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Vicia gigantea

Botanical Name: Vicia gigantea
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species: V. nigricans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : V. nigricans gigantea. (Hook.)Lassetter.&Gunn.

Common Names: Black vetch, Giant Vetch

Habitat: Vicia gigantea is native to Western N. America – Alaska to California. It grows on moist places in California, especially in redwood forests.

Description:
Vicia gigantea is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) with stout, hollow, and ridged climbing stems that may reach two meters in length. It attaches to objects and other plants by its large branched tendrils for support. The leaves are made up of 9 to 13 pairs of lance-shaped or elongated oval leaflets that may measure up to 4 centimeters in length. The inflorescence is a one-sided raceme of up to 15 or 20 flowers which have pale pink to dark reddish purple or sometimes yellowish to orange corollas. The flowers, each with a calyx about half as long as the corolla, are 1 to 2 centimeters long. They yield fruits which are legume pods measuring up to 4 centimeters long by 1.5 wide. As they dry they turn black.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.

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: The plant Prefers a fairly heavy loam but succeeds in a sunny position in most soils that are well-drained. Grows well in heavy clay soils.

Propagation: Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses:
Young seed – raw or cooked. The seeds are produced in pods 2 – 5cm long, each pod containing 3 – 4 round seeds the size of small peas. They are eaten, when young, like green peas, the flavour even of young seeds is rather strong, like old garden peas. Some native North American Indian tribes regarded the seeds as poisonous, though other tribes would eat them as a snack. The pods were harvested when green and then roasted in an open fire until the pods started to split open. The seeds were then removed and eaten.
Medicinal Uses :
Antidandruff; Laxative.

The roots are laxative. An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment.

Other Uses : An infusion of the roots has been used as a tonic hair wash and anti-dandruff treatment.

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/Vicia_nigricans
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+gigantea

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Betula alleghaniensis

Botanical Name: Betula alleghaniensis
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betulenta
Species: B. alleghaniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots, Magnoliophyta, >Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Betula lutea.

Common Names: Yellow Birch,Swamp Birch, Golden Birch.(Betula alleghaniensis is the provincial tree of Quebec, where it is commonly called Merisier, a name which in France is used for the wild cherry.)

Habitat :Betula alleghaniensis is native to North-eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Virginia and Tennessee. It is usually found in moist well-drained soils in rich woodlands on lower slopes, it is also found in cool marshlands in the south of its range.
Description:
Betula alleghaniensis is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 meters (66 ft) tall (exceptionally to 30 m) with a trunk up to 80 cm (2.6 ft) diameter. The bark is smooth, yellow-bronze, flaking in fine horizontal strips, and often with small black marks and scars. The twigs, when scraped, have a slight scent of wintergreen oil, though not as strongly so as the related Sweet Birch. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 6–12 cm long (2.4–4.7 in) and 4–9 cm broad (1.6–3.5 in), with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3–6 cm long (1.2–2.4 in); the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, mature in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.

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Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay 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:
Landscape Uses:Specimen, Woodland garden. Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes wet soils. Shade tolerant. A slow-growing tree, it is relatively long-lived for a birch, with specimens 200 years old recorded. Plants often grow taller than the 12 metres mentioned above. The trees are highly susceptible to forest fires, even when wet the bark is highly inflammable. The bruised foliage has a strong smell of wintergreen. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. 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. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:
Inner bark – cooked or dried and ground into a powder and used with cereals in making bread. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. The sap is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It flows abundantly, but the sugar content is much lower than maple sap. A pleasant drink, it can also be concentrated into a syrup or fermented into a beer. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”. A tea is made from the twigs and leaves. The dried leaves are used according to another report. An excellent flavour. The twigs and leaves have the flavour of wintergreen and can be used as condiments.
Medicinal Uses:
Yellow birch is little used medicinally, though a decoction of the bark has been used by the native North American Indians as a blood purifier, acting to cleanse the body by its emetic and cathartic properties. The bark is a source of ‘Oil of Wintergreen‘. This does have medicinal properties, though it is mainly used as a flavouring in medicines.

Other Uses
Containers; Fuel; Waterproofing; Wood.

The bark is waterproof and has been used by native peoples as the outer skin of canoes, as roofing material on dwellings and to make containers such as buckets, baskets and dishes. Wood – close-grained, very strong, hard, heavy. The wood is too dense to float. An important source of hardwood lumber, it is used for furniture, boxes, tubs of wheels, floors etc. It is also often used as a fuel

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/Betula_alleghaniensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+alleghaniensis

Betula alleghaniensis

Botanical Name: Betula alleghaniensis
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula
Subgenus: Betulenta
Species: B. alleghaniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Angiosperms
Class: Eudicots, Magnoliophyta, >Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Betula lutea.

Common Names: Yellow Birch,Swamp Birch, Golden Birch.(Betula alleghaniensis is the provincial tree of Quebec, where it is commonly called Merisier, a name which in France is used for the wild cherry.)

