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Rumex acetus

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Botanical Name: Rumex acetus
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. acetosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Acetosa hastulata Raf. Acetosa hastifolia Schur. Acetosa angustata Raf.

Common Names: Sorrel , Common sorrel , Garden sorrel

Other Names: Spinach dock and Narrow-leaved dock

Habitat : Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.It grows in meadows, by streams and in open places in woodland. Often found as a weed of acid soils

Description:
Sorrel is a slender herbaceous perennial plant about 60 centimetres (24 in) high by 0.3 m (1ft in), with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, arrow-shaped (sagittate) leaves. The leaves, when consumed raw, taste like a sour green apple candy. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) in length with long petioles and a membranous ocrea formed of fused, sheathing stipules. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in early summer, becoming purplish. The species is dioecious, with stamens and pistils on different plants.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. 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. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the blood-vein moth.
Cultivation:
A very easily grown and tolerant plant, it succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position. Shade tolerant. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect, surviving even in dense weed growth. Sorrel has been used since ancient times as a food and medicinal plant. It is still occasionally cultivated for its edible leaves, there are some named varieties. The plant stops producing leaves when it flowers in the summer, regrowing after the seed has set. Plants also usually die down in the winter. Cutting down the flowering stem will encourage the growth of fresh young leaves. ‘Blonde de Lyon’ has large, only slightly acid leaves and is much less likely to flower than the type. This means that the leaves of this cultivar are often available all through the summer and are often also produced throughout the winter, especially if the winter is mild. A food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly, it is a good plant to grow in the spring meadow. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. Leaves can be harvested within 8 weeks from sowing. Division in spring. Division is very simple at almost any time of the year, though the plants establish more rapidly in the spring. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, ensuring that there is at least one growth bud on each section of root. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.

Leaves – raw or cooked. They make a thirst-quenching on their own, or can be added to salads, used as a potherb or pureed and used in soups. A delicious lemon-like flavour, liked by most people who try them, they can be rather overpowering in quantity and are more generally used as a flavouring in mixed salads. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The leaves can be available all through the winter, especially in mild weather or if a little protection is given to the plants. The leaves should be used sparingly in the diet, see the notes on toxicity above. Flowers – cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish. Root – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles. Seed – raw or cooked. Ground into a powder and mixed with other flours to make bread. The seed is easy to harvest, but is rather small and fiddly to use. The juice of the leaves can be used as a curdling agent for milks.

Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antiscorbutic; Astringent; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Laxative; Refrigerant; Stomachic.

The fresh or dried leaves are astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerant. They are used to make a cooling drink in the treatment of fevers and are especially useful in the treatment of scurvy. The leaf juice, mixed with fumitory, has been used as a cure for itchy skin and ringworm. An infusion of the root is astringent, diuretic and haemostatic. It has been used in the treatment of jaundice, gravel and kidney stones. Both the roots and the seeds have been used to stem haemorrhages. A paste of the root is applied to set dislocated bones. The plant is depurative and stomachic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of spasms and skin ailments.

Other Uses:
Cleanser; Dye; Polish.

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant. A grey-blue dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. An infusion of the stems is used as a polish for bamboo and wicker furniture and also for silver. The juice of the plant removes stains from linen and also ink stains (but not ball-point ink) from white material. It is sometimes sold as ‘essential salt of lemon

Known Hazards : Rumex acetus plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

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/Sorrel
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+acetosa

 

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Fragaria virginiana

Botanical Name : Fragaria virginiana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Fragaria glauca(S. Wats.)Rydb.

Common Names: Virginia strawberry, Scarlet Strawberry, Wild strawberry, or Common strawberry

Habitats : Fragaria virginiana is native to Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to South Dakota, south to Florida and Oklahoma. It grows in fields, open slopes and woodland edges.

Description:
Fragaria virginiana is a herbaceous perennial plant is 4-7″ tall, consisting of several basal leaves and one or more inflorescences. The basal leaves are trifoliate. The leaflets are up to 2½” long and 1½” across; they are obovate or oval in shape and coarsely toothed along their middle to outer margins. The tips of leaflets are rounded, while their bottoms are either wedge-shaped or rounded. The upper leaflet surface is medium to dark green and glabrous. The lower leaflet surface is variably hairy; fine hairs are most likely to occur along the bases of central veins, but they may occur elsewhere along the lower surface. Leaflet venation is pinnate and conspicuous. The petiolules (basal stalklets) of leaflets are light green, hairy, and very short (about 1 mm. in length). The petioles of basal leaves are up to 6″ long; they are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. One or more umbel-like clusters of flowers are produced from long peduncles up to 5″ long. These peduncles are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. Each umbel-like cluster has about 4-6 flowers on pedicels up to ¾” long. These pedicels are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. At the base of these pedicels, there are several bracts up to ¼” long that are light green to dark red, lanceolate in shape, and hairy.

