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Centaurea montana

Botanical Name : Centaurea montana
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species:C. montana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Perennial cornflower, Mountain cornflower, Bachelor’s button, Montane knapweed or Mountain bluet

Habitat : Centaurea montana is native to Europe. It is widespread and common in the more southerly mountain ranges of Europe, but is rarer in the north. It escapes from gardens readily, and has thereby become established in the British Isles, Scandinavia and North America. It grows on Mountain woodland margins and meadows.

Description:
Centaurea montana is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.  It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.   It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a moist well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The plants have creeping rhizomes and form spreading patches. A good bee plant. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Suitable for cut flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow March in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in August in a greenhouse, overwintered under cover, and planted out in spring. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the plants vigour. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 5 – 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Mountain cornflower is seldom used in modern herbalism, though it does still have a reputation in parts of Europe as a wash for tired eyes. It is considered to be most effective on blue eyes, great plantain (Plantago majus) being used for brown eyes. The dried flowers are antitussive, astringent, weakly diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic, very mildly purgative and tonic. An infusion can be used as a treatment for dropsy, constipation, as a mouthwash for bleeding gums and as an eye bath for conjunctivitis.

Other Uses: Can be used as a ground cover plant in a sunny position.

Ornamental Uses : Centaurea montana grows in gardens where it grows best in sunny positions.

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://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+montana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaurea_montana

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Crataegus crus-galli

Botanical Name : Crataegus crus-galli
Family:    Rosaceae
Genus:    Crataegus
Series:    Crus-galli
Species:C. crus-galli
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Rosales

Synonyms:
Crataegus acutifolia Sarg.
Crataegus albanthera Sarg.
Crataegus arborea Beadle
Crataegus barrettiana Sarg.
Crataegus calophylla Sarg.
Crataegus candens Sarg.
Crataegus cherokeensis Sarg.
Crataegus consueta Sarg.
Crataegus hamata E.J.Palmer
Crataegus hannibalensis E.J.Palmer
Crataegus infera Sarg.
Crataegus leptophylla Sarg.
Crataegus limnophylla Sarg.
Crataegus ludovicensis Sarg.
Crataegus monosperma Sarg.
Crataegus pachyphylla Sarg.
Crataegus paradoxa Sarg.
Crataegus parkiae Sarg.
Crataegus permera Sarg.
Crataegus phaneroneura Sarg.
Crataegus polyclada Sarg.
Crataegus pyracanthoidesBeadle
Crataegus regalis Beadle
Crataegus rubrifolia Sarg.
Crataegus rudis Sarg.
Crataegus severa Sarg.
Crataegus strongylophylla Sarg.
Crataegus tantula Sarg.
Crataegus tardiflora Sarg.
Crataegus tenax Ashe
Crataegus tenuispina Sarg.
Crataegus truncata Sarg.

Common Names: Cockspur Thorn, Cockspur hawthorn, Dwarf Hawthorn

Habitat : Crataegus crus-galli is native to  Eastern N. America – Quebec to Georgia, west to Louisiana. Locally naturalized in Europe.  It grows in  thickets and open ground, especially in dry or rocky places. Usually found on the slopes of low hills in rich soils.

Description:
Crataegus crus-galli  is a small deciduous tree growing up to about 10 meters tall and 8 meters wide, rounded in form when young and spreading and flattening as it matures. The leaves are 5 to 6 centimeters long, glossy dark green in color and turning gold to red in the fall. The flowers are white and have a scent generally considered unpleasant. The fruits are small pomes that vary in colour, usually a shade of red. Most wild varieties of the tree are heavily armed in sharp thorns several centimeters long. This species is a popular ornamental tree, especially var. inermis, which lacks thorns. Many other wild forms would be very suitable for landscaping if better known, and yellow-fruited forms exist.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:     
Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Pollard, Screen, Specimen, Street tree. A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -18°c. A very ornamental plant. There are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted. This plant is often confused in cultivation with C. prunifolia. ‘Splendens’. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation: 
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[80]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. A dry flesh, it is used in jellies. The fruit is about 1cm in diameter and is borne in small clusters. It often persists on the tree until spring. This suggests that it does not make very good eating. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Cardiotonic;  Hypotensive.

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.

Other Uses:
Hedge;  Hedge;  Wood.

Very amenable to trimming, the plant can even be cut right back into very old wood and will resprout freely. It is often used as a hedge. Wood – fine-grained, hard and heavy. Used for tool handles 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/Crataegus_crus-galli
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crataegus+crus-galli

Bethroot

Botanical Name: Trillium pendulum (WILLD.)/Trillium erectum (LINN.)

Family: Melanthiaceae/ Liliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Genus: Trillium
Species: T. erectum

Synonyms: Indian Shamrock. Birthroot. Lamb’s Quarters. Wake-Robin. Indian Balm. Ground Lily.

