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Myrica heterophylla

Botanical Name : Myrica heterophylla
Family: Myricaceae
Order: Fagales
Genus: Myrica
Species: Myrica heterophylla

Synonyms: Myrica caroliniensis

Common Name : Bayberry or Swamp bayberry

Habitat : Myrica heterophylla is native to Southeastern N. America – New Jersey to Florida, west to Louisiana. It grows on bogs, stream, pond and lake margins, moist regions of mixed deciduous forests, pine flatlands near pitcher-plant bogs, swamps from sea level to 250 metres.

Description:
Myrica heterophylla is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). It is often forming rhizomatous colonies of much-branched specimens, to 3 m. Branchlets appearing black, glabrous to densely pilose; glands sparse or dense, yellow-orange. Leaf blade aromatic when crushed, oblanceolate to elliptic, occasionally obovate, 3-12.4(-14.2) × 1-5.2 cm, sometimes membranous, more often leathery, base cuneate to attenuate, margins entire or serrate distal to middle, apex rounded to acute, apiculate; surfaces abaxially pilose (especially on major veins) or glabrate, densely glandular, adaxially pilose or glabrous, lacking glands or very sparsely glandular; glands yellow. Inflorescences: staminate 0.5-1.8 cm; pistillate 0.3-1.1 cm. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on different plants. Staminate flowers: bract of flower shorter than staminal column, margins opaque, ciliate, especially at apex and laterally, abaxially glabrous or with few glands; stamens 3-5(-7). Pistillate flowers: bracteoles persistent in fruit, 4, not accrescent or adnate to fruit wall, abaxially pilose, usually along midrib, lacking glands; ovary glabrous or sparsely glandular, not pubescent. Fruits globose-ellipsoid, 3-4.5 mm; fruit wall glabrous or sparsely glandular, obscured by enlarged protuberances (± glandular) and thin to thick coat of gray to white wax.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September.

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The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
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 dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil according to one report whilst another says that it thrives in an acid soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. Succeeds in dry and maritime climates. Closely related to M. pensylvanica and M. cerifera. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame then plant out in late spring or early summer. Fair to good percentage. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.
The following notes are for the closely related M. cerifera. It is assumed that they also apply to this species. Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is about 2 – 4mm in diameter with a single large seed. There is very little edible flesh and this is of poor quality. Leaves and berries are used as a food flavouring. An attractive and agreeable substitute for bay leaves, used in flavouring soups, stews etc. The dried leaves are brewed into a robust tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The following notes are for the closely related M. cerifera. It is assumed that they also apply to this species. The root bark is astringent, emetic (in large doses), sternutatory, stimulant and tonic. It is harvested in the autumn, thoroughly dried then powdered and kept in a dark place in an airtight container. It is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, jaundice, fevers, colds, influenza, catarrh, excessive menstruation, vaginal discharge etc. Externally, it is applied to indolent ulcers, sore throats, sores, itching skin conditions, dandruff etc. The wax is astringent and slightly narcotic. It is regarded as a sure cure for dysentery and is also used to treat internal ulcers. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and externally as a wash for itchy skin.
Other Uses:
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Wax; Wood.

The following notes are for the closely related M. cerifera. It is assumed that they also apply to this species. A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles, sealing wax etc. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather. They are slightly aromatic, with a pleasant balsamic odour, and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles. The wax is also used in making soaps. About 1 kilo of wax can be obtained from 4 kilos of berries. A blue dye is obtained from the fruit. The plant can be grown as an informal hedge, succeeding in windy sites. Wood – light, soft, brittle, fine-grained. The wood weighs 35lb per cubic foot. It is of no commercial value

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report for some members of this genus that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.

