Tag Archives: Archaeology

Antirrhinum majus

Botanical Name : Antirrhinum majus
Family: Plantaginaceae /Veronicaceae
Genus: Antirrhinum
Species: A. majus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Common snapdragon; often – especially in horticulture – simply Snapdragon

Habitat : Antirrhinum majus is native to Europe. Naturalized in Britain. It grows on old walls, rocks and dry places.

Description:
Antirrhinum majus is an herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 0.5–1 m tall, rarely up to 2 m at a medium rate. The leaves are spirally arranged, broadly lanceolate, 1–7 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October.

The flowers are produced on a tall spike, each flower is 3.5-4.5 cm long, zygomorphic, with two ‘lips’ closing the corolla tube; wild plants have pink to purple flowers, often with yellow lips. The fruit is an ovoid capsule 10–14 mm diameter, containing numerous small seeds. The plants are pollinated by bumblebees, and the flowers close over the insects when they enter and deposit pollen on their bodies.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Specimen, Woodland garden. Prefers a light well drained loam and a sunny position. Plants are tolerant of clay and lime soils, and also grow well on old walls. Plants are often grown as an annual since they usually degenerate in their second year. They often self sow when well-sited. There are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow March in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 10 – 21 days at 18°c. Cool nights assist germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in July/August and will produce larger and more floriferous plants the following summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood in September in a cold frame.
Edible Uses: Oil.

An oil that is little inferior to olive oil is said to be obtained from the seeds. The report also says that the plant has been cultivated in Russia for this purpose. The seeds are very small and I wonder about the authenticity of this report.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiphlogistic; Bitter; Resolvent; Stimulant.

The leaves and flowers are antiphlogistic, bitter, resolvent and stimulant[7, 115]. They have been employed in poultices on tumours and ulcers[4]. It is effective in the treatment of all kinds of inflammation and is also used on haemorrhoids[7]. The plant is harvested in the summer when in flower and is dried for later use.
Other Uses:
Dye; Oil.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers, it does not require a mordant. Dark green and gold can also be obtained if a mordant is used.

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/Antirrhinum_majus
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Antirrhinum+majus

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Myricaria elegans

Botanical Name : Myricaria elegans
Family :Tamaricaceae
Reign: Plantae
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order :Caryophyllales
Super-order: Caryophyllanae
Habitat : Myricaria elegans is native to E. Asia – W. Himalayas, Tibet. It grows on stony slopes, especially in Ladakh, 2700 – 4000 metres.
Description:
Myricaria elegans is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in), with reddish-brown older branches, bearing lateral leafy branches and racemes; leaves on branches of current year, elliptic to elliptic lanceolate10-15 mm long with narrowly membranous margin; racemes spike-like, usually lateral, rarely terminal, 10-15 cm long; bracts ovate, 3-5 mm long with broadly membranous margin; pedicel 2-3 mm long; sepals ovate-lanceolate to triangular-ovate, 2 mm long, margin membranous; petals white to pink, obovate to nearly rounded, 5-6 mm long, narrowed at base; capsule nearly 8-10 mm long.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a fertile well-drained soil in full sun with shelter from cold drying winds. Tolerates chalk soils.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. 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. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, November to January in a sandy propagating mix in an open frame.

Medicinal Uses:...Poultice……The leaves are used externally as a poultice on bruises.
Other Uses:...Fuel……The wood is used as a fuel.
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://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myricaria
https://sites.google.com/site/efloraofindia/species/m—z/t/tamaricaceae/myricaria/myricaria-elegans
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myricaria+elegans

Physalis peruviana

Botanical Name : Physalis peruviana
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Physalis
Species: P. peruviana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names; Goldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry,
The plant and its fruit is known as Uchuva (Colombia), Cape gooseberry (South Africa, UK, New Zealand), Inca berry, Aztec berry, Golden berry, Giant ground cherry, African ground cherry, Peruvian groundcherry, Peruvian cherry, Amour en cage (France, French for “love in a cage”), and sometimes simply Physalis

Habitat ; Physalis peruviana is native to S. America – Peru. Naturalized in C. and S. Europe. It grows in the coastal regions and disturbed areas from sea level to 4500 metres.

Description:
Physalis peruviana is a perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft).It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, wind.

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Physalis peruviana is closely related to the tomatillo and to the Chinese lantern, also members of the genus Physalis. As a member of the plant family Solanaceae, it is more distantly related to a large number of edible plants, including tomato, eggplant, potato and other members of the nightshades. Despite its name, it is not closely related to any of the cherry, Ribes gooseberry, Indian gooseberry, or Chinese gooseberry.

The fruit is a smooth berry, resembling a miniature, spherical, yellow tomato. Removed from its bladder-like calyx, it is about the size of a marble, about 1–2 cm in diameter. Like a tomato, it contains numerous small seeds. It is bright yellow to orange in color, and it is sweet when ripe, with a characteristic, mildly tart flavor, making it ideal for snacks, pies, or jams.[2] It is relished in salads and fruit salads, sometimes combined with avocado. Also, because of the fruit’s decorative appearance, it is popular in restaurants as an exotic garnish for desserts.

