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Zanthoxylum clava-herculis

Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum clava-herculis
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species: Z. clava-herculis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Zanthoxylum carolinianum. Zanthoxylum catesbianum. Zanthoxylum clavatum.

Common Names: Hercules Club. Prickly Ash – Southern, Hercules’ club, Southern Prickly Ash, Pepperwood, or Southern prickly ash

Habitat :Zanthoxylum clava-herculis is native to South-eastern N. America – Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and Arkansas. It is usually found as scattered trees near the coast in light sandy soils, often on bluffs of islands, river banks or dunes. Best growth is from plants in most rich soils with good drainage.
Description:
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis is a deciduous small Shrub or tree, growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate.It is in leaf 1-Mar It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The leaves are alternate, very tardily deciduous or evergreen, pinnately compound, 7-9 narrowly elliptical to lanceolate leaflets, leaflets with round-pointed teeth, waxy-shiny above, light green below, 5-8 inches overall, rachis may bear spines. The flowers are dioecious; in terminal many-branched racemes, individual flowers tiny and yellow-green, with 5 petals, appearing in early spring.
(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)The plant is not self-fertile.Fruits are follicles produced in clusters, individual fruits enclosed in a brown husk that splits open at maturity to reveal a shiny red-brown to black seed.

Twigs are Stout, green changing brown-green, bearing sharp scattered single spines, leaf scars shield-shaped, terminal buds rounded and green to brown. The bark is very unique, gray-brown and smooth, with large spine-tipped corky-pyramidal projections, losing spines with age.

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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:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. The leaves are often persistent until the following spring when the new leaves are produced. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood. Special Features:North American native, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. 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. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
The following report is for Zanthoxylum americanum, it is probably also applicable to this species. Seed – used as a condiment. A pepper substitute. The fruit is rather small, about 4 – 5m in diameter, but is produced in dense clusters which makes harvesting easy. Each fruit contains a single seed.
Medicinal Uses:
Zanthoxylum clava-herculis is quite widely used in herbal medicine, it has the same properties as Z. americanum, but is said to be more active. All parts of the plant, but especially the bark and roots, contain the aromatic bitter oil xanthoxylin. This has a number of applications in medicine. The fruit has a similar medicinal action to the bark. The bark and roots are irritant, odontalgic and antirheumatic. Along with the fruit they are diaphoretic, stimulant and a useful tonic in debilitated conditions of the stomach and digestive organs. They produce arterial excitement and are of use in the treatment of fevers, ague, poor circulation etc. The fruits are considered more active than the bark, they are also antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and antirheumatic. The pulverized root and bark are used to ease the pain of toothache. One report says that it is very efficacious, but the sensation of the acrid bark is fully as unpleasant as the toothache. Chewing the bark induces copious salivation. Rubbing the fruit against the skin, especially on the lips or in the mouth, produces a temporary loss of sensation. A tea or tincture of the bark has been used in the treatment of rheumatism, dyspepsia, dysentery, heart and kidney troubles etc. A tea made from the inner bark has been used to treat itchy skin.

Other Uses: Wood – light, soft, weak and close-grained. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial use

Known Hazards: Absorption of gut iron reduced. sun sensitivity, bruising and bleeding. May interfere with cardiac glycoside therapy. May interfere with blood clotting drugs.
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/Zanthoxylum_clava-herculis
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=649
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+clava-herculis

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Erodium moschatum

Botanical Name: Erodium moschatum
Family: 
Geraniaceae
Genus: 
Erodium
Species:
E. moschatum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: 
Geraniales

Common Names: Musk stork’s-bill and Whitestem filaree

Habitat: Erodium moschatum is native to Mediterranean areas and southwestern Europe, including Britain. It grows on the waste places and rocky ground, mainly near the sea in Britain, mainly near the southern coast.

Description:
Erodium moschatum is an annual/biennial plant growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). The young plant starts with a flat rosette of compound leaves, each leaf up to 15 centimeters long with many oval-shaped highly lobed and toothed leaflets along a central vein which is hairy, white, and stemlike. The plant grows to a maximum of about half a meter in height with plentiful fuzzy green foliage. The small flowers have five sepals behind five purple or lavender petals, each petal just over a centimeter long. The filaree fruit has a small, glandular body with a long green style up to 4 centimeters in length.

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It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny well-drained position and a limy soil or at least one that is not acid. The bruised leaves emit a strong scent of musk.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ as soon as the seed is ripe in the late summer. The seed can also be sown in situ in late spring. It usually germinates readily.
Edible Uses: ..Leaves – raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a potherb.

Medicinal Uses:….The plant is febrifuge. A tincture of the plant is used in the treatment of dysentery.

Other Uses:...Dye….A green dye can be obtained from the whole plant. It does not require a mordant.

