Tag Archives: Art of Europe

Taxus cuspidata

Botanical Name: Taxus cuspidata
Family: Taxaceae
Genus: Taxus
Species: T. cuspidata
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names: Japanese yew or Spreading yew

Habitat :Taxus cuspidata is native to Japan, Korea, northeast China and the extreme southeast of Russia. It grows on mountains throughout Japan. Acid soils in cold, humid places at elevations of 500 – 1000 metres in Heilongjiang, E Jilin, Liaoning and Shaanxi provinces, China.
Description:
It is an evergreen tree or large shrub growing at a slow rate to 10–18 m tall, with a trunk up to 60 cm diameter. The leaves are lanceolate, flat, dark green, 1–3 cm long and 2–3 mm broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flattish rows either side of the stem except on erect leading shoots where the spiral arrangement is more obvious.

The seed cones are highly modified, each cone containing a single seed 4–8 mm long partly surrounded by a modified scale which develops into a soft, bright red berry-like structure called an aril, 8–12 mm long and wide and open at the end. The arils are mature 6–9 months after pollination. Individual trees from Sikhote-Alin are known to have been 1,000 years old.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. 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.

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 acid and very alkaline soils.

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

Cultivation:
Thrives in almost any soil, acid or alkaline, as long as it is well-drained[1, 200]. Succeeds in dry soils. Very shade tolerant. The dormant plant is hardy to about -35°c but it requires more summer heat and humidity than T. baccata and is rarely more than a shrub in Britain. Young shoots can be damaged by late spring frosts. The foliage may turn reddish-brown in cold winters[81]. There are several named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Plants produce very little fibrous root and should be planted in their final positions when still small. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if fruit and seed is required. Female plants fruit freely in Britain if they are pollinated. Special Features:Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time. Harvesting the seed ‘green’ (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in pots in a cold frame. The seedlings are very slow-growing and will probably require at least 2 years of pot cultivation before being large enough to plant out. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring. High percentage. Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or made into jam. Very sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 8mm in diameter and containing a single seed. All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous. When eating the fruit you should spit out the large seed found in the fruit’s centre. Should you swallow the whole seed it will just pass straight through you without harm, if the seed has been bitten into, however, it could cause some problems.
Medicinal Uses:
Modern research has shown that yew trees contain the substance ‘taxol’ in their shoots and bark. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers. This remedy is very toxic and, even when used externally, should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes below on toxicity. A compound used to treat diabetes is extracted from the wood, bark, leaves, and roots.

Other Uses :
A brown dye is obtained from the heartwood. Red according to another report. An oil is extracted from the seeds. Wood – hard, strong, elastic, fine grained, takes a beautiful polish. Used for furniture, bows etc. The wood is used in building construction, furniture manufacture and as a carving material.

Landscape Uses:Hedge, Screen, Superior hedge, Specimen. It is widely grown in eastern Asia and eastern North America as an ornamental plant.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit, are highly poisonous. The entire yew bush is toxic enough to kill a horse, except for the fleshy berry surrounding the seed. For dogs, 2/5ths of an oz per 10 pounds of body weight is lethal. It is therefore advisable to keep domestic animals away from the plant.
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/Taxus_cuspidata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Taxus+cuspidata

Advertisements

Lady’s Mantle

Botanical Name: Alchemilla vulgaris
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Potentilleae
Genus: Alchemilla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Lion’s Foot. Bear’s Foot. Nine Hooks. Leontopodium. Stellaria
(French) Pied-de-lion.

The common name:   , Lady’s Mantle (in its German form, Frauenmantle), was first bestowed on it by the sixteenth-century botanist, Jerome Bock, always known by the Latinized version of his name: Tragus. It appears under this name in his famous History of Plants, published in 1532, and Linnaeus adopted it. In the Middle Ages, this plant had been associated, like so many flowers, with the Virgin Mary (hence it is Lady’s Mantle, not Ladies’ Mantle), the lobes of the leaves being supposed to resemble the scalloped edges of a mantle. In mediaeval Latin we also find it called Leontopodium (lion’s foot), probably from its spreading root-leaves, and this has become in modern French, Pied-de-lion. We occasionally find the same idea expressed in two English local names, ‘Lion’s foot’ and ‘Bear’s foot.’ It has also been called ‘Stellaria,’ from the radiating character of its lower leaves, but this belongs more properly to quite another group of plants, with star-like blossoms of pure white.
(German) Frauenmantle.
Parts Used: Herb, root.

