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Amelanchier humilis

 
Botanical Name : Amelanchier humilis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Amelanchier
Species: A. humilis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name : Low serviceberry

Habitat : Amelanchier humilis is native to Eastern N. America – Vermont to Alberta and south to New York and Iowa. It grows on the rocky or sandy shores and banks, often calcareous.

Description:

Amelanchier humilis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 3 m (9ft). The fruit, which is a pome, is very dark, almost black. It is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The fruit has a sweet taste, with slight apple flavor. The leaves are egg-shaped, up to 5 cm (2 inches) long.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are often found growing on calcareous soils in the wild. Hardy to about -25°c. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe. This species produces suckers freely, forming thickets. Closely related to A. stolonifera. Hybridizes with A. stolonifera, A. arborea and A. bartramiana. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.
Propagation:
Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Edible fruit – raw or cooked. Sweet. A very pleasant flavour, the fruit is juicy with a hint of apple in the taste and contains a few small seeds at the centre. The fruit is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Uses:
Not yet known.

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/Amelanchier_humilis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Amelanchier+humilis

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Equisetum arvense

Botanical Name ; Equisetum arvense
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. arvense
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophytes
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Synonyms:
*Allosites arvense Brogn.
*Equisetum arvense fo. arcticum (Rupr.) M. Broun
*Equisetum arvense fo. boreale (Bong.) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. campestre (Schultz) Klinge
*Equisetum arvense fo. ramulosum (Rupr.) Klinge ex Scoggan
*Equisetum arvense subsp. boreale (Bong.) Á. Löve
*Equisetum arvense subsp. ramulosum (Rupr.) W.F. Rapp
*Equisetum arvense var. arcticum Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. campestre (Schultz) Rupr.
*Equisetum arvense var. ramulosum Rupr.
*Equisetum boreale Bong.
*Equisetum calderi B. Boivin
*Equisetum campestre Schultz
*Equisetum saxicola Suksd.

Common Names: Field horsetail or Common horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum arvense is native to Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It grows on open fields, arable land, waste places, hedgerows and roadsides, usually on moist soils.

Description:
Equisetum species – horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal. Equisetum avense is a Perennial from creeping rhizomes, often forming large colonies; to 2 1/2 ft. Stems hollow, riged, jointed. Sterile stems green, with whorled branches ar nodes; leaves reduced to brownish, papery, toothed sheath around node; sheath with fewer then 14 teeth. Fertile stems brownish to whitish, with large “cone” at tip, formed by spore-producing scales; cone produced in early spring.

The sterile stems are 10–90 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with jointed segments around 2–5 cm long with whorls of side shoots at the segment joints; the side shoots have a diameter of about 1 mm. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments. The fertile stems are succulent-textured, off-white, 10–25 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with 4–8 whorls of brown scale leaves, and an apical brown spore cone 10–40 mm long and 4–9 mm broad.

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It has a very high diploid number of 216 (108 pairs of chromosomes).

The specific name arvense is derived from the Latin arvensis, meaning “from the meadow, field or grassland.”

Cultivation:
Prefers poor dusty ground. This rather contradicts another report which says that the presence of this plant indicates underground water. Prefers a moist but well-drained fertile soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation :
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – cooked and used as an asparagus substitute. They should be used when young but even so it is probably best to change the water, perhaps 3 – 4 times. One report says that they can be eaten raw, they are peeled and the shoot tip is discarded. It is said to be a very tedious operation and they should not be eaten raw in any quantity, see the notes above on toxicity. Some native tribes liked to eat the young vegetative shoots, picked before they had branched out, and would often collect them in great quantity then hold a feast to eat them. The leaf sheaths were peeled off and the stems eaten raw – they were said to be ‘nothing but juice’. Roots – raw. The tuberous growths on the rhizomes are used in the spring. The black nodules attached to the roots are edible. It takes considerable effort to collect these nodules so it is normally only done in times of desperation. However, native peoples would sometimes raid the underground caches of roots collected by lemmings and other rodents in order to obtain these nodules. A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. The plant is anodyne, antihaemorrhagic, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic and vulnerary. The green infertile stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be harvested in late summer and dried for later use. Sometimes the ashes of the plant are used. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, cystitis, urethritis, prostate disease and internal bleeding, proving especially useful when there is bleeding in the urinary tract. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing. It is especially effective on nose bleeds. A decoction of the herb added to a bath benefits slow-healing sprains and fractures, as well as certain irritable skin conditions such as eczema. The plant contains equisetic acid, which is thought to be identical to aconitic acid. This substance is a potent heart and nerve sedative that is a dangerous poison when taken in high doses. This plant contains irritant substances and should only be used for short periods of time. It is also best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant. It is used in the treatment of cystitis and other complaints of the urinary system . The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Equisetum arvense for urinary tract infections, kidney & bladder stones, wounds & burns.

