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Fagopyrum esculentum

Botanical Name ; Fagopyrum esculentum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Fagopyrum sagittatum. Fagopyrum vulgare.

Common Name:Buckwheat

Habitat : Fagopyrum esculentum is native to Central Asia.  It occurs  occasional casual in Britain. It grows in waste ground as an escape from cultivation. Its original habitat is obscure.

Description:
Fagopyrum esculentum is an annual plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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It is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. To distinguish it from a related species, Fagopyrum tataricum that is also cultivated as a grain in the Himalayas, and from the less commonly cultivated Fagopyrum acutatum, it is also known as Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat.

Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Because its seeds are eaten and rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer that increased the productivity of other staples.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy  or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a cool moist climate, but it also succeeds in dry and arid regions. Buckwheat is frequently cultivated for its edible seed and leaves, it can produce a seed crop in 100 days from sowing and a crop of leaves in 8 weeks. There are some named varieties. The seed ripens irregularly over a period of several weeks so it is difficult to harvest. Plants have poor frost resistance but they are disease and insect resistant. They inhibit the growth of winter wheat. The flowers have a pleasant sweet honey scent and are extremely attractive to bees and hoverflies.

Propagation:
Seed – sow from the middle of spring to early summer in situ. The seed usually germinates in 5 days. The earlier sowings are for a seed or leaf crop whilst the later sowings are used mainly for leaf crops or green manure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;   Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked like spinach. Not that wonderful raw, they improve somewhat with cooking. The leaves are rich in rutin (see below for more details) and so are a very healthy addition to the diet. Seed – raw or cooked. A nutty flavour, though it has a somewhat gritty texture. The seed can be soaked overnight in warm water then sprouted for a few days and added to salads. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a cereal when it can be made into pancakes, noodles, breads etc or be used as a thickening agent in soups etc. Rich in vitamin B6. An excellent beer can be brewed from the grain.

Medicinal Uses:

Acrid; Astringent; Galactogogue; Vasodilator.

Buckwheat is a bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin. Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels, reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. It is best used in conjunction with vitamin C since this aids absorption. Often combined with lime flowers (Tilia species), it is a specific treatment for haemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested as the plant begins to flower and are dried for later use. They should be stored in the dark because the active ingredients rapidly degrade in the light. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb because it has been known to cause light-sensitive dermatitis. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease). A homeopathic remedy has been made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of eczema and liver disorders.

Buckwheat is used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems. It is best taken as a tea or tablet, accompanied by vitamin C or lemon juice to aid absorption. Buckwheat is used particularly to treat fragile capillaries, but also helps strengthen varicose veins and heal chilblains. Often combined with linden flowers, buckwheat is a specific treatment for hemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. A poultice made from the seeds has been used for restoring the flow of milk in nursing mothers. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease).

Other Uses:
Dye; Green manure; Soil reclamation…………..A very good green manure plant, it can be used to reclaim badly degraded soils and subsoils.  A blue dye is obtained from the stems. A brown dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards : This plant has caused photosensitivity in some people, only the dehusked grain is considered to be safe.

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/Buckwheat
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fagopyrum+esculentum

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Croton texensis

 

Botanical Name : Croton texensis
Family : Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family
Genus : Croton L. – croton
Species: Croton texensis (Klotzsch) Müll. Arg. – Texas croton
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Euphorbiales

Common Names:Skunkweed, doveweed.

Habitat : Native to Texsus. Texas croton grows on calcareous soils, sandy loam soils and loose sands. It can occur in great abundance and is generally associated with soil disturbance, lack of soil cover or overgrazing.

Texas croton grows on calcareous soils, sandy loam soils and loose sands. It can occur in great abundance and is generally associated with soil disturbance, lack of soil cover or overgrazing.

Description;
Croton texensis (Euphorbiaceae) is an easily overlooked gray-green annual.Although an unassuming little plant, the interesting life history of the plant lends itself to experimentation that may help elucidate the evolution of plant mating systems. Croton is foremost a dioecious annual, with distinct male and female plants. However, around 1 in every 200 plants develops as a hermaphrodite, with both male and female reproductive structures. With both mating systems present in the same population, croton can be studied to illustrate the costs and benefits leading to the maintenance of plant mating systems…..,,,……

In the field, male and female (or hermaphroditic) plants can be fairly easily distinguished based on morphology alone. This allows straightforward censusing of the population, allowing us to track the fluctuation of the sex ratio over time.

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Texas croton has an aromatic smell when the leaves are crushed. It varies from 1 foot to 4 feet tall, depending on moisture conditions.

 

The leaves are grayish to yellowish green and may be lighter on top and darker beneath. They areusually entire or without lobes or teeth and are located alternately along the stems. Each leaf is attached to the stem by a small stalk called a petiole.

The flowers are arranged in spikes at the ends of the stems. The fruit of Texas croton is a capsule divided into three segments supporting three individual seeds.

Texas croton produces a seed crop that is very valuable to dove, quail and other seed-eating birds but has low value for livestock grazing.

Medicinal Uses:
Doveweed contains croton oil, a cathartic, and was used as such at Isleta, Acoma, Laguna, and Zuni. Preparations of the plant have been used for rheumatism, paralysis, earache (seeds placed in ear), and headache (inhalation of smoke from burning plant).  The powdered leaves are mixed with honey, beeswax, or Vaseline and applied to swollen joints.  The leaves, steeped in vinegar or wine, are applied to the temples for headaches.  The whole plant is placed under mattresses to repel bedbugs and is burned like incense as a fumigant.  The herb is still used in small doses as a laxative but it contains potentially cancer-causing irritants and internal use is not recommended.

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://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants/brushandweeds/detail.aspx?plantID=65
http://www.unl.edu/dpilson/croton.html
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CRTE4&photoID=crte4_2h.jpg
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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