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/Erodium_moschatum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Erodium+moschatum

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Botanical Name : Hibiscus sabdariffa
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species:H. sabdariffa
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Roselle

Habitat:Roselle is native from India to Malaysia, where it is commonly cultivated, and must have been carried at an early date to Africa. It has been widely distributed in the Tropics and Subtropics of both hemispheres, and in many areas of the West Indies and Central America has become naturalized.

Description:
Hibiscus sabdariffa is an annual/perennial, erect, bushy, herbaceous subshrub to 8 ft (2.4 m) tall, with smooth or nearly smooth, cylindrical, typically red stems. The leaves are alternate, 3 to 5 in (7.5-12.5 cm) long, green with reddish veins and long or short petioles. Leaves of young seedlings and upper leaves of older plants are simple; lower leaves are deeply 3- to 5- or even 7-lobed; the margins are toothed. Flowers, borne singly in the leaf axils, are up to 5 in (12.5 cm) wide, yellow or buff with a rose or maroon eye, and turn pink as they wither at the end of the day. At this time, the typically red calyx, consisting of 5 large sepals with a collar (epicalyx) of 8 to 12 slim, pointed bracts (or bracteoles) around the base, begins to enlarge, becomes fleshy, crisp but juicy, 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 in (3.2-5.7 cm) long and fully encloses the velvety capsule, 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) long, which is green when immature, 5-valved, with each valve containing 3 to 4 kidney-shaped, light-brown seeds, 1/8 to 3/16 in (3-5 mm) long and minutely downy. The capsule turns brown and splits open when mature and dry. The calyx, stems and leaves are acid and closely resemble the cranberry (Vaccinium spp.) in flavor.

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A minor ornamental in Florida and elsewhere is the red-leaf hibiscus, H. acetosella Welw. (syn. H. eetveldeanus Wildem. & Th.) of tropical Africa, which has red stems to 8 ft (2.4 m) high, 5-lobed, red or bronze leaves, and mauve, or red-striped yellow, flowers with a dark-red eye, succeeded by a hairy seed pod enclosed in a red, ribbed calyx bearing a basal fringe of slender, forked bracts. This plant has been often confused with roselle, though its calyx is not fleshy and only the young leaves are used for culinary purposes–usually cooked with rice or vegetables because of their acid flavor.
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. Roselle requires a permeable soil, a friable sandy loam with humus being preferable; however, it will adapt to a variety of soils. It is not shade tolerant and must be kept weed-free. It will tolerate floods, heavy winds or stagnant water. Roselle is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation of 64 to 429cm, an annual temperature in the range of 12.5 to 27.5°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.0. This species is not hardy in Britain, but it can be grown as a half-hardy annual, flowering in its first year from seed. Plants are sensitive to the length of daylight and do not flower if there are more than 13 hours of light in the day. Roselle is widely cultivated in the Tropical and Sub-tropical zones for its fibre and edible calyx, there are some named varieties. Roselle is best suited to tropical climates with a well-distributed rainfall of 1500 – 2000 mm yearly, from sea-level to about 600 m altitude. It tolerates a warmer and more humid climate than kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus), but is more susceptible to damage from frost and fog. Plants exhibit marked photoperiodism, not flowering at shortening days of 13.5 hours, but flowering at 11 hours. In the United States plants do not flower until short days of late fall or early winter. Since flowering is not necessary for fibre production, long light days for 3 – 4 months is the critical factor. There are two main forms of the plant:- var. sabdariffa has red or pale yellow inflated edible calyces but a poor quality fibre; var. altissima is grown for its fibre but has inedible calyces. Plants have a deep penetrating taproot.
Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If growing them as annuals, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and protect them with a frame or cloche until they are growing away well. If hoping to grow them as perennials, then it is better to grow them on in the greenhouse for their first year and to plant them out in early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter them in a warm greenhouse and plant out after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses:
The fresh calyx (the outer whorl of the flower) is eaten raw in salads, is cooked and used as a flavouring in cakes etc and is also used in making jellies, soups, sauces, pickles, puddings etc. The calyx is rich in citric acid and pectin and so is useful for making jams, jellies etc. It is also used to add a red colour and to flavour to herb teas, and can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. A refreshing and very popular beverage can be made by boiling the calyx, sweetening it with sugar and adding ginger. Tender young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. Used in salads, as a potherb and as a seasoning in curries, they have an acid, rhubarb-like flavour. Seed – roasted and ground into a powder then used in oily soups and sauces. The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute that is said to have aphrodisiac properties. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour. The seed yields 20% oil. (This is probably edible).
Medicinal Uses:
Roselle is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics. It is said to have diuretic effects, to help lower fevers and is antiscorbutic. The leaves are antiscorbutic, emollient, diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative. The leaves are very mucilaginous and are used as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. They are used externally as a poultice on abscesses. The fruits are antiscorbutic. The flowers contain gossypetin, anthocyanin, and the glycoside hibiscin. These may have diuretic and choleretic effects, decreasing the viscosity of the blood, reducing blood pressure and stimulating intestinal peristalsis. The leaves and flowers are used internally as a tonic tea for digestive and kidney functions. Experimentally, an infusion decreases the viscosity of the blood, reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis. The ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic. The succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in the treatment of bilious attacks. The seeds are diuretic, laxative and tonic. They are used in the treatment of debility. The bitter root is aperitif and tonic. The plant is also reported to be antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, purgative and resolvent. It is used as a folk remedy in the treatment of abscesses, bilious conditions, cancer, cough, debility, dyspepsia, dysuria, fever, hangover, heart ailments, hypertension, neurosis, scurvy, and strangury. One report says that the plant has been shown to be of value in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and as an intestinal antiseptic, though it does not say which part of the plant is used. Simulated ingestion of the plant extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol, lessening the intensity of alcohol effects in chickens.

