Tag Archives: Aesculus

Asarum blumei

Botanical Name :Asarum blumei
Family :Aristolochiaceae
Genus: Asarum
Species: Asarum blumei
Kingdom :Plantae
Division:Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Piper Ales

Synonyms:
*Heterotopic blumei ( Duch. ) Maekawa
*Asarum virginicum Thunb.
*Asarum leucodictyon Miq.
*Asarum albivenium Rule

Common Name: Du heng Blumes Wild ginger

Habitat : Asarum blumei is native to E. Asia – China, Japan . It grows on damp shady spots on mountain sides.
Description:
Asarum blumei is an evergreen Perennial herb growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. Rhizome; horizontal underground, with short internodal spaces, fibrous roots numerous, emitting characteristic fragrance. Leaves; 1 to 3 growing from the rhizome, heart-shaped or broadly oval, margins intact, surface showing white spots, petioles long. Flowers; in the spring, bell-shaped purple, appearing from axils. Fruit; a rounded capsule.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil.

Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase[200]. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the root is analgesic, antitussive, carminative, expectorant and antitussive. It is used in the treatment of sore throats

FUNCTIONS:
1. Suppresses cough and removes sputum.
2. Expels flatus.
3. Scatters Cold.

INDICATIONS:
1. Wind Chill coughing, excessive salivation.
2. Enlarged lymphatic nodes of the neck.
3. Edema.
4. Rheumatism, traumatic injuries.
Known Hazards:  Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.

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://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asarum_blumei
http://www.innerpath.com.au/matmed/herbs/Asarum~blumei.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asarum+blumei

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Rhus potaninii

Botanical Name: Rhus potaninii
Family: Anacardiaceae
Subfamily: Anacardioideae
Genus: Toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms :Rhus henryi, Rhus sinica. non Diels.

Common Names: Chinese Varnish Tree, Potanin Sumac, Potanin’s Lacquer Tree

Habitat: Rhus potaninii is native to E. Asia – C. and W. China.( S Gansu, Henan, S Shaanxi, S Shanxi, Sichuan, NW Yunnan.) It grows on the hill and mountain forests, thickets; 900-2500 metres.

Description:
Rhus potaninii is a deciduous Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 8 m (26ft) branchlets glabrous. Petiole minutely pubescent; leaf blade imparipinnately compound; rachis wingless; leaflets 7-11; leaflet petiolule short; leaflet blade oblong or oblong-lanceolate, 5-10 × 2-4 cm, both sides minutely pubescent or subglabrous, base oblique, subrounded, margin entire, apex acuminate. Inflorescence 10-20 cm, minutely pubescent. Calyx minutely pubescent, lobes ovate, ca. 1 mm, margins ciliate. Petals ovate or ovate-oblong, 1.5-2 × ca. 1 mm, minutely pubescent, margins ciliate, revolute at anthesis. Stamen filaments ca. 2 mm in male flowers; anthers ovate; staminode filaments short in female flowers. Disk conspicuous. Ovary globose, ca. 0.7 mm in diam., densely white tomentose. Drupe subglobose, 3-4 mm in diam., densely mixed pilose and glandular-pubescent, red at maturity.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, but it rarely flowers in Britain. This species is very closely related to R. punjabensis. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.
Medicinal Uses:
An excrescence produced on the leaf by an insect Melaphis chinensis or M. paitan is antiseptic, astringent and haemostatic. It is used in the treatment of persistent cough with blood, chronic diarrhoea, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, bloody stool, urorrhoea and bloody sputum. It is used applied externally to burns, bleeding due to traumatic injuries, haemorrhoids and ulcers in the mouth.

Other Uses : The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. An indelible black ink is obtained from galls on the leaves. The report does not say if the galls are used before or after the insect leaves them.

Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated.
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/Toxicodendron
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+potaninii
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200012709

Iris Versicolor

Botanical Name: Iris Versicolor
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Species: I. versicolor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Blue Flag. Poison Flag. Flag Lily. Liver Lily. Snake Lily. Dragon Flower. Dagger Flower. Water Flag.
Other Names: Harlequin Blueflag, Larger Blue Flag, Northern Blue Flag, and Poison Flag

Habitat: Iris Versicolor is native to North America where it is common in sedge meadows, marshes, and along streambanks and shores. The specific epithet versicolor means “variously coloured”
Description:
Iris versicolor is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant, growing 10–80 centimetres high. This iris tends to form large clumps from thick, creeping rhizomes. The unwinged, erect stems generally have basal leaves that are more than 1 cm wide. Leaves are folded on the midribs so that they form an overlapping flat fan. The well developed blue flower has 6 petals and sepals spread out nearly flat and have two forms. The longer sepals are hairless and have a greenish-yellow blotch at their base. The inferior ovary is bluntly angled. Flowers are usually light to deep blue (purple and violet are not uncommon) and bloom during May to July. Fruit is a 3-celled, bluntly angled capsule. The large seeds can be observed floating in fall.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Iris Versicolor Rhizome has annual joints, 2 or more inches long, about 3/4 inch in diameter, cylindrical in the lower half, becoming compressed towards the crown, where the cup-shaped stem-scar is seen, when dry, and numerous rings, formed of leaf scars are apparent above and scars of rootlets below. It is dark brown externally and longitudinally wrinkled. The fracture is short, purplish, the vascular bundles scattered through the central column. The rootlets are long, slender and simple. The rhizome has a very slight but peculiar odour, and a pungent, acrid and nauseous taste.

Part Used in medicine: The Root.

Constituents : The rhizome contains starch, gum, tannin, volatile oil, 25 per cent of acrid, resinous matter, isophthalic acid, traces of salicylic acid and possibly an alkaloid, though a number of substances contained are still unidentified. It owes its medicinal virtues to an oleoresin.

Distilled with water, the fresh rhizome yields an opalescent distillate, from which is separated a white, camphoraceous substance with a faint odour. The oil possesses the taste and smell, but only partly the medicinal activity of the drug.

Medicanal Uses:
The root is an official drug of the United States Pharmacopoeia and is the source of the Iridin or Irisin of commerce, a powdered extractive, bitter, nauseous and acrid, with diuretic and aperient properties.

Iridin acts powerfully on the liver, but, from its milder action on the bowels, is preferable to podophyllin.

The fresh Iris is quite acrid and if employed internally produces nausea, vomiting, purging and colicky pains. The dried root is less acrid and is employed as an emetic, diuretic and cathartic. The oleoresin in the root is purgative to the liver, and useful in bilious sickness in small doses.

It is chiefly used for its alterative properties, being a useful purgative in disorders of the liver and duodenum, and is an ingredient of many compounds for purifying the blood. It acts as a stimulant to the liver and intestinal glands and is used in constipation and biliousness, and is believed by some to be a hepatic stimulant second only to podophyllin, but if given in full doses it may occasion considerable nausea and severe prostration.

Its chief use is for syphilis and some forms of low-grade scrofula and skin affection. It is also valuable in dropsy.

It is said to have been used by the southern North American Indians as a cathartic and emetic.

The flowers afford a fine blue infusion, which serves as a test for acids and alkalies.

Click & see Homeopathic Uses of Iris Versicolor..……..(1) ….....(2)

Other Uses:
Litmus; Repellent; Weaving.

A fine blue infusion is obtained from the flowers and this can be used as a litmus substitute to test for acids and alkalis. The leaves have been used to weave baskets and mats. Some native North American Indian tribes used the root as a protection against rattlesnakes. It was believed that, so long as the root was handled occasionally to ensure the scent permeated the person and their clothes, rattlesnakes would not bite them. Some tribes even used to chew the root and then hold rattlesnakes with their teeth and were not bitten so long as the scent persisted

 

Known Hazards: The species has been implicated in several poisoning cases of humans and animals who consumed the rhizomes, which have been found to contain a glycoside, iridin. The sap can cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals.

