summer. Takes 3 months. High percentage

 
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or cooked. An agreeable flavour. An aromatic taste, it can be eaten out of hand or used as a flavouring in ice creams, fruit salads, puddings etc. A juice made from the fruit is highly prized in S. America. Individual fruits are up to 15cm long and weigh 50 – 150g.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried aerial parts of passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) have historically been used as a sedative and hypnotic (for insomnia) and for “nervous” gastrointestinal complaints. However, clinical evidence supporting any therapeutic use in humans is lacking. Early evidence suggests that passion flower may have a benzodiazepine-like calming action.

Evidence for significant side effects is also unclear, and is complicated by the variety of poorly classified, potentially active constituents in different Passiflora species.

Passion fruit (Passiflora edulis Sims), a related species, is used to flavor food.

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?Passiflora+mollisima

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/banana_passion_fruit.html

http://naturalmedicine.about.com/od/herbs/passionflower.htm

http://www.fruitfinds.com/pmollisima.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Passiflora+mollisima

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Musa basjoo

English: Japanese Banana, Japanese Fiber Banan...

English: Japanese Banana, Japanese Fiber Banana or Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) in Kew Gardens. Magyar: Musa basjoo a Királyi Botanikus Kertekben. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name :Musa basjoo
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species: M. basjoo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:  Musa : japonica – Thiéb.&Ketel.

Common Name: Japanese Banana, Japanese Fibre Banana or Hardy Banana

Habitat :Musa basjoo  was previously thought to have originated from the Ryukyu islands of Japan, from where it was first described in cultivation, but is now known to have originated from southern China, where it is also widely cultivated, with wild populations found in Sichuan province.It grows well in Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds.

Description:
Musa basjoo is a herbaceous perennial with trunk-like pseudostems growing to around 2–2.5 metres (6.6–8.2 ft), with a crown of mid-green leaves growing up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) long and 70 centimetres (28 in) wide when mature. The species produces male and female flowers on the same inflorescence which may extend for over 1 metre (3.3 ft). The banana fruit formed are yellow-green, around 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) long and 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.2 in) broad; they are inedible, with sparse white pulp and many black seeds.

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)
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 rich soil and a sunny sheltered position. The large leaves are very easily torn by the wind. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain and even there will require protection in colder winters. It thrives and fruits in south-western Britain  where it survived the very severe winters of 1985 to 1987. Plants are herbaceous and die down after flowering, forming new shoots from the roots. Cultivated in Japan as a fibre plant

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates rapidly. Pre-soak stored seed for 72 hours in warm water, if it is still floating then it is not viable. Sow in a warm greenhouse in spring, planting one large seed in each pot. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 24 weeks at 22°c. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for at least 3 years before trying them outdoors. The seed remains viable for 2 years. Removal of suckers as the plant comes into growth in spring.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Nectar.

The nectar of the flowers is sweet and drinkable.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Febrifuge; Sialagogue.

The roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sialagogue. A decoction is used in the treatment of beriberi, constipation, jaundice, dropsy, restlessness due to heat, leucorrhoea and croton bean poisoning. The leaves are diuretic.

In Chinese medicines, physicians use root stem, flower, leaves, rhizome of Musa basjoo for clearing heat-toxin, quenching thirst and disinhibiting urine.

Other Uses
Fibre.

A fibre is obtained from the leaf stems. Used for cloth, sails etc. The fibre can also be used for making paper The leaves are harvested in summer and are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 4½ hours before being made into paper.

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/Musa_basjoo

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Musa+basjoo

http://aquiya.sakura.ne.jp/zukan/Musa_basjoo.html

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Musa acuminata

Botanical Name :Musa acuminata
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species: M. acuminata
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Monocots
clade: Commelinids
Order: Zingiberales

Common Name :Wild banana

Habitat :Musa acuminata is  native to Southeast Asia.(E. Asia – Southern China, India, Malaysia and the Phillipines.) It grows in Shaded and moist ravines, marshlands, semi-marshlands and slopes from near sea level to 1200 metres.

Description:
Musa acuminata are perennial herbs (not trees) growing to 3m. The trunk (known as the pseudostem) is made of tightly packed layers of leaf sheaths emerging from completely or partially buried corms.