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Individual flowers are about ½–¾” across when they are fully open; they can be pistillate, staminate, or perfect (staminate flowers are the least common). Each flower has 5 white petals, 5 green sepals, and 5 green sepal-like bracts. The petals are oval to orbicular in shape; they are longer than either the sepals or sepal-like bracts. The sepals are lanceolate in shape and hairy, while the sepal-like bracts are linear-lanceolate and hairy; both sepals and sepal-like bracts are joined together at the base of the flower. Each pistillate flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center that is greenish yellow or pale yellow. Each staminate flower has 20-35 stamens with pale yellow filaments and yellow anthers. Each perfect flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center and a ring of surrounding stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by fruits when growing conditions are favorable, otherwise they abort. These fruits are up to ½” long and across; they are globoid or globoid-ovoid in shape, becoming bright red at maturity. Small seeds are scattered across the surface of these fruits in sunken pits; the persistent sepals and sepal-like bracts are appressed to the upper surface of these fruits. The fleshy interior of these fruits has a sweet-tart flavor; they are edible. The root system consists of a shallow crown with fibrous roots. After the production of flowers and fruits, hairy above-ground stolons up to 2′ long may develop from the crown. When the tips of these stolons touch the ground, they often form plantlets that take root. In this manner, clonal colonies of plants often develop.
Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced when plants grow in such a position. The plants appreciate a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. Along with F, chiloensis, this species is probably a parent of the cultivated strawberries. The cultivar ‘Little Scarlet‘ is a form of this species and this is still occasionally cultivated for its fruit in Britain.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit, leaves…..Fruit – raw, cooked or made into preserves. Sweet and succulent. Small but delicious. The fruit is up to 20mm in diameter. The dried leaves are a very pleasant tea substitute. Rich in vitamin C.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiseptic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Odontalgic; Poultice.

The whole plant is antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, galactogogue and odontalgic. It has been used to regulate the menstrual cycle. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a nerve tonic and is slightly astringent. A poultice made from the dried powdered leaves mixed with oil has been used to treat open sores. A tea made from the roots is diuretic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, irregular menses, gonorrhoea, stomach and lung ailments.

Other Uses : The fruits are used as a tooth cleaner. They are held in the mouth, or rubbed over the teeth, to remove tartar.

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/Virginia_strawberry
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+virginiana
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/wld_strawberryx.htm

Paris quadrifolia

Botanical Name: Paris quadrifolia
Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Paris
Species: P. quadrifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Synonyms: Herba Paris. Solanum quadrifolium. Aconitum pardalianches. True Love. One Berry.
(French) Parisette.
(German) Einbeere.

Common Names: Herb Paris, True Lover’s Knot

Habitat: Paris quadrifolia occurs in Europe, Russian Asia, and fairly abundant in Britain, but confined to certain places. It grows in moist places and damp shady woods.

Description:
Paris quadrifolia is a herbaceous perennial plant. It has a creeping fleshy rootstock, a simple smooth upright stem about 1 foot high, crowned near its top with four pointed leaves, from the centre of which rises a solitary greeny-white flower, blooming May and June with a foetid odour; the petals and sepals remain till the purply-blackberry (fruit) is ripe, which eventually splits to discharge its seeds.The flower is borne above a single whorl of four or more stem leaves. It prefers calcareous soils and lives in damp and shady places, especially old established woods and streamsides……..CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Each plant only produces one blueberry-like fruit, which is poisonous, as are other tissues of the plant. Paris quadrifolia poisonings are rare, because the plant’s solitary berry and its repulsive taste make it difficult to mistake it for a blueberry.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a humus-rich soil in woodland conditions. Prefers a light sandy loam. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The presence of this plant in a truly wild state in Britain is an indicator of ancient woodland. Plants are very slow to flower from seed. The flowers are very long-lived. The flowers emit a strong unpleasant smell rather like decaying meat.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in late summer in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as soon as it is received. The seed is very slow to germinate. It produces a primary root about 7 months after sowing, this pulls the seed deeper into the soil. Leaves are produced about 4 months later. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and grow the young plants on undisturbed in a shady part of the greenhouse for their first two years of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. At the end of the second year’s growth prick out the young plants into individual pots and grow them on for another year or two in a shady part of the greenhouse before planting them out in the spring. Division.
Part Used: The entire plant, just coming into bloom.
Constituents: A glucoside called Paradin.

Medicinal Uses:
Antianxiety; Antidote; Antirheumatic; Aphrodisiac; Detergent; Homeopathy; Narcotic; Ophthalmic.

The entire plant, harvested just as it is coming into flower, is antirheumatic and detergent. In large doses the herb is narcotic, producing nausea, vomiting, vertigo etc. It should be used with great caution, overdoses have proved fatal to children. In small doses it is of benefit in the treatment of bronchitis, spasmodic coughs, rheumatism, colic etc. The plant is also used in the treatment of headaches and neuralgia. The seeds and the berries have something of the nature of opium, they have been used as an aphrodisiac. A tincture of the fresh plant is useful as an antidote to poisoning by mercurial sublimate and arsenic. A cooling ointment made from the seeds and juice of the leaves is applied externally to wounds, tumours and inflammations. The juice of the berries is used to treat eye inflammations. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant.

It has been used as an aphrodisiac – the seeds and berries have something of the nature of opium. The leaves in Russia are prescribed for madness. The leaves and berries are more actively poisonous than the root.

Herb Paris is useful as an antidote against mercurial sublimate and arsenic. A tincture is prepared from the fresh plant.
Other Uses:..Dye…..A red dye is obtained from the berries. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses. This refers to the fruit.

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/Paris_quadrifolia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/paris-08.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Paris+quadrifolia