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Equisetum variegatum

Botanical Name : Equisetum variegatum
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. variegatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Name : Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrush, Variegated horsetail or Variegated scouring rush

Habitat : Equisetum variegatum is native to Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America, central and northern Asia. It grows on dunes, river banks, wet ground on mountains etc, to 480 metres.

Description:
Equisetum variegatum is a perennial plant. It is a variable species with several ecotypes, some of which are distinct subspecies. The stems can grow to 40 cm (occasionally 80 cm) in height but are often much smaller. Some forms have prostrate stems that creep along the ground while other forms grow more erect. The stems are dark blue-green, slender and rough to the touch. They may be unbranched or have branches growing from the base. The stem nodes are covered with a sheath that is marked with a black band and has dark teeth with white edges. The stems are tipped with a small cone, 3-4 mm across, which is usually green with a black, bluntly-pointed tip.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from Jul to August.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Summery : Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal.

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Leaves and stems:
The sterile stem is green and has no branches. The “leaves” are reduced to a sheath that surrounds the stem. At the top of the sheath is a narrow black band and 3 to 12 teeth that are black/brown with distinct white edges. The teeth persist all season. The stem is evergreen and persists through the winter. The central cavity is ¼ to 1/3 the diameter of the stem….CLICK & SEE

Fruit:
Fertile stems are like the sterile stems but with a ½-inch cone at the tip of the stem. Cones have a sharply pointed tip, mature in late summer or may over-winter and release spores the following spring…..CLICK & SEE

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. The plant has been used in the treatment of sore eyes.

Other Uses:
The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase. a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum_variegatum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+variegatum
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/fern/variegated-scouring-rush

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Equisetum hyemale

Botanical Name : Equisetum hyemale
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. hyemale
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Name : Dutch Rush, Scouringrush horsetail, Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Rough Horsetai

Habitat : Equisetum hyemale is a native plant throughout the Holarctic Kingdom, found in North America, Europe, and northern Asia. It grows in mesic (reliably moist) habitats, often in sandy or gravelly areas between sea level to 2,530 metres (8,300 ft) in elevation, to 500 metres.

It is primarily found in wetlands, and in riparian zones of rivers and streams where it can withstand seasonal flooding. It is also found around springs and seeps, and can indicate their presence when not flowing. Other habitats include moist forest and woodland openings, lake and pond shores, ditches, and marshes and swamps.

Description:
Equisetum hyemale is a perennial plant, growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).Bloom Color: Unknown. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Upright or erect, Variable spread.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. The seeds ripen from Jul to August.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES:

Equisetum hyemale has vertical jointed reed-like stalks of medium to dark green. The hollow stems are up to 3 feet (0.91 m) in height. The stems are not branched with conspicuous ridges, impregnated with silica which makes them feel rough and harsh.

The tiny leaves are joined together around the stem, forming a narrow black-green band or sheath at each joint. Like other ferns and their relatives, the plant reproduces by spores and does not produce flowers or seeds.

The stems are generally deciduous in cold climates, and remain during winter in warmer climates. It forms dense spreading colonies, in full to partial sun.

Subspecies:
Equisetum hyemale subsp. affine — endemic to North America

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Container, Ground cover, Woodland garden. Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. The stems of this species were once exported to Britain in quantity from Holland so that they could be used as an abrasive for cleaning pots and pans. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground. Special Features:North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance
Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – cooked. An asparagus substitute. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Roots – dried and then cooked. A source of starch. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable.
Medicinal Uses: 
Antibacterial; Antiinflammatory; Antispasmodic; Appetizer; Cancer; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Hypotensive; Parasiticide;
Styptic.

Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. The plant is anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, haemostatic, hypotensive and styptic. It also has an appetite-stimulating effect. The barren stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be dried and sometimes the ashes of the pant are used. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing. The plant contains polyphenolic flavonoids with bactericidal activity.

Some Plateau Indian tribes boiled the stalks to produce a drink used as a diuretic and to treat venereal disease. It is used as a homeopathic remedy.
Other Uses:
Dye; Fungicide; Liquid feed; Musical; Paper; Parasiticide; Polish; Sandpaper; Scourer.

The stems are very rich in silica. They are used for scouring and polishing metal and as a fine sandpaper. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun. They can also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. Used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem. The hollow stems have been used as whistles. Another report says that the stem joints are pulled apart and used by children to produce a whistling sound.

The rough stems have been used to scour or clean pots, and used as sandpaper.

Boiled and dried Equisetum hyemale is used as traditional polishing material, similar to a fine grit sandpaper, in Japan.

Music :   The stems are used to shape the reeds of reed instruments such as clarinets or saxophones.

Known Hazards :Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum_hyemale
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+hyemale

Pelargonium fragrans

Botanical Name : Pelargonium fragrans
Family: Geraniaceae
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: Pelargonium × fragrans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Geraniales

Common Names: Nutmeg Geranium, Fragrans (Pelargonium comes from the Greek; Pelargos which means stork. Another name for pelargoniums is storksbills due the shape of their fruit. Fragrans refers to the fragrant leav)

Habitat : Pelargonium fragrans is native to South Africa. It is a naturally occurring hybrid, P. exstipulatum. x P. odoratissimum, found in the highlands of the Karoo.

Description:
Pelargonium fragrans is an evergreen shrub growing like its parent Pelargonium odoratissimum, is a small, spreading species which only grows up to 30 cm high and 60 cm wide. It has small white flowers and its leaves are waxy, green and ovate with slightly fringed edges. It has a sweet, slightly spicy, eucalyptus like scent. It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan and is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs.)...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

This is perennial plant is a dwarf and glaucous shrub with small, rounded leaves and tiny, white flowers that grow in trailing clusters. And as the name indicates, this plant has a nutmeg fragrance. Most of the Pelargonium fragrans hybrids have a nutmeg fragrance as well, but not all of them.
Cultivation:
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, they generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter. Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth. The leaves have a strong scent of pine. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter. Cuttings succeed at almost any time in the growing season but early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter.
Edible Uses:.... Condiment……The crushed leaves are used to flavour jellies, cakes, fruit dishes, vinegars etc. They give a spicy flavour to coffee.

Medicinal Uses :…….All parts of the plant are astringent. The leaves are used externally as a rub for aching feet or legs. They can be harvested as required and used fresh.

Other Uses : …..…Essential……..An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It has a nutmeg fragrance. The dried leaves are added to pot-pourri .

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelargonium_×_fragrans
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pelargonium+fragrans
http://www.plant-and-flower-guide.com/pelargonium-fragrans.html