Trifolium incarnatum

Botanical Name : Trifolium incarnatum
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Trifolium
Species: T. incarnatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names :Crimson clover or Italian clover (The species name incarnatum means “blood red”.)

Habitat :Trifolium incarnatum is  native to most of Europe.(Mainly western and southern Europe, including Britain, to the Balkans and the Mediterranean.) Grows in  grassy places near the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall.

Description:
Trifolium incarnatum is a upright annual herb grows to 20-50 cm tall at a medium rate, unbranched or branched only at the base. The leaves are trifoliate with a long petiole, each leaflet hairy, 8-16 mm across, with a truncated or bilobed apex. The flowers are produced throughout the spring and summer, rich red or crimson, congested on an elongated spike inflorescence 3-5 cm tall and 1.5 cm broad; the individual flowers are up to 10-13 mm long and have five petals. The banner of each flower does not sit upright, but folds forward.

 

You may click to see different pictures of Trifolium incarnatum

It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a moist, well-drained circum-neutral soil in full sun. Succeeds in poor soils. The ssp. molinerli is the form of this species that is native to Britain, whilst ssp. incarnatum is naturalized in S. Britain and is the form grown as a green manure crop. It grows well in an apple orchard, the trees will produce tastier fruit that stores better. It should not be grown with camellias or gooseberries because it harbours a mite that can cause fruit drop in the gooseberries and premature budding in the camellias. Fairly resistant to ‘clover rot’. 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. Buttercups growing nearby depress the growth of the nitrogen bacteria by means of a root exudate. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring to early summer in situ. The seed can also be sown in early autumn as a winter green manure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Edible Uses: Tea.

The seeds can be sprouted and eaten in salads. They can also be dried and ground into a nutritious flour[183]. Dried flower heads are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
Leaves are made into a strong infusion to suspend the spasms of whooping cough or into a salve for indolent sores.

Other Uses:
Green manure; Soil reclamation.

Used as a green manure. It is relatively fast growing, makes an excellent weed suppressing cover and fixes nitrogen. It is also used with grass seed mixes in soil reclamation projects.

Crimson clover is widely grown as a protein-rich forage crop for cattle and other livestock. It can typically be found in forest margins, fields and roadsides.

It is sown as quickly as possible after the removal of a grain crop at the rate of 20-22 kg/ha. It is found to succeed better when only the surface of the soil is stirred by the scarifier and harrow than when a plowing is given. It grows rapidly in spring, and yields an abundant crop of green food, particularly palatable to live stock. It is also suitable for making into hay. Only one cutting, however, can be obtained, as it does not shoot again after being mown.

In Great Britain it is most valuable in the south, though less successful in northern regions.

It has been introduced into the United States, originally as forage for cattle. It is often used for roadside erosion control, as well as beautification; it tends, however, to eliminate all other desirable spring and early-summer species of native vegetation in the area where it is planted.

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?Trifolium+incarnatum

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

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

Physalis heterophylla

Botanical Name : Physalis heterophylla
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Physalis
Species: P. heterophylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms:  Physalis ambigua – (Gray) Britton.

Common Names:Clammy Groundcherry

Habitat : Physalis heterophylla  is native to North America, occurring primarily in the eastern United States and Canada. It is known to occur in all contiguous states except for Nevada and California. It is found mainly in habitats such as dry or mesic prairies, gravel hills and rises, sandy or rocky soils, and waste places such as roadsides.

