Minimum Amount of Exercise Needed To Keep A Person Fit

When an extensive study was done in Taiwan on 4,20,000 randomly selected adults (men and women) for 10 years,  it was found that compared with individuals in a totally inactive control group, those in the low-volume activity group, (who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week) had a 14 per cent reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a three year longer life expectancy. Every additional 15 minutes of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 minutes a day further reduced all-cause mortality by 4 per cent and all-cancer mortality by 1 per cent. These benefits were applicable to all age groups and both sexes. So the minimum required is probably 15 minutes a day (90 minutes a week) of moderate-intensity exercise.

Source: Published in The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Phoenix dactylifera (Date)

Botanical Name : Phoenix dactylifera
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
Species: P. dactylifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Arecales

Common Names ;Date

Habitat :Phoenix dactylifera is native to the Persian Gulf.It is cultivated for it’s sweet fruit all along the middle east dry areas.

Dates are an important traditional crop in Turkey, Iraq, Arabia, and north Africa west to Morocco and are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible. Dates (especially Medjool and Deglet Noor) are also cultivated in southern California, Arizona and southern Florida in the United States.

Description:
The date palm is dioecious, having separate male and female plants.It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with several stems from a single root system. The leaves are 3–5 m long, with spines on the petiole, and pinnate, with about 150 leaflets; the leaflets are 30 cm long and 2 cm wide. The full span of the crown ranges from 6 to 10 m.

click to see the pictures

The fruit is known as a date. The fruit’s English name (through Old French), as well as the Latin species name dactylifera, both come from the Greek word for “finger,” dáktulos, because of the fruit’s elongated shape. Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm diameter, and when unripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single seed about 2–2.5 cm long and 6–8 mm thick. Three main cultivar groups of date exist: soft (e.g. ‘Barhee’, ‘Halawy‘, ‘Khadrawy’, ‘Medjool’), semi-dry (e.g. ‘Dayri’, ‘Deglet Noor’, ‘Zahdi’), and dry (e.g. ‘Thoory’). The type of fruit depends on the glucose, fructose and sucrose content.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Dates are naturally wind pollinated but in both traditional oasis horticulture and in the modern commercial orchards they are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination occurs with about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can pollinate up to 100 females. Since the males are of value only as pollinators, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled labourers on ladders. In some areas such as Iraq the pollinator climbs the tree using a special climbing tool that wraps around the tree trunk and the climber’s back to keep him attached to the trunk while climbing. Less often the pollen may be blown onto the female flowers by a wind machine.

They can be easily grown from seed, but only 50% of seedlings will be female and hence fruit bearing, and dates from seedling plants are often smaller and of poorer quality. Most commercial plantations thus use cuttings of heavily cropping cultivars. Plants grown from cuttings will fruit 2–3 years earlier than seedling plants.

A date palm cultivar, known as Judean date palm is renowned for its long-lived orthodox seed, which successfully sprouted after accidental storage for 2000 years. This particular seed was presently reputed to be the oldest viable seed until the sprouting of over 30,000 year old silene stenophylla seeds, but the upper survival time limit of properly stored seeds remains unknown.

Date palms can take 4 to 8 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 to 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 80–120 kilograms (176–264 lb) of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather and pests such as birds.

Edible Uses:
Dates fruit  have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated around the Persian Gulf, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE. The Ancient Egyptians used the fruits to be made into date wine, and ate them at harvest. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. (Alvarez-Mon 2006).

In later times, traders spread dates around South and South West Asia, northern Africa, and Spain and Italy. Dates were introduced into Mexico and California by the Spaniards by 1765, around Mission San Ignacio.

Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khlal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a source of vitamin C and supplies 230 kcal (960 kJ) of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C is lost in the process.

In Islamic countries, dates and yogurt or milk are a traditional first meal when the sun sets during Ramadan.

