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Potentilla palustris

Botanical Name: Potentilla palustris
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Comarum
Species: C. palustre
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Comarum palustre

Common Names: Marsh Cinquefoil

Habitat : Potentilla palustris is native to Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to the Pyrenees, temperate Asia and Japan. It grows on marshes, bogs, acid fens and wet heaths.

Description:
Potentilla palustris is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1.5 m (5ft). Its branches spread into leaves with three to seven narrow leaflets which are sharply jagged. The stem is a reddish-brown, low sprawling, vine-like structure. Flowers extend from the branch which vary from red to purple, and are about one inch in diameter, blooming in summer. The stems roots at the base then rises to about 30 cm.

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It is in flower from May to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers wet soil.
Cultivation:
Requires a moist to wet soil, preferably on the acid side. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. A rapidly spreading plant, capable of forming clumps several metres across. It is a plant for the wild wet garden. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring or autumn 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. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.
Edible Uses: Tea..…..The dried leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:...Astringent.
The root is astringent. A decoction has been used in the treatment of dysentery and stomach cramps.
Other Uses:..Dye; Tannin……..A red dye is obtained from the flowers. Tannin is obtained from the root.
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/Comarum_palustre
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Potentilla+palustris

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Ziziphus mauritiana

Botanical Name : Ziziphus mauritiana
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Ziziphus
Species: Z. mauritiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Chinese date Ber, Chinee apple, Jujube, Indian plum, Regi pandu, Indian jujube and masau.
While the better-known, smooth-leaved Chinese jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.) of the family Rhamnaceae, is of ancient culture in northern China and is widely grown in mild-temperate, rather dry areas, of both hemispheres, the Indian jujube, Z. mauritiana Lam. (syn. Z. jujuba L.) is adapted to warm climates. It is often called merely jujube, or Chinese date, which leads to confusion with the hardier species. Other English names are Indian Plum, Indian cherry and Malay jujube. In Jamaica it may be called coolie plum or crabapple; in Barbados, dunk or mangustine; in Trinidad and Tropical Africa, dunks; in Queensland, Chinee apple. In Venezuela it is ponsigne or yuyubo; in Puerto Rico, aprin or yuyubi; in the Dominican Republic, perita haitiana; in the French-speaking West Indies, pomme malcadi, pomme surette, petit pomme, liane croc chien, gingeolier or dindoulier. In the Philippines it is called manzana or manzanita (“apple” or “little apple”); in Malaya, bedara; in Indonesia and Surinam, widara; in Thailand, phutsa or ma-tan; in Cambodia, putrea; in Vietnam, tao or tao nhuc. In India it is most commonly known as ber, orbor.
Bengali Name : Kul

Habitat : The species is believed to have originated in Indo-Malaysian region of South-East Asia. It is now widely naturalised throughout the Old World tropics from Southern Africa through the Middle East to the Indian Subcontinent and China, Indomalaya, and into Australasia and the Pacific Islands. It can form dense stands and become invasive in some areas, including Fiji and Australia and has become a serious environmental weed in Northern Australia.

Description:
Z. mauritiana is a medium-sized spiny, evergreen shrub or small tree that grows vigorously and has a rapidly developing taproot, a necessary adaptation to drought conditions. The species varies widely in height, from a bushy shrub 1.5 to 2 m tall, to a tree 10 to 12 m tall with a trunk diameter of about 30 cm. Z. mauritiana may be erect or wide-spreading, with gracefully drooping thorny branches, zigzag branchlets, thornless or set with short, sharp straight or hooked spines.

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The leaves are alternate, ovate or oblong elliptic with rounded apex, with 3 depressed longitudinal veins at the base. The leaves are about 2.5 to 3.2 cm long and 1.8 to 3.8 cm wide having fine tooth at margin. It is dark-green and glossy on the upper side and pubescent and pale-green to grey-green on the lower side. Depending on the climate, the foliage of the Z. mauritiana may be evergreen or deciduous.
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The flowers are tiny, yellow, 5-petalled and are usually in twos and threes in the leaf axils. Flowers are white or greenish white and the fruits are orange to brown, 2–3 cm long, with edible white pulp surrounding a 2-locular pyrene.

This quick growing tree starts producing fruits within three years. The fruit is a soft, juicy, drupe that is 2.5 cm diameter though with sophisticated cultivation the fruit size may reach up to 6.25 cm long and 4.5 cm wide. The form may be oval, obovate, round or oblong; the skin smooth or rough, glossy, thin but tough. The fruit ripen at different times even on a single tree. Fruits are first green, turning yellow as they ripen. The fully mature fruit is entirely red, soft, juicy with wrinkled skin and has pleasant aroma. The ripe fruit is sweet and sour in taste. Both flesh texture and taste are reminiscent of apples. When under ripe the flesh is white and crispy, acid to subacid to sweet in taste. Fully ripe fruits are less crisp and somewhat mealy; overripe fruits are wrinkled, the flesh buff-coloured, soft, spongy and musky. At first the aroma is apple like and pleasant but it becomes peculiarly musky when overripe. There is a single, hard, oval or oblate, rough central stone which contains 2 elliptic, brown seeds, 1/4 in (6mm) long.