Description:
Physalis heterophylla is a perennial, and is one of the taller-growing North American members of the genus, reaching a height up to 50cm. The leaves are alternate, with petioles up to 1.5cm, ovate in shape, usually cordate at the base (this is especially true of mature leaves), 6-11 cm long at maturity. Each member of the Physalis genus has at least one characteristic that makes it easy to differentiate in the field. For P. heterophylla, the stems and leaves are glandularly pubescent, giving it the “clammy” feel from which its name is derived. The plant also has distinctive thick rhizomes that run horizontal to the stem. Some sources recognize four distinct subspecies based primarily on leaf variation:

*P. heterophylla var. heterophylla, with thin leaves that have dentate margins;

*P. heterophylla var. clavipes, with thick, conspicuously veined leaves and sparingly tooth-like protrusions on otherwise entire margins;

*P. heterophylla var. ambigua, with thick, conspicuously veined leaves and dentate margins;

*P. heterophylla var. nycangienea, with thin leaves that have sparingly tooth-like protrusions on otherwise entire margins.

The flowers are on simple inflorescences that emerge from leaf apexes. The petals are yellow on the exterior, and yellow on the interior with purple highlights emanating up each petal from the base. They are funnelform in shape, with five fused petals. There are five reticulated sepals, which enlarge after flowering to eventually protect the maturing frut. Stamens five, with yellow anthers and purple filaments. The flowers face downwards when open, and are about 2.5cm in diameter. The fruits are typical for the family (appearing like a tomatillo), and have a slightly bitter taste, though they are perfectly edible. The rest of the plant is poisonous.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. A polymorphic species.

Propagation:
Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination. Division in spring. 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. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Quite nice raw though rather small, the fruit can also be made into pies, jams, sauces etc. Pectin or pectin-rich fruit should be added if the fruit is used in jams and preserves. The fruit can also be dried, ground into a meal and added to flour for making bread etc. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own ‘paper bag’ (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
Antitumor; Diuretic; Poultice.

The seed is considered to be beneficial in the treatment of difficult urination, fever, inflammation and various urinary disorders. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of headaches and as a wash for burns and scalds. A poultice of the leaves and roots is applied to wounds. An infusion of the leaves and roots is used as a wash on scalds, burns and VD sores. Compounds in the plant are being investigated for antitumor activity.

Known  Hazards : All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous

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

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Physalis+heterophylla

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

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Clerodendrum trichotomum

Botanical Name : Clerodendrum trichotomum
Family: Verbenaceae (or Lamiaceae)
Genus: Clerodendrum
Species: C. trichotomum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Harlequin glorybower,Chou Wu Tong

Habitat :Clerodendrum trichotomum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thickets on mountain slopes, throughout most of China except Nei Mongol, below elevations of 2400 metres .

Description:
A decidious Tree growing to 6m by 3m.This large shrub offers a late-summer display of jasmine-like white flowers encased in red tepals and scent.The flowers  have white petals, held within a brown calyx. The fruits are bright blue drupes. Bright blue berries in autumn are accented by conspicuous bright, pinkish-red calyxes.The leaves are ovate, up to 12 cm long, soft and downy or hairy.

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It is hardy to zone 7.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Noteworthy characteristics: When crushed, the foliage smells like unsweetened peanut butter, thought it is often described as “fetid.

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 :
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil but prefers a fertile humus-rich well-drained loam. The soil must not be allowed to dry out in the growing season. Requires a position sheltered from cold drying winds. Plants are generally hardy to about -15°c, they succeed outdoors at Kew though the branches are pithy and are apt to die back in winter. The sub-species C. trichotomum fargesii. (Dode.)Rehder. is somewhat hardier, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Plants produce the occasional sucker. The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed. Flowers are produced on the current seasons growth and are sweetly scented.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as possible in a greenhouse. Germination can be erratic but usually takes place within 20 – 60 days at 20°c. When 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 in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Root cuttings, 6 – 8cm long, December in a greenhouse. High percentage. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Very easy, they can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young sprouts and leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antipruritic; Antirheumatic; Hypotensive; Parasiticide; Sedative.