Dry or soft dates are eaten out-of-hand, or may be pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and lemon peel, tahini, marzipan or cream cheese. Pitted dates are also referred to as stoned dates. Partially dried pitted dates may be glazed with glucose syrup for use as a snack food. Dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savory dishes, from tajines (tagines) in Morocco to puddings, ka’ak (types of Arab cookies) and other dessert items. Date nut bread, a type of cake, is very popular in the United States, especially around holidays. Dates are also processed into cubes, paste called “‘ajwa”, spread, date syrup or “honey” called “dibs” or “rub” in Libya, powder (date sugar), vinegar or alcohol. Recent innovations include chocolate-covered dates and products such as sparkling date juice, used in some Islamic countries as a non-alcoholic version of champagne, for special occasions and religious times such as Ramadan.

Dates can also be dehydrated, ground and mixed with grain to form a nutritious stockfeed. Dried dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs in the Sahara. In northern Nigeria, dates and peppers added to the native beer are believed to make it less intoxicating.

Sweet sap tapped from date palm in West Bengal, IndiaYoung date leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, as is the terminal bud or heart, though its removal kills the palm. The finely ground seeds are mixed with flour to make bread in times of scarcity. The flowers of the date palm are also edible. Traditionally the female flowers are the most available for sale and weigh 300–400 grams. The flower buds are used in salad or ground with dried fish to make a condiment for bread.

Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of dietary potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80%; the remainder consists of protein, fiber, and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. The glycemic index for three different varieties of dates are 35.5 (khalas), 49.7 (barhi) and 30.5 (bo ma’an).

In India and Pakistan, North Africa, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire, date palms are tapped for the sweet sap, which is converted into palm sugar (known as jaggery or gur), molasses or alcoholic beverages. In North Africa the sap obtained from tapping palm trees is known as l?gb?. If left for a sufficient period of time (typically hours, depending on the temperature) l?gb? easily becomes an alcoholic drink. Special skill is required when tapping the palm tree so that it does not die.

In Southeast Spain (where a large date plantation exists including UNESCO protected Palmeral of Elche) dates (usually pitted with fried almond) are served wrapped in bacon and shallow fried.

It is also used to make Jallab.
Medicinal Uses:
The fruit, because of its tannin content, is used medicinally as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles. In the form of an infusion, decoction, syrup or paste, is administered as a treatment for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh. It is taken to relieve fever, cystitis, gonorrhea, edema, liver and abdominal troubles. And it is said to counteract alcohol intoxication.  The seed powder is an ingredient in a paste given to relieve ague. A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in India for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. It is diuretic and demulcent. The roots are used against toothache. The pollen yields an estrogenic principle, estrone, and has a gonadotropic effect on young rats.  One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxication. The seed powder is also used in some traditional medicines. Because of their laxative quality, dates are considered to be good at preventing constipation..

Other Uses Of the Plant :
Date seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Their oil is suitable for use in soap and cosmetics. They can also be processed chemically as a source of oxalic acid. The seeds are also burned to make charcoal for silversmiths, and can be strung in necklaces. Date seeds are also ground and used in the manner of coffee beans, or as an additive to coffee.

Stripped fruit clusters are used as brooms. In Pakistan, a viscous, thick syrup made from the ripe fruits is used as a coating for leather bags and pipes to prevent leaking.

Date palm sap is used to make palm syrup and numerous edible products derived from the syrup.

Date palm leaves are used for Palm Sunday in the Christian religion. In North Africa, they are commonly used for making huts. Mature leaves are also made into mats, screens, baskets and fans. Processed leaves can be used for insulating board. Dried leaf petioles are a source of cellulose pulp, used for walking sticks, brooms, fishing floats and fuel. Leaf sheaths are prized for their scent, and fibre from them is also used for rope, coarse cloth, and large hats. The leaves are also used as a lulav in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Date palm wood is used for posts and rafters for huts; it is lighter than coconut and not very durable. It is also used for construction such as bridges and aqueducts, and parts of dhows. Leftover wood is burnt for fuel.