Other  Uses:     Dye; Fungicide; Liquid feed; Musical; Paper; Polish; Sandpaper; Scourer.

 

The stems contain 10% silica and are used for scouring metal and as a fine sandpaper. They can also be used as a polish for brass, hardwood etc. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem. It is yellow-gray according to another report. The plant has been used for making whistles.

Equisetum is used in biodynamic farming (preparation BD 508) in particular to reduce the effects of excessive water around plants (such as fungal growth). The high silica content of the plant reduces the impact of moisture.

Known Hazards:
Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information. Avoid in patients with oedema due to heart failure or impaired kidney function
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/Equisetum_arvense
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+arvense

Elaeagnus multiflora ovata

Botanical Name : Elaeagnus multiflora ovata
Family: Elaeagnaceae
Genus: Elaeagnus
Species: E. multiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Elaeagnus longipes

Common Names : Goumi, Gumi, Natsugumi, or Cherry silverberry

Habitat : Elaeagnus multiflora ovata is native to E. Asia – China and Japan. It grows on the thickets and thin woods in hills and on lowland, at elevations of 600 – 1800 metres.

Description:
Elaeagnus multiflora ovata is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2-8 m tall, with a trunk up to 30 cm diameter with dark brown bark.
The shoots are densely covered in minute red-brown scales. The leaves are ovate to elliptic, 3-10 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, green above, and silvery to orange-brown below with dense small scales.The flowers are solitary or in pairs in the leaf axils, fragrant, with a four-lobed pale yellowish-white corolla 1.5 cm long; flowering is in mid-spring and the seeds ripen in July.

The fruit is round to oval drupe 1 cm long, silvery-scaled orange, ripening red dotted with silver or brown, pendulous on a 2-3 cm peduncle. When ripe in mid- to late summer, the fruit is juicy and edible, with a sweet but astringent taste somewhat similar to that of rhubarb. The skin of the fruit is thin and fragile, making it difficult to transport, thus reducing its viability as a food crop.

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It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.
Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils that are well-drained. Prefers a soil that is only moderately fertile, succeeding in poor soils and in dry soils. Prefers a light sandy loam and a sunny position but succeeds in light shade. Very drought and wind resistant. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Plants are hardy to about -20°c, but the roots are hardy to -30°c (although top growth will be killed at this temperature). Cultivated for its edible fruit in Japan, there are some named varieties. Plants can crop in 4 years from cuttings. They bear heavily in Britain. The fruit is well hidden in the shrub and is quite difficult to harvest without damaging the plant. This sub-species produces brown fruits on long stalks, would this be any easier to harvest? This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. Birds love the fruits. There is some confusion over the correct name for this species. In the on-line version of the Flora of Japan it is referred to as Elaeagnus montana ovata. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots 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. An excellent companion plant, when grown in orchards it can increase yields from the fruit trees by up to 10%. The small flowers are deliciously scented, their aroma pervading the garden on calm days.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It should germinate in late winter or early spring, though it may take 18 months[K]. Stored seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking more than 18 months. A warm stratification for 4 weeks followed by 12 weeks cold stratification can help[98]. The seed usually (eventually) germinates quite well. Prick out the seedlings into individual pot as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant out when they are at least 15cm tall. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 10 – 12cm with a heel, November in a frame. Leave for 12 months. Fair to good percentage. Layering in September/October. Takes 12 months.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid when ripe, they are usually made into pies, preserves etc. Quite fiddly and difficult to pick without breaking the young shoots, this sub-species carries the fruit on longer stalks than the species and might therefore be easier to pick. The fruit must be fully ripe before it can be enjoyed raw, if even slightly under-ripe it will be quite astringent. The fruit is about 10mm long and contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be eaten with the fruit though the seed case is rather fibrous.
Medicinal Uses:

Cancer.

The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.
Other Uses: ……Hedge; Rootstock..….Plants can be grown as a hedge in exposed positions, tolerating maritime exposure. A hedge in a very exposed position at Rosewarne in N. Cornwall was 3.5 metres tall in 1989[K]. Often used as a rootstock for evergreen species that are hard to grow from cuttings. It frequently sprouts from the base and can out-compete the scion.
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/Elaeagnus_multiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Elaeagnus+multiflora+ovata

Solidago gigantea

Botanical Name : Solidago gigantea
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. gigantea
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonyms : Solidago pitcheri.

Common Names : Tall goldenrod and Giant goldenrod

Habitat : Solidago gigantea is native to N. America – New Brunswick to British Columbia, south to Georgia, Texas and Utah. It grows on the low wet areas, roadsides, pond margins and the sides of streams, generally in mesic areas. It is the state flower of Kentucky and Nebraska.