The leaves are mildly analgesic, antipruritic, hypotensive and sedative. They are used externally in the treatment of dermatitis and internally for the treatment of hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, numbness and paralysis. When used in a clinical trial of 171 people, the blood pressure of 81% of the people dropped significantly – this effect was reversed when the treatment was stopped. The plant is normally used in conjunction with Bidens bipinnata. When used with the herb Siegesbeckia pubescens it is anti-inflammatory. The roots and leaves are antirheumatic and hypotensive. A decoction is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. The pounded seed is used to kill lice.

Other Uses:

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed.

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/Clerodendrum_trichotomum

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Clerodendrum+trichotomum

http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/clerodendrum-trichotonum-harlequin-glorybower.aspx

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Codium fragile

Botanical Name : Codium fragile
Family: Codiaceae
Genus: Codium
Species: C. fragile
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Chlorophyta
Class: Bryopsidophyceae
Order: Bryopsidales

Common Names :Green sea fingers, Dead man’s fingers, Felty fingers, Felt-alga, Green sponge and  Green fleece

Habitat :Codium fragile is native to the Pacific Ocean. The species inhabits the middle and lower intertidal zone as well as subtidal regions of rocky shores.

It is also found in large tide pools permanently filled with water. Therefore it is found at Race Rocks. At Race Rocks in 2001, the species occurred in only two small areas, although it was found when diving in earlier years in larger beds, shallow subtidally on the south side of Bentinck Island just across Race Passage north from Race Rocks. On the north side of the Great Race, there was one plant in a tide pool, and on the South East side, several dozen plants have occurred since the early 1980′s along the zero tide level of the small peninsula island. In 2004 it has been observed in several tidepools however its population still remains limited.

Description:
Codium fragile is a dark green alga, ranging from ten to 40 cm high and consists of repeatedly branching cylindrical segments about 0.5 to 1.0 cm in diameter, and the branches can be as thick as pencil. The segments look like dark green fingers. Its holdfast is a broad, sponge like cushion of tissue. The tips of segments are blunt and the surface is soft, so it is sometimes mistaken as a sponge. Its body consists of interwoven, filamentous cells with incomplete crosswalls forming the inner part of the branches.

Click to see the picture

A number of subspecies have been described, some of which have been introduced in various parts of the world. Although two spubspecies were widely accepted as having been introduced into Britain and Ireland, recent detailed genetic studies have shown that this is not the case.

Medicinal Uses;
In China, used to clear away heat and toxic materials, reduce tumescence and nourish dampness and driving bug. For edema, difficulty of pisses, driving lumbricoid and drink.

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/Codium_fragile

http://massbay.mit.edu/exoticspecies/exoticmaps/images/codium_big.jpg

http://myweb.dal.ca/rescheib/codium.html

http://www.seaweed.ie/descriptions/Codium_fragile.html

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

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Chinese Woad (Isatis tinctoria or Isatis indigotica)

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad,...

English: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Woad, habitus Deutsch: Isatis tinctoria, Brassicaceae, Färberwaid, Deutscher Indigo, Habitus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Botanical Name : Isatis tinctoria /Isatis indigotica
Family: Brassicaceae/Cruciferae
Genus: Isatis
Species: I. tinctoria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Isatis indigotica – Fortune.

Common Name:  Chinese Woad
Other Common Names: Ban Lan Gen, Ch’Ing Tai, Dyer’s Woad, Dyer’s-woad, Tein-ching, Tien Hua, Wede, Woad

Habitat :Woad is native to the steppe and desert zones of the Caucasus, Central Asia to eastern Siberia and Western Asia (Hegi), but is now found in southeastern and some parts of Central Europe as well.Grows in  cliffs and cornfields, often on chalky soils.

Description:
Isatis indigotica is Biennial/Perennial growing to 1m by 0.45m.
It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June 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.