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/Iris_versicolor
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/iriver11.html

Aesculus hippocastanum

Botanical Name :Aesculus hippocastanum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Aesculus
Species: A. hippocastanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Name:horse-chestnut or conker tree.

Habitat :Aesculus hippocastanum is native to a small area in the Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Balkan mixed forests of South East Europe. It is widely cultivated in streets and parks throughout the temperate world.

Description:
A. hippocastanum is a decidious tree.It  grows to 36 metres (118 ft) tall, with a domed crown of stout branches; on old trees the outer branches often pendulous with curled-up tips. The leaves are opposite and palmately compound, with 5–7 leaflets; each leaflet is 13–30 cm long, making the whole leaf up to 60 cm across, with a 7–20 cm petiole. The leaf scars left on twigs after the leaves have fallen have a distinctive horseshoe shape, complete with seven “nails”.It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The flowers are usually white with a small red spot; they are produced in spring in erect panicles 10–30 cm tall with about 20–50 flowers on each panicle. Usually only 1–5 fruit develop on each panicle; the shell is a green, spiky capsule containing one (rarely two or three) nut-like seeds called conkers or horse-chestnuts. Each conker is 2–4 cm diameter, glossy nut-brown with a whitish scar at the base.

Click to see the pictures.>..(01)…….(1)…..(2).….(3)..…….(4).……..(5).…….(6)...

It is hardy to zone 3 and is frost tender.

Cultivation :
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy tolerating poorer drier soils. Tolerates exposed positions and atmospheric pollution. A very ornamental and fast-growing tree, it succeeds in most areas of Britain but grows best in eastern and south-eastern England. Trees are very hardy when dormant, but the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The flowers have a delicate honey-like perfume. Trees are tolerant of drastic cutting back and can be severely lopped. They are prone to suddenly losing old heavy branches. The tree comes into bearing within 20 years from seed[98]. Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable. It is best to sow the seed with its ‘scar’ downwards. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Seed.

Edible Uses: Coffee.

The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute. Seed – cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a gruel. The seed is quite large, about 3cm in diameter, and is easily harvested. It is usually produced in abundance in Britain. Unfortunately the seed is also rich in saponins, these must be removed before it can be used as a food and this process also removes many of the minerals and vitamins, leaving behind mainly starch. See also the notes above on toxicity. The seed contains up to 40% water, 8 – 11% protein and 8 – 26% toxic saponins. The following notes apply to A. californica, but are probably also relevant here:- The seed needs to be leached of toxins before it becomes safe to eat – the Indians would do this by slow-roasting the nuts (which would have rendered the saponins harmless) and then cutting them into thin slices, putting them into a cloth bag and rinsing them in a stream for 2 – 5 days.

Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Astringent; Bach; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Haemostatic; Narcotic; Tonic; Vasoconstrictor; Vulnerary.

Horse chestnut is an astringent, anti-inflammatory herb that helps to tone the vein walls which, when slack or distended, may become varicose, haemorrhoidal or otherwise problematic. The plant also reduces fluid retention by increasing the permeability of the capillaries and allowing the re-absorption of excess fluid back into the circulatory system. This plant is potentially toxic if ingested and should not be used internally without professional supervision. Alterative, analgesic, haemostatic and vulnerary. The bark is anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, febrifuge, narcotic, tonic and vasoconstrictive. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. The plant is taken in small doses internally for the treatment of a wide range of venous diseases, including hardening of the arteries, varicose veins, phlebitis, leg ulcers, haemorrhoids and frostbite. It is also made into a lotion or gel for external application. A tea made from the bark is used in the treatment of malaria and dysentery, externally in the treatment of lupus and skin ulcers. A tea made from the leaves is tonic and is used in the treatment of fevers and whooping cough. The pericarp is peripherally vasoconstrictive. The seeds are decongestant, expectorant and tonic. They have been used in the treatment of rheumatism, neuralgia and haemorrhoids. They are said to be narcotic and that 10 grains of the nut are equal to 3 grains of opium. An oil extracted from the seeds has been used externally as a treatment for rheumatism. A compound of the powdered roots is analgesic and has been used to treat chest pains. The buds are used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Failure to learn by experience’, ‘Lack of observation in the lessons of life’ and hence ‘The need of repetition’. The flowers are used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Persistent unwanted thoughts’ and ‘Mental arguments and conversations’.