Habitat :Betula alleghaniensis is native to North-eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Virginia and Tennessee. It is usually found in moist well-drained soils in rich woodlands on lower slopes, it is also found in cool marshlands in the south of its range.
Description:
Betula alleghaniensis is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 meters (66 ft) tall (exceptionally to 30 m) with a trunk up to 80 cm (2.6 ft) diameter. The bark is smooth, yellow-bronze, flaking in fine horizontal strips, and often with small black marks and scars. The twigs, when scraped, have a slight scent of wintergreen oil, though not as strongly so as the related Sweet Birch. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 6–12 cm long (2.4–4.7 in) and 4–9 cm broad (1.6–3.5 in), with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3–6 cm long (1.2–2.4 in); the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, mature in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.

Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay 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:
Landscape Uses:Specimen, Woodland garden. Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes wet soils. Shade tolerant. A slow-growing tree, it is relatively long-lived for a birch, with specimens 200 years old recorded. Plants often grow taller than the 12 metres mentioned above. The trees are highly susceptible to forest fires, even when wet the bark is highly inflammable. The bruised foliage has a strong smell of wintergreen. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. 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. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.
Edible Uses:

Inner bark – cooked or dried and ground into a powder and used with cereals in making bread. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply[K]. Sap – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour.  The sap is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It flows abundantly, but the sugar content is much lower than maple sap. A pleasant drink, it can also be concentrated into a syrup or fermented into a beer. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”. A tea is made from the twigs and leaves. The dried leaves are used according to another report.  An excellent flavour. The twigs and leaves have the flavour of wintergreen and can be used as condiments.
Medicinal Uses:
Yellow birch is little used medicinally, though a decoction of the bark has been used by the native North American Indians as a blood purifier, acting to cleanse the body by its emetic and cathartic properties. The bark is a source of ‘Oil of Wintergreen‘. This does have medicinal properties, though it is mainly used as a flavouring in medicines.

Other Uses
Containers; Fuel; Waterproofing; Wood.

The bark is waterproof and has been used by native peoples as the outer skin of canoes, as roofing material on dwellings and to make containers such as buckets, baskets and dishes. Wood – close-grained, very strong, hard, heavy. The wood is too dense to float. An important source of hardwood lumber, it is used for furniture, boxes, tubs of wheels, floors etc. It is also often used as a fuel

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/Betula_alleghaniensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Betula+alleghaniensis

Alnus rhombifolia

Botanical Name : Alnus rhombifolia
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Alnus
Subgenus: Alnus
Species: A. rhombifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Names: White Alder

Habitat : Alnus rhombifolia is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to California. It is usually found in rocky or gravelly soils along the sides of streams, in canyon bottomlands and gulches, from near sea level to 2400 metres.

Description:
Alnus rhombifolia is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15–25 metres (49–82 ft) (rarely to 35 metres (115 ft)) tall, with pale gray bark, smooth on young trees, becoming scaly on old trees. The leaves are alternate, rhombic to narrow elliptic, 4–10 centimetres (1.6–3.9 in) long and 2–5 centimetres (0.79–1.97 in) cm broad, with a finely serrated margin and a rounded to acute apex; they are thinly hairy below.

The flowers are produced in catkins. The male catkins are pendulous, slender,3–10 centimetres (1.2–3.9 in) long, yellowish, and produced in clusters of two to seven; pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge. The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn 10–22 millimetres (0.39–0.87 in) long and 7–10 millimetres (0.28–0.39 in) broad, on a 1–10 millimetres (0.039–0.394 in) stem, superficially resembling a small conifer cone. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish ‘cones’ on the tree for up to a year after…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The white alder is closely related to the red alder (Alnus rubra), differing in the leaf margins being flat, not curled under. Like other alders, it is able to fix nitrogen, and tolerates infertile soils.
Cultivation:
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates very infertile sites. A fairly fast-growing but short-lived species, reaching its maximum size in 50 – 60 years. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants 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. Special Features:North American native, Wetlands plant, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.

Edible Uses:
Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour. Inner bark. No more information is given, but inner bark is often dried and can be used as a flavouring in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread etc.
Medicinal Uses:
The bark is astringent, diaphoretic, emetic, haemostatic, stomachic and tonic. A decoction of the dried bark is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, haemorrhages in consumption, stomach aches and to facilitate child birth. Externally it can be used as a wash for babies with skin diseases, nappy rash etc. A poultice of the wood is applied to burns. Some Plateau Indian tribes used white alder for female health treatment needs.

Other Uses:
Baby care; Basketry; Dye; Fuel; Tannin; Wood.

The bark and the strobils are a source of tannin. The roots have been used to make baskets. The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder then mixed with flour and water for use as a dye. The colour is not specified. The fresh bark can be chewed and used as a red dye. Wood – light, soft, not strong, brittle, close and straight-grained, very durable in water. It is of limited value as a low-grade lumber, but is used principally for fuel.

Landscape Uses:Massing, Woodland garden.

Known Hazards: The freshly harvested inner bark is emetic but is alright once it has been dried.
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/Alnus_rhombifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+rhombifolia