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Taxus x media

Botanical Name: Taxus x media
Family: Taxaceae
Genus: Taxus
Species: (hybrid of T. baccata and T. cuspidata)
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names: Anglojapanese Yew

Habitat : Taxus x media is native to Japan. It is a hybrid species of garden origin, T. baccata x T. cuspidata. It is grown on woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade.
Description:
Taxus x media is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate.It is not frost tender. Immature shrubs are very small and achieve (over the time span of ten to twenty years) heights of at most 20 feet and diameters of at most 8 feet, depending on the cultivar. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Sep to 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) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Pyramidal.

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Furthermore, T. media  is not injured by frequent pruning, making this hybrid a very desirable as a hedge in low-maintenance landscaping and also a good candidate for bonsai.click & see

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Hedge, Massing, Screen, Superior hedge. Thrives in almost any soil, acid or alkaline, as long as it is well-drained[200]. Succeeds in dry soils. Plants are very shade tolerant. Dormant plants are very cold-hardy in Britain, though the new growth in spring can be damaged by light frosts. Leaves have a reddish tinge when the plants are grown in a sunny position. Plants produce very little fibrous root and should be planted in their final positions when still small. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. The cultivar ‘Sargentii’ was 3 metres tall and 1 metre wide at the Hillier Arboretum in September 1993. It was growing well and carrying a good crop of tasty fruit though the harvest time seemed to be somewhat later than that of T. baccata. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time. Harvesting the seed ‘green’ (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in pots in a cold frame. The seedlings are very slow-growing and will probably require at least 2 years of pot cultivation before being large enough to plant out. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. This is a hybrid species, it will not breed true from seed. Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring.  High percentage. Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. Very sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 10mm in diameter and containing a single seed. All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous. When eating the fruit you should spit out the large seed found in the fruit’s centre. Should you swallow the whole seed it will just pass straight through you without harm, if the seed has been bitten into, however, it could cause some problems.
Medicinal Uses:
Modern research has shown that yew trees contain the substance ‘taxol’ in their shoots and bark. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers. This remedy is very toxic and, even when used externally, should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses : Wood is strong, hard, heavy. Used for paddles, fence posts etc

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

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/Taxus_%C3%97_media
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Taxus+x+media

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Epimedium grandiflorum

Botanical Name : Epimedium grandiflorum
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Epimedium
Subgenus:Epimedium
Species:E. grandiflorum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms:
*Epimedium macranthum var. violaceum (C. Morren & Decne.) Franch.
*Epimedium grandiflorum forma violaceum
*Epimedium violaceum

Common Names: Large flowered barrenwort, Bishop’s hat, Barrenwort, Longspur Epimedium. It is known as dam du?ng hoac in Vietnamese.

Habitat: Epimedium grandiflorum is native to China, Japan and Korea. It grows in the moist deciduous woodlands in the hills. Calcareous rocks in moist woodland. (This entry refers to sub-species E. grandiflorum higoense. Shimau.)
Description:
Epimedium grandiflorum is a deciduous perennial plant, growing to 30 cm (12 in), with bright red stems with green heart-shaped leaves (copper-tinged when young) which are slightly hairy on the bottom. In spring it produces pink, white, yellow or purple long-spurred flowers.

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Main Bloom Time: Early spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in any fertile humus-rich soil, preferring a moist but well-drained peaty loam. Requires a lime-free soil. Grows best in the light dappled shade of a woodland. Plants can succeed in the dry shade of trees. A shallow-rooting plant, the rhizomes creeping just below the soil and the finer roots occupying the top 30cm of the soil. A clump-forming species, the rhizomes making only short new growth each year, it needs to be divided every 3 – 4 years in order to maintain vigour. Plants are hardy to about -20°c, though the flowers in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, there are several named varieties. It grows well in the rock garden or wild garden. Plants are self-sterile and so more than one clone is required for cross-fertilization in order for seed to be produced. Plants will often hybridise with other species growing nearby. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Naturalizing.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late summer. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in mid to late summer. Division, best carried out in August to September according to one report, in late spring according to another. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Cuttings in late summer
Edible Uses:    Young plant and young leaves – cooked & eaten. Soaked and then boiled. (This suggests that the leaves are bitter and need to be soaked in order to remove the bitterness.)
Medicinal Uses:

Antiasthmatic; Antibacterial; Antirheumatic; Antitussive; Aphrodisiac; Hypoglycaemic; Tonic; Vasodilator.