Other Uses:
Dye; Soap; Starch; Tannin; Wood.

Saponins in the seed are used as a soap substitute. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts. The seed contains variable amounts of saponins, up to a maximum of 10%. A starch obtained from the seed is used in laundering. The bark and other parts of the plant contain tannin, but the quantities are not given. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. The flowers contain the dyestuff quercetin. Wood – soft, light, not durable. Of little commercial value, it is used for furniture, boxes, charcoal.

Scented Plants
Flowers: FreshThe flowers have a delicate honey-like perfume.

Known Hazards:The seed is rich in saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Safety in medical use:
Two preparations are considered; whole horsechestnut extract (whole HCE) and purified ?-aescin. Historically, whole HCE has been used both for oral and IV routes (as of year 2001). The rate of adverse effects are low, in a large German study, 0.6 %, consisting mainly of gastrointestinal symptoms. Dizziness, headache and itching have been reported. One serious safety issue is rare cases of acute anaphylactic reactions, presumably in a context of whole HCE. Purified ?-aescin would be expected to have a better safety profile.

Another is the risk of acute renal failure, “when patients, who had undergone cardiac surgery were given high doses of horse chestnut extract i.v. for postoperative oedema. The phenomenon was dose dependent as no alteration in renal function was recorded with 340 ?g kg?1, mild renal function impairment developed with 360 ?g kg?1 and acute renal failure with 510 ?g kg?1”.  This almost certainly took place in a context of whole HCE.

Three clinical trials were since performed to assess the effects of aescin on renal function. A total of 83 subjects were studied; 18 healthy volunteers given 10 or 20 mg iv. for 6 days, 40 in-patients with normal renal function given 10 mg iv. two times per day (except two children given 0.2 mg/kg), 12 patients with with cerebral oedema and normal renal function given a massive iv. dose on the day of surgery (49.2 ± 19.3 mg) and 15.4 ± 9.4 mg daily for the following 10 days and 13 patients with impaired renal function due to glomerulonephritis or pyelonephritis, who were given 20–25 mg iv. daily for 6 days. “In all studies renal function was monitored daily resorting to the usual tests of renal function: BUN, serum creatinine, creatinine clearance, urinalysis. In a selected number of cases paraaminohippurate and labelled EDTA clearance were also measured. No signs of development of renal impairment in the patients with normal renal function or of worsening of renal function in the patients with renal impairment were recorded.” It is concluded that aescin has excellent tolerability in a clinical setting.

Raw Horse Chestnut seed, leaf, bark and flower are toxic due to the presence of esculin and should not be ingested. Horse chestnut seed is classified by the FDA as an unsafe herb.[12] The glycoside and saponin constituents are considered toxic.

Aesculus hippocastanum is used in Bach flower remedies. When the buds are used it is referred to as “chestnut bud” and when the flowers are used it is referred to as “white chestnut”.

Quercetin 3,4′-diglucoside, a flavonol glycoside can also be found in horse chestnut seeds

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/Aesculus_hippocastanum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Aesculus+hippocastanum

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Red Buckeye

Botanical Name: Aesculus pavia
Family : Hippocastanaceae /Sapindaceae
Common Name :Red Buckeye ,scarlet buckeye, woolly buckeye and firecracker plant.
Genus : Aesculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Species: A. pavia