Common Names: wake-robin, red trillium, purple trillium, Beth root, or stinking Benjamin

Habitat:Bethroot is native to the east and north-east of North America .
Description:
Bethroot is a Spring ephemeral, an herbaceous perennial whose life-cycle is synchronised with that of the deciduous forests where it lives.This plant grows to about 40 cm (16 in) in height with a spread of 30 cm (12 in), and can tolerate extreme cold in winter, surviving temperatures down to ?35 °C (?31 °F). Like all trilliums, its parts are in groups of three, with 3-petalled flowers above whorls of pointed triple leaves.[5] The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals and crystal raphide, and should not be consumed by humans. The flowers are a deep red colour, though there is a white form. The flowers have the smell of rotting meat, as they are pollinated by flies.

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The plant takes its name “wake-robin” by analogy with the Robin, which has a red breast heralding spring.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Varieties:
*Trillium erectum var. album (Michx.) Pursh
*Trillium erectum var. erectum
Constituents: There have been found in it volatile and fixed oils, tannic acid, saponin, a glucoside resembling convallamarin, an acid crystalline principle coloured brown tinged with purple by sulphuric acid, and light green with sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate, gum, resin, and much starch.

The fluid extract is an ingredient in Compound Elixir of Viburnum Opulus.

Professor E. S. Wayne isolated the active principle, calling it Trilline, but the preparation sold under that name has no medicinal value, while the Trilline of Professor Wayne has not been used.

Medicinal Uses:   It is antiseptic, astringent and tonic expectorant, being used principally in haemorrhages, to promote parturition, and externally, usually in the form of a poultice, as a local irritant in skin diseases, or to restrain gangrene.

The leaves, boiled in lard, are sometimes applied to ulcers and tumours.

The roots may be boiled in milk, when they are helpful in diarrhoea and dysentery.

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/Trillium_erectum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bethro34.html

Loropetalum chinense

Botanical Name :Loropetalum chinense
Family: Hamamelidaceae
Genus: Loropetalum
Species: L. chinense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms  :  L. indicum. Hamamelis chinensis.

Common Name:Lacquer Tree, Fringe Flower, Chinese fringe flower.

Habitat :Loropetalum chinense is native to Japan and southeastern Asia including southern China. It grows on the rocky hills and dry open woods, often on limestone.  Stream banks, hilly slopes and roadsides.

Description:
Loropetalum is a finely textured evergreen shrub. It has a loose open form and will grow as high as 12 ft (3.7 m) and 6-8 ft (1.8-2.4 m) wide. Loropetalum has a spreading habit with branches arranged in horizontal layers. Young shrubs have greater spread than height and are densely branched. When vertical stems are periodically removed loropetalum makes an effective large scale groundcover with some newer varieties selected especially for that purpose. The flowers are arranged in small clusters with each having 4 narrow straplike petals that droop downward. Flowers resemble those of its close relative the witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana). There are white and red flowered forms of loropetalum and both bloom prolifically beginning in late winter into spring and then continue sporadically throughout the summer. The green-leafed varieties have fragrant flowers that are white or yellowish. ‘Rubra’ and ‘Razzleberri’ are among several named red flowered forms and tend to bloom earlier than the white form. The red forms are much showier in bloom than the white whose flowers tend to get lost with the effect that the shrub just looks like it has lighter foliage color when in bloom….

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The leaves of loropetalum are oval, 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long and about 1 in (2.5 cm) wide and are held alternately on the stem. Foliage of the white form is light green to yellowish-green and lighter on the underside. Red forms typically have leaves that are darker green and have burgundy, red or copper tints depending on the selection.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Screen, Standard, Superior hedge, Specimen. Requires a rich well-drained neutral to acid soil in full sun or light shade. Requires a lime-free humus-rich soil. One report says that it succeeds on a sheltered north wall whilst another says that it needs a sunny position and another says it needs warm summers. Prefers a cool root run. This species is not very cold-hardy in Britain, it is also slow growing. It succeeds outdoors in the mildest areas of the country, tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c. Plants do not flower well if the temperature drops below 5°c. The Japanese form of this species might be hardier. Plants grow taller in their native habitat, reaching a height of 3 metres. The flowers emit a delicate sweet perfume. Some named forms have been developed in Japan for their ornamental value. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in a warm greenhouse in late winter or early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Fair to good percentage. Layering in the spring .

Uses:
In the past few years loropetalum has become increasingly popular and is now seen everywhere from commercial properties to streetside plantings to residential. Everyone seems to be discovering the charms of this beautiful and robust shrub. Its graceful, horizontally layered shape makes it a perfect foundation plant and with periodic pruning can be used in hedges. The red flowered forms add beautiful contrasting color and texture in shrub borders and look great massed together. Lower growing varieties are now available for use as large scale ground cover.

Features
Attractive evergreen foliage, fragrant flowers and low maintenance requirements are just a few of loropetalum’s talents. Due to its vigor and adaptability, many new selections have become available in the past several years. This is the only member of the genus Loropetalum which is in the witchhazel family Hamamelidaceae. Other well known members of this large family are witch-alder (Fothergilla major), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and parrotia (Parrotia persica).

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the whole plant is used in the treatment of coughing in tuberculosis, dysentery, enteritis etc. The leaves can be crushed and pulverized for external application on wounds.

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.floridata.com/ref/l/loro_chi.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loropetalum_chinense

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Loropetalum+chinense

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