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Aralia spinosa

Botanical Name :Aralia spinosa
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names: Devil’s Walkingstick,Hercules’ Club, Prickly Ash, or Prickly Elder

Habitat :Aralia spinosa is widespread in the eastern United States, ranging from New York to Florida along the Atlantic coast, and westward to Ohio, Illinois, and Texas. It prefers a deep moist soil. The plants typically grow in the forest Understory or at the edges of forests, often forming clonal thickets by sprouting from the roots.

This tree was admired by the Iroquois because of its usefulness, and for its rarity. The Iroquois would take the saplings of the tree and plant them near their villages and on islands, so that animals wouldn’t eat the valuable fruit. The fruit was used in many of the natives’ foods. The women would take the flowers and put them in their hair because of the lemony smell. The flowers could also be traded for money.

Description:
Aralia spinosa is an aromatic spiny deciduous shrub or small tree growing 2–8 m (6–25 ft) tall, with a simple or occasionally branched stem with very large bipinnate leaves 70–120 cm (28–48 in) long. The trunks are up to 15–20 cm (6–8 in) in diameter, with the plants umbrella-like in habit with open crowns. The young stems are stout and thickly covered with sharp spines. The plants generally grow in clusters of branchless trunks, although stout wide-spreading branches are occasionally produced.

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The flowers are creamy-white, individually small (about 5 mm or 0.2 in across) but produced in large composite panicles 30–60 cm (12–24 in) long; flowering is in the late summer. The fruit is a purplish-black berry 6–8 mm (0.24–0.3 in) in diameter, ripening in the fall. The roots are thick and fleshy.

The doubly or triply compound leaves are the largest of any temperate tree in the continental United States, often about a meter (three feet) long and 60 cm (two feet) wide, with leaflets about 5–8 cm (2–3 in) long. The petioles are prickly, with swollen bases. In the autumn the leaves turn to a peculiar bronze red touched with yellow which makes the tree conspicuous and attractive.

The habit of growth and general appearance of Aralia spinosa and related tree-forming Aralia species are unique. It is usually found as a group of unbranched stems, rising to the height of 3.5–6 m (12–20 ft), which bear upon their summits a crowded cluster of doubly or triply compound leaves, thus giving to each stem a certain tropical palm-like appearance. In the south it is said to reach the height of 15 m (50 ft), still retaining its palm-like aspect. However, further north, the slender, swaying, palm-like appearance is most characteristic of younger plants that have not been damaged by winter storms.

*Bark: Light brown, divided into rounded broken ridges. Branchlets one-half to two-thirds of an inch in diameter, armed with stout, straight or curved, scattered prickles and nearly encircled by narrow leaf scars. At first light yellow brown, shining and dotted, later light brown.

*Wood: Brown with yellow streaks; light, soft, brittle, close-grained.

*Winter buds: Terminal bud chestnut brown, one-half to three-fourths of an inch long, conical, blunt; axillary buds flattened, triangular, one-fourth of an inch in length.

*Leaves: Clustered at the end of the branches, compound, bi- and tri-pinnate, three to four feet long, two and a half feet broad. The pinnae are unequally pinnate, having five or six pairs of leaflets and a long stalked terminal leaflet; these leaflets are often themselves pinnate. The last leaflets are ovate, two to three inches long, wedge-shaped or rounded at base, serrate or dentate, acute; midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud a bronze green, shining, somewhat hairy; when full grown are dark green above, pale beneath; midribs frequently furnished with prickles. Petioles stout, light brown, eighteen to twenty inches in length, clasping, armed with prickles. Stipules acute, one-half inch long.

*Flowers: July, August. Perfect or polygamomonoecious, cream white, borne in many-flowered umbels arranged in compound panicles, forming a terminal racemose cluster, three to four feet in length which rises, solitary or two or three together, above the spreading leaves. Bracts and bractlets lanceolate, acute, persistent.

*Calyx: Calyx tube coherent with the ovary, minutely five-toothed.

*Corolla: Petals five, white, inserted on margin of the disk, acute, slightly inflexed at the apex, imbricate in bud.

*Stamens: Five, inserted on margin of the disk, alternate with the petals; filaments thread-like; anthers oblong, attached on the back, introrse, two-celled; cells opening longitudinally.

*Pistil: Ovary inferior, five-celled; styles five, connivent; stigmas capitate.

*Fruit: Berry-like drupe, globular, black, one-fourth of an inch long, five-angled, crowned with the blackened styles. Flesh thin, dark’

Cultivation:
Aralia spinosa was introduced into cultivation in 1688 and is still grown for its decorative foliage, prickly stems, large showy flower panicles [clusters], and distinctive fall color. These plants are slow growing, tough and durable, do well in urban settings, but bear numerous prickles on their stems, petioles, and leaflets.

Propagation: These plants can be propagated from seeds or root cuttings.

Edible Uses:
The young leaves can be eaten if gathered before the prickles harden. They are then chopped finely and cooked as a potherb.

