Cinnamomum tamala

Botanical Name :Cinnamomum tamala
Family:  Lauraceae
Genus:  Cinnamomum
Species:  C. tamala
Kingdom:  Plantae
Order:  Laurales

Common Names:Malabathrum, ( Hindi: Tej Patta ) or Indian bay leaf also known as Malobathrum or Malabar leaf

Habitat :Cinnamomum tamala is  native to the southern slopes of the Himalayas  and the mountains of North Eastern India, extending into Burma.

Description:
Cinnamon trees belong to a large genus of some 250 species, most of which are aromatic. True Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon and the south-eastern coast of India, while the closely related Cassia is native to China. Cinnamon and Cassia are both small tropical evergreen trees that grow up to 20 – 30 feet tall, with aromatic bark and leaves. Young leaves employ a typical trick of tropical trees to make themselves look unappealing to predatory insects by assuming a limp, reddish appearance, as if wilting. Once they mature they perk up and darken to a deep green. The leaves are elongated ovate with a pointed tip, shiny and dark green on the upper surface, lighter below. The inconspicuous whitish flowers grow in panicles, which later develop into bluish berries. The bark is reddish brown and smooth.

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The leaves, known as tejpat in Nepali, t?japatt? or tejpatta  in Hindi, Tejpat in Assamese and tamalpatra in Marathi and in original Sanskrit, are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan. It is called Biryani Aaku or Bagharakku in Telugu. They are often erroneously labeled as “Indian bay leaves,” or just “Bay leaf” though the bay leaf is from the Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. This may lead to confusion when following Indian or Pakistani recipes. Bay leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf;photo while tejpat are about twice as long and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the leaf.photo True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay leaf’s aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon. Indian grocery stores usually carry true tejpat leaves. Some grocers may only offer Turkish bay leaves, in regions where true tejpat is unavailable.

Main constituents
In the essential oil from the leaves, mostly monoterpenoides were found: Linalool (50%) is the major compound, whereas ?-pinene, p-cymene, ?-pinene and limonene range around 5 to 10% each. Phenylpropanoids appear only in traces: Newer work reports 1% cinnamic aldehyde and no eugenol, whereas older literature speaks of traces of both compounds.

Edible Uses:
In Indian and Sri Lankan cooking Cinnamon is used as a common spice, not only for sweets, but also as an integral part of the spice mixture known as ‘curry powder’. It is frequently mixed with honey and taken as tea, though the British found it more to their taste to add rum and lemon to the brew. Cinnamon is also an essential ingredient of ‘Chai’, the Indian spice tea, which was long rumored to have aphrodisiac properties. Probably the warming and fortifying properties of the various spices it is comprised of helped to kindle passions, especially among the willing.

The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia

Medicinal Uses:
Aromatic, carminative, stimulant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal

Despite the fact that Cinnamon has such a longstanding history of use, it is not very commonly employed for medicinal purposes today outside its native homelands. However, recent studies have been showing some interesting effects, which may renew this ancient spice’s popularity.

The ancients were aware of the differences between Cinnamon and Cassia. Dioscurides clearly distinguishes between the two species and describes both in detail. He recommends Cassia as an eye remedy. He also says that when taken internally it will act as an anti-inflammatory and will stimulate menstruation. In a sitzbad it will help to open the uterus. Of Cinnamon he says that it stimulates the urinary tract and can be used for problems of the kidneys, edema and urinary retention. He also recommends it for cough and congestion of the respiratory system.

In Ayurvedic medicine Cinnamon oil is used in external applications for rheumatism, aching joints and stiffness. It is also used for toothache and sore gums, much like clove oil. Aryuveda makes use of Cinnamon for the same purposes as Disocorides recommends: as a decongestant for the respiratory tract and urinary problems. It is a good addition to teas for coughs and colds and is sometimes used in steam inhalations for respiratory conditions. In India it is used at the first sign of a cold to prevent it from taking hold fully.

The essential oil component of Cinnamon has anti-coagulant properties, which helps to thin blood and improves circulation. (Caution is advised for those already on blood thinning medication). It also exhibits anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. The anti-microbial action helps to preserve food and can be used in place of common food preservatives. It not only helps to prevent food spoilage by common bacteria, but also by yeasts. Cinnamon is one of the few herbs that can used to treat fungal growths like candida.