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://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Myrica_heterophylla
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233500792
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+heterophylla

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Iris decora

Botanical Name: Iris decora
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Synonyms: Evansia nepalensis (Klatt), Iris nepalensis (D.Don), Iris nepalensis var. khasiana (Baker), Iris sulcata (Wall.), Iris yunnanensis (H.Lév.), Junopsis decora (Wall.) Wern.Schulze, Neubeckia decora (Wall.) Klatt and Neubeckia sulcata (Klatt).
Habitat :Iris decora is native to E. AsiaHimalayasPakistan to S.W. China. It grows in the drier inner valleys, 1800 – 4000 metres. Grassy hillsides on plateaux, open stony pastures and cliffs at elevations of 2800 – 3100 metres.
Description:
Iris decora is a perennial plant. It has a rhizome covered in bristly fibres. It is similar in form to the roots of Hemerocallis. It reaches a height of 10–30 cm tall. It has 3–7 flowers per stem, in the summer, June -July, which are approximately 4–5 cm in diameter. They come in a range of colours between pale bluish lavender and deep reddish purple. The perianth tube measures 3.5–5 cm. The falls are up to 3.5 cm long. The blade has an orange-yellow central ridge that becomes white or purple at the apex. It has a whitish claw with purple veins.
The leaves reach up to 30 cm at flowering time and then grow up to 45–60 cm tall later, growing to longer than the flowering stem. The strongly ribbed leaves can be 2–8 mm wide.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained rich soil in a sunny position. Plants are best lifted in October, stores in dry sand in a cool frost-free place over the winter and planted out in March. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. There has been some confusion over the name of this species. Iris decora Wall. should apply to a beardless species with the synonym of Iris nepalensis D.Don., whilst Iris nepalensis Wall. applies to a bearded species with the synonym Iris deflexa Knowle.&Wetc.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. It does not require cold stratification. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering in late summer. 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 spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is aperient, deobstruent, diuretic and purgative. It is useful in the treatment of bilious obstructions and is also applied externally to small sores and pimples.

Known Hazards: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.
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/Iris_subg._Nepalensis
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Iris+decora

Lactuca indica

Botanical Name: Lactuca indica
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: L. amurensis. L. laciniata. L. saligna.

Common Names: Indian lettuce, milkweed, wild lettuce (En); lechuga de la India (Sp)

Habitat:
Lactuca indica is native to E. Asia. It grows on grassy places in lowland all over Japan.
Description:    Lactuca indica is an erect, perennial /annual herbaceous plant, 0.5-1m. high; rarely branched. Leaves alternate, sessile; the lower deeply lobed; the upper occasionally entire; margins toothed. Inflorescence in terminal head; flowers yellow. Achene small, tipped with a tuft of hairs. All parts of the plant contain a milky juice. It is in flower during June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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.

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The plant is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves in parts of Asia, especially Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.

Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. Added to salads or soups. The leaves contain about 1.5% protein, 0.4% fat, 2.2% carbohydrate, 0.7% ash. Stem – cooked. It contains 0.6% protein, 0.1% fat, 2.1% carbohydrate, 0.5% ash. Leaves and tender stems with slight bitterness are used fresh as salad, boiled, steamed or stir-fried, or in soup.

Medicinal Uses:
Beta-carotene: high; riboflavin: medium; ascorbic acid: medium; calcium: medium; iron: high; protein: 2.2%. Leaves contain also six antioxidative phenolic compounds.

The entire plant, and especially the leaves, is employed as a depurative and demulcent The leaves are used in treating mastitis, galactophoritis, furunculosis and abscesses. They are also effective for gastralgia and dyspepsia. The usual dose is 8 to 20g per day in the form of a decoction, extract or syrup. A mixture with some other plants is used externally in the form of a poultice of pounded fresh leaves.

The plant is digestive and tonic. Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. We do not know how hardy this plant will be in Britain, though it can be grown here as an annual. It takes about 60 days from seed sowing until the first leaves are harvested. This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible leaves in Asia. It originated in China but is now cultivated in many parts of S.E. Asia.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Make sure each piece of root has a leaf bud. Root cuttings in late winter.

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.
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/Lactuca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+indica

Indian lettuce (Lactuca indica)


http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Lactuca+indica
http://www.hxcoexp.com/san-pham/173-lactuca-indica-l.html