Tag Archives: Appalachia

Rhus typhina

Botanical Name : Rhus typhina
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. typhina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms:Rhus hirta,Rhus viridiflora.

Common Names:Stag’s Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac

Habitat :Rhus typhina is native to eastern North America. It is primarily found in southeastern Canada, the northeastern and midwestern United States and the Appalachian Mountains, but is widely cultivated as an ornamental throughout the temperate world.
Description:
Rhus typhina is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5 m (16 ft) tall by 6 m (20 ft) broad. It has alternate, pinnately compound leaves 25–55 cm (10–22 in) long, each with 9–31 serrate leaflets 6–11 cm long. The leaf petioles and the stems are densely covered in rust-colored hairs. The velvety texture and the forking pattern of the branches, reminiscent of antlers, have led to the common name “stag’s horn sumach“.

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Staghorn sumac is dioecious, and large clumps can form with either male or female plants. The fruit is one of the most identifiable characteristics, forming dense clusters of small red drupes at the terminal end of the branches; the clusters are conic, 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 4–6 cm (2–2 in) broad at the base. The plant flowers from May to July and fruit ripens from June to September. The foliage turns to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow in autumn (fall). The fruit has been known to last through winter and into spring.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Tolerates poor soils. Succeeds in dry soils and is drought resistant once it is established.  A fairly wind hardy plant, though the branches are brittle and can be broken off in very high winds. A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to at least -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A fast growing but short-lived tree, it can sucker freely, forming thickets and becoming quite anti-social when grown in small areas. Single-stem plants are short-lived in cultivation, but if the plants are coppiced regularly and allowed to form thickets, then they will live longer and also be more ornamental with larger leaves. Any coppicing is best carried out in early spring. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. It is susceptible to coral spot fungus but is notably resistant to honey fungus. It transplants easily. This is a very good bee plant, the flowers producing an abundance of pollen and nectar. There is some doubt over the validity of this name and the earlier R. hirta. has been proposed as the correct name. However, it seems likely that R. typhina will be retained because it is so well known. This species is closely related to and hybridizes with R. glabra. 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. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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:
Fruit – cooked. A very sour flavour, they are used in pies. The fruit is rather small and with very little flesh, but it is produced in quite large clusters and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
Stag’s horn sumach was often employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent qualities. It is little used in modern herbalism. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. The bark is antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue and tonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, piles, general debility, uterine prolapse etc. An infusion is also said to greatly increase the milk flow of a nursing mother – small pieces of the wood were also eaten for this purpose. The inner bark is said to be a valuable remedy for piles. The roots are astringent, blood purifier, diuretic and emetic. An infusion of the roots, combined with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. A poultice of the roots has been used to treat boils. The leaves are astringent. They have been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis. An infusion of the fruits has been used as a tonic to improve the appetite and as a treatment for diarrhoea. The berries are astringent and blood purifier. They were chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. A tea made from the berries has been used to treat sore throats. The flowers are astringent and stomachic. An infusion has been used to treat stomach pains. The sap has been applied externally as a treatment of warts. Some caution is advised here since the sap can cause a rash on many people.

Other Uses:
The leaves are rich in tannin, up to 48% has been obtained in a controlled plantation. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The bark, especially the root bark, and the fruits are also very rich in tannin. A yellow dye can be obtained from the roots. An orange dye can be obtained from the inner bark and central pith of the stem, mixed with bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). A black ink can be made by boiling the leaves and the fruit. 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. Pipes are made from the young shoots and are used for drawing the sap of sugar maples (Acer spp). They are also used as flutes. The plant has an extensive root system and is planted as a windbreak screen and to prevent soil erosion. Wood – soft, light, brittle, coarse grained. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial value, though it is sometimes used as a rough construction wood or is employed in turning.

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. See also notes in ‘Cultivation’.

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/Rhus_typhina
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+typhina

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Cornus florida

 

Botanical Name: Cornus florida
Family:    Cornaceae
Genus:    Cheshornus
Subgenus:    Benthamidia
Species:    C. florida
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Cornales

Synonyms:  Bitter Redberry. Cornel. New England Boxwood. Dog-Tree. Flowering Dogwood. American Dogwood. Benthamidia florida. Box Tree. Virginian Dogwood. Cornouiller à grandes fleurs. Mon-ha-can-ni-min-schi. Hat-ta-wa-no-minschi.

Common Name: Flowering dogwood

Other old names: ( now rarely used)  American Dogwood, Florida Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood, Indian Arrowwood, Cornelian Tree, White Cornel, White Dogwood, False Box, and False Boxwood.