Cinnamon is a warming aromatic tonic that stimulates the digestive system and can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Recent studies have found it to be quite effective for ‘metabolic syndrome’ a ‘pre’ stage of insulin resistant type 2 diabetes. As little as 2 teaspoons of the spice have shown a marked effect in people who were not on insulin medication. It achieves this effect by delaying emptying of the stomach content after a meal, which prevents blood sugar peaks. It also sensitizes insulin receptors and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates these receptors, thus making a significant impact on glucose uptake. This is great news as Cinnamon can so easily be added to foods and drinks as part of a normal diet.

Another study has shown that Cinnamon can have a beneficial effect on cognitive function. It was shown that people who used Cinnamon prior to test situations performed better than the control group. They also appeared to process new information better.

Resources:

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

http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/plantprofiles/cinnamon.php

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/herb-entry.php?term=Malabathrum

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Cinn_tam.html

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Alepidea amatymbica

Botanical Name :Alepidea amatymbica
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Saniculoideae
Genus: Alepidea
Species: Alepidea amatymbica
Order: Apiales

Common Name:  larger tinsel flower (Eng.); kalmoes (Afr.); Iqwili (Xhosa); ikhathazo (Zulu)
Vernacular names:Kalmoes (A); ikhathazo (Z); lesooko (S), iqwili (Xh)

Habitat :Alepidea amatymbica  occurs mainly in southern Africa are found as far north as Ethiopia.

Description:
Alepidea amatymbica is an erect robust perennial herb to 2m in height with hollow grooved stems and a rhizomatous rootstock; leaves mostly basal on petioles up to 200mm long, with a few stalkless clasping stem leaves;The margins of the leaves are prominently toothed, each tooth ending in a bristle. The inflorescence is widely branched, with a number of small, star-shaped, white flowers, ± 250 mm in diameter.glossy green on upper surface with prominent venation on lower surface; lamina lanceolate to cordate; 300 – 100 × 20 – 75mm, with dentate margin, each tooth terminating in a long bristle; flowers (Jan-Mar) white, borne in heads 10 – 20mm in diameter, arranged in panicles; each head with 5 unequal involucral bracts, the latter white to pale yellow above, olive green on lower surface.

Growing Alepidea amatymbica:This plant is best grown from fresh seed sown in trays filled with a very well-drained seedling mix in late summer or early spring. Once sown, the seed should be lightly covered and kept watered until germination takes place. The seedlings are very prone to damping off and so watering should be carefully monitored. Once potted into individual pots, the plants need to be grown until the underground stem develops, after which they can be planted out.

Medicinal Uses:
Alepidea amatymbica  is a medicinal plant traditionally used for the treatment of various diseases including asthma, influenza, and diarrhea in South Africa. The antimicrobial activities of the acetone and methanol extracts of the leaf, stem, rhizome, and root of the species were assessed in an effort to validate the traditional medicinal uses of this herb, especially for the treatment of infectious diseases. Ten bacterial and three fungal species were bioassayed using the agar dilution method. All the extracts demonstrated appreciable activities against three Gram-positive bacteria. These bacteria have been implicated in different respiratory diseases. The inhibitory activity of some of the extracts against pathogens implicated in diarrhea diseases further validated the use of the herb in traditional medicine. Except for acetone leaf extract against Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger, all the extracts showed more than 50% mycotic inhibition with activity ranging from 51.39% on A. niger to 81.11% on Penicillium notatum at ?5?mg mL?1 which was the highest concentration tested in the study. The ability of the herb to inhibit the growth of various bacteria and fungi species is an indication of the broad-spectrum antimicrobial potential of A. amatymbica; this further validates the use of the herb for various diseases by the people of the Eastern Cape.