Where craft traditions still thrive, such as in Oman, the palm tree is the most versatile of all indigenous plants, and virtually every part of the tree is utilized to make functional items ranging from rope and baskets to beehives, fishing boats, and traditional dwellings.

When Muslims break fast in the evening meal of Ramadan, it is traditional to eat a date first.

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/Phoenix_dactylifera

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

http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week432.shtml

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Cynanchum glaucescens

Botanical Name : Cynanchum glaucescens
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus :  Cynanchum

Common Name ;

Habitat : Cynanchum glaucescens is native to  E. Asia – China. It grows in  Mountains, riversides; 100-800. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang

Description:
Cynanchum glaucescens is a perennial Climber growing to 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
YOU MAY CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES OF …..Cynanchum glaucescens….
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. It probably does not have any special cultivation requirements and will probably succeed in most soils in a sunny position.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Medicinal Uses:

Antitussive; Expectorant.

The fragrant root is used in Chinese medicine.  The roots and stems are used to treat coughs, pneumonia, uneasy breathing, and lung diseases.  They are also used in the treatment of asthma with profuse sputum, coughs etc.

The dried root and stem are antitussive and expectorant. They are used in the treatment of asthma with profuse sputum, coughs etc.

Known Hazards:There are some reports of toxins in this genus

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?Cynanchum+glaucescens

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

http://www.showyourplant.com/Cynanchum_glaucescens/

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Medeola virginiana

Botanical Name : Medeola virginiana
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Medeola
Species: M. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names :Medeola virginiana or Indian Cucumber-root

Habitat : Medeola virginiana is native to  Eastern N. AmericaNova Scotia to Ontario, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee. It grows in rich woods, margins of swamps and bogs .

Description:
Medeola virginiana is a perennial plant, growing to 0.25m.It occurs with either a single tier or two tiers of leaves. The upper tier consists of from three to five whorled leaves on the stem above a lower tier of five to nine (also whorled). Only the two-tiered plants produce flowers which are green-to-yellow and appear from May to June. When two-tiered, it grows up to 30 inches high. The waxy leaves are typically 2.5 inches long and about an inch wide, but can be as long as five inches. The leaves have an entire margin. It typically produces three dark blue to purple, inedible berries above the top tier of leaves in September.
..,

It is hardy to zone 3.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers light shade and plenty of leaf mould in a slightly acid soil. Prefers a rich sandy soil. The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame in a well-drained soil-less medium. Fully remove the fleshy seed covering because this contains germination inhibitors. The seed should germinate in the spring. Spring sown seed can be slow to germinate and may take 12 months or more. The seed should be sown thinly so that the seedlings can be grown on undisturbed in the pot for their first year. If necessary apply a liquid feed at intervals through the growing season to ensure that the plants grow on well. Prick the roots out into individual pots in the autumn and grow them on in a shady part of the greenhouse for at least the next growing season, planting them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.

Root – raw or cooked. Crisp and tender with the aroma and taste of cucumbers. A sweet flavour. The root is up to 8cm long.

Medicinal Uses:

Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Hydrogogue.
The root is diuretic and hydrogogue. It is used in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the crushed dried berries and leaves has been used to treat babies with convulsions.

Other Uses:
Scented Plants
Root: Fresh
The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.This plant produces a crisp, edible tuber that smells and tastes like garden cucumber. It is listed as an endangered plant in Florida and in Illinois.

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/Medeola_virginiana

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Medeola+virginiana

http://www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/plant/2000.htm

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Anthriscus sylvestris

Botanical Name : Anthriscus sylvestris
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Anthriscus
Species: A. sylvestris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names : Cow Parsley, Wild Chervil, Wild Beaked Parsley, Keck, or Queen Anne’s lace

Habitat :Anthriscus sylvestris is native to Europe, western Asia and northwestern Africa; in the south of its range in the Mediterranean region, it is limited to higher altitudes. It is related to other diverse members of Apiaceae such as parsley, carrot, hemlock and hogweed.A very common plant of roadsides, hedges etc.