Varieties:
In India, there are 90 or more cultivars differing in the habit of the tree, leaf shape, fruit form, size, color, flavor, keeping quality, and fruiting season. Among the important cultivars, eleven are described in the encyclopaedic Wealth of India: ‘Banarasi (or Banarsi) Pewandi’, ‘Dandan’, ‘Kaithli’ (‘Patham’), ‘Muria Mahrara’, ‘Narikelee’, ‘Nazuk’, ‘Sanauri 1’, ‘Sanauri 5’, ‘Thornless’ and ‘Umran’ (‘Umri’). The skin of most is smooth and greenish-yellow to yellow.

Cultivation:
In India, the tree does best on sandy loam, neutral or slightly alkaline. It also grows well on laterite, medium black soils with good drainage, or sandy, gravelly, alluvial soil of dry river-beds where it is vigorously spontaneous. Even moderately saline soils are tolerated. The tree is remarkable in its ability to tolerate water-logging as well as drought.

Propagation:
Propagation is most commonly from seed, where pretreatment is beneficial. Storage of the seed for 4 months to let it after-ripen improves germination. The hard stone restricts germination and cracking the shell or extraction of seeds hastens germination. Without pretreatment the seeds normally germinate within six weeks whereas extracted seeds only need one week to germinate

Seedlings to be used as rootstock can be raised from seed. Several studies indicate that germination can be improved by soaking seeds in sulfuric acid. Germination time can also be shortened to 7 days by carefully cracking the endocarp. Ber seedlings do not tolerate transplanting, therefore the best alternatives are to sow the seeds directly in the field or to use polythene tubes placed in the nursery bed. Seedlings are ready for budding in 3 to 4 months. In addition, seedlings from the wild cultivars can be converted into improved cultivars by top-working and grafting. Nurseries are used for large scale seedling multiplication and graft production. The seedlings should also be given full light. The seedlings may need as long as 15 months in the nursery before planting in the field.

Scientists in India have standardised propagation techniques for Ber establishment. Budding is the easiest method of vegetative propagation used for improved cultivars. Different types of budding techniques have been utilised with ring-budding and shield-budding being the most successful. Wild varieties of ber are usually used as the root-stock. The most common being Z. rotundifolia in India and Z. spina-christi in Africa.

Edible Uses:
In India, the ripe fruits are mostly consumed raw, but are sometimes stewed. Slightly underripe fruits are candied by a process of pricking, immersing in a salt solution gradually raised from 2 to 8%, draining, immersing in another solution of 8% salt and 0.2% potassium metabisulphite, storing for 1 to 3 months, rinsing and cooking in sugar sirup with citric acid. Residents of Southeast Asia eat the unripe fruits with salt. Ripe fruits crushed in water form a very popular cold drink. Ripe fruits are preserved by sun-drying and a powder is prepared for out-of-season purposes. Acid types are used for pickling or for chutneys. In Africa, the dried and fermented pulp is pressed into cakes resembling gingerbread.

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Young leaves are cooked and eaten in Indonesia. In Venezuela, a jujube liqueur is made and sold as Crema de ponsigue. Seed kernels are eaten in times of famine.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits are applied on cuts and ulcers; are employed in pulmonary ailments and fevers; and, mixed with salt and chili peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness. The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative. The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy. They check diarrhea, and are poulticed on wounds. Mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas.

The leaves are applied as poultices and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever and, together with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds. The bitter, astringent bark decoction is taken to halt diarrhea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis. The bark paste is applied on sores. The root is purgative. A root decoction is given as a febrifuge, taenicide and emmenagogue, and the powdered root is dusted on wounds. Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism. Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic. An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion.

Other Uses:
Wood: The wood is reddish, close-grained, fine-textured, hard, tough, durable, planing and polishing well. It has been used to line wells, to make legs for bedsteads, boat ribs, agricultural implements, house poles, tool handles, yokes, gunstocks, saddle trees, sandals, golf clubs, household utensils, toys and general turnery. It is also valued as firewood; is a good source of charcoal and activated carbon. In tropical Africa, the flexible branches are wrapped as retaining bands around conical thatched roofs of huts, and are twined together to form thorny corral walls to retain livestock.