You may click to see the picture

You may click to see more pictures:

The inflorescence of Musa acuminata grows horizontally or obliquely from the trunk. The individual flowers are white to yellowish-white in color and are negatively geotropic (that is, growing upwards and away from the ground). Both male and female flowers are present in a single inflorescence. Female flowers located near the base (and develop into fruit), and the male flowers located at the tipmost top-shaped bud in between leathery bract
The rather slender fruits are berries, the size of each depends on the number of seeds they contain. Each fruit can have 15 to 62 seeds. Each fruit bunch can have an average of 161.76 ± 60.62 fingers with each finger around 2.4 cm (0.94 in) by 9 cm (3.5 in) in size.

The seeds of Musa acuminata are around 5 to 6 mm (0.20 to 0.24 in) in diameter. They are subglobose or angular in shape and very hard. The tiny embryo is located at the end of the micropyle. Each seed of Musa acuminata typically produce around four times its size in edible starchy pulp (the parenchyma, the portion of the bananas we eat), around 0.23 cm3 (0.014 cu in). The ratio increases dramatically for the ‘seedless’ modern edible cultivars. The much reduced in size and sterile seeds are now surrounded by 23 times its size in edible pulp. The seeds themselves are reduced to tiny black specks along the central axis of the fruit

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 can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a sunny sheltered position in a well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5. This species is able to tolerate light frosts, but it requires a very sheltered position. Another report says that it requires a minimum winter temperature of 10°c and no lower than 18°c when the fruit is ripening. Wild plants are diploid (2n = 22) and bear fruits containing numerous seeds making them inedible. Cultivated plants are triploid (2n = 33) and bear seedless, edible fruits; such plants have been called M. acuminata ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ (M. cavendishii Lambert ex Paxton; M. chinensis Sweet; M. nana Loureiro).

Propagation:
Seed – sow the large seed in individual pots in the spring in a warm greenhouse at about 20°c[200]. Grow the seedlings on in a rich soil, giving occasional liquid feeds. Keep the plants in the greenhouse for at least three years before trying them outdoors. Division of suckers in late spring. Dig up the suckers with care, trying to cause the least disturbance to the main plant. Pot them up and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are well established.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or dried for later use. Sweet. The fruit is up to 12cm long and 2.5cm wide.

Medicinal Uses :
Banana Lectin BanLec linked to anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.

Bananas have been present in our diets since long time ago, they are rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a very important role in mass bone formation and regulation of blood pressure, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc (very important to regulate sleep cycles and enhance male reproductive functions)…etc.

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?Musa+acuminata

http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week022.shtml

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

http://www.herbcyclopedia.com/index.php?option=com_zoo&task=tag&tag=Musa%20acuminata%20Colla&app_id=5&Itemid=193

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Michelia figo

Botanical Name : Michelia figo
Family: Magnoliaceae
Genus: Magnolia
Species: M. figo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Magnoliales

Synonyms: Liriodendron figo – Lour., Michelia fuscata – (Andrews.)Wall.

Other Common Names :Banana Shrub, Port Wine Magnolia, Michelia figo

Habitat :Michelia figo is native to China.It grows in broad-leaved evergreen forests, shady slopes and along river banks.

Description:
Michelia figo is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5m by 4m.It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens for its fragrant flowers, which are cream-white, purple rounded, or light-purple, and strongly scented. The leaves are leathery, dark glossy-green, up to 10 cm long. This plant is used in Shanghai, China, as a tall evergreen hedge. It grows to a large evergreen compact tree. It grows in acid and alkaline soil very well. Susceptible to black soot.

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It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from April to July, and the seeds ripen from August to November. 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 neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a humus-rich well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in direct light or partial shade. Requires a neutral to acid soil according to other reports. Although not very frost-hardy, plants have survived in sheltered positions outdoors in southern England, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c. They require the protection of a cold greenhouse at Kew gardens. The flowers have a banana scent. This is one of the most fragrant of all shrubs with a scent strongly resembling the sweet ‘pear drops’. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – probably best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn, it can also be sown in the spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on 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. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of greenwood, summer in a frame.

Edible Uses:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The leaves are used for scenting tea.

Medicinal Uses:

There are no medicinal uses listed for Michelia figo.