Description:
Solidago gigantea is a perennial wildflower plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft), sometimes spreading by means of underground rhizomes. They often grow in clumps, with no leaves as the base but numerous leaves on the stem. At the top, each stem produces a sizable array of many small flower heads, sometimes several hundred. Each head is yellow, containing both disc florets and ray florets.
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The central stem is light green or pale purple, terete, glabrous, and sometimes glaucous. The alternate leaves are 3-5″ long and 1/3–2/3″ (8-17 mm.) across, becoming only slightly shorter while ascending the central stem. Sometimes there are leafy lateral stems that develop from the leaf axils of the central stem, but they are very short and insignificant. The alternate leaves are narrowly lanceolate to elliptic, slightly to sharply toothed along their margins, and sessile; each leaf tapers gradually towards its tip and base. The upper surfaces of the leaves are medium to dark green and glabrous, while their lower surfaces are a slightly lighter shade of green and glabrous or nearly so (sometimes there are fine hairs along the major veins below). Each leaf has 3 veins (a central vein and 2 lateral veins) that are nearly parallel to each other.

The central stem terminates in a panicle of flowerheads up to 1′ long and 1′ across. There is some variability in the shape and size of the panicle across different populations of plants. Individual branches of the panicle are light green, slightly to moderately pubescent, and recurved. There are usually some leafy bracts along the branches of the panicle; these leafy bracts are similar to the leaves, except they are smaller in size. Individual flowerheads are a little less than ¼” across, consisting of about 7-15 yellow ray florets and 5-11 yellow disk florets. At the base of each flowerhead, there are appressed floral bracts in 2-5 overlapping series; individual floral bracts are linear-lanceolate in shape. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall for about a month. Both ray and disk florets produce small achenes with sessile tufts of hair. The achenes are bullet-shaped, flat-topped, and finely pubescent. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous. Colonies of plants are often formed from the rhizomes.

It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. This species has become a weed in its native range, increasing freely by seed and at the root. The plant attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and blossoms are astringent, cathartic and styptic. They are a valuable remedy in the treatment of all kinds of haemorrhages. An infusion of the blossoms has been used to treat various fevers. An oil obtained from the plant (is this an essential oil?) is diuretic.
Other Uses:.…Basketry…….The stems can be made into rough basket

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/Solidago_gigantea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Solidago+gigantea
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/wetland/plants/gt_goldenrod.htm

Gentiana thunbergii

Botanical Name :Gentiana thunbergii
Family: Gentianaceae
Order: Gentianales
Tribes: Gentianeae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: Gentiana thunbergii (G.Don) Griseb.

Synonyms : G. japonica. Maxim. G. trinervis.

Common Names: Guangdong, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Shanxi [Japan, Korea]

Habitat :Gentiana thunbergii is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea and Manchuria. It grows on sunny places in lowland and mountains, C. and N. Japan. (1300-1800 m.)

Description:
Gentiana thunbergii is an annuals or biennial plant , growing 5-15 cm tall. Stems ascending to erect, few branched from base, glabrous. Basal leaves withered at anthesis; petiole 1-2 mm, glabrous; leaf blade involucriform, ovate-elliptic, ovate, or rarely obovate-oblong, 1-3 × 0.7-2.2 cm, margin cartilaginous and smooth, apex acuminate to rarely rounded, midvein distinct. Stem leaves 3-5 pairs, widely spaced; petiole 1.5-2 mm, entirely connate, glabrous; leaf blade lanceolate to oblong, 6-8 × 1-4.5 mm, shorter than internodes, margin of lower stem leaves narrowly cartilaginous, that of upper stem leaves broadly membranous, apex obtuse, vein 1. Flowers few. Pedicel 2-4 mm, sometimes to 1.2 cm in fruit, glabrous. Calyx narrowly obconic, (6-)8-9 mm; lobes narrowly triangular, 2.5-3 mm, margin membranous, apex acuminate, midvein distinct. Corolla blue, funnelform, (1.2-)1.5-2 cm; lobes ovate, 2-3 mm, margin entire, apex obtuse; plicae broadly oblong, 1-1.5 mm, margin entire or denticulate, apex rounded. Stamens inserted at middle of corolla tube, equal; filaments 2-2.5 mm; anthers ellipsoid, 1.2-1.5 mm. Style 2-2.5 mm; stigma lobes linear-oblong. Capsules narrowly obovoid, 6-8 mm; gynophore to 2.8 cm. Seeds brown, ellipsoid, 1-1.2 mm. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.
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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. Iial/biennial t prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Edible Uses: Young plants and flower buds – cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
The root probably contains various bitter compounds and can be used as a general tonic for the digestive system.

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://war.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentiana_thunbergii
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200018111
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+thunbergii