A prominent feature is the inflated, papery calyx enclosing each berry. The calyx is accrescent until the fruit is fully grown; at first it is of normal size, but after the petals fall it continues to grow until it forms a protective cover around the growing fruit. If the fruit is left inside the intact calyx husks, its shelf life at room temperature is about 30–45 days.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a sheltered position in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. Prefers a rich loam[38] but tolerates poor soils. If the soil is too rich it encourages leaf production at the expense of fruiting. Plants tolerate a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.2. The Cape Gooseberry is an evergreen shrub in its native environment. It is not very cold-hardy in Britain, however, though it can succeed outdoors as a herbaceous perennial in the mildest areas of the country or when grown in favoured positions such as the foot of a sunny wall. Some cultivars will tolerate temperatures down to about -10° when grown in this way. It would be wise to apply a good protective mulch to the roots in late autumn after the top growth has been cut back by frosts. In most areas of Britain, however, it needs to be grown as an annual in much the same way as tomatoes. The plant is usually naturally bushy, but it can be useful to pinch out the growing tip whilst the shoots are less than 30cm tall in order to encourage side shoots. This species is often cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are some named varieties. ‘Edulis’ is the most common cultivar in Britain, it has considerably larger fruits than the species but these do not have quite such a good flavour. Yields of 20 tonnes per hectare are common in S. America, 33 tonnes has been achieved.

Propagation :
Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination. Division in spring. This is best done without digging up the plant. Remove young shoots that are growing out from the side of the clump, making sure that some of the below ground shoot is also removed. It is best if this has some roots on, but the shoot should form new roots fairly quickly if it is potted up and kept for a few weeks in a shady but humid part of the greenhouse
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit……...CLICK & SEE
Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked in pies, cakes, jellies, compotes, jams etc. A delicious bitter-sweet flavour, it has smaller but sweeter fruits than the cultivar ‘Edulis’. The dried fruit can be used as a raisin substitute, though it is not so sweet. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own ‘paper bag’ (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten. The fruit is rich in vitamin A (3000 I.U. of carotene per 100g), vitamin C and some of the B complex (thiamine, niacin and B12). The protein and phosphorus levels are exceptionally high for a fruit. The fruit is a berry about 2cm in diameter. The dried fruit is said to be a substitute for yeast. If picked carefully with the calyx intact, the fruit can be stored for 3 months or more. The fruit is about 2cm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Vermifuge.

The leaf juice has been used in the treatment of worms and bowel complaints. The plant is diuretic. In Colombia, the leaf decoction is taken as a diuretic and antiasthmatic. In South Africa, the heated leaves are applied as poultices on inflammations and the Zulus administer the leaf infusion as an enema to relieve abdominal ailments in children.

Known Hazards : All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous

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=Physalis+peruviana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Sweet Aroma

Researchers in Israel have found a way to genetically enhance the smell of flowers:…….CLICK & SEE

Plant biotechnologist Alexander Vainstein
The beautiful camellias in the vase really brighten up your room. How many times have you wondered why the room doesn’t smell with a fragrance that matches the camellias’ beauty? If a team of Israeli scientists have their way, however, they may soon leave you with no room to rue.

These researchers claim to have discovered a way to genetically boost the smell of flowers and even introduce scents in those that don’t have any.

The scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been able to create transgenic petunias and carnations which smell like roses. They have also swapped smells between carnations and petunias, according to a research paper published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

“We’ve found a way of enhancing the scent of a flower (Petunia hybrida) 10-fold and make it emit a scent during day and night — irrespective of the natural rhythm of scent production,” said Alexander Vainstein, the lead scientist at the University’s Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture. In addition, they also have devised a way to boost the colour of flowers. The novel ‘biotechnolgical strategy’ to ‘activate scent and colour production’ in flowers could eventually be used to create tastier fruits and vegetables that have turned bland because of repeated cross-breeding and excessive use of pesticides.

“Smell plays an important role in our lives — it influences the way we choose fruit and vegetables, perfumes, and even a partner,” said Vainstein in a statement. “Aromas define not just fragrance but the taste of food, too.”

According to Vainstein, in Nature “flower colour and fragrance are the two main means adopted by plants to attract pollinators (such as bees and beetles), thereby ensuring reproductive success.”

The intensity of a flower’s scent largely depends on factors like the time of day, the plant’s age, crossbreeding and so on. “Many flowers have lost their scent owing to repeated breeding over the years. Recent technological developments — including ours — will help create flowers with an increased scent as well as produce novel scent components in the flowers.”

Such an innovation could not only help create new genetic variability for breeding purposes, but also offer the plant an advantage in survival and to evolve. In other words, the technique will make flowers more fragrant and draw more pollinating insects towards the plant, aiding better reproduction and survival. “The knowledge gained from an understanding of mechanisms leading to floral scent production or emission should provide us with a better insight into Nature’s way of ensuring evolutionary success, as well as with advanced tools for the metabolic engineering of fragrance,” said Vainstein.

However, such genetic engineering may not work as expected, believes Tapas Ghose, a botanist at Bose Institute, Calcutta. “It is difficult to predict whether pollinators will love the novel scent. It can attract pests too,” said Ghose. According to him it is too early to smell success with the genetically modified flower unless there is a prolonged field test along with definitive ecological studies.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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