Other Uses:
It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens for its fragrant flowers

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a banana scent. This is one of the most fragrant of all shrubs with a scent strongly resembling the sweet ‘pear drops’.

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/Michelia_figo

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Michelia+figo

http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Michelia_figo

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Ensete ventricosum

Botanical Name : Ensete ventricosum
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Ensete
Species: E. ventricosum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms: Ensete edule – Bruce. ex Horan.Musa arnoldiana De Wild., Musa ventricosa Welw. and Musa ensete J. F. Gmel

Common Names: False Banana, Ethiopian Banana, Abyssinian Banana

Habitat : Ensete ventricosum occurs along the Eastern Edge of the Great African Plateau, extending northwards from Transvaal in South Africa through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to Ethiopia, and west to the Democratic Republic of Congo, being found in high rainfall forests on mountains, and along forested ravines and streams.

Description:
Ensete ventricosum in an evergreen Perennial large non-woody tree (technically a gigantic herb) up to 6m tall, it has a stout trunk of tightly overlapping leaf bases, and large banana-like leaf blades of up to 5m x 1m with a salmon-pink midrib. The flowers, which only occur once from the centre of the tree at the end of the tree’s life, are in massive pendant thyrses covered by equally large pink bracts. The fruits are similar to those of the domestic banana, are edible but insipid, with hard, black, rounded seeds. The plant is quick-growing and some colourful varieties are widely cultivated as an ornamental. After flowering the plant dies back. The young and tender tissues in the centre or heart of the tree (the growing point) may be cooked and eaten, being tasty and nutritious and very like the core of palms and cycads

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Ensete ventricosum

Ensete ventricosum (Photo credit: pris.sears)

It is hardy to zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
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 moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a very sheltered sunny position in a fertile moisture-retentive soil. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors on the Scilly Islands and is sometimes used in sub-tropical bedding. Plants can survive light frosts but they require ample shelter from the wind. It should be possible to grow plants in tubs, keeping them outdoors in the summer and bringing them into a greenhouse or conservatory in the winter. The leaves can be up to 6 metres long.

Propagation:
Sow the large seed in individual pots in a heated greenhouse at any time of the year. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water beforehand. Germination should take place within 3 months. Grow on the plants for at least a couple of winters in the greenhouse before attempting to grow them outdoors. Division of suckers in spring. Try to get as much of the sucker’s roots out as possible without disturbing the main plant too much. Pot the suckers up and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse until they are established.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root; Seed; Stem.

The chopped and grated pulp of the corms and leaf sheaths is fermented and used as a flour in making kocho bread. 100% kocho flour or a mixture of kocho and other cereal flours may be used. It is said to taste like a good quality bread. The endosperm of the seed is consumed as a food. The base of the flower stalk is edible cooked.

The species has been cultivated in Ethiopia for thousands of years where it is still considered to be one of the most important and widely cultivated root crops. The pseudostems, corms and stems of flowering branches are used to make a starchy product which is fermented in a pit and then made into a kind of pancake, bread, and porridge.

“Enset provides more amount of foodstuff per unit area than most cereals. It is estimated that 40 to 60 enset plants occupying 250-375 sq. meters can provide enough food for a family of 5 to 6 people.” – Country Information Brief.

(In Ethiopia, more than 150 000 ha are cultivated for the starchy staple food prepared from the pulverised trunk and inflorescence stalk. Fermenting these pulverised parts results in a food called ‘kocho’. ‘Bulla’ is made from the liquid squeezed out of the mixture and sometimes eaten as a porridge, while the remaining solids are suitable for consumption after a settling period of some days. Mixed kocho and bulla can be kneaded into dough, then flattened and baked over a fire. Kocho is in places regarded as a delicacy, suitable for serving at feasts and ceremonies such as weddings, when wheat flour is added. The fresh corm is cooked like potatoes before eating. Dry kocho and bulla are energy-rich and produce from 1400 to 2000kJ per 100g.)

Medicinal Uses:
The ensete pseudostem has medicinal uses.People of south Africa make herbal medicines to get relieve from different ailments.