You may click to see the pictures

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

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position, though it succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers neutral to alkaline conditions. Plants deplete the soil of nutrients and cannot be grown successfully on the same site for more than two years. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Woad is a biennial, or occasionally a short-lived perennial plant. It has a very long history as a dye plant, being used by the ancient Britons to give a blue colouring to the skin. At one time woad was widely cultivated for this blue dye obtained from its leaves but with the advent of chemical dyes it has fallen into virtual disuse. It is currently (1993) being grown commercially on a small scale in Germany as a wood preservative (An item on BBC’s Radio 4 Farming Programme). Plants self-sow freely when they are grown in a suitable position, though they tend not to thrive if grown in the same position for more than two years.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Fresh seed can also be sown in situ in late summer, it will take 20 months to flower but will produce more leaves

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – they require long soaking in order to remove a bitterness, and even then they are still bitter[177, 179]. There is no record of the seeds being edible, but they contain 12 – 34% protein and 12 – 38% fat on a zero moisture basis[218].

Medicinal Uses:
Antibacterial; Antiviral; Astringent; Cancer.

Isatis indigotica contains indican and isatin B, both of which can be converted to indigo. Considered antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Leaves and roots are effective against flu, encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, and mumps.

Woad has rather a mixed press for its medicinal virtues. One author says it is so astringent that it is not fit to be used internally – it is only used externally as a plaster applied to the region of the spleen and as an ointment for ulcers, inflammation and to staunch bleeding[4]. However, it is widely used internally in Chinese herbal medicine where high doses are often employed in order to maintain high levels of active ingredients. The leaves are antibacterial, anticancer, antiviral, astringent and febrifuge. It controls a wide range of pathogenic organisms, including viruses. It is used internally in the treatment of a wide range of disorders, including meningitis, encephalitis, mumps, influenza, erysipelas, heat rash etc. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried. They are also macerated and the blue pigment extracted. This is also used medicinally, particularly in the treatment of high fevers and convulsions in children, coughing of blood and as a detoxifier in infections such as mumps. The root is antibacterial and anticancer. It is used in the treatment of fevers, pyogenic inflammation in influenza and meningitis, macula in acute infectious diseases, erysipelas, mumps and epidemic parotitis. Its antibacterial action is effective against Bacillus subtilis, haemolytic streptococcus,, C. diphtheriae, E. coli, Bacillus typhi, B. paratyphi, Shigella dysenteriae, S. flexneri and Salmonella enteritidis. Both the leaves and the roots are used in the treatment of pneumonia. The root and the whole plant have anticancer properties whilst extracts of the plant have shown bactericidal properties.

Other Uses
Dye; Preservative.

Woad is historically famous as a dye plant, having been used as a body paint by the ancient Britons prior to the invasion of the Romans. A blue dye is obtained from the leaves by a complex process that involves fermenting the leaves and produces a foul stench. The dye is rarely used nowadays, having been replaced first by the tropical Indigofera tinctoria and more recently by synthetic substitutes. Nevertheless, it is a very good quality dye that still finds some use amongst artists etc who want to work with natural dyes. A very good quality green is obtained by mixing it with Dyer’s greenwood (Genista tinctoria). Woad is also used to improve the colour and quality of indigo, as well as to form a base for black dyes. The leaves are harvested when fully grown and 3 – 4 harvests can be made in total. Recent research in Germany has shown that (the dyestuff in?) this plant is a very good preservative for wood[Radio 4 Farming programme].

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?Isatis+tinctoria

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

http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/woad_chinese.html

http://www.uniprot.org/taxonomy/161756

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Chinese Violet

Botanical Name: Asystasia gangetica
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Asystasia
Species: A. gangetica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:
*Asystasia parvula C.B.Clarke
*Asystasia querimbensis Klotzsch
*Asystasia pubescens Klotzsch
*Asystasia subhastata Klotzsch
*Asystasia quarterna Nees
*Asystasia scabrida Klotzsch
*Asystasia floribunda Klotzsch
*Asystasia coromandeliana Nees
*Justicia gangetica L.
*Asystasia acuminata Klotzsch
*Asystasia coromandeliana Nees var. micrantha Nees
*Asystasia multiflora Klotzsch
*Asystasia ansellioides C.B.Clarke var. lanceolata Fiori
*Asystasia podostachys Klotzsch