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.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs/alepideaatym.pdf

http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Alepidea_amatymbica

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13880200902817919

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/alepidamat.htm

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Carpinus caroliniana

Botanical Name :Carpinus caroliniana
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Carpinus
Species: C. caroliniana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Carpinus americana – Michx.,  muscletree

Common Name :American Hornbeam

Habitat: Carpinus caroliniana is native to eastern North America, from Minnesota and southern Ontario east to Maine, and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida. It also grows in Canada (southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario), Mexico (central and southern), Guatemala, and western Honduras

Description:
Carpinus caroliniana is a  decidious  tree reaching heights of 10–15 m, rarely 20 m, and often has a fluted and crooked trunk. The bark is smooth and greenish-grey, becoming shallowly fissured in old trees. The leaves are alternate, 3–12 cm long, with prominent veins giving a distinctive corrugated texture, and a serrated margin. The male and female catkins appear in spring at the same time as the leaves. The fruit is a small 7–8 mm long nut, partially surrounded by a three- to seven-pointed leafy involucre 2–3 cm long; it matures in autumn. The seeds often do not germinate till the spring of the second year after maturating.

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It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

There are two subspecies, which intergrade extensively where they meet:

*Carpinus caroliniana subsp. caroliniana. Atlantic coastal plain north to Delaware, and lower Mississippi Valley west to eastern Texas. Leaves mostly smaller, 3–9 cm long, and relatively broader, 3–6 cm broad.

*Carpinus caroliniana subsp. virginiana. Appalachian Mountains and west to Minnesota and south to Arkansas. Leaves mostly larger, 8–12 cm long, and relatively narrower, 3.5–6 cm broad.

It is a shade-loving tree, which prefers moderate soil fertility and moisture. It has a shallow, wide-spreading root system. The wood is heavy and hard, and is used for tool handles, longbows, walking sticks, walking canes and golf clubs. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, for example the Io moth (Automeris io).

Cultivation :
Thrives in any good loam, including chalk, it does not demand much light. Prefers a deep open loam. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A slow-growing and short-lived tree in the wild, it is slower growing than C. betulinus in cultivation. Seed production is cyclic, a year of heavy yields being followed by 2 – 4 years of low yields.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in an outdoors seedbed as soon as it is ripe. Germination is usually good, though it may take 18 months. If collected whilst still ‘green’ (after the seed is ripe but before it has dried fully on the plant) and sown immediately it should germinate in the following spring. Grow the plants on for two years in the seedbed and then plant them out into their permanent positions in the winter. The average seed viability is around 65%. Pre-treat stored seed with 4 weeks warm and 12 weeks cold stratification and sow in a cold frame[98]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall before planting them into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Seed – cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent.
American hornbeam was employed medicinally by some native North American Indian tribes, though it is not used in modern herbalism. The inner bark is astringent. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and difficult urination with discharge.

The astringent inner bark was used to staunch bleeding.  Delaware Indians used the root or bark infusion for general debility and female ailments.  Iroquois used it for childbirth and used the bark chips in a polyherbal formula for tuberculosis.  Iroquois also used it for big injuries and Italian itch.

Other Uses:
Wood.

Wood – heavy, close grained, very hard, strong, but not very durable in the soil. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot. Too small to be exploited commercially, this high quality wood is often used locally for flooring, cogs, tool handles, golf clubs etc. It is especially suitable for making levers and is also a good fuel.

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?Carpinus+caroliniana

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

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

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/c/caca18wp24520.htm

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Thelesperma gracile

Botanical Name :Thelesperma gracile
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Coreopsideae
Genus: Thelesperma
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name :Hopi Tea

Habitat :Native to  Central and western N. America – Nebraska and Wyoming to Texas, Mexico and Arizona. Grows in dry plains, prairies and roadsides

Description:
Perennial growing to 0.75m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

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:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil in full sun. This species is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, usually requiring cold greenhouse treatment.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ, only just covering the seed. In dry weather the seed should be watered in. Division might be possible.

 
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Flower buds. No further details are given. A tea is made from the leaves and dried flowers. The flowers and leaf tips are dried in an oven and then boiled for a very short time . When well made it is delicious, with just a hint of mint in its aftertaste.

Medicinal Uses:
Thelesperma gracile is considered useful for the kidneys, especially in winter. To settle the stomach and purify the blood.  It is combined with Canela, Yerba Buena, or Poleo (with a pinch of cone sugar added for a more tasty brew). The tea is kind to the stomach, and was used traditionally as a  vermifuge

Other Uses
Dye.

A fine reddish-brown basketry and textile dye is obtained from the plant. No more details.

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?Thelesperma+gracile

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

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

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Cryptotaenia canadensis japonica

Botanical Name : Cryptotaenia canadensis japonica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Cryptotaenia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Cryptotaenia japonica Hasskarl; Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) de Candolle var. japonica (Hasskarl) Makino; Cryptotaenia canadensis auct., non (L.) de Candolle; Deringa japonica (Hasskarl) Koso-Poljanski

Common Names:Mitsu-ba  [meaning: three leaves]Japanese wild parsley, stone parsley, honeywort, san ip, and san ye qin, English common nameis Japanese honewort

Habitat ;Native to  Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Okinawa . (Other nations) Russia, Korea, China  Grows in Woodland in hills and mountains

Description:
Cryptotaenia canadensis japonica Plants electing 40-60cm tall. Leaves 3 leaflets each 8-16cm long, 8-20cm wide, non hair. Flowers white 2mm, flowering in April to May. Fruits ca. 4-5mm long.ever green  Perennial plant.

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in leaf all year, 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 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 can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist shady position under trees where it often self-sows. The leaves tend to turn yellow when plants are grown in full sun. This species is not winter-hardy in all areas of Britain, though plants can tolerate short periods at temperatures down to -10°c. Mitsuba is commonly cultivated as a vegetable in Japan, there are some named varieties. It is usually grown as an annual. It is closely allied to C. canadensis, and is considered to be no more than a synonym of that species by some botanists. This plant is adored by slugs and snails and must be protected when small or when new growth is emerging in the spring.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. The ideal temperature for sowing is about 25°c, though seed does germinate at higher and lower temperatures[206]. Seed can also be sown in early autumn[206]. Division in spring or autumn.

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

Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves and stems – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring with a parsley-like flavour if you let your imagination run away with you. Seedlings and young leaves can be used in salads. When cooking, the leaves should not be cooked for more than a couple of minutes or the flavour is destroyed. The leaves contain about 2.3% protein, 0.23% fat, 4.4% carbohydrate, 2.1% ash. Root – raw or cooked. Blanched stem – a celery substitute. The seed is used as a seasoning.

Medicinal Uses:

Febrifuge; Tonic; Women’s complaints.

Women’s complaints. Used in the treatment of haemorrhages, colds, fevers etc[178]. Used as a tonic for strengthening the body.

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/Cryptotaenia

http://flowers.la.coocan.jp/Umbelliferae/Cryptotaenia%20japonica.htm

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cryptotaenia+japonica

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Cryptotaenia canadensis

Botanical Name : Cryptotaenia canadensis
Family: Apiaceae
Genus:Cryptotaenia
Species: Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) DC.
Kingdom :Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order:Apiales

Synonyms: Deringa canadensis – (L.)Kuntze.

Common Names: Honewort

Habitat :Cryptotaenia canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – Western New Brunswick to Manitoba and south to Alabama. Arkansas and Texas. Grows in rich woods and thickets. Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Description:
Cryptotaenia canadensis is a herbaceous perennial plants growing to 1m by 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

Flowers are in irregular flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 3 inches across, made up of 3 to 8 groups (umbellets) of 3 to 10 flowers each. Individual flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 5 white petals that are usually curled up, and 5 stamens with creamy yellow tips. The flower stalks in an umbellet are varying lengths and there is no bract at the base of an umbellet. A plant may have a few clusters at the top of the plant, and at the end of branching stems in the upper part of the plant.

You may click to see different pictures of Cryptotaenia canadensis   :(1).(2):

Leaves are compound in groups of 3. Leaflets near the base of the plant are largest, to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide on long stems that are sheathed where they join the main stem. Leaves and their stems become smaller as they ascend the plant, with those near the flowers having little or no leaf stem. Leaflets are double toothed, with small teeth on the edges of larger teeth, have pointed tips, and taper abruptly at the base. The larger leaflets are often cleft or lobed in 2 or 3 parts. The main stem is light green and hairless.