Habitat :
Native to the southern and eastern parts of the United States, found from Illinois to Virginia in the north and from Texas to Florida in the south South-eastern N. America – Virginia to Florida, west to Louisiana.   Rich moist soils in deciduous woods, on the sides of streams and swamp margins.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Description:
It is a deciduous flowering plant growing  at a fast rate.  The Red Buckeye is a large shrub or small tree.Red buckeye is a  clump-forming shrub or small tree with an irregular rounded crown. It reaches a height of 5-8 m, often growing in a multi-stemmed form. Its leaves are opposite, and are usually composed of five elliptical serrated leaflets, each 10-15 cm long. It bears 10-17 cm long clusters of attractive dark red tubular flowers, each in April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite. The smooth light brown fruits, about 3 cm in diameter, reach maturity in September and October.
...
There are two varieties:

Aesculus pavia var. pavia: typical Red Buckeye.
Aesculus pavia var. flavescens: yellow-flowered Red Buckeye.
The yellow-flowered variety, var. flavescens, is found in higher country in Texas, and hybrids with intermediate flower color occur.

The flowers are attractive to hummingbirds as well as bees. The fruits are rich in saponins, which are poisonous to humans, though not particularly dangerous because they are not easily ingested. The oils can be extracted to make soap, though this is not commercially viable.

Ornamental cultivars such as the low-growing ‘Humilis’ have been selected for garden use.

Red Buckeye has hybridised with Common Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) in cultivation, the hybrid being named Aesculus × carnea, Red Horse-chestnut. The hybrid is a medium-size tree to 20-25 m tall, intermediate between the parent species in most respects, but inheriting the red flower color from A. pavia. It is a popular tree in large gardens and parks, most commonly the selected cultivar ‘Briotii’. Hybrids of Red Buckeye with Yellow Buckeye (A. flava) have also been found, and named Aesculus × hybrida.

It is hardy to zone 5 and is frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. 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 moist soil.

Cultivation :-
Prefers a deep loamy well-drained soil but is not too fussy. Very shade tolerant, it also succeeds in a sunny position. A very ornamental shrub, when dormant it is hardy to about -15°c though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. It prefers a continental climate, growing best in eastern and south-eastern England. Trees are fast-growing in the wild, though they are also short-lived .

They can commence flowering when only 1 metre tall. Plants spread by means of suckers . There are a number of named varieties, developed for their ornamental value. Var. ‘Humilis’ is a low growing form. Most members of this genus transplant easily, even when fairly large.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown outdoors or in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed germinates almost immediately and must be given protection from severe weather. The seed has a very limited viability and must not be allowed to dry out. Stored seed should be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing and even after this may still not be viable. It is best to sow the seed with its ‘scar’ downwards. If sowing the seed in a cold frame, pot up the seedlings in early spring and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division of suckers in the dormant season. The suckers can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.

Seed – cooked. It can be dried and ground into a powder and used as a gruel. The seed is quite large, about 25mm in diameter, and is easily harvested. Unfortunately, the seed is also rich in saponins and these need to be removed before it can be eaten. See also the notes above on toxicity. The following notes apply to A. californica, but are probably also relevant here:- The seed needs to be leached of toxins before it becomes safe to eat – the Indians would do this by slow-roasting the nuts (which would have rendered the saponins harmless) and then cutting them into thin slices, putting them into a cloth bag and rinsing them
in a stream for 2 – 5 days. Most of the minerals etc would also have been leached out by this treatment.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Cancer; Hypnotic; Odontalgic; Salve.

The powdered bark is hypnotic and odontalgic. It is used in the treatment of ulcers. A poultice of the powdered seeds has been used in the treatment of cancer tumours and infections, and as a salve for sores.

An infusion of the roots has been used as a bath in the treatment of dyspepsia.

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.

Other Uses
Soap; Wood.

Saponins in the seed and roots are a soap substitute. The saponins can be easily obtained by chopping the seed into small pieces and infusing them in hot water. This water can then be used for washing the body, clothes etc. Its main drawback is a lingering odour of horse chestnuts.


Known Hazards :
The seed is rich in saponins. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins.

Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.


Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aesculus+pavia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesculus_pavia
http://www.rubythroat.org/BuckeyeRedMain.html
http://www.mobot.org/gardinghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=J210

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