Habitat:  Cornus florida is   native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario, Illinois, and eastern Kansas, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas, with a disjunct population in Nuevo León and Veracruz in eastern Mexico. In Ontario, this tree species has been assessed and is now listed as endangered.
Description:
Flowering dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm (1 ft). A 10-year-old tree will stand about 5 m (16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, 6–13 cm (2.4–5.1 in) long and 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) broad, with an apparently entire margin (actually very finely toothed, under a lens); they turn a rich red-brown in fall……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are individually small and inconspicuous, with four greenish-yellow bracts 4 mm (0.16 in) long. Around 20 flowers are produced in a dense, rounded, umbel-shaped inflorescence, or flower-head, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter. The flower-head is surrounded by four conspicuous large white, pink or red “petals” (actually bracts), each bract 3 cm (1.2 in) long and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) broad, rounded, and often with a distinct notch at the apex. The flowers are bisexual.

When in the wild they can typically be found at the forest edge and popular on dry ridges. While most of the wild trees have white bracts, some selected cultivars of this tree also have pink bracts, some even almost a true red. They typically flower in early April in the southern part of their range, to late April or early May in northern and high altitude areas. The similar Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), native to Asia, flowers about a month later.

The fruit is a cluster of two to ten drupes, each 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) long and about 8 mm (0.31 in) wide, which ripen in the late summer and the early fall to a bright red, or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds, which then distribute the seeds.

In 2012, the United States sent 3,000 dogwood saplings to Japan to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Washington D.C. cherry trees given as a gift to the U.S. by Japan in 1912.

Cultivation:  Flowering dogwood does best horticulturally in moist, acidic soil in a site with some afternoon shade, but good morning sun. It does not do well when exposed to intense heat sources such as adjacent parking lots or air conditioning compressors. It also has a low salinity tolerance. The hardiness zone is 5–9 and the preferred pH is between 6.0–7.0. In urban and suburban settings, care should be taken not to inflict mower damage on the trunk or roots, as this increases the tree’s susceptibility to disease and pest pressure.

Propagation:  Cornus florida is easily propagated by seeds, which are sown in the fall into prepared rows of sawdust or sand, and emerge in the spring. Germination rates for good clean seed should be near 100% if seed dormancy is first overcome by cold stratification treatments for 90 to 120 days at 4 °C (39 °F). Flowering dogwood demonstrates gametophytic self-incompatibility, meaning that the plants can’t self-fertilize. This is important for breeding programs as it means that it is not necessary to emasculate (remove the anthers from) C. florida flowers before making controlled cross-pollinations. These pollinations should be repeated every other day, as the flowers must be cross-pollinated within one or two days of opening for pollinations to be effective.

Softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer from new growth can be rooted under mist if treated with 8,000 to 10,000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). In cold climates, potted cuttings must be kept in heated cold frames or polyhouses the following winter to maintain temperatures between 0 and 7 °C (32 and 45 °F). Although rooting success can be as high as 50–85%, this technique is not commonly used by commercial growers. Rather, selected cultivars are generally propagated by T-budding in late summer or by whip grafting in the greenhouse in winter onto seedling rootstock.

Micropropagation of flowering dogwood is now used in breeding programs aiming to incorporate resistance to dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew into horticulturally and economically important cultivars. Nodal (axillary bud) sections are established in a culture of Woody Plant Medium (WPM) amended with 4.4 µmol/L 6-Benzyladenine (BA) to promote shoot growth.[8] Rooting of up to 83% can be obtained when 5–7 week-old microshoots are then transferred to WPM amended with 4.9 µmol/L IBA

Part Used for Medicines::  The dried bark of the root.

Constituents:  The bark has been found to contain tannic and gallic acids, resin, gum, extractive, oil, wax, red colouring matter, lignin, potassa, lime, magnesia, iron, and a neutral, crystalline glucoside called Cornin. Either water or alcohol extracts the virtues of the bark. The flowers are said to have similar properties, and to be sometimes used as a substitute. It is said that the berries, boiled and pressed, yield a limpid oil.

Medicinal  Uses:   Before Europeans discovered America, the Red Indianswere using the bark in the same way as Peruvian bark. It is valuable in intermittent fevers, as a weak tonic for the stomach, and antiperiodic, as a stimulant and astringent. As a poultice in anthrax, indolent ulcers, and inflamed erysipelas, it is tonic, stimulant and antiseptic. In the recent state it should be avoided, as it disagrees with stomach and bowels. Cinchona bark or sulphate of quinea often replace it officially. 35 grains of Cornus bark are equal to 30 grains of cinchona bark.

The ripe fruit, infused in brandy, is used as a stomachic in domestic practice, and a tincture of the berries restores tone to the stomach in alcoholism. Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny recommend them in diarrhoea.

Root-bark tea or tincture widely used for malaria and diarrhea throughout South during the Civil War. Also used as a poultice for external sores and ulcers.

Fruits:  Berries soaked in brandy for heart burn and upset stomach.

Twigs:  Twigs chewed for cleaning teeth

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Other Uses:
The leaves make good fodder for cattle, and in Italy the oil is used in soups.

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/Cornus_florida
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/boxwoa68.html
http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/Flowering_Dogwood.html