Fruit is a 2-sectioned ribbed seed, about ¼ inch long, pointed at the tip. It ripens from green to dark brown.

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). It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a rich moist soil, preferring to grow in dappled shade. Closely related to C. japonica, a species that is cultivated as a vegetable in Japan. This species is being cultivated in America to supply the Japanese market with a chervil-like herb. Slugs are extremely fond of this plant, especially when the new growth emerges in spring.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. The ideal temperature for sowing is about 25°c, though seed does germinate at higher and lower temperatures. Seed can also be sown in early autumn. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Stem.

Young leaves, stems and flowers – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb or added to salads. A flavour that is somewhat like celery, if you use your imagination. Root – cooked. The seeds are used as a flavouring for cakes, breads and biscuits.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional herbalists in New England use an infusion as a diuretic and urinary tract tonic, to strengthen and cleanse the kidneys and to relieve frequent urination.  In the Orient it is held in especially high esteem to treat menstrual and puerperal diseases of women.  Honewort root has been prescribed for Chinese women who wish to conceive.

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?Cryptotaenia+canadensis

http://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/canadian-honewort

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CRCA9

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Spondias radlkoferi

Botanical Name : Spondias radlkoferi
Family: Anacardiaceae
Subfamily: Spondiadoideae
Genus: Spondias
Species: S. radlkoferi
Kingdom: Plantae
clade: Angiosperms
clade: Eudicots
clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales

Common Names:Hog Plum,Jobo verde

Habitat: Spondias radlkoferi  found most often along streams or other riparian borders and also in secondary-growth forests.

Description:
Spondias radlkoferi is a species of flowering plant
Tree; leaves alternate, once pinnately compound, odd pinnate; leaflets oblong-elliptic, base oblique, margin entire, apex acuminate with a prominent drip tip; flowers in panicles; fruit plum-like.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURE

Medicinal Uses:
Drink as an astringent tea for diarrhea, gonorrhea, or sore throat – boil a handful of flower buds and bark together in 3 cups water for 10 minutes;  drink 1 cup before each meal.  For gonorrhea, take in this way for 10 days and re-test.  Use as a bath for stubborn sores, rashes, painful insect stings, and to bathe pregnant women who feel weak and tired beyond first trimester—boil a large double handful of leaves and a strip of bark 3 cm x 15 cm in 2 gallons of water for 10 minutes.

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://chalk.richmond.edu/flora-kaxil-kiuic/s/spondias_radlkoferi.html

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

http://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/herbarium/species/13771/?fam=Anacardiaceae#spimages

http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/plantguides/view.asp?chkbox=144

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Amphicarpaea bracteata

Botanical Name : Amphicarpaea bracteata
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Amphicarpaea
Species: A. bracteata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms :  A. monoica. (L.)Ell. Falcata comosa. (L.)Kuntze.

Common Name :Hog-peanut

Habitat :Amphicarpaea bracteata is native to Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to Florida, west to Manitoba and Louisiana.Grows in   Cool damp woodlands

Description:
Amphicarpaea bracteata is a perennial climber growing to 1.5 m (5ft).Leaves have three leaflets and are held alternately on twining stems.Flowers are pink to white and bloom from late summer to autumn. The flowers are either open for cross-pollination or closed and self-pollinating. The closed flowers may be above or below ground.

Seeds from open flowers are held in a flat pod, pointed at both ends, that dries when mature and twists to release the seeds. Seeds from closed flowers are held in round pods with a single seed each. The roots and seeds are edible.[3] The seeds from underground flowers give it the name peanut.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.

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)or semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:  
Requires a moist humus-rich soil in a shady position. The young shoots in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The hog peanut has occasionally been cultivated for its edible seed which has been used as a peanut substitute. Yields at present, however, are rather low. Two types of blossom are produced by the plant – those produced from the leaf axils mostly abort but a few seeds are produced. Solitary, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced on thread-like stems near the root and, after flowering, the developing seedpods bury themselves into the soil in a manner similar to peanuts. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a semi-shaded position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within a few weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Division. We have been unable to divide this plant because it only makes a small taproot. However, many of the seeds are produced under the ground and these can be harvested like tubers and potted up to make more plants.