Common Names : Chinese Violet, Coromandel or Creeping Foxglove,Asystasia

Habitat :Chinese Violet is widespread throughout the Old World Tropics, and introduced into tropical Americas and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized. Both subspecies of this plant have been introduced to Australia where A. g. micrantha is on the National Environmental Alert List and must be reported when found. The original range of the subspecies is unclear, but it is likely that A. g. gangetica was limited to Asia, and A. g. micrantha was limited to Africa

Description:
This plant is a spreading herb or groundcover, reaching 2 feet in height or up to 3 feet  if supported. The stems root easily at the nodes. The leaves are simple and opposite. The fruit is an explosive capsule which starts out green in colour, but dries to brown after opening

Edible  Uses:
In some parts of Africa, the leaves are eaten as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses;
Chinese Violet is  used as an herbal remedy in traditional African medicine. The leaves are used in many parts of Nigeria for the management of asthma, and scientific investigation has shown some basis for this use.

Other Uses;
Chinese Violet is used as an ornamental plant in several places.This is also an important plant for honeybees, butterflies and other insects. In southern Africa there are at least six species of butterfly that use A. g. micrantha as a larval foodplant; Junonia oenone, Junonia hierta, Junonia natalica, Junonia terea, Protogoniomorpha parhassus and Hypolimnas misippus. The vigorous growth of A. g. micrantha in tropical regions makes it a weed which can smother certain indigenous vegetation where it has been introduced.

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/Asystasia_gangetica

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Rhus chinensis

Botanical Name : Rhus chinensis
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms : Rhus javanica – Thunb. non L., Rhus osbeckii – Decne., Rhus semialata – Murray.

Common Names : Chinese gall, Galla Chinensis or Wu Bei,Chinese Sumac

Habitat : Rhus chinensis is native to E. Asia – China, Japan. Grows in  lowland, hills and mountains in Japan. Also found in the Himalayas (as R. semialata) where it grows in secondary forests to 2100 metres

Description:
Rhus chinensis forms a loose, spreading small tree, reaching up to 25 feet in height . Most specimens only grow to about 12 to 15 feet tall. Theshiny, pinnately compound, five inches long leaves change to a brilliant orange, red, or yellow in the fall before dropping. The yellowish-white, summertime flowers appear in 6 to 10-inch-long and wide, terminal panicles and are quite showy. The hairy fruits which follow are orange/red and mature in October.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower in August, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is not 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 :
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. A very ornamental plant, it is not fully hardy in all parts of Britain and needs a hot summer in order to fully ripen its wood, suffering winter damage to late growth if the temperature falls below about -7°c. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus and any winter damage will exacerbate the situation. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.

Edible Uses: Curdling agent; Salt.

Fruit – cooked. An acid flavour. It is also used medicinally. The fruit can be used as a salt or a rennet substitute.

Medicinal Uses :

Anthelmintic; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Astringent; Cholagogue; Depurative; Haemostatic.

The leaves and the roots are depurative. They stimulate blood circulation. A decoction is used in the treatment of haemoptysis, inflammations, laryngitis, snakebite, stomach-ache and traumatic fractures. The stem bark is astringent and anthelmintic. The fruit is used in the treatment of colic. The seed is used in the treatment of coughs, dysentery, fever, jaundice, malaria and rheumatism. The root bark is cholagogue. Galls on the plant are rich in tannin. They are used internally for their astringent and styptic properties to treat conditions such as diarrhoea and haemorrhage. They are a frequent ingredient in polyherbal prescriptions for diabetes mellitus. An excrescence produced on the leaf by an insect Melaphis chinensis or M. paitan (this report probably refers to the galls produced by the plant in response to the insect) is antiseptic, astringent and haemostatic. It s used in the treatment of persistent cough with blood, chronic diarrhoea, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, bloody stool, urorrhoea and bloody sputum. It is used applied externally to burns, bleeding due to traumatic injuries, haemorrhoids and ulcers in the mouth. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses:
Dye; Ink; Mordant; Oil; Tannin; Wax.