In India, Africa and Mexico, all above-ground parts of the roselle plant are valued in native medicine. Infusions of the leaves or calyces are regarded as diuretic, cholerectic, febrifugal and hypotensive, decreasing the viscosity of the blood and stimulating intestinal peristalsis. Pharmacognosists in Senegal recommend roselle extract for lowering blood pressure. In 1962, Sharaf confirmed the hypotensive activity of the calyces and found them antispasmodic, anthelmintic and antibacterial as well. In 1964, the aqueous extract was found effective against Ascaris gallinarum in poultry. Three years later, Sharaf and co-workers showed that both the aqueous extract and the coloring matter of the calyces are lethal to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In experiments with domestic fowl, roselle extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol and so lessened its effect on the system. In Guatemala, roselle “ade” is a favorite remedy for the aftereffects of drunkenness.

In East Africa, the calyx infusion, called “Sudan tea”, is taken to relieve coughs. Roselle juice, with salt, pepper, asafetida and molasses, is taken as a remedy for biliousness.

The heated leaves are applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation. A lotion made from leaves is used on sores and wounds. The seeds are said to be diuretic and tonic in action and the brownish-yellow seed oil is claimed to heal sores on camels. In India, a decoction of the seeds is given to relieve dysuria, strangury and mild cases of dyspepsia and debility. Brazilians attribute stomachic, emollient and resolutive properties to the bitter roots.

Other Uses:
A strong fibre obtained from the stem (called rosella hemp) is used for various household purposes including making sackcloth, twine and cord. A yellow dye is obtained from the petals. It is used in medicines etc. The seed yields 20% oil.

The seeds are considered excellent feed for chickens. The residue after oil extraction is valued as cattle feed when available in quantity.

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:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+sabdariffa
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/roselle.html#Other%20Uses
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roselle_(plant)

Gentiana saponaria

Botanical Name: Gentiana saponaria
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. saponaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Class : Magnoliopsida
Sub Class:  Asteridae
Common Names: Soapwort gentian or Harvestbells, Soap gentian

Habitat: Gentiana saponaria is native to eastern N. America – Ontario to Minnesota, Connecticut, Florida and Louisiana. It grows on wet soils in woodlands.
Description:
Gentiana saponaria is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). It has paired, lanceolate leaves on unbranched stalks, blue or purple blooms, and a stout taproot. It is rare in its range, usually found in undisturbed sandy soils. It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies…......CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species grows well in the woodland garden, it requires a lime-free soil. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. The compost must be rich in organic matter and should not be allowed to become dry. The seed can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Medicinal Uses:
The root is said to be an antidote to snakebites. This N. American species has medicinal properties practically identical with the European gentians. The following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.
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/Gentiana_saponaria
http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=6650
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+saponaria

Gentiana macrophylla

Botanical Name: Gentiana macrophylla
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. macrophylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms:  G. staminea, G. crassiaulisor, and G. dahurica

Common Names: Large leaf Gentian, Qin Jiao in Chinese.

Habitat:Gentiana macrophylla is native to E. Asia – China, Siberia. It grows on the steppes and glades in light woods. Stream and river banks, roadsides, grassland slopes, wet meadows, forest margins, forests at elevations of 400 – 2400 metres.

Description:
Gentiana macrophylla is a perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species requires a moist well-drained neutral to acid soil in a sheltered position. It prefers full sun but succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring
Edible Uses:….Leaves – cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails.
Chemical constituents:It contains gentianine, gentianidine, gentiopicroside, gentianol.

Medicinal Uses:
Gentiana macrophylla   has been used in Chinese herbalism for over 2,000 years and, like other members of this genus, the roots contain some of the most bitter compounds known and make an excellent tonic for the whole digestive system, working especially on the stomach, liver and gall bladder. The root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antirheumatic, diuretic, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. The root is used internally in the treatment of digestive problems, arthritis, allergic inflammations, low-grade fever in chronic diseases, jaundice and hepatitis. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
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/Gentiana_macrophylla
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+macrophylla