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

Seed – raw or cooked. Two types of seed are produced – flowers produced near the ground produce a pod that buries itself just below soil level. These pods contain a single seed are up to 15mm in diameter which can be used as a peanut substitute. They can be harvested throughout the winter and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are sweet and delicious raw with a taste that is more like shelled garden beans than peanuts. Yields are rather low, and it can be a fiddle finding the seeds, but they do make a very pleasant and nutritious snack. Other flowers higher up the plant produce seed pods that do not bury themselves. The seeds in these pods are much smaller and are usually cooked before being eaten. They can be used in all the same ways as lentils and are a good source of protein. The overall crop of these seeds is rather low and they are also fiddly to harvest. Root – cooked. The root is peeled, boiled and then eaten. Fleshy and nutritious according to one report, whilst another says that the root is too small to be of much importance in the diet. Our plants have only produced small and stringy roots.

Medicinal Uses  
An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Externally, the root has been applied to bites from rattlesnakes. A poultice of the pulverized leaves has been applied with any salve to swellings.

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=Amphicarpaea+bracteata

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

http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=AMPBRA

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Hedge Woundwort

Botanical Name : Stachys sylvatica
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Stachys
Species: S. sylvatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names :Hedge Woundwort, Hedge nettle

Habitat :Hedge Woundwort is native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Norway to Portugal, the Caucasus and the Himalayas. Grows in  Woodland, hedgebanks and shady waste places, usually on rich soils

Description:
Hedge Woundwort is a perennial grassland herb growing to 80 cm tall. In temperate zones of the northern hemisphere it blossoms in July and August.Flowers in whorls of about 6 at the base of leaf-like bracts, or the lowest one or two whorls at the base of leaves proper.(Flower c 12-16 mm long.  Leaf-blades c 4-9 cm long.)  No gradual change from leaves to bracts as you go up stem, but a clear discontinuity.  Fruit has 4 nutlets as in all Labiatae  The flowers are purple. The leaves, when crushed or bruised, give off an unpleasant smell.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Flower claret-coloured with whitish markings, upper lip hood-shaped and lower lip divided into 3 obvious lobes, the middle one much the largest.  Middle lobe not notched.  Calyx with 5 near-equal teeth.  Leaves from midway up stem have blades less than twice as long as wide, the leaf stalk more than a third as long as the blade.

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It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. 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. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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 :
Grows well along woodland edges. The whole plant gives off a most unpleasant smell when bruised. A good bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Styptic; Tonic.

The whole herb is styptic. It is applied externally to wounds etc. The plant is also said to be diuretic, emmenagogue and tonic.
The whole herb is styptic. It is applied externally to wounds etc. From Culpeper: this herb ‘stamped with vinegar and applied in manner of a pultis, taketh away wens and hard swellings, and inflammation of the kernels under the eares and jawes,’ and also that the distilled water of the flowers ‘is used to make the heart merry, to make a good colour in the face, and to make the vitall spirits more fresh and lively.’

Other Uses:
Dye; Fibre.

A tough fibre is obtained from the stem. It has commercial possibilities. A yellow dye is obtained from the plant.

Scented Plants
Plant: Crushed
The whole plant gives off a most unpleasant smell when bruised.

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?Stachys+sylvatica

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

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

http://www.plant-identification.co.uk/skye/labiatae/stachys-sylvatica.htm

Gumbo-limbo

Botanical Name : Bursera simaruba
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Bursera
Species: B. simaruba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names:Gumbo-limbo,Copperwood

Habitat :Bursera simaruba is native to tropical regions of the Americas from the southeasternmost United States (southern Florida) south through Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil and Venezuela. An example habitat of occurrence is in the Petenes mangroves ecoregion of the Yucatan, where it is a subdominant plant species to mangroves

Description:
Bursera simaruba is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 30 m tall, with a diameter of one meter or less at 1.5 meters above ground. The bark is shiny dark red, the leaves are spirally arranged and pinnate with 7-11 leaflets, each leaflet broad ovate, 4–10 cm long and 2–5 cm broad.

The gumbo-limbo is comically referred to as the tourist tree because the tree’s bark is red and peeling, like the skin of sunburnt tourists, who are a common sight in the plant’s range.