The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. A blue dye is obtained from insect galls on the plant, it can also be used as an ink. The galls are formed as a result of damage by the greenfly, Aphis chinensis. The galls contain up to 77% tannin. The reports do not say if the galls are harvested before or after the insect has left the gall. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The wood is soft and is not used.

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/Rhus_chinensis

http://hort.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/tree_fact_sheets/rhuchia.pdf

http://www.plantplaces.com/perl/viewplantdetails.pl?filter=plant&plant_ID=42&Region=&Region_Search=&fullname=Rhus%20chinensis%20′September%20Beauty’%20September%20Beauty%20Sumac

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Prunus japonica

Botanical Name ; Prunus japonica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. japonica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Cerasus japonica – (Thunb.)Loisel.

Common Names : Korean cherry, Flowering almond or Oriental bush cherry,

Habitat :  Prunus japonica is  native range extends from Central China through to the Korean peninsula. P. maximowiczii, the Miyama cherry is also often referred to as Korean cherry.Found in woodlands in mountain valleys. Forest on mountain slopes, thickets and sunny mountain slopes at elevations of 100 – 200 metres.

The plant thrives on well-drained and moist loamy soil and prefers little shade or no shade at all. The plant prefers some lime in the soil but not too much. It is mostly found at woodlands or sunny places.

Description:
The shrub reaches 1.5 m by 1.5 m. Its flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insects. The plant blossoms in May. Its fruit reaches about 14 mm and has an agreeably sweet flavor, therefore it is used in making pies, but its taste is quite sour, reminiscent of that of Sour cherry.

Every fruit has one seed. The plant usually grows from seed but can also be multiplied by cutting for layering.

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:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present[1]. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. A very ornamental plant, but it is subject to die-back. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The Korean cherry is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit, there is at least one named variety. The sub-species P. japonica nakai. (Lév.)Rehd., which comes from Manchuria, has larger plum-like fruits up to 50mm in diameter. This species is closely related to P. glandulosa. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Medicinal Uses:
Medical interestAlthough this is not yet scientifically established, the species is thought[by whom?] to contain amygdalin and prunasin, as is the case at all the other members of the genus Prunus. These chemical compounds break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid, an extremely poisonous substance that when taken in very small amount can stimulate respiration and improve digestion.[medical citation needed]

The kernel of Prunus japonica is highly versatile: it is deobstruent, aperient, demulcent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, hypotensive, ophthalmic and lenitive. It can also be prescribed for internal use in treating dry constipation, oedema or post-traumatic insomnia. Other part of the plant is also used, but more rarely. For instance, the root acts against constipation, child fever, pinworms and teeth problems

Other uses:  The leaves of this plant procure a green dye, while the fruit procures a greenish to grayish dye.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_japonica

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

http://www.landscapedia.info/plant.php?plantID=5296

http://hortuscamden.com/plants/view/prunus_japonica_thunb

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Aralia chinensis

Botanical Name : Aralia chinensis
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Aralia sinensis Hort,A. elata.

Common Names :Chinese angelica tree

Habitat : Aralia chinensis is  native to China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Description:
Aralia chinensis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in).It is somewhat prickly and hairy ornamental type,  having leathery twice-pinnate leaves, and panicles of creamy-white flowers, succeeded by black berries. The variegated form with an irregular silvery bordering to the leaflets is particularly handsome

 

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It is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

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:   
Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is closely allied to A. elata. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation  :   
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:       
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young shoots – cooked. Used as a vegetable. Blanched and used in salads. Although no records of edibility have been seen for the seed, it is said to contain 5.8 – 17.5% protein, 4.2 – 46.3% fat and 3.7 – 5.7% ash.