The aerial parts of the plant are antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilator. Its use lowers blood sugar levels. It is used in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension and chronic bronchitis. It has an action on the genitals similar to the male sex hormone and can increase the weight of the prostate gland and seminal vesicle, it has increased copulation in animals and increases the secretion of semens. The leaves are used as an aphrodisiac. Administered orally, the leaf extract increases the frequency of copulation in animals.

Traditional Chinese medicine:
E. grandiflorum may have anti-impotence properties due to the presence of icariin, a relatively weak inhibitor of PDE5 in comparison to substances like sildenafil (viagra). Western peer-reviewed research into the efficacy of E. grandiflorum as an aphrodisiac is lacking; however, the herb has been used for this purpose in traditional Chinese medicine and is a common ingredient of herbal remedies for impotence.[citation needed] It is commonly packed in a capsule with other ingredients or sold as herbal flakes or powder with the name “horny goat weed”

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden, Woodland garden.

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/Epimedium_grandiflorum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epimedium+grandiflorum

Fragaria bracteata

 

Botanical Name: Fragaria bracteata
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Potentilleae
Subtribe: Fragariinae
Genus: Fragaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : F. vesca bracteata. F. vesca crinita.

Common Name : Woodland Strawberry

Habitat :Fragaria bracteata is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to California. It grows in moist woods, stream banks and sandy meadows.

Description:
Fragaria bracteata is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

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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:
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced. There is some doubts over the validity of this name. It is probably best included as part of F. vesca. Plants like a mulch of pine or spruce leaves, appreciating the acid conditions.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit. & Tea…….Fruit – raw. Sweet and succulent, they are eaten as a delicacy. The leaves are used as a tea substitute

Medicinal Uses: Not known

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+bracteata

Mangoes are High on Health

The King of Fruits has several benefits, so indulge your senses this season in some mangoes.

Not only do they taste great, but mangoes are also loaded with several qualities that are excellent for your health. They are rich in powerful antioxidants that are known to neutralise free radicals that cause damage to cells and lead to health problems like heart disease, premature aging and cancer among other things. Here’s why you should consume them…...CLICK & SEE

– With its high iron content, mangoes are excellent for pregnant women and those who suffer from anaemia. But do consult with your doctor beforehand on how much is suitable.

– Constantly complaining about clogged pores? Place mango slices on your skin and then wash off after 10 minutes.

– If you suffer from indigestion problems, nothing will help you as much as a mango. They’re known to give relief from acidity and aid proper digestion since they contain digestive enzymes that help break down proteins.

– Rich in potassium, mangoes reduce high blood pressure. They also contain pectin, a soluble dietary fibre that is known to lower blood cholesterol levels.

– Trying to put on weight? Include mangoes in your diet. Since it is rich in calories as well as carbohydrates, it could be the perfect fruit to have.

– Some studies say that eating mangoes reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.

– In Chinese medicine, mangoes are considered sweet and sour with a cooling energy. They are useful for those suffering from anaemia, bleeding gums, cough, fever, nausea and even sea sickness.

– Studying for exams? This fruit is rich in glutamine acid— an important protein for concentration and memory. Instead of snacking on unhealthy chips and cookies, why not feast on slices of mangoes instead.

– Though they are traditionally not considered as aphrodisiacs, mangoes contain Vitamin E which helps boost one’s sex life. The vitamin works to regulate the body’s sex hormones.

If nothing else, eat a mango just because it won’t be in season forever.

Source : The Times Of India

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Garlic Tales

Scientists are continuously trying to unvail  the secrets of the garlic, to zero in on what makes the herb so beneficial.

…………………………..CLICK & SEE.

