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Celtis occidentalis

Botanical Name : Celtis occidentalis
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Celtis
Species:C. occidentalis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names:Hackberry, Common hackberry, Nettletree, Sugarberry, Beaverwood, Northern hackberry, and American hackberry

Habitat : Celtis occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Manitoba, North Carolina, Missouri and Oklahoma It grows in dry to moist and rich woods, river banks, rocky barrens etc. Frequently found on limestone soils.

Description:
Celtis occidentalis is a deciduous tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.The bark is light brown or silvery gray, broken on the surface into thick appressed scales and sometimes roughened with excrescenses; pattern is very distinctive.

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The branchlets are slender, light green at first, finally red brown, at length become dark brown tinged with red. The winter buds are axillary, ovate, acute, somewhat flattened, one-fourth of an inch long, light brown. Scales enlarge with the growing shoot, the innermost becoming stipules. No terminal bud is formed. The leaves are alternately arranged on stems, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, more or less falcate, two and a half to four inches (102 mm) long, one to two inches wide, very oblique at the base, serrate, except at the base which is mostly entire, acute. Three-nerved, midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate with slightly involute margins, pale yellow green, downy; when full grown are thin, bright green, rough above, paler green beneath. In autumn they turn to a light yellow. Petioles slender, slightly grooved, hairy. Stipules varying in form, caducous.

It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

The flowers appear in May, soon after the leaves. Polygamo-monœ cious, greenish. Of three kinds—staminate, pistillate, perfect; born on slender drooping pedicels. The calyx is light yellow green, five-lobed, divided nearly to the base; lobes linear, acute, more or less cut at the apex, often tipped with hairs, imbricate in bud.

Corolla: Wanting.
There are five stamens, which are hypogynous; the filaments are white, smooth, slightly flattened and gradually narrowed from base to apex; in the bud incurved, bringing the anthers face to face, as flower opens they abruptly straighten; anthers extrorse, oblong, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.

Pistil: ovary superior, one-celled; style two-lobed; ovules solitary.
Fruit: Fleshy drupe, oblong, one-half to three-fourths of an inch long, tipped with remnants of style, dark purple. Borne on a slender stem; ripens in September and October. Remains on branches during winter.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Aggressive surface roots possible, Street tree, Woodland garden. Succeeds in any reasonably good soil, preferring a good fertile well-drained loamy soil. Succeeds on dry gravels and on sandy soils. Tolerates alkaline soils. Established plants are very drought resistant. Wind resistant. Trees transplant easily. Trees prefer hotter summers and more sunlight than are normally experienced in Britain, they often do not fully ripen their wood when growing in this country and they are then very subject to die-back in winter. Plants in the wild are very variable in size, ranging from small shrubs to large trees. They are fast-growing, and can be very long-lived, perhaps to 1000 years. Only to 200 years according to another report. They usually produce good crops of fruit annually. Trees respond well to coppicing, readily sending up suckers after cutting or the top being killed off in a fire. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed is best given 2 – 3 months cold stratification and then sown February/March in a greenhouse. Germination rates are usually good, though the stored seed might take 12 months or more to germinate. The seed can be stored for up to 5 years. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The leaves of seedlings often have a lot of white patches without chlorophyll, this is normal and older plants produce normal green leaves. Grow the seedlings on in a cold frame for their first winter, and plant them out in the following late spring or early summer. Give them some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. Very sweet and pleasant tasting, they can be eaten out of hand or can be used for making jellies, preserves etc. The fruit is often produced abundantly in Britain, it is about the size of a blackcurrant, but there is very little flesh surrounding a large seed and it is therefore a very fiddly crop. The fruit is dark orange to purple- or blue-black when fully ripe, usually about 7-11mm in diameter, though occasionally up to 20mm. The flesh is dry and mealy but with a pleasant sweet taste. Seed. No more details. The fruit and seed can be ground up finely together and used as a flavouring. The N. American Indians ate them with parched corn.
Medicinal Uses:
An extract obtained from the wood has been used in the treatment of jaundice. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats. When combined with powdered shells it has been used to treat VD.