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne;  CarminativeDiuretic;  Sialagogue.

The stem and root are anodyne and carminative. It is used as a warming painkilling herb in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The root is also considered to be useful in the treatment of diabetes and dysmenorrhoea. Some caution is advised since the bark is considered to be slightly poisonous. The stembark is diuretic and sialagogue.The plant also relieves flatulence.  It regulates body moisture and  promotes the health of the circulatory and respiratory systems.  The roots and stems are used in decoctions.  Single dose: 31-62g.  Studies in vitro showed that the water extract of herb had cytotoxical effect on esophageal cell line and tests in vivo indicated that it was effective against SAK, HepS, EAC, s180, and U14 murine tumors.

Other Uses:Birds & Wildlife; Deer Resistant; Wind-Breaks; Likes Shade;

Known Hazards :  The bark is considered to be slightly poisonous

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

Resources:

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia+chinensis

http://toptropicals.com/pics/garden/m1/bel/Aralia_chinensis409.jpg

http://www.forestfarm.com/product.php?id=529

http://chestofbooks.com/gardening-horticulture/Commercial-Gardening-4/Aralia-Chinensis-Dimorphanthus-Mandschuricus.html

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

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Diospyros kaki

Botanical Name : Diospyros kaki
Family: Ebenaceae
Genus: Diospyros
Species: D. kaki
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names :Japanese Persimmon, Kaki Persimmon  or Asian Persimmon

Habitat :Diospyros kaki is native to   E. Asia – China, Japan.Cultivation of the fruit extended first to other parts of East Asia, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 19th century, to Brazil in the 1890s[3], and numerous cultivars have been selected. A variety is Diospyros kaki var. sylvestris Makino.Now in North America, is the most widely cultivated species of the Diospyros genus. Although its first published botanical description was not until 1780, the kaki is also among the oldest plants in cultivation, known for its use in China for more than 2000 years.

Not known in a truly wild situation, it is found in broad leafed woodland but probably as an escape from cultivation.

Description:
Diospyros kaki is a deciduous tree  with broad, stiff leaves. It grows  to 12 m (39ft) by 7 m (23ft).
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen in November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.

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

The persimmon (kaki) is a sweet, slightly tangy fruit with a soft to occasionally fibrous texture. This species, native to China, is deciduous, with broad, stiff leaves. Cultivation of the fruit extended first to other parts of East Asia, and was later introduced to California and southern Europe in the 19th century, to Brazil in the 1890s, and numerous cultivars have been selected. A variety is Diospyros kaki var. sylvestris Makino.

In many cultivars, known as the astringent varieties, the fruit has a high tannin content which makes the immature fruit astringent and bitter. The tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures. It is not edible in its crisp firm state, but has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften after harvest. It has a delicious soft jelly-like consistency, and is best eaten with a spoon. The Japanese cultivar ‘Hachiya’ is a widely grown astringent cultivar. Some cultivars, such as Fuyu, do not contain tannins when firm, and can be eaten like an apple, or can be allowed to go to any stage of ripeness, including to the jelly-like stage. These non-astringent varieties are considered to have a less complex flavor.

When ripe, this fruit comprises thick pulpy jelly encased in a waxy thin skinned shell. “Sharon Fruit” (named originally after Sharon plain in Israel) is the trade name for D. kaki fruit whose astringency has been chemically removed.[5] It is also known as the “Korean mango”.