Description:
Anthriscus sylvestris is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant.The hollow stem grows to a height of between 60–170 cm, branching to umbels of small white flowers. It is in flower from April to June,The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. and the seeds ripen from June to July.The tripinnate leaves are 15–30 cm long and have a triangular form. The leaflets are ovate and subdivided.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. .
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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils. Shade tolerant. The root has been recommended for improvement by selection and breeding as an edible crop. This plant looks quite similar to some poisonous species, make sure that you identify it correctly.

Propagation:
Seed – sow as soon as ripe (June/July) in situ. The seed can also be sown April/May in situ. It usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 20°c.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.

The leaves are eaten raw, cooked as a potherb or used as a flavouring. They taste somewhat less than wonderful. Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Tonic.

The root is soaked for several days in rice washings and then cooked with other foods as a tonic for general weakness.

Other Uses:
Dye.

A beautiful green dye is obtained from the leaves and stem but it is not very permanent.

Cow Parsley is rumoured to be a natural mosquito repellent when applied directly to the skin. However cow parsley can be confused with giant cow parsley/giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), the sap of which can cause severe burns after coming in contact with the skin.

Known Hazards:  This plant is suspected of being poisonous to mammals. It also looks very similar to some very poisonous species so great care must be taken when identifying it

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?Anthriscus+sylvestris

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

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Eriophorum angustifolium

Botanical Name : Eriophorum angustifolium
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Eriophorum
Species: E. angustifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Synonyms : Eriophorum polystachyon – L.

Common Name:Cotton Grass

Habitat :Eriophorum angustifolium is native to  Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, to Siberia and N. America.It is common in the Manchester area of the United Kingdom, officially the County flower of the Greater Manchester region. Grows in peat bogs, acid meadows and marshes

Description:
Eriophorum angustifolium is a perennial plant growing to 0.6m by 1m. It looks like a form of grass, technically it is not.

You may click to see the pictures>—–(1)—-(2)
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June,and the seeds ripen from July to August.The flowering stem is 20–70 cm tall, and has three to five cotton-like inflorescences hanging from the top. It is also sometimes referred to as multi-headed bog cotton.   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.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation:
Requires boggy conditions or a pond margin and an acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Quite invasive.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ in spring in a moist soil in light shade. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 6 weeks at 15°c. If the seed is in short supply it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. Place the pots in a try of water to keep the compost moist. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root; Stem.

Young stem bases – raw or cooked. Usually cooked and eaten with oil. Root – raw or cooked. The blackish covering should be removed.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent.

The leaves and roots are considerably astringent and have been used in the past as a treatment for diarrhoea. Some native North American Indian tribes would eat the stems raw in order to restore good health to people in generally poor health.

Other Uses
Paper; Stuffing; Tinder; Weaving; Wick.

The cottony seed hairs are used to make candle wicks. They are also used for stuffing pillows[4, 74, 141], paper making etc and as a tinder. Experiments have been made in using the hairs as a cotton substitute, but they are more brittle than cotton and do not bear twisting so well. The dried leaves and stems have been woven into soft mats or covers.

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/Eriophorum_angustifolium

http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Eriophorum+angustifolium

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Erythrina herbacea (Coral Bean)

Botanical Name :Erythrina herbacea
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Erythrina
Species: E. herbacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Erythrina arborea – Small.

Common Names :Coralbead, Coral Bean, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal or Cardinal Spear

Habitat :Erythrina herbacea is native to south-eastern N. AmericaNorth Carolina to Texas. It grows on  andy soils in hummocks, the coastal plain and pinelands.