Habitat: The Lady’s Mantle and the Parsley Piert, two small, inconspicuous plants, have considerable reputation as herbal remedies. They both belong to the genus Alchemilla of the great order Rosaceae, most of the members of which are natives of the American Andes, only a few being found in Europe, North America and Northern and Western Asia. In Britain, we have only three species, Alchemilla vulgaris, the Common Lady’s Mantle, A. arvensis, the Field Lady’s Mantle or Parsley Piert, and A. alpina, less frequent and only found in mountainous districts

The Common Lady’s Mantle is generally distributed over Britain, but more especially in the colder districts and on high-lying ground, being found up to an altitude of 3,600 feet in the Scotch Highlands. It is not uncommon in moist, hilly pastures and by streams, except in the south-east of England, and is abundant in Yorkshire, especially in the Dales. It is indeed essentially a plant of the north, freely found beyond the Arctic circle in Europe, Asia and also in Greenland and Labrador, and only on high mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, if found in southern latitudes.

Description:
The rootstock is perennialblack, stout and short – and from it rises the slender erect stem. The whole plant is clothed with soft hairs. The lower, radical leaves, large and handsome, 6 to 8 inches in diameter, are borne on slender stalks, 6 to 18 inches long and are somewhat kidneyshaped in general outline, with their margins cut into seven or mostly nine broad, but shallow lobes, finely toothed at the edges, from which it has obtained one of its local names: ‘Nine Hooks.’ The upper leaves are similar and either stalkless, or on quite short footstalks and are all actually notched and toothed. A noticeable feature is the leaflike stipules, also toothed, which embrace the stem.

Click to see the pictures….>….(01).…...(1).....(2)....(3).…...(4)...

The flowers, which are in bloom from June to August, are numerous and small, only about 1/8 inch in diameter, yellow-green in colour, in loose, divided clusters at the end of the freely-branching flower-stems, each on a short stalk, or pedicle. There are no petals, the calyx is four-cleft, with four conspicuous little bracteoles that have the appearance of outer and alternate segments of the calyx. There are four stamens, inserted on the mouth of the calyx, their filaments jointed.

The common English name is accounted for by the leaves resemblance to a cloak worn by English women in medieval times. A preparation of dried leave was used to control diarrhea and to stop bleeding.

Alchemilla has lime green leaves and dainty star shaped flowers, and has been in gardens since before the 16th century and I’m sure in the wild much before then. The entire plant is covered in very fine hairs that cause dew or soft rain to gather in it’s leaves. This liquid was known as “celestial water” and used in alchemy. These tiny jeweled drops inspired poetry and magic over the years.

The herb became known as Our Lady’s Mantle because the scalloped shape of the leaves, were thought to resemble the mantle (cloak) of the Virgin Mary. Later, politics intervened, and the “Our” was taken from the name.

Lady’s Mantle can be planted from seeds or by purchasing plants. The seed will germinate in the garden, but will take up to 2 years to flower. The plants can be divided in the spring or fall and are hardy in Zones 4-8 and possibly Zone 3. It will grow from 6 inches for the alpine variety to about 12-18 inches on the others. Space about 12 inches between plants. Lady’s Mantle needs a fertile soil and some moisture-more than the standard herbs. It can be in full sun in northern climates, but can tolerate some shade and in the warm climates prefers it.

