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Orchis laxiflora

 

Botanical Name : Orchis laxiflora
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
Subtribe: Orchidinae
Genus: Anacamptis
Species: A. laxiflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Anacamptis laxiflora, Orchis palustris ssp.

Common Names: Marsh Orchis, Loose-flowered orchid, or Green-winged meadow orchid
Habitat :Orchis laxiflora is native to Southern Europe, including Britain, from Belgium south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.It grows on the wet marshes and wet meadows in the Channel Islands.

Description:
Orchis laxiflora is a BULB growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). There are 3-8 narrow, pointed leaves arranged along the stem which is flushed deep purple. The inflorescence is lax and carries between 9-22 large dark pink flowers. The erect lateral sepals are bent backwards and are often so close that they touch each other. A hood is formed by the dorsal sepal and the two upper petals. The flower lip is sharply folded length-wise and has a pale (almost white) centre which is usually unmarked or occasionally lightly marked with pink.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June. 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. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.
Cultivation:
Requires a deep rich soil. Plants can succeed in drier areas of bog gardens. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. This symbiotic relationship makes them very difficult to cultivate, though they will sometimes appear uninvited in a garden and will then thrive. Transplanting can damage the relationship and plants might also thrive for a few years and then disappear, suggesting that they might be short-lived perennials. Plants can succeed in a lawn in various parts of the country. The lawn should not be mown early in the year before or immediately after flowering. Plant out bulbs whilst the plant is dormant, preferably in the autumn[200]. Bulbs can also be transplanted with a large ball of soil around the roots when they are in leaf, they are impatient of root disturbance. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Cultivated plants are very susceptible to the predation of slugs and snails.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division of the tubers as the flowers fade[230]. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers. Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally.

Edible Uses: ...Root – cooked. It is a source of ‘salep‘, a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a powder. Salep is a starch-like substance with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell[4]. It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiflatulent; Astringent; Cancer; Demulcent; Expectorant; Nutritive.

Used in the treatment of cancer. Salep (see above for more details) is very nutritive, astringent, expectorant and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting 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 provide

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacamptis_laxiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Orchis+laxiflora
http://www.first-nature.com/flowers/orchis-laxiflora.php

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Ceanothus cuneatus

Botanical Name : Ceanothus cuneatus
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ceanothus
Species: C. cuneatus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Buckbrush, Sedgeleaf buckbrush, Monterey ceanothus

Habitat : Ceanothus cuneatus is native to South-western N. America – Oregon to California and Mexico. It grows on the dry slopes below 1800 metres in California.While this shrub has a wide distribution in its range, certain varieties of the species are limited to small areas. The Monterey ceanothus (var. rigida), for example, is found only between the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area and San Luis Obispo County.

Description:
Ceanothus cuneatus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.8 m (6ft) at a fast rate.It is a spreading bush, rounded to sprawling, reaching up to three meters in height. The evergreen leaves are stiff and somewhat tough and may be slightly toothed along the edges. The bush flowers abundantly in short, thick-stalked racemes bearing rounded bunches of tiny flowers, each about half a centimeter wide.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It can fix Nitrogen.

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The flowers are white, sometimes tinted strongly with blue or lavender. The fruit is round capsule with horns. It is about half a centimeter wide and contains three shiny dark seeds which are dispersed when the capsule explodes and propels them some distance. Harvester ants have been known to cache the seeds, which can lie dormant for a long time since fire is required for germination. This plant may be variable in appearance because it hybridizes easily with similar species.
Cultivation:
Prefers a warm sunny position but tolerates light shade. Prefers a light soil with a low lime content. Tolerates some lime, but will not succeed on shallow chalk. Plants dislike root disturbance, they should be planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Dislikes heavy pruning, it is best not to cut out any wood thicker than a pencil. Plants flower on the previous year’s growth, if any pruning is necessary it is best carried out immediately after flowering. Constant pruning to keep a plant small can shorten its life. A fast-growing plant, it flowers well when young, often in its second year from seed. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Some members of 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 a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 12 hours in warm water and then given 1 – 3 months stratification at 1°c. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. One report says that the seed is best given boiling water treatment, or heated in 4 times its volume of sand at 90 – 120°c for 4 – 5 minutes and then soaked in warm water for 12 hours before sowing it. The seed exhibits considerable longevity, when stored for 15 years in an air-tight dry container at 1 – 5°c it has shown little deterioration in viability. The seed is ejected from its capsule with some force when fully ripe, timing the collection of seed can be difficult because unless collected just prior to dehiscence the seed is difficult to extract and rarely germinates satisfactorily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken at a node,  July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, 7 – 12 cm with a heel, October in a cold frame. The roots are quite brittle and it is best to pot up the callused cuttings in spring, just before the roots break. Good percentage.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Seed. No more details are given. The leaves and flowers make an excellent tea when steeped in boiling water for about 5 minutes.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Digestive; Hepatic; Pectoral; Tonic.

Astringent, digestive, pectoral, tonic. A liver tonic.

Other Uses:
Dye; Soap.

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. A red dye is obtained from the root. The stems have been used as rods in basket making. All parts of the plant are rich in saponins – when crushed and mixed with water they produce a good lather which is an effective and gentle soap. This soap is very good at removing dirt, though it does not remove oils very well. This means that when used on the skin it will not remove the natural body oils, but nor will it remove engine oil etc. The flowers are a very good source, when used as a body soap they leave behind a pleasant perfume on the skin. The developing seed cases are also a very good source of saponins.

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/Ceanothus_cuneatus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ceanothus+cuneatus