A herb that is a part of almost every Indian kitchen continues to make news. Garlic, or Allium sativum, one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to human beings, is now in laboratories, while scientists look at what makes it so beneficial.

Indeed, garlic seems to possess near-magical health properties. Yet science has not found it an easy herb to understand. Despite tall claims from practitioners of alternative medicine, no one clearly knows how good garlic is and why it is considered to be so beneficial. But now scientists are rapidly unravelling its secrets.

Over the years, people with varying backgrounds have claimed that the bulb is good for controlling blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. It is supposed to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant and anticoagulant properties, apart from a few other benefits. There is now good evidence that most of these claims are true. And scientists have recently discovered new properties as well: it can reduce blood sugar levels, and is thus good for controlling diabetes. Yet conventional wisdom is not always right: it may not, after all, reduce cholesterol.

While evidence on the utility mounts, scientists are also beginning to understand why. For example, garlic’s antioxidant properties have been a mystery to scientists. It has been known to be a powerful antioxidant (a compound that destroys damaging free radicals); in fact a bit too powerful for comfort. It has a compound called allicin that is an antioxidant, but its structure could not explain its power. Till now, that is.

Derek Pratt, professor of chemistry at Queen’s University in Canada, has found out why garlic is so powerful.

A compound akin to allicin is found in other plants of the family alliaceae — such as shallots, onions and leeks. However, none of these plants has garlic’s beneficial powers. This is because the allicin found in garlic breaks down into another compound called sulphenic acid, which rapidly cleans up free radicals in its path. Without this breakdown, allicin cannot be so effective an antioxidant.

“This compound is the most powerful antioxidant known to us,” says Pratt, who published his results last week in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

While its efficacy in dealing with free radicals is now beyond doubt, garlic is probably not so effective in reducing bad cholesterol, the Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). Several studies on its effect on blood cholesterol led to conflicting results, but one in Stanford University more than a year ago was probably the most conclusive. This six-month-long study found no correlation between consumption of garlic and reduction of LDL. “We are convinced now that garlic does not reduce bad cholesterol,” Christopher Gardner, the Stanford professor who led the research, had told Knowhow soon after publishing the results of the study.

But that does not mean it is not useful in treating high cholesterol. Its antioxidant properties are useful in treating cardiovascular diseases in general, and even for treating high cholesterol. This is because garlic suppresses the oxidation of LDL in the blood. LDL is called bad cholesterol because it sticks to the artery walls and clogs the arteries. However, it is not LDL that actually does the damage but oxidised LDL. Several studies have shown that garlic suppresses oxidation of LDL and thus prevents the formation of plaques in the arteries. It makes bad cholesterol not so bad.

“Garlic does reduce LDL oxidation,” stresses Khalid Rahman, reader in the physiological biochemistry at Liverpool University in the UK, who has conducted several lab and clinical studies on the herb.

There is increasing evidence that it can lower blood pressure, particularly when BP is elevated only mildly. A recent meta-analysis (analysis of all published literature) by scientists at the University of Adelaide showed that it does lower blood pressure. However, the scientists also warn that the evidence is not strong enough to use garlic as the only means of therapy.

These results are from clinical studies, which mean that they have been done on people. The results are equally encouraging in pre-clinical studies done in the laboratory. There, the herb has been shown to be anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant. It may be able to help dissolve clots and improve blood circulation. A few months ago, Japanese scientists (at the RIKEN and other institutions) showed that it could lower blood glucose levels in rats.

The list of beneficial properties is actually lengthening every day, but the topic is not without its controversy either.

This is because there are some studies showing that garlic had no effect on lowering blood pressure or reducing cholesterol, while some others showed that it did do so. This variability, fortunately, is not hard to explain. Scientists explain this contradiction through differences in the duration of the trials, and also on the variability in the properties of garlic. “The factors influencing a clinical study with garlic are difficult to control,” says Pratt.

Although we know that it is beneficial, not all kinds of garlic may act in the same manner. “In my view there is a group of people who are non-responders to garlic, like to any other medication,” says Rahman.

However, garlic has caught the attention of hundreds of scientists throughout the world. We will learn more about this wonder herb in the coming years.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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