Leaves: The leaves are readily eaten by camels, cattle and goats and are considered nutritious. Analyses show the following constituents (% dry weight): crude protein, 12.9-16.9; fat, 1.5-2.7; fiber, 13.5-17.1; N-free extract, 55.3-56.7; ash, 10.2-11.7; calcium, 1.42-3.74; phosphorus, 0.17-0.33; magnesium, 0.46-0.83; potassium, 0.47-1.57; sodium, 0.02-0.05; chlorine, 0.14-0.38; Sulphur, 0.13-0.33%. They also contain ceryl alcohol and the alkaloids, protopine and berberine.

The leaves are gathered as food for silkworms.

Dye: In Burma, the fruit is used in dyeing silk. The bark yields a non-fading, cinnamon-colored dye in Kenya.

Nectar: In India and Queensland, the flowers are rated as a minor source of nectar for honeybees. The honey is light and of fair flavor.

Lac: The Indian jujube is one of several trees grown in India as a host for the lac insect, Kerria lacca, which sucks the juice from the leaves and encrusts them with an orange-red resinous substance. Long ago, the lac was used for dyeing, but now the purified resin is the shellac of commerce. Low grades of shellac are made into sealing wax and varnish; higher grades are used for fine lacquer work, lithograph-ink, polishes and other products. The trees are grown around peasant huts and heavily inoculated with broodlac in October and November every year, and the resin is harvested in April and May. The trees must be pruned systematically to provide an adequate number of young shoots for inoculation.

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/Ziziphus_mauritiana
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/indian_jujube.html#Origin%20and%20Distribution

Juniperus brasiliensis

Botanical Name: Juniperus brasiliensis

Alternative Names:
Catuaba Casca, Caramuru, Chuchuhuasha, Golden Trumpet, Piratancara , Pau de Reposta, Tatuaba
Scientific Name: Trichilllia Catigua

Common Names: Catuaba

The name catuaba,( a Guarani word that means “what gives strength to the Indian”) is used for the infusions of the bark of a number of trees native to Brazil. The most widely used barks are derived from the trees Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium. Other catuaba preparations use the bark of trees from the following genera or families : Anemopaegma, Ilex, Micropholis, Phyllanthus, Secondatia, Tetragastris and species from the Myrtaceae.

It is often claimed that catuaba is derived from the tree Erythroxylum catuaba, but this tree has been described only once, in 1904, and it is not known today to what tree this name referred. E. catuaba is therefore not a recognised species (Kletter et al.; 2004).

Local synonyms are Chuchuhuasha, Tatuaba, Pau de Reposta, Piratancara and Caramuru. A commercial liquid preparation, Catuama, contains multiple ingredients, one of these being catuaba from Trichilia catigua.

An infusion of the bark is used in traditional Brazilian medicine as an aphrodisiac and central nervous system stimulant. These claims have not been confirmed in scientific studies. In catuaba is found a group of three alkaloids dubbed catuabine A, B and C.

A study by Manabe et al. (1992) showed that catuaba extracts from Catuaba casca (Erythroxylum catuaba Arr. Cam.) were useful in preventing potentially lethal bacterial infections and HIV infection in mice.

Catuaba extract is also used as a food flavouring in the British “traditional” cola drink manufactured by Fentimans, Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola.

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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/Catuaba
http://www.amazondiscovery.com/products/catuaba-powder

Cantaloupe

Botanical Name: Cucumis Cantalupensis
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Cucumis
Species: C. melo
Subspecies: C. melo subsp. melo
Variety: C. melo var. cantalupo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Common Names: Cantaloupe (also cantelope, cantaloup, muskmelon (India and the United States), Mushmelon, Rockmelon, Sweet melon, Honeydew, Persian melon, or Spanspek (South Africa)) refers to a variety of Cucumis melo

Habitat: The cantaloupe originated in Iran, India and Africa; it was first cultivated in Iran some 5000 years ago and in Greece and Egypt some 4000 years ago.

The European cantaloupe is lightly ribbed (sutured),  with a sweet and flavorful flesh and a gray-green skin that looks quite different from that of the North American cantaloupe.

The North American cantaloupe, common in the United States, Mexico, and in some parts of Canada, is actually a muskmelon, a different variety of Cucumis melo, and has a net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. It is a round melon with firm, orange, moderately sweet flesh and a thin, reticulated, light-brown rind.[6][verification needed] Varieties with redder and yellower flesh exist, but are not common in the U.S. market.

Description:
Cucumis melo cantalupensis is an annual creaper, growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
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 Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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Cultivation: Requires a rich, well-drained moisture retentive soil and a warm, very sunny position. A frost-tender annual plant, the cantaloupe melon is widely cultivated in gardens and commercially, especially in warmer climates than Britain, for its edible fruit. Some varieties may succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers but in general it is best to grow melons under protection in this country. Grows well with corn and sunflowers but dislikes potatoes. The weeds fat hen and sow thistle improve the growth and cropping of melons.