The tree yields some ripe fruit year-round, but the main fruiting season is March and April in the northern part of the plant’s range. The fruit is a small three-valved capsule encasing a single seed which is covered in a red fatty aril (seedcoat) of 5–6 mm diameter. Both ripe and unripe fruits are borne quite loosely on their stems and can spontaneously detach if the tree is shaken. Ripe capsules dehisce or are cracked open by birds. Birds also seek out the fruit to feed on the aril, which, though small, is rich in lipids (about half its dry weight).

Medicinal Uses:
Gumbo-limbo is used as a tonic and for back pain, kidney ailments, gonorrhea, syphilis, leukorrhea, skin irritations esp. from Metopium, stings, arthritis/rheumatism, colds, sore throat, asthma, sweat induction, stomach hemorrhage, intestinal ailments, snakebite, wounds, reduction of blood pressure, fever, blood tonic esp. during pregnancy, diarrhea, bruises, loosing weight.  The sap is used to treat Poison Ivy and Poison Wood.  The resin is used to produce incense and against gastritis, ulcers and to heal skin wounds.  When someone sprained an ankle or pulled a muscle, gumbo limbo resin was applied to the affected area.  The bark is a common topical remedy for skin affections like skin sores, measles, sunburn, insect bites and rashes. A bark decoction is also taken internally for urinary tract infections, pain, colds, flu, sun stroke, fevers and to purify the blood. A strip of bark about 4 -5 cm x 30 cm is boiled in a gallon of water for 10 minutes for this local remedy and then used topically or drunk as a tea. Decoctions, infusions and direct use of bark, gum, wood and leaves hot and cold, alone and with other species.

Other Uses:
Gumbo-limbo is a very useful plant economically and ecologically. It is well adapted to several kinds of habitats, which include salty and calcareous soils (however, it does not tolerate foggy soils). Due to this fact and its rapid growth, B. simaruba is planted for various purposes, notably in coastal areas. In addition, gumbo-limbo is also considered one of the most wind-tolerant trees, and it is recommended as a rugged, hurricane-resistant species in south Florida. They may planted to serve as wind protection of crops and roads, or as living fence posts, and if simply stuck into good soil, small branches will readily root and grow into sizeable trees in a few years. In addition, gumbo-limbo wood is suitable for light construction and as firewood, and the tree’s resin, called chibou, cachibou or gomartis, is used as glue, varnish and incense. Gumbo-limbo is the traditional wood used for the manufacture of carousel horses in the United States.

The arils are an important source of food for birds, including many winter migrants from North America. Local residents such as the masked tityra, bright-rumped Attila, black-faced grosbeak and, in Hispaniola, palmchat, seem particularly fond of gumbo-limbo fruit, as are migrants like the Baltimore oriole or the dusky-capped flycatcher. Especially for vireos such the red-eyed vireo, it appears to be a very important food at least locally and when ripe fruit are abundant. Especially notable is the fact that many migrant species will utilize gumbo-limbo trees that are in human-modified habitat, even in settlements. This creates the opportunity to attract such species to residential areas for bird watching, and to reduce the competition for gumbo-limbo seeds in an undisturbed habitat which rarer local resident birds might face. In addition, gumbo-limbo’s rapid growth, ease and low cost of propagation, and ecological versatility makes it highly recommended as a “starter” tree in reforestation, even of degraded habitat, and it performs much better overall in such a role than most exotic species.

The resin is also used as a treatment for gout, while the leaves are brewed into a medicinal tea. Hexane extracts of the leaves have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties in animal tests[citation needed]. Gumbo-limbo bark is also considered an antidote[citation needed] to Metopium toxiferum which often grows in the same habitat and can cause extreme rashes just as the related poison ivy. Given the eagerness with which some birds seek out the arils, it may be that they contain lipids or other compounds with interesting properties; in order for these to be exploited by humans, however, they would probably have to be synthetically produced, because although the crop of a single tree can be very large (up to or even exceeding 15,000 fruits, translating into a raw lipid yield of over 200 grams per harvest), individual seeds are small and cumbersome to harvest.

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/Bursera_simaruba

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

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