Other Uses:
A dye is obtained from the roots. No more details are given. Fairly wind-tolerant, it can be planted as part of a shelterbelt. Wood – rather soft, weak, coarse-grained, heavy. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot and is sometimes used commercially for cheap furniture, veneer, fencing fuel etc.

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/Celtis_occidentalis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Celtis+occidentalis

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Artemisia japonica

Botanical Name : Artemisia japonica
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribes: Anthemideae
Subtribes: Artemisiinae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: Artemisia japonica

Synonyms : A. mandschurica. A. subintegra. Chrysanthemum japonicum.

Habitat : Artemisia japonica is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on the forest margins, waste areas, shrublands, hills, slopes, roadsides; low elevations to 3300 m. Anhui, Fujian, S Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, S Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, E and S Liaoning, S Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, E Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Afghanistan, Bhutan, N India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, E Russia, Thailand, Vietnam].

Description:
Artemisia japonica is a perennial herb growing 50-130 cm tall; rootstock 1.5-2.5 cm thick, woody, upper parts puberulent or glabrescent, strongly aromatic. Sterile stems 5-30 cm, leaves clustered at apex; leaf blade spatulate, 3.5-8 × 1-3 cm, pinnately lobed, toothed, apex rounded. Basal and lower stem leaves ± sessile; leaf blade oblong-obovate to broadly spatulate or flabellate, (3-)4-6(-8) × (1-)2-2.5(-3) cm, puberulent or glabrescent, obliquely pinnatipartite or -cleft from apex to center, few serrate apically. Middle stem leaves: leaf blade spatulate, cuneate, or narrowly spatulate, 2.5-3.5(-4.5) × 0.5-1(-2) cm, obliquely partite or cleft and few serrate at apex or lobes linear. Uppermost leaves 3-cleft or entire; leaflike bracts elliptic, lanceolate, or linear-lanceolate. Synflorescence a ± narrow panicle, 15-20 × 3-15(-20) cm panicle; branches almost horizontal or obliquely patent, 3-20 cm. Capitula many, nodding, shortly to long pedunculate. Involucre ovoid or subglobose, 1.5-2.5 mm in diam.; phyllaries glabrous, outermost ovate, very narrowly white scarious on margin, apex acute. Florets 12-15(-20), yellow. Marginal female florets 3-8(-11); corolla narrow, 2-toothed. Disk florets 5-10, male. Achenes dark brown, 0.8-1 mm, obovoid. Fl. and fr. Jul-Nov. 2n = 18, 36, 37.

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It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. 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 dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Edible Uses: ….Young leaves – cooked. Used as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:

Depurative; Digestive; Febrifuge; Skin; Women’s complaints.

The leaves are digestive. A decoction of the leaves is said to promote a plump figure, but too much is said to be deleterious and can cause hypertension. The expressed juice of the plant is used in the treatment of vaginitis. It is also used to treat skin diseases. Theplant is used for making antitoxifying and antifebrile drugs.

Other Uses:….Incense…..The powder of the dried plant is used as an incense

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_japonica
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200023247
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+japonica

Tussilago farfara

Botanical Name: Tussilago farfara
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tussilago
Species: T. farfara
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonym:  It has been called bechion bechichie or bechie, from the Ancient Greek word for “cough”. Also Ungula caballina (“horse hoof”), Pes pulli (“foal’s foot”), and Chamæleuce

Common Names:Colt’s Foot , Coughwort

Habitat : Tussilago farfara is native to several locations in Europe and Asia. It is also a common plant in North America and South America where it has been introduced, most likely by settlers as a medicinal item. The plant is often found in waste and disturbed places and along roadsides and paths. In some areas it is considered an invasive species.