Propagation: Seed – sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw. Said to be the finest-tasting of the melons, cantaloupes have a very watery flesh but with a delicate sweet flavour. They are very refreshing, especially in hot weather. Rich in vitamins B and C. The flesh of the fruit can be dried, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread, biscuits etc. The size of the fruit varies widely between cultivars but is up to 15cm long and 7cm wide, it can weight 1 kilo or more. Seed – raw. Rich in oil with a nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. The seed contains between 12.5 – 39.1% oil. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruits can be used as a cooling light cleanser or moisturiser for the skin. They are also used as a first aid treatment for burns and abrasions. The flowers are expectorant and emetic. The fruit is stomachic. The seed is antitussive, digestive, febrifuge and vermifuge. When used as a vermifuge, the whole seed complete with the seed coat is ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The root is diuretic and emetic.

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/Cantaloupe
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cucumis+melo+cantalupensis

Stutter and Stammer

“Honey should be applied to a baby’s tongue soon after birth. The child then goes on to develop sweet speech with no stammering.”

This was the practice a century ago. Medically, the honey did nothing to prevent stammering. But if it was contaminated with bacteria, it did cause fatal botulinium poisoning with flaccid paralysis in a significant percentage of children.
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Around 10 million people in India stammer. The speech disorder affects 3-5 per cent of children, of which one per cent continues to stammer into adult life. About 80 per cent of the affected children are boys, and first-born males are more likely to be affected. Around 65 per cent of them have a family history of stammering. In most cases, it is the father who stammers or has rapid staccato speech.

Speech is a complex process. A person decides what he or she wants to say, and electro chemical signals are triggered in the brain’s speech area. These signals have to reach the muscle groups in the pharynx, larynx and tongue. If the speed of the thought and the release of the chemicals are not perfectly co-ordinated, stammering occurs. Words or syllables are repeated or prolonged, speech suddenly stops and no sound emerges. The speech becomes blocked in spasms, resulting in repetitive sounds or no sound at all. Even in normal people, emotions can trigger such a condition. In those who stammer, anxiety anticipation of stammering, and embarrassment can trigger tics and spasms of the facial muscles as well.

Children start to stammer before the age of five. It may first become evident when they start school. Many recover spontaneously, while others require treatment. If the stammering continues beyond the age of seven, it is likely to persist into adult life.

Many famous people like Winston Churchill stammered. It didn’t prevent them from scaling great heights. In most cases, however, the sufferer fails to achieve his or her potential. Such people fail in job interviews and viva voce presentations, as stress worsens the stammer. Society often pokes fun at these individuals. In films too comedians are often shown to stammer. As a result, these otherwise intelligent and sensitive people become withdrawn and isolated.

When in contact with a person who stammers:

• Try not to show your embarrassment or look away. Do not reassure them just wait patiently and they will complete what they want to say

• Do not try to complete their sentences for them

• Maintain eye contact

• Many of those who stammer find answering the phone an ordeal. So if the phone rings and there is silence, wait till the person is able to speak.

Stammering is not due to tongue-tie, so surgery does not help. Since it is aggravated by stress, and the affected individuals appear distressed, antiaxiolytic medications like alpraxolam and valium, tranquillisers and antidepressants were initially tried. But they were not very useful. In short, there is no magic pill to cure stammering.

If a child’s stammer lasts more than six months, causes psychological problems in school, or continues beyond the age of five, it needs to be evaluated.

Children cannot voluntarily control stammering. Ridicule, asking him or her to speak slowly, or forcing him or her to repeat the words wont help. The only way parents can help is by providing a relaxed and supportive environment where the child is allowed to speak without feeling self-conscious.

Speech therapists can work with people who stammer, and by using a variety of techniques, can improve the speech. They can also help improve communication skills and create self awareness and confidence. Newer auditory feedback devices and computer assisted speech training can also be tried out. Many people do not have access to speech therapists and are forced to handle their child’s stammering as best they can.

A person may stammer while talking but not while singing. Asking him or her to formulate thoughts in the mind and then speak in a singsong way often helps. Speaking slowly, syllable by syllable instead of complete words, gets rid of the repetitive “th th th” sounds. Asking the person to follow the speech of the therapist or parent also helps. Sometimes using a gesture as the stammer sets in takes the concentration away from the speech and the stammer disappears.

UNIVERSAL TIPS  :-

• Sing the words

• Visualise the words in your head first

• Take a deep breath before speaking

• Speak slowly and break up the words into smaller components

• Speaking loudly or in a whisper makes stammering less obvious

If your child stammers, encourage him or her to do physical activity. This gives confidence which helps the anxiety and depression caused by stammering. Yoga calms the mind and corrects faulty breathing. It also improves speech in those who stammer.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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