The rootstock is astringent and edible and the leaves are eaten by sheep and cattle.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The Lady’s Mantle has astringent and styptic properties, on account of the tannin it contains. It is ‘of a very drying and binding character’ as the old herbalists expressed it, and was formerly considered one of the best vulneraries or wound herbs.
The root, harvested in spring or fall, and the leaves, harvested as the plant blooms in June, are used medicinally. A decoction of the fresh root is a powerful styptic which stops bleeding of a cut and is also used as an eyewash.. The leaves are also astringent and styptic owing to their tannin content. The tea is used internally for excessive menstrual bleeding, for prolonged blood loss due to menopausal or uterine fibroids and to reduce pains associated with periods as well as diarrhea. Lady’s mantle has a very rapid healing action and gargling with the herb after the loss or removal of teeth is one of the most beneficial activities the patient can indulge in. It is also very effective for mouth ulcers and sores as well as laryngitis. Any skin troubles, such as inflamed wounds or rashes, should also be bathed with a liquid made from this herb. It battles vomiting and flux and eases bruises and ruptures. After giving birth, women should drink a tea of Lady’s mantle, specially if it is mixed with shepherd’s purse or yarrow. It aids with debility of the abdomen and, for women who are likely to miscarry, it is strengthening for the fetus and the uterus. Culpeper claimed women who wanted to conceive should drink a decoction of Lady’s mantle for 20 days before conception. Once she  is pregnant, the woman should sit in a bath made from the decoction. Culpeper also recommended it for “green wounds” or gangrene. One ounce of the dried leaves is added to a pint of water for medicinal purposes. While the plant is generally considered of historical interest in America, it has a long, continuing tradition as a popular European herb medicine. Its astringency, and hence medicinal benefit, is attributed to the tannin content, though the plant has been little studied. In Europe, decoctions or infusions of lady’s mantle are valuable to treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions. Europeans, especially Swedes, find it useful to reduce heavy menstruation and prevent menstrual and even intestinal cramping. It is also recommended when a woman’s body is adjusting hormone levels such as after childbirth and during menopause. Tinctures or gargles of the herb can help soothe irritated mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. A recent study identified the ellagitannins, agrimoniin and pendunculagin, in the herb. These compounds may be partly responsible for the plant’s biological activity. A trace of salicylic acid is also found in the plant.

Try using externally as a vaginal douche or following antibiotic treatment for trichomonas and candida infections when the healthy vaginal flora has been disturbed and requires strengthening. Ladys Mantle tea is also used as an adjunct treatment for ovarian failure or inflammation, irregular menstruation, prolapsed uterus, constitutional miscarriage and menopausal difficulties. Avoid during pregnancy as it is a uterine stimulant.”

Culpepper says of it:
‘Lady’s Mantle is very proper for inflamed wounds and to stay bleeding, vomitings, fluxes of all sorts, bruises by falls and ruptures. It is one of the most singular wound herbs and therefore highly prized and praised, used in all wounds inward and outward, to drink a decoction thereof and wash the wounds therewith, or dip tents therein and put them into the wounds which wonderfully drieth up all humidity of the sores and abateth all inflammations thereof. It quickly healeth green wounds, not suffering any corruption to remain behind and cureth old sores, though fistulous and hollow.’
In modern herbal treatment, it is employed as a cure for excessive menstruation and is taken internally as an infusion 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water) in teacupful doses as required and the same infusion is also employed as an injections.
A strong decoction of the fresh root, by some considered the most valuable part of the plant, has also been recommended as excellent to stop all bleedings, and the root dried and reduced to powder is considered to answer the same purpose and to be good for violent purgings.

In Sweden, a tincture of the leaves has been given in cases of spasmodic or convulsive diseases, and an old authority states that if placed under the pillow at night, the herb will promote quiet sleep.

Fluid extract, dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Horses and sheep like the plant, and it has therefore been suggested as a profitable fodder plant, but the idea has proved unpractical. Grazing animals will not eat the leaves till the moisture in them is dissipated.

Other Species:
Alchemilla alpine, a mountain variety,found on the banks of Scotch rivulets. The leaves are deeply divided into five oblong leaflets and are thickly covered with lustrous silky hairs. A form of this plant in which the leaflets are connate for one-third of their length is known as A. conjuncta.

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://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/ladman05.html
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/ladys.asp

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta