Tag Archives: Appalachian Mountain Club

Prunus alleghaniensis

Botanical Name: Prunus alleghaniensis
Family:  Rosaceae
Subfamily: Prunoideae
Genus:  Prunus
Species:  P. alleghaniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:  Rosales

Common Name: Allegheny plum,Davis’ plum

Habitat :    Prunus alleghaniensis is native to the Appalachian Mountains from New York to Kentucky and North Carolina, plus the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. There are old reports of it growing also in New Jersey and Connecticut, but it now appears to have been extirpated in those two states.
It is not common in moist woodlands. It is typically found in elevations between 1200 and 2000 feet (360-600 meters).

Description:
Prunus alleghaniensis is a shrub or small tree 3-12 feet (90-360 cm) tall. The leaves of are two to three and a half inches (5.0-8.8 cm) long, the tip is usually long and pointed. The leaf margins are finely toothed. The twigs sometimes have thorns. The bark is fissured in older specimens. The flowers are plentiful and white, eventually turning pink. The dark reddish purple fruit is half an inch (13 mm) wide, with a whitish bloom.

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It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. 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 moist soil.

Cultivation: 
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.  This species is closely related to P. americana. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe.  Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Fruit – raw or cooked. The thick juicy flesh is pleasantly acid. The fruit can also be made into jams, preserves etc. The fruit has a tough skin, it can be up to 2cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:
Dye;  Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. Wood – hard, heavy, close grained. Trees are too small for the wood to be commercially valuable.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+alleghaniensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_alleghaniensis

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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

Tsuga canadensis

Botanical Name : Tsuga canadensis
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Tsuga
Species: T. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms: Abies americana – Mill.,Pinus canadensis – L.

Common Names :Canadian hemlock, Pruche du Canada

Habitat :Tsuga canadensis is native to eastern North America. It ranges from northeastern Minnesota eastward through southern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia and Alabama. Scattered outlier populations occur in several areas east and west of the Appalachians. It is the state tree of Pennsylvania . Occurs in woods and swampy areas on cool moist sites, also in upland forests, often covering the north side of ridges.

Description:
Tsuga canadensis is an evergreen Tree .It grows well in shade and is very long lived, with the oldest recorded specimen being at least 554 years old. The tree generally reaches heights of about 31 meters (100 feet), but exceptional trees have been recorded up to 53 metres (173 feet).   The diameter of the trunk at breast height is often 1.5 metres (5 feet), but again, outstanding trees have been recorded up to 1.75 meters (6 feet). The trunk is usually straight and monopodial, but very rarely is forked. The crown is broadly conic, while the brownish bark is scaly and deeply fissured, especially with age. The twigs are a yellow-brown in colour with darker red-brown pulvini, and are densely pubescent. The buds are ovoid in shape and are very small, measuring only 1.5 to 2.5 mm (0.05 to 0.1 inches) in length. These are usually not resinous, but may be slightly so.

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The leaves are typically 15 to 20 mm (0.6 to 0.9 inches) in length, but may be as short as 5 mm (0.2 inches) or as long as 25 mm (1 inch). They are flattened and are typically distichous, or two-ranked. The bottom of the leaf is glaucous with two broad and clearly visible stomatal bands, while the top is a shiny green to yellow-green in colour. The leaf margins are very slightly toothed, especially near the apex.It is in  flower in May, and the seeds ripen from November to February. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind. The seed cones are ovoid in shape and typically measure 1.5 to 2.5 cm (0.6 to 1 inch) in length and 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4 to 0.6 inches) in width. The scales are ovate to cuneate in shape and measure 8 to 12 mm (0.3 to 0.5 inches) in length by 7 to 10 mm (0.3 to 0.4 inches) in width. The apex is more or less rounded and is often projected outward. Twenty-four diploid chromosomes are present within the trees’ DNA

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 and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

 

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it thrives best when growing in a deep well-drained soil in the western parts of Britain where it appreciates the higher rainfall. However, it succeeds in most soils and positions, being especially good on acidic sandy soils[81] but also tolerating some lime so long as there is plenty of humus in the soil. Plants are very shade tolerant when young, but need more sunlight as they grow older. Plants are thin and poor when grown in dry or exposed places. A slow-growing but long-lived species in the wild, with specimens nearly 1000 years old recorded. It is occasionally planted as a timber tree in Germany. It is very slow growing in cultivation for the first few years, it then grows more rapidly with annual shoots up to 60cm long. This rate of growth soon slows as the tree loses apical dominance and it becomes slow growing again. Seed production commences around the age of 20 – 40 years, with good crops produced every 3 – 4 years. The crushed foliage has a sweet lemony scent. Another report says that it emits the unpleasant smell of hemlock. Many named forms have been selected for their ornamental value. Almost all of them are dwarf forms. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – it germinates better if given a short cold stratification  and so is best sown in a cold frame in autumn to late winter. It can also be sown in early spring, though it might not germinate until after the next winter. If there is sufficient seed, an outdoor sowing can be made in spring. Pot-grown seedlings are best potted up into individual pots once they are large enough to handle – grow them on in a cold frame and plant them out in early summer of the following year. Trees transplant well when they are up to 80cm tall, but they are best put in their final positions when they are about 30 – 45 cm or less tall, this is usually when they are about 5 – 8 years old. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

Inner bark – raw or cooked. Usually harvested in the spring, it can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. The leaves and twigs yield ‘spruce oil’, used commercially to flavour chewing gum, soft drinks, ice cream etc. A herbal tea is made from the young shoot tips. These tips are also an ingredient of ‘spruce beer’.

Medicinal Uses:
Antipruritic; Astringent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Skin; Styptic.

Canadian hemlock was commonly employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is still sometimes used in modern herbalism where it is valued for its astringent and antiseptic properties. The bark is rich in tannin and is astringent and antiseptic. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, colitis, diverticulitis and cystitis. Externally, it is used as a poultice to cleanse and tighten bleeding wounds, as a douche to treat excessive vaginal discharge, thrush and a prolapsed uterus, and as a mouthwash and gargle for gingivitis and sore throats. The poultice has also been applied to the armpits to treat itchiness there. The inner bark is diaphoretic and styptic. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds and abdominal pains. A decoction of the inner bark has been applied externally in the treatment of eczema and other skin conditions. The pulverized inner bark has been applied to cuts and wounds to stop the bleeding. A tea made from the leafy twig tips is used in the treatment of dysentery, kidney ailments, colds and rheumatism. Externally, it is used in steam baths for treating colds, rheumatism and to induce sweating. A decoction of the branches has been boiled down to a syrup or thick paste and used as a poultice on arthritic joints. A poultice of the crushed branch tips has been used to treat infections on an infants navel. Hemlock pitch has been used externally as a counter-irritant in the treatment of rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Basketry; Dye; Ground cover; Hedge; Resin; Rust; Tannin; Wood.

Yields a resin similar to Abies balsamea, it is gathered by incisions in the trunk or by boiling the wood. A pitch (called hemlock pitch), is obtained by distillation of the young branches. ‘Oil of Hemlock’ is distilled from the young branches according to another report. The bark contains 8 – 14% tannin. The inner bark is used according to one report. The inner bark has been used in making baskets. A red to brown dye is obtained from the bark. A red dye is obtained from the inner bark according to another report. A little rock dust has been added to act as a mordant when boiling the bark. The boiled bark has been used to make a wash to clean rust off iron and steel, and to prevent further rusting. Tolerant of light trimming, plants can be grown as a hedge. This species does not make a good hedge in Britain. Some cultivars can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre apart each way. ‘Pendula’ is slow-growing but makes a very good cover. Wood – coarse-grained, light, soft, not strong, brittle, not durable outdoors. Difficult to work because it splits easily. The wood weighs 26lb per cubic foot. The trees do not self-prune and so the wood contains numerous remarkably hard knots that can quickly dull the blade of an axe. A coarse lumber, it is used occasionally for the outside of buildings. It should be used with caution as a fuel for outdoor fires because it can project embers and burning wood several metres from the fire.

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has a sweet lemony scent. Another report says that it emits the unpleasant smell of hemlock.

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/Tsuga_canadensis
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Tsuga+canadensis

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