Description:
Tussilago farfara is a perennial herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes. Tussilago is often found in colonies of dozens of plants. The flowers, which superficially resemble dandelions, appear in early spring before dandelions appear. The leaves, which resemble a colt’s foot in cross section, do not appear usually until after the seeds are set. Thus, the flowers appear on stems with no apparent leaves, and the later appearing leaves then wither and die during the season without seeming to set flowers. The plant is typically between 10 – 30 cm in height.

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Edible Uses:
Tussilago farfarais used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Gothic and Small Angle Shades. The Coltsfoot is also worked by the honey bee (Apis mellifera mellifera).

Constituents:  mucilage, alkaloid, saponins, tannin (especially in the leaf), zinc, potassium, calcium.

Medicinal Uses: * Asthma * Bronchitis * Colds * Congestion * Cough * Stop Smoking

Properties: * Antiscrofulous * Antitussive * Astringent * Demulcent * Emollient * Expectorant * Tonic

Parts Used: Leaves and stems of mature plant

Tussilago farfarais is used as a respiratory disinfectant, expectorant, and cough suppressant and makes an effective tea to clear congestion. Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome Tussilago farfaraishas been used to relieve asthma and bronchial congestion. At our house, we consider a keeping a store of dried Tussilago farfarais on hand a good practice for those winter coughs and colds that are bound to come. Tussilago farfarais  tea with the addition of tea and honey is one of my all time favorite winter and flu season tisanes. This is one of the most effective cold herbs I have tried. Still, I keep it for reserved for short term use because of the presence of the very small amounts of (pyrrolizidine alkaloids).

Traditional uses:
Tussilago farfara has been used in herbal medicine and has been consumed as a food product with some confectionery products, such as Coltsfoot Rock.

Known Hazards:
Tussilago farfara contains tumorigenic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Senecionine and senkirkine, present in coltsfoot, have the highest mutagenetic activity of any pyrrolozidine alkaloid, tested using Drosophila melanogaster to produce a comparative genotoxicity test. There are documented cases of Coltsfoot tea causing severe liver problems in an infant, and in another case, an infant developed liver disease and died because the mother drank tea containing Tussilago farfarais during her pregnancy. In response the German government banned the sale of Tussilago farfarais. Clonal plants of Tussilago farfarais   free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids were then developed in Austria and Germany. This has resulted in the development of the registered variety Tussilago farfara Wein which has no detectable levels of these alkaloids

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tussilago_farfara
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail96.php

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Apothecary Rose

Botanical Name:Rosa gallica officinalis
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Genus: Rosa
Species: R. gallica

Common Names: Gallic Rose, French Rose,  Rose of Provins,Apothecary’s Rose.

Habitat: Native to southern and central Europe eastwards to Turkey and the Caucasus.

Description:
It is a deciduous shrub forming large patches of shrubbery, the stems with prickles and glandular bristles. The leaves are pinnate, with three to seven bluish-green leaflets. The flowers are clustered one to four together, single with five petals, fragrant, deep pink. The hips are globose to ovoid, 10-13 mm diameter, orange to brownish.

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Cultivation
The species is easily cultivated on well drained soil in full sun to semishade; it can survive temperatures down to ?25 °C. It is one of the earliest cultivated species of roses, being cultivated by the Greek and Romans and it was commonly used in Mediaeval gardens. In the 19th century it was the most important species of rose to be cultivated, and most modern European rose cultivars have at least a small contribution from R. gallica in their ancestry.

Cultivars of the species R. gallica and hybrids close in appearance are best referred to a Cultivar Group as the Gallica Group roses. The ancestry is usually unknown and the influence of other species can not be ruled out.

The Gallica Group roses share the vegetative characters of the species, forming low suckering shrubs. The flowers can be single, but most commonly double or semidouble. The colours range from white (rare) to pink and deep purple. All Gallica Group roses are once flowering. They are easily cultivated.