 

Other Uses:

The fibre obtained from the plant is very good quality fibre, suitable for ropes, twine, baskets, and general weaving, is obtained from the leaves. Dried leaf-sheaths are used as packing material, serving the same function as Western foam plastic and polystyrene. The fibre obtained from the plant is very good quality fibre, suitable for ropes, twine, baskets, and general weaving, is obtained from the leaves. Dried leaf-sheaths are used as packing material, serving the same function as Western foam plastic and polystyrene.  Also used for animal fodder, shade, adornment, roof thatch, and dye. The seeds are used as beads for ornamentation.

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/Ensete_ventricosum

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Ensete+ventricosum

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ensete+ventricosum

http://anthropogen.com/2009/10/02/ensete-ventricosum-wild-banana-ihindu-kiduyu-ikulutui-kamba-getembe-maasai/

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Plantago rugelii

Botanical Name : Plantago rugelii
Family:Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. rugelii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Plantaginales

Synonyms. Plantago rugelii var. alterniflora Farw.,

Common Names:Blackseed Plantain, Rugel’s plantain, American plantain, Red-stalked plantain

Habitat : Plantago rugelii is native of North America (Eastern N. America – Quebec to North Dakota, south to Florida.) .It is similar to the closely related Plantago major  and grows in damp shores, roadsides and waste places.It is a ruderal species and is common on lawns and disturbed sites.P. rugelii is difficult to differentiate from Plantago major in the vegetative state. Plantago Rugelii grows in more moist and shaded habitats than does Plantago Major.

Description:
Plantago rugelii is an erect perennial forb with fibrous roots which grows from 3 to 12 inches tall. It blooms from June through August producing narrow, tapering, 2 to 12 inch flower spikes. It’s leaves are oval to elliptical with three veins. The bases of the leaf stalks have a reddish appearance. This characteristic in addition to paler green color, less waxy appearance, lack of hairs and toothed, irregular margins distinguishes P. rugelii from the similar and closely related Plantago major (broadleaf plantain).

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Identifying Characteristics: Blackseed Plantain (Plantago rugelii) has petioles with red or purple colorations at their bases, a lighter green, less waxy leaf appearance, and capsules that split below the middle. These are all characteristics that help to distinguish it from the closely-related Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major). Additionally, the leaves of blackseed plantain are hairless, and have toothed and wavy margins, unlike the leaves of broadleaf plantain.

It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind. 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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native habitat it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring 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. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young leaves – raw or cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Laxative; Poultice.

Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds. A poultice of the fresh leaves is used to treat burns and inflammations.

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/Plantago_rugelii

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Plantago+rugelii

http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/plaru.htm

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/p/plru–fr36379.htm

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Plantago media

Botanical Name : Plantago media
Family:Plantaginaceae
Genus:Plantago
Species: P. media
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Lamiales

Common Name :Hoary plantain

Habitat :Plantago media is native to central and western Europe, including Great Britain and introduced to parts of the north-east United States. Its generic name is derived from the Latin for sole; like other members of Plantago, it should not be confused with the plantain, a starchy banana.It grows fields, meadows and lawns. A common weed of lawns and cultivated land, especially on dry or calcareous soils.It generally grows in damp grassy meadows up to an altitude of 2000 m.

Description:
Plantago media is a perennial herb growing to 0.1m by 0.1m.
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September.  A slender stalk of between 5 to 50 cm develops from a basal rosette of finely-haired leaves. Delicate pink-white flowers are borne between May and September. P. media is hemaphrodite and is pollinated by wind or insects, particularly bees. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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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 and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in the spring meadow. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies. The flowers are sweetly scented.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring 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. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: :Flowers; Leaves.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. The very young leaves have a fairly mild flavour but with a slight bitterness. Used in salads before they become tough. The inflorescence is sweet and is sucked by children.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Demulcent; Deobstruent; Depurative; Diuretic; Expectorant; Haemostatic; Laxative; Odontalgic; Ophthalmic; Refrigerant.

The leaves, flowering stems and roots are somewhat astringent, deobstruent, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, haemostatic, refrigerant and vulnerary. They are applied externally to skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts etc. A mouthwash made from the leaves helps to relieve toothache and a distilled water is a good eyewash. The seeds are demulcent and laxative. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds.

Other Uses
Fungicide.

The leaves are a cure for blight on fruit trees.

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.

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/Plantago_media

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Plantago+media

http://www.fungoceva.it/erbe_ceb/plantago_media.htm

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