Cultivation :
Prefers a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade but succeeds in most soils. Dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils. Requires a sheltered position[200]. Dormant plants are quite hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -14°c, but they require warmer summers than are normally experienced in Britain in order to ripen their fruit and wood. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A warm sunny wall improves the chance of producing ripe fruit and trees fruit freely when grown under glass. Fruits are frequently produced outdoors at Kew. A tree seen in a open position with afternoon shade at Kew in November 1993 (after a cool summer) had about 200 almost ripe fruits around 8cm in diameter. The same tree, after a fairly warm summer in 1996, had a large quantity of fruit just about ready for harvesting in the middle of December. Trees produce a long taproot and should be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible. The young trees require some winter protection for their first winter or two. The persimmon is widely cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate areas of the world, especially in Japan and China, there are many named varieties. Some cultivars, such as ‘Fuyu’, lack the usual astringency and can be eaten whilst still firm, though they develop a richer flavour if allowed to become soft. These non-astringent forms require a warmer climate and do not ripen in cooler areas. The astringent cultivars are somewhat hardier and ripen well in cooler climates than the non-astringent forms. The fruit colours better and is sweeter in warmer areas but in hot conditions has a poor texture and deep black spots develop. If allowed to become very ripe (almost to the point of going rotten), they develop a better flavour than non-astringent forms. Dioecious, but the female tree can produce seedless fruits in the absence of a pollinator. However, unfertilized fruit tends to be smaller and more astringent. This astringency is due to the high content of tannin but once the fruit is fully ripe it loses this astringency and becomes sweet. If fertilized fruit is required, then growing one male for every 8 – 10 females is usually adequate.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed requires a period of cold-stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible[78]. It usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into fairly deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Give them some protection from winter cold for their first year or two outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering in spring

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
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Edible Uses: Coffee; Condiment; Sweetener.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit has an exquisitely rich flavour when it is very soft and fully ripe (almost at the point of going bad), but the fruit of many cultivars is very harsh and astringent before then[K]. In Britain, the fruit needs to be harvested whilst it is still very hard. This is done very late in the season (in December or even January if possible), it is then stored in a cool but frost-free place until very soft and fully ripe[K]. The fruit can also be used in pies, cakes, bread, desserts etc. It contains 25% sugars. A fuller nutritional analysis is available. The fruit can also be dried for later use. The fruit is about 7.5cm in diameter. The peel of the fruit can be powdered and used as a sweetener. The leaves are used to improve the flavour of pickled radishes. The roasted seeds are a coffee substitute.

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

*Fruit (Dry weight)  :350 Calories per 100g
*Water: 0%
*Protein: 3.6g; Fat: 1.5g; Carbohydrate: 91g; Fibre: 7.7g; Ash: 4g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 80mg; Phosphorus: 100mg; Iron: 8mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 20mg; Potassium: 950mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 5600mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.2mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.15mg; Niacin: 0.9mg; B6: 0mg; C: 75mg;

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Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic;  Antitussive;  Antivinous;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Hypotensive;  Laxative;  Sialagogue;
Stomachic;  Styptic.

Appetizer, sialagogue. The stem bark is astringent and styptic. The fruit is said to have different properties depending on its stage of ripeness, though it is generally antitussive, astringent, laxative, nutritive and stomachic. The fresh fully ripe fruit is used raw in the treatment of constipation and haemorrhoids and when cooked is used to treat diarrhoea. The dried ripe fruit is used in the treatment of bronchial complaints, whilst when ground into a powder it is used to treat dry coughs. Juice from the unripe fruit is used in the treatment of hypertension. The fruits, picked green and ripened in containers with the leaves, become very sweet and are considered to be antifebrile, antivinous and demulcent. The fruits are also peeled and then exposed to sunlight by day and dew by night. They become encrusted with a white powder and are then considered to be anthelmintic, antihaemorrhagic, antivinous, expectorant, febrifuge and restorative. The peduncle is used to treat coughs and hiccups. The calyx is used to treat hiccups.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic;  Wood.

The pulp of unripe fruits is used in cosmetics to make face-packs because of its firming qualities. Wood – hard and durable with a beautiful grain. Used for making fine furniture

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/Diospyros_kaki

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Diospyros+kaki

http://plantarium.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/the-kaki-tree-diospyros-kaki/

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