The semidouble cultivar ‘Officinalis’, the “Red Rose of Lancaster“, is the county flower of Lancashire.

In 2004, a cultivar of the Gallica Group named ‘Cardinal de Richelieu‘ was genetically engineered to produce the first blue rose.


Uses:

In Persia (Iran) Apothecary Rose was described by the Ancient Greek poet Sappho as “ the queen of flowers”, this rose has had many uses over time. The Ancient Romans consumed the petals as food and marinated them in wine to use them as a cure for hangovers. Avicenna, a famous eleventh century Arab physician and philosopher living in Moslem Spain, prepared rose water from the petals that he used in treating his patients for a variety of ailments. Knights returning from the Crusades brought the plant to Europe. It was grown chiefly in monastic gardens for medicinal purposes. In the Middle Ages, the blossoms were used in aroma therapy for the treatment of depression. In the nineteenth century beginning in the time of Napoleon, French pharmacists grew them in pots at the entrances of their shops, hence the origin of the common name Apothecary Rose. The Apothecary Rose became the professional symbol of the pharmaceutical profession much as the balanced scales became the professional symbol of the legal profession. French druggists dispensed preparations made from this rose to treat indigestion, sore throats and skin rashes.

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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/Rosa_gallica
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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Baptisia australis,(Blue False Indigo)

Botanical Name:Baptisia australis
Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)/Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Genus: Baptisia
Species: australis
Common Name: Blue false indigo, Blue Wild Indigo
Habitat:  Baptisia australis is native to much of the central and eastern North America and is particularly common in the Midwest, but it has also been introduced well beyond its natural range. It grows in rich woods, thickets.

Description: Herbaceous Perennials. The plant may attain a height of 1.5 meteres (5 ft) and a width of 1 metre (3.2 ft), but most often it is encountered at about 1 metre tall (3.2 ft) with a 0.6 metre spread (2 ft). It is well known in gardens due to its attractive pea-like, deep blue flowers that emerge on spikes in the late spring and early summer. It requires little maintenance and is quite hardy. The seed pods are popular in flower arrangements, which also contribute to its popularity in cultivation. Several American Indians tribes made use of the plant for a variety of purposes. The Cherokees used it as a source of blue dye, a practice later copied by European settlers. They also would use the roots in teas as a purgative or to treat tooth aches and nausea, while the Osage made an eyewash with the plant.
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The name of the genus is derived from the Ancient Greek word bapto, meaning “to dip” or “immerse”, while the specific name australis is Latin for “southern”. Additional common names of this plant exist, such as Indigo Weed, Rattleweed, Rattlebush and Horse Fly Weed. The common name “blue false indigo” is derived from it being used as a substitute for the superior dye producing plant, namely Indigofera tinctoria. B. australis grows best in lime free, well-drained stony soil in full sun to part shade. Naturally it can be found growing wild at the borders of woods, along streams or in open meadows. It often has difficulting seeding itself in its native areas due to parasitic weevils that enter the seed pods, making the number of viable seeds very low.
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B. australis is an herbaceous perennial that reproduces both sexually and asexually by means of its spreading rhizomes. The plants are erect and emerge from the rhizomatic network. The roots themselves are branched and deep, which helps the plant withstand periods of drought. When dug up they are woody and black in colour and show tubercles, wart-like projections found on the roots. The plants branch extensively about halfway up. The stems are stour and glabrous, or hairless. If they are broken, a sap will be secreted that turns a dark blue upon contact to the air.

