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Rhus typhina

Botanical Name : Rhus typhina
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. typhina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms:Rhus hirta,Rhus viridiflora.

Common Names:Stag’s Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac

Habitat :Rhus typhina is native to eastern North America. It is primarily found in southeastern Canada, the northeastern and midwestern United States and the Appalachian Mountains, but is widely cultivated as an ornamental throughout the temperate world.
Description:
Rhus typhina is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5 m (16 ft) tall by 6 m (20 ft) broad. It has alternate, pinnately compound leaves 25–55 cm (10–22 in) long, each with 9–31 serrate leaflets 6–11 cm long. The leaf petioles and the stems are densely covered in rust-colored hairs. The velvety texture and the forking pattern of the branches, reminiscent of antlers, have led to the common name “stag’s horn sumach“.

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Staghorn sumac is dioecious, and large clumps can form with either male or female plants. The fruit is one of the most identifiable characteristics, forming dense clusters of small red drupes at the terminal end of the branches; the clusters are conic, 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 4–6 cm (2–2 in) broad at the base. The plant flowers from May to July and fruit ripens from June to September. The foliage turns to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow in autumn (fall). The fruit has been known to last through winter and into spring.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Tolerates poor soils. Succeeds in dry soils and is drought resistant once it is established.  A fairly wind hardy plant, though the branches are brittle and can be broken off in very high winds. A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to at least -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A fast growing but short-lived tree, it can sucker freely, forming thickets and becoming quite anti-social when grown in small areas. Single-stem plants are short-lived in cultivation, but if the plants are coppiced regularly and allowed to form thickets, then they will live longer and also be more ornamental with larger leaves. Any coppicing is best carried out in early spring. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. It is susceptible to coral spot fungus but is notably resistant to honey fungus. It transplants easily. This is a very good bee plant, the flowers producing an abundance of pollen and nectar. There is some doubt over the validity of this name and the earlier R. hirta. has been proposed as the correct name. However, it seems likely that R. typhina will be retained because it is so well known. This species is closely related to and hybridizes with R. glabra. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for 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, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – cooked. A very sour flavour, they are used in pies. The fruit is rather small and with very little flesh, but it is produced in quite large clusters and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
Stag’s horn sumach was often employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent qualities. It is little used in modern herbalism. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. The bark is antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue and tonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, piles, general debility, uterine prolapse etc. An infusion is also said to greatly increase the milk flow of a nursing mother – small pieces of the wood were also eaten for this purpose. The inner bark is said to be a valuable remedy for piles. The roots are astringent, blood purifier, diuretic and emetic. An infusion of the roots, combined with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. A poultice of the roots has been used to treat boils. The leaves are astringent. They have been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis. An infusion of the fruits has been used as a tonic to improve the appetite and as a treatment for diarrhoea. The berries are astringent and blood purifier. They were chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. A tea made from the berries has been used to treat sore throats. The flowers are astringent and stomachic. An infusion has been used to treat stomach pains. The sap has been applied externally as a treatment of warts. Some caution is advised here since the sap can cause a rash on many people.

Other Uses:
The leaves are rich in tannin, up to 48% has been obtained in a controlled plantation. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The bark, especially the root bark, and the fruits are also very rich in tannin. A yellow dye can be obtained from the roots. An orange dye can be obtained from the inner bark and central pith of the stem, mixed with bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). A black ink can be made by boiling the leaves and the fruit. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. Pipes are made from the young shoots and are used for drawing the sap of sugar maples (Acer spp). They are also used as flutes. The plant has an extensive root system and is planted as a windbreak screen and to prevent soil erosion. Wood – soft, light, brittle, coarse grained. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial value, though it is sometimes used as a rough construction wood or is employed in turning.

Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation’.

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/Rhus_typhina
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+typhina

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Ribes glandulosum

Botanical Name : Ribes glandulosum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. glandulosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: R. prostratum.

Common Names: Skunk Currant

Habitat :
Ribes glandulosum is native to N. America – Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin. It grows on wet woods and rocky slopes.
Description:
Ribes glandulosum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It has palmately lobed leaves with 5 or 7 deeply cut segments. Flowers are in elongated clusters of 6-15 pink flowers. Fruits are red and egg-shaped, sometimes palatable but sometimes not.
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It is not frost tender. 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 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.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position. Prefers a cool moist position. Hardy to about -20°c. Plants come into growth very early in the year. The branches are decumbent or spreading. Plants can harbour a stage of ‘white pine blister rust’, so they should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The leaves have an unpleasant smell.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors.

Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit – raw or cooked. A blackcurrant, it is juicy and palatable. Another report says that it has the odour of a skunk and the skin has short bristly hairs. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. The stems have been used to make a bitter tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ojibwa people take a compound decoction of the root for back pain and for “female weakness.” The Cree people use a decoction of the stem, either by itself or mixed with wild red raspberry, to prevent clotting after birth. The Algonquin people use the berries as food.
Other Uses : Can be used as a ground cover 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/Ribes_glandulosum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ribes+glandulosum

Mountain-laurel

Botanical Name :Kalmia latifolia
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Kalmia
Species: K. latifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Broad-leafed Laurel. Calico Bush. Spoon Wood. Ledum Floribus Bullates. Cistus Chamaerhodendros.

Common Names : Mountain-laurel, Calico-bush, or Cpoonwood

It is also known as Ivybush, Spoonwood (because native Americans used to make their spoons out of it), Sheep Laurel, Lambkill and Clamoun.

Habitat:Mountain-laurel is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana. Mountain-laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is the namesake of the city of Laurel, Mississippi (founded 1882).

The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It thrives in acidic soil, preferring a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.5 range. The plant often grows in large thickets, covering great areas of forest floor. In North America it can become tree sized on undeveloped mountains of the Carolinas but is a shrub farther north. The species is a frequent component of oak-heath forests.

Description:
A beautiful evergreen shrub from 4 to 20 feet. When in full flower it forms dense thickets, the stems are always crooked, the bark rough. It was called Kalmia by Linnaeus in honour of Peter Kalm, a Swedish professor. The hard wood is used in the manufacture of various useful articles. Leaves ovate, lanceolate, acute on each end, on petioles 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers numerous, delicately tinted a lovely shade of pink; these are very showy, clammy, interminal, viscid, pubescent, simple or compound heads, branches opposite, flowering in June and July. The flowers yield a honey said to be deleterious. The leaves, shoots and berries are dangerous to cattle, and when eaten by Canadian pheasants communicate the poison to those who feed on the birds. The fruit is a dry capsule, seeds minute and numerous.

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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  Leaves.

Constituents: Leaves possess narcotic poisoning properties and contain tannic acid, gum, fatty matter, chlorophyll, a substance resembling mannite, wax extractive, albumen, an acrid principle, Aglucosidearbutin, yellow calcium iron.

Indians are said to use the expressed juice of the leaves or a strong decoction of them to commit suicide. The leaves are the official part; powdered leaves are used as a local remedy in some forms of skin diseases, and are a most efficient agent in syphilis, fevers, jaundice, neuralgia and inflammation, but great care should be exercised in their use. Whisky is the best antidote to poisoning from this plant. An ointment for skin diseases is made by stewing the leaves in pure lard in an earthenware vessel in a hot oven. Taken internally it is a sedative and astringent in active haemorrhages, diarrhoea and flux. It has a splendid effect and will be found useful in overcoming obstinate chronic irritation of the mucous surface. In the lower animals an injection produces great salivation, lachrymation, emesis, convulsions and later paralysis of the extremities and laboured respiration. It is supposed, but not proved, that the poisonous principle of this plant is Andromedotoxin.

In Homeopathy this herb is used in different dialutions for different diseases.

Other Uses:
The wood of the mountain laurel is heavy and strong but brittle, with a close, straight grain. It has never been a viable commercial crop as it does not grow large enough, yet it is suitable for wreaths, furniture, bowls and other household items. It was used in the early 19th century in wooden-works clocks. Burls were used for pipe bowls in place of imported briar burls. It can be used for handrails or guard rails.

Known Hazards:
Mountain laurel is poisonous to several different animals due to grayanotoxin and arbutin, including horses, goats, cattle, deer, monkeys and humans. The green parts of the plant, flowers, twigs, and pollen are all toxic, including food products made from them, such as toxic honey that may produce neurotoxic and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans eating more than a modest amount. Fortunately the honey is sufficiently bitter to discourage most people from eating it, whereas it does not harm bees sufficiently to prevent its use as winter bee fodder. Symptoms of toxicity begin to appear about 6 hours following ingestion. Symptoms include irregular or difficulty breathing, anorexia, repeated swallowing, profuse salivation, watering of the eyes and nose, cardiac distress, incoordination, depression, vomiting, frequent defecation, weakness, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and eventually death. Autopsy will show gastrointestinal irritation and hemorrhage.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/laumou12.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia

Benefits Of Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice contains high levels of organic acids, which have an emulsifying effect upon fat deposits. When it comes to urinary tract infections caused by a strain of E coli bacteria, cranberry juice compounds may help.click & see

Some of the compounds in the juice block the bacteria from sticking to the cells in the body, so that the body can more easily flush the bacteria out.

Cranberry juice can inhibit certain strains of Haemophilus influenzae, a type of bacteria found in the nose and throat of 75% of healthy children and adults.

The bacteria can also cause infections, and may be responsible for up to 40% of bacterially-derived middle ear infections. But take care with this juice, as drinking too much of it can cause you to put on weight, diarrhea, dental caries and indigestion.

Source:  The Times Of India