Constituents:  Aralia spinosa contains a glucoside Araliin.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Fresh bark causes/vomiting and purging, but dried is a stimulating alterative. A tincture made from the bark is used for rheumatism, skin diseases and syphilis. The berries in tincture form, lull pain in decayed teeth and in other parts of the body, violent colic and rheumatism, useful in cholera when a cathartic is required in the following compound: 1 drachm compound powdered Jalap, 1 drachm Aralia spinosa, 2 drachms compound rhubarb powder or infused in 1/2, pint boiling water and when cold taken in tablespoonful doses every half-hour. This does not produce choleric discharges. Also a powerful sialogogue and valuable in diseases where mouth and throat get dry, and for sore throat; will relieve difficult breathing and produce moisture if given in very small doses of the powder. The bark, root, and berries can all be utilized.

Other Uses:…Wood….. – close-grained, weak, light, soft, brittle. Of little economic value.

Known Hazards:  Handling the roots can cause dermatitis in some people. Large amounts of the berries are poisonous.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/angel038.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_spinosa

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia+spinosa

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Kentucky coffeetree

Botanical Name :Gymnocladus dioica
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Genus: Gymnocladus
Species: G. dioicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name:Kentucky coffeetree

Habitat :Gymnocladus dioica is native to the midwest of North America. The range is limited, occurring from Southern Ontario, Canada and in the United States from Kentucky (where it was first encountered by Europeans) and western Pennsylvania in the east, to Kansas, eastern Nebraska, and southeastern South Dakota in the west, and to northern Louisiana in the south. It was formerly the state tree of Kentucky.

Description:
DescriptionVaries from 18 to 21 meters (60–70 feet) high with a spread of 12–15 meters (40–50 feet) and a trunk up to one meter (3 feet) in diameter. A 10-year-old sapling will stand about 4 meters (13 feet) tall. It usually separates 3 to 4½ meters (10–15 feet) from the ground into three or four divisions which spread slightly and form a narrow pyramidal head; or when crowded by other trees, sending up one tall central branchless shaft to the height of 15–21 m (50–70 ft). Branches stout, pithy, and blunt; roots fibrous.

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The Kentucky Coffeetree is a relatively fast-growing tree and generally grows in parks and along city streets for ornamental purposes. The tree is typically long-lived however often appears dead for the first six months of its growth. This is because the Kentucky Coffeetree sheds its leaves early during the fall and therefore appears bare for up to 6 months. The naked appearance of the tree is reflected through the Kentucky Coffeetrees genus name. (Barnes, Wagner at el. 1977) from Michigan Trees.

Like the Sumac, branches are totally destitute of fine spray; smaller branches are thick, blunt, clumsy and lumpish. While other trees lose their leaves, along their twigs and branchlets are borne the buds, the hope and the promise of the coming year. But the Gymnocladus seems so destitute of these that the French in Canada named it Chicot, the dead tree. Even when spring comes, it gives no apparent recognition of light and warmth until nearly every other tree is in full leaf. The casual observer says it bears no winter buds, but there is a tiny pair, wrapped in down and wool, lying sleeping in the axil of every last year’s leaf.

Among the trees of the eastern United States, there are two others with similarly large leaves: the Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and the Devil’s Walking-Stick (Aralia spinosa). The expanding leaves are conspicuous because of the varied colors of the leaflets; the youngest are bright pink, while those which are older vary from green to bronze.

The bark is ash-gray and scaly, flaking similarly to black cherry, but more so. The flowers are dioecious, and the fruit is a hard-shelled bean in heavy, woody, thick-walled pods filled with sweet, thick, gooey pulp. The shape of the pods varies somewhat: pod length ranges from about 12.7 to 25.4 cm; unfertilized female trees may bear miniature seedless pods. The beans contain the toxin cytisine.

*Bark: Dark gray, deeply fissured, surface scaly. Branchlets at first coated with short reddish down.  CLICK TO SEE
Wood: Light brown; heavy, strong, coarse-grained; durable in contact with the ground, takes a fine polish. Sp. gr., 0.6934; weight of cu. ft., 43.21 lb (19.60 kg).

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*Winter buds: Minute, depressed in downy cavities of the stem, two in the axil of each leaf, the smaller sterile. Bud scales two, ovate, coated with brown tomentum and growing with the shoot, become orange green, hairy and about one inch long, before they fall.CLICK TO SEE

*Leaves: Alternate, bi-pinnately compound, ten to fourteen pinnate, lowest pinnae reduced to leaflets, the other seven to thirteen foliate. One to three feet long, eighteen to twenty-four inches broad, by the greater development of the upper pairs of pinnae. Leaf stalks and stalks of pinnae, are terete, enlarged at base, smooth when mature, pale green, often purple on the upper side. Leaflets ovate, two to two and one-half inches long, wedge-shaped or irregularly rounded at base, with wavy margin, acute apex. They come out of the bud bright pink, but soon become bronze green, smooth and shining above. When full grown are dark yellow green above, pale green beneath. In autumn turn a bright clear yellow. Stipules leaf-life, lanceolate, serrate, deciduous.

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*Flowers: June. Dioecious by abortion, terminal, greenish white. Staminate flowers in a short racemen-like corymb three to four inches (102 mm) long, pistillate flowers in a raceme ten to twelve inches (305 mm) long.

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*Calyx: Tubular, hairy, ten-ribbed, five-lobed; lobes valvate in bud, acute, nearly equal.

*Corolla: Petals five, oblong, hairy, spreading or reflexed, imbricate in bud.CLICK & SEE

*Stamens: Ten, five long and five short, free, included; filaments thread-like; antehrs orange colored, introrse; in the pistillate flower small and sterile.  CLICK & SEE

*Pistil: Ovary superior, sessile, hairy, contracted into a short style, with two stigmatic lobes; ovules in two rows.

*Fruit: Legume, six to ten inches (254 mm) long, one and one-half to two inches wide, somewhat curved, with thickened margins, dark reddish brown with slight glaucous bloom, crowned with remnant of the styles. Stalks and inch or two long. Seeds six to nine, surrounded by a thick layer of dark, sweet pulp.  CLICK & SEE

Cultivation:
Kentucky Coffeetree is easy to grow from seed. Filing the seedcoat by hand with a small file, and then soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours will ensure rapid germination. Propagation is also easy from dormant root cuttings.

It forms large clonal colonies, reproducing by shoots sprouting from roots.

Trees prefer bottom lands, and a rich moist soil. Its growth is largely unaffected by heat, cold, drought, insects, disease, road salt, ice, and alkaline soil.

The Kentucky Coffeetree is typically found on “alluvial soils of river and flood plains and nearby terraces” (Barnes, Wagner at el. 1977) from Michigan Trees.

Medicinal Uses:
The pulvarised root bark is used as an effective enema. A tea made from bark is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of cough due to inflamated mucus membranes and also to help speed up a protected  labour.A snuff made from the pulvarised root bark hasbeen used to cause sneezing in comatose patients. A tea made from the leaves and pulp from the pod is laxative and has also been used in the treatment of reflex  troubles.A decoction of the fresh green pulp of an unriped fruit is used in homeopathic practice.The folk remedy of traditional poisning using Kentacy coffee tree seeds, cornsilk,linden flowers and seaweed Irish moss kelp and dulse.

Other Uses:
Horticulture : In pleasure grounds it is not uncommon, since it is often planted because of its unique appearance and interesting character.

The peculiarly late-emerging and early-dropping leaves, coupled with the fact that the large leaves mean few twigs in the winter profile, make it a tree that is ideal for urban shading where winter sunlight is to be maximized (such as in proximity to solar hot-air systems).

Food :The common name “coffeetree” derives from the use of the roasted seeds as a substitute for coffee in times of poverty. They are a very inferior substitute for real coffee, and caution should be used in trying them as they are poisonous in large quantities.
CLICK & SEE
The pods, preserved like those of the tamarind, are said to be wholesome and slightly aperient.

Woodworking :The wood is used both by cabinetmakers and carpenters. It has very little sapwood

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://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_coffeetree
http://www.cirrusimage.com/tree_Kentucky_Coffee.htm

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/g/gydi–frseeds24261.htm

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Aralia chinensis

Botanical Name : Aralia chinensis
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. chinensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

syn. : Aralia sinensis Hort
Common Name:Chinese angelica tree

Habitat : Aralia chinensis is  native to China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.Forests on rich well moistened soil

Description:
Aralia chinensis (Dimorphanthus, Chinese angelica tree) is a medium sized fully hardy perennial deciduous tree/shrub with white flowers in early Summer and late Spring  growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in).
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

Bark and stem
Aralia chinensis has green bark with a spiky texture. The stems have a hairy texture.

Fruit and seed
The fruit is black. There is a high fruit/seed abundance beginning in Summer and ending in Fall.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils . The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is closely allied to A. elata. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation  :
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:Young shoots – cooked. Used as a vegetable. Blanched and used in salads. Although no records of edibility have been seen for the seed, it is said to contain 5.8 – 17.5% protein, 4.2 – 46.3% fat and 3.7 – 5.7% ash

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  CarminativeDiuretic;  Sialagogue.

The stem and root are anodyne and carminative. It is used as a warming painkilling herb in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The root is also considered to be useful in the treatment of diabetes and dysmenorrhoea. Some caution is advised since the bark is considered to be slightly poisonous. The stembark is diuretic and sialagogue.

The stem and root are used as a warming painkilling herb in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The root is also considered to be useful in the treatment of diabetes and dysmenorrhoea. Some caution is advised since the bark is considered to be slightly poisonous. The plant also relieves flatulence.  It regulates body moisture and  promotes the health of the circulatory and respiratory systems.  The roots and stems are used in decoctions.  Single dose: 31-62g.  Studies in vitro showed that the water extract of herb had cytotoxical effect on esophageal cell line and tests in vivo indicated that it was effective against SAK, HepS, EAC, s180, and U14 murine tumors.

Known Hazards: The bark is considered to be slightly poisonous

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia%20chinensis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_chinensis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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