The trifoliate leaves are a grey-green in colour and are arranged alternately. The leaves are further divided into clover-like leaflets that are obovate in shape, or wider towards the apex. Flower spikes appear in June. Emerging at the pinnacle ar short, upright terminal racemes that have pea-like flowers that vary in colour from light blue to deep violet. The flowers, which bloom from April through August depending on the region, are bisexual and are roughly 2.5 cm long (1 inch). The fruit is a bluish black inflated and hardenend pod that ranges from 2.5 to 7.5 cm in length (1 to 3 inches) by 1.25 to 2.5 cm (0.5 to 1 inch). They are oblong in shape and are sharply tipped at the apex. At maturity they will contain many loose seeds within. The seeds are yellowish brown, kidney shaped and about 2 mm (0.08 inches) in size.The leaves emerge about one month before flowering and are shed approximately one month after the pods form. Once the seeds are fully mature, the stems turn a silverish grey and break off from the roots. The pods stay attached and are blown with the stems to another location.

Similar Species: There are many Baptisia species in North America but this is the only one with blue flowers.

Cultivation
B. australis is the most commonly cultivated species in its genus in North America, and it is also cultivated beyond its native continent in other areas such as Great Britain. It is considered a desirable plant in the garden due to its deep blue to violet spring flowers, the attractive light green compound leaves, and also for the somewhat unusual oblong fruits that emerge in the late summer. They grow to about 90 to 120 cm tall (3 to 4 feet) in height with a similar spread. Like other members of the genus, they have very deep taproots, which makes them quite difficult to move once planted.The plants thrive in full sun and require water only in times of low rainfall. One slightly negative feature it that the leaves tend to drop early in the fall, but this is often avoiding by cutting the dead stems as they die back. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8. It is commonly employed as a border plant in gardens. While there are no commonly available cultivars, several hybrids involving B. australis have been created, such as Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’, which is a cross with Baptisia alba. The variety Baptisia australis var. minor in also used occasionally in gardens. It is much shorter at only 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) in height, but the flowers are equal in size.

Medical Uses: Native Americans used this plant to treat toothache. The Cherokee woul hold hot tea, root tea or beaten root on the painfull tooth. They used a poultice to treat inflammation. It seems contridictory but a hot tea was used as a purgative and a cold tea to prevent vomiting. Baptisia species are being investigated as an immune system stimulant.

American Indians used root tea as an emetic (to produce vomiting) and as a laxative. Root poultices were used to reduce inflammation, and held in the mouth against an aching tooth.

Baptisia has been used as an antiseptic, anti-catarrhal, febrifuge,and stimulant purgative. This plant is said to stimulate immune responses to infection, and is used for ear, nose and throat problems, laryngitis, tonsillitis, as a wash for mouth ulcers, and a douche for leucorrhea. Baptisia is considered toxic. Do not use this plant unless under the supervision of a trained qualified practitioner. It is not for long term use and not to be used if pregnant. The bark of the root is harvested in autumn. The leaves may be harvested anytime.

Native Americans used root tea of False blue indigo as an emetic and purgative. A cold tea was given to stop vomiting, a root poultice used as an anti-inflammatory, and bits of the root were held in the mouth to treat toothaches. Baptisia species are being investigated for use as a potential stimulant of the immune system. A decoction of stems has been used for pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza, tips of stems combined with twigs of the Utah juniper, Juniperus osteosperma, have been used as a kidney medicine. Baptisia has also been used as a tea (tisane) for smallpox and externally as a cleansing wash. Trials using the extract of Baptisia to treat typhoid fever were made in the early 19th century. Current uses for this plant include: infection of upper respiratory tract, common cold, tonsillitis, stomatitis, inflammation of mucous membrane, fever, ointment for painless ulcers, inflamed nipples. Over-medicating will produce vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal complaints, and spasms due toquinolizidine alkaloid content.

The pods are utilised in dried arrangements. Wild blue indigo is said to repel flies when kept near farm animals. Hang a bunch of Baptisia off the tack of a working animal. The plant is also used in Witchcraft in spells or rituals of protection. Keep a leaf in your pocket or add to an amulet for protection

WARNING: some sources consider this species toxic.

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://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/18/
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Plant.asp?code=B660
http://www.highcountrygardens.com/catalog/product/24570/
http://2bnthewild.com/plants/H352.htm
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/baptisiaaust.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptisia_australis

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