Tag Archives: Abiogenesis

Prunus bokharensis

Botanical Name : Prunus bokharensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Microcerasus
Species: P. bokharensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name: Bokhara Plum

Habitat ;Prunus bokharensis is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows in woodland Garden Sunny Edge.

Description:
Prunus bokharensis is a deciduous Tree. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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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 should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. It is possibly no more than a cultivated form of P. salicina. It is sometimes cultivated in N. India for its edible fruit, there is at least one named variety. ‘Early Large Red #8’ is a large red-fruited cultivar. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. 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. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
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.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. They are used in pies, preserves etc and can also be dried for later use. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:…….Dye……..A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit.

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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+bokharensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus

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Prunus americana lanata

 

Botanical Name: Prunus americana lanata
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus:Prunus
Section: Prunocerasus
Species: P. americana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Prunus lanata. (Sudw.)Mack.&Bush.

Habitat : Prunus americana lanata is native to Central and Southern N. America – Indiana to Illinois, south to Texas. It grows on the hillsides and river bottom lands.

Description:
Prunus americana lanata is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft 10in). The leaves are somewhat stout with pubescent, usually glandless petioles; twigs often become somewhat spinelike at the tips. White flowers usually appear before the leaves and are borne in fasicles of two to five on the tip of spur branchlets or from axillary buds formed the previous season. Fruits are yellow to red plums (drupes), at least 0.8 inch (2 cm) long with yellow flesh and a compressed stone. Although this species sometimes produces small, hard plums, the fruits are generally fleshy and highly palatable. Occassionally trees cultivated for plums escape and persist. Horticultural varieties can be distinguished from the native species by their larger petals, smaller flower clusters (one to three per node), and sometimes by the gland-tipped teeth of the leaves.

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It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation;
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

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.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Used mainly in jellies. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter, it has a thick succulent flesh and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:
Dye; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Wood – heavy, hard, close-grained, strong. The tree is too small for the wood to be of commercial value.

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

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+americana+lanata
http://www.cirrusimage.com/tree_American_plum.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_americana

Prunus alabamensis

 

Botanical Name: Prunus alabamensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. alabamensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Synonyms:
*Padus alabamensis (C.Mohr) Small
*Prunus serotina var. alabamensis (C.Mohr) Little

Common Names: Alabama cherry or Alabama black cherry

Habitat : Prunus alabamensis is native to the southeastern United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina. It grows rare and local on the summits of low mountains.

Description:
Prunus alabamensis is a shrub or small tree up to 15 feet (450 cm) tall. Leaves are thick, broadly egg-shaped dull green on the upper surface, light green on the underside. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. Flowers are in an elongated raceme up to 6 inches (15 cm) long.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers 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. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

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.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter, it has a thin acid flesh and contains a single large seed.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses :.…Dye……A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit.

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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_alabamensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+alabamensis

How Light Sensors in Eye Work

Neuro-scientists have unravelled how newly discovered light sensors in the eye detect light and communicate with the brain.
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These light sensors are a small number of nerve cells in the retina that contain melanopsin molecules.

Unlike conventional light-sensing cells in the retina-rods and cones, melanopsin-containing cells are not used for seeing images.

Instead, they monitor light levels to adjust the body’s clock and control constriction of the pupils in the eye, among other functions.

“These melanopsin-containing cells are the only other known photoreceptor besides rods and cones in mammals, and the question is, how do they work,” said Michael Do, a postdoctoral fellow in neuro-science at Johns Hopkins.

“We want to understand some fundamental information, like their sensitivity to light and their communication to the brain,” he informed.

Using mice, the team first tested the light sensitivity of these cells by flashing light at the cells and recording the electrical current generated by one cell.

They found that these cells are very insensitive to light, in contrast to rods, which are very sensitive and therefore enable us to see in dim light at night, for example.

According to Do, the melanopsin-containing cells are less sensitive than cones, which are responsible for our vision in daylight.

“The next question was, what makes them so insensitive to light? Perhaps each photon they capture elicits a tiny electrical signal. Then there would have to be bright light-giving lots of captured photons for a signal large enough to influence the brain. Another possibility is that these cells capture photons poorly,” said Do.

To figure this out, the team flashed dim light at the cells. The light was so dim that, on average, only a single melanopsin molecule in each cell was activated by capturing a photon.

They found that each activated melanopsin molecule triggered a large electrical signal. Moreover, to their surprise, the cell transmits this single-photon signal all the way to the brain, said a Johns Hopkins release.

Yet the large signal generated by these cells seemed incongruous with their need for such bright light. “We thought maybe they need so much light because each cell might also contain very few melanopsin molecules, decreasing their ability to capture photons,” said King-Wai Yau, a professor of neuroscience at Hopkins.

When they did the calculations, the research team found that melanopsin molecules are 5,000 times sparser than other light-capturing molecules used for image-forming vision.

“It appears that these cells capture very little light. However, once captured, the light is very effective in producing a signal large enough to go straight to the brain,” said Yau.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Humans walk upright to save energy

: Chimpanzees scampering on a treadmill have provided support for the notion that ancient human ancestors began walking on two legs because it used less energy than quadrupedal knuckle-walking, scientists said.

Writing on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said people walking on a treadmill used just a quarter of the energy relative to their size compared to chimpanzees knuckle-walking on four legs.

The scientists equipped five chimpanzees and four people with face masks to track oxygen usage and looked at other measures to assess energy expenditure and biomechanics on a treadmill.

Chimpanzees are the closest genetic cousins to people. They are thought to have a common ancestor with humans dating back anywhere between 4 million and 7 million years.

Some scientists for decades have advanced the hypothesis that millions of years ago, human ancestors began walking upright because it used less energy than quadrupedal walking, gaining advantages in things like food foraging. But there has been scant data on this notion, aside from a 1973 study looking at locomotion energy in juvenile chimps.

“This paper provides strong support for the fact that energy savings played a role in the evolution of bipedalism,” one of the scientists, University of Arizona anthropologist David Raichlen, said in a telephone interview. The chimpanzees were taught to walk on the treadmill both quadrupedally and bipedally, the scientists said.

“These guys are smart enough that they would hit the stop button on the treadmill when they were done. If they didn’t want to walk on the treadmill, they’d just hit the stop button or they’d jump off,” Raichlen said.

Overall, the chimpanzees used about the same amount of energy walking on two legs compared to four legs, but the researchers saw differences among the individual animals in how much energy they used based on their gaits and anatomy.

Source: The Times Of India