Description:
Erythrina herbacea is a Perennial low shrub or small tree, reaching around 5 m (16 ft) in height in areas that do not kill it back by freezing; elsewhere it may only reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Stems are covered in curved spines. The leaves are yellowish-green, 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. The leaves are divided into three 2.5–8 cm (0.98–3.1 in) arrowhead-shaped leaflets. The bark is smooth and light gray. The tubular flowers are bright red and grow in long spikes, each flower being 4–6.5 cm (1.6–2.6 in) long; the tree blooms from April to July.It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. They are followed by 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) pods containing bright red seeds, from which the tree gets its name. Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysothiopine, erysothiovine, erysovine, erythrinine, erythroresin, coralin, erythric acid, and hypaphorine, are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis upon ingestion, much like curare.

click to see the pictures
Coral Bean grows best in sandy soils and has moderate salt tolerance. It can be found in open woods, forest clearings, hammocks, and disturbed areas.

Cultivation:
Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in a very sunny position[200]. Best if given the protection of an east, south or south-west facing wall. Becoming a tree in the south of its range, this species is shrubby or even herbaceous towards the limits of its northerly range. It is not very hardy outdoors in Britain though the rootstock can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c provided the stem bases are thickly mulched with organic matter such as leaf litter or sawdust and covered with bracken. Alternatively, the roots can be lifted in the autumn and stored in a cool frost-free place, replanting in the spring. Plants take 3 – 4 years to flower from seed. 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 sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Heeled cuttings of young growth in the spring in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Flowers – cooked. An acceptable vegetable when boiled. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves – occasionally cooked and eaten[.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiemetic; Diuretic; Narcotic; Purgative; Tonic.

The plant is narcotic and purgative. A cold infusion of the root has been used to treat bowel pain in women. A decoction of the roots or berries has been used to treat nausea, constipation and blocked urination. A decoction of the ‘beans’ or inner bark has been used as a body rub and steam for numb, painful limbs and joints. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a general tonic.

Native American people had many medicinal uses for this plant, varying between nations and localities. Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.

Other Uses:
E. herbacea can be readily grown in gardens within its natural range. Although its use in gardens is not particularly common, it is popular among those who do grow it as a source of early season color, for its hardiness (USDA Zones 7-10), and because it attracts hummingbirds.

In Mexico, the seeds are used as a rat poison, while a fish poison is made from the bark and leaves

Known Hazards : The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects.  The seeds contain numerous toxic alkaloids, including erysodine and erysopine. They have an action similar to curare and have been used as a rat poison

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?Erythrina+herbacea:

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

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

http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=15191

http://crackerboy.us/pics/flora/

http://www.quintamazatlan.com/birds/hummingbirds/hummingbirdplants.aspx

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Mitella diphylla

Botanical Name : Mitella diphylla
Family: Saxifragaceae
Genus: Mitella
Species: M. diphylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Common Names :Coolwort,Two-leaf Miterwort,  Mitrewort

Habitat : Mitella diphylla is native to Eastern N. AmericaQuebec to Minnesota, North Carolina and Missouri.It grows in rich woodlands, meadows and swamps.

Description:
Mitella diphylla is an evergreen Perennial  and a spring blooming plant with lacy, white flowers produced on stems growing from 20 to 50 centimeters tall.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The seeds are produced in small green cups and when ripe are black and released by mid summer.

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

Cultivation:
Succeeds in moist woodlands and in pockets in rock gardens. Requires a moist humus-rich soil. Self-sows when grown in a rich soil and usually spreads quickly by this means.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing it as soon as it is ripe or in early spring in a greenhouse. 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.

Medicinal Uses:
Febrifuge; Ophthalmic.

An infusion of the leaves is used to treat fevers. The infusion can also be used as eye drops for sore eyes.

Other Uses:
A good ground cover in moist woodland. Plants form a carpet and should be spaced about 45cm apart each way.This species is grown as an ornamental plant in shade gardens.

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?Mitella+diphylla

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

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

http://www.plantdelights.com/Mitella-diphylla-Perennial-Two-leaf-Miterwort/productinfo/8798/

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Rudbeckia hirta

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

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

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

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

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

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

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

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

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

Medicinal Uses:

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

The plant contains anthocyanins.

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

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

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

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

Catalpa bignonioides

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Known Hazards: The roots are highly poisonous

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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