Tag Archives: Bethlehem

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Botanical Name : Ornithogalum umbellatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Ornithogalum
Species: O. umbellatum

Synonyms: Bath Asparagus. Dove’s Dung. Star of Hungary. White Filde Onyon.

Common Names: Star-of-Bethlehem, grass lily, nap-at-noon, eleven-o’clock lady

Habitat : Ornithogalum umbellatum  is native throughout most of southern and central Europe, north-western Africa and south-western Asia.

Description:
Ornithogalum umbellatum is a perennial bulbous flowering plant with bulbs below ground; the bulb is 15–25 millimetres (0.6–1.0 in) long and 18–32 mm (0.7–1.3 in) in diameter. It has 6–10 leaves, linear with a white line on the upper surface, up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 8 mm (0.3 in) broad, and a scape of 10–30 cm (4–12 in). The flowers group in a corymbose raceme with 6–20 flowers, and are white with a green stripe outside.

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The leaves are long and narrow and darkgreen; the flowers, in bloom during April and May, are a brilliant white internally, but with the petals striped with green outside. They expand only in the sunshine.

Cultivation:
umbellatum requires considerable moisture during winter and spring, but can tolerate summer drought. It can be grown in a woodland garden as semi-shade is preferable. It is hardy to hardiness zone 5, and can become weedy. The plant is toxic.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow the seed thinly and leave the seedlings undisturbed in the pots for their first dormancy, but apply liquid feed at intervals, especially in their second year of growth. Divide the bulbs at the end of their second year of growth, putting 2 – 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for one more year and them plant them out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in early spring. Division of offsets in September/October. The larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on for a year before planting them out when dormant in late summer

Edible Uses:
The bulbs, in common with those of many Liliaceous plants, are edible and nutritious. They were in ancient times eaten, both raw and cooked, as Dioscorides related, and form a palatable and wholesome food when boiled.

Medicinal Uses:
Ornithogalum umbellatum  is used in some herbal remedies. A homeopathic remedy is made from the bulbs. It is useful in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are “After effect of shock, mental or physical”. It is also one of the five ingredients in the “Rescue remedy”.

Known hazards: Skin contact with the bulb can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The bulb contains alkaloids and is poisonous. Another report says that the bulb is poisonous to grazing animals.

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.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/o/ornithogalum-umbellatum=star-of-bethlehem.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithogalum_umbellatum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/starbe89.html

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Alepidea amatymbica

Botanical Name :Alepidea amatymbica
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Saniculoideae
Genus: Alepidea
Species: Alepidea amatymbica
Order: Apiales

Common Name:  larger tinsel flower (Eng.); kalmoes (Afr.); Iqwili (Xhosa); ikhathazo (Zulu)
Vernacular names:Kalmoes (A); ikhathazo (Z); lesooko (S), iqwili (Xh)

Habitat :Alepidea amatymbica  occurs mainly in southern Africa are found as far north as Ethiopia.

Description:
Alepidea amatymbica is an erect robust perennial herb to 2m in height with hollow grooved stems and a rhizomatous rootstock; leaves mostly basal on petioles up to 200mm long, with a few stalkless clasping stem leaves;The margins of the leaves are prominently toothed, each tooth ending in a bristle. The inflorescence is widely branched, with a number of small, star-shaped, white flowers, ± 250 mm in diameter.glossy green on upper surface with prominent venation on lower surface; lamina lanceolate to cordate; 300 – 100 × 20 – 75mm, with dentate margin, each tooth terminating in a long bristle; flowers (Jan-Mar) white, borne in heads 10 – 20mm in diameter, arranged in panicles; each head with 5 unequal involucral bracts, the latter white to pale yellow above, olive green on lower surface.

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Growing Alepidea amatymbica:This plant is best grown from fresh seed sown in trays filled with a very well-drained seedling mix in late summer or early spring. Once sown, the seed should be lightly covered and kept watered until germination takes place. The seedlings are very prone to damping off and so watering should be carefully monitored. Once potted into individual pots, the plants need to be grown until the underground stem develops, after which they can be planted out.

Medicinal Uses:
Alepidea amatymbica  is a medicinal plant traditionally used for the treatment of various diseases including asthma, influenza, and diarrhea in South Africa. The antimicrobial activities of the acetone and methanol extracts of the leaf, stem, rhizome, and root of the species were assessed in an effort to validate the traditional medicinal uses of this herb, especially for the treatment of infectious diseases. Ten bacterial and three fungal species were bioassayed using the agar dilution method. All the extracts demonstrated appreciable activities against three Gram-positive bacteria. These bacteria have been implicated in different respiratory diseases. The inhibitory activity of some of the extracts against pathogens implicated in diarrhea diseases further validated the use of the herb in traditional medicine. Except for acetone leaf extract against Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger, all the extracts showed more than 50% mycotic inhibition with activity ranging from 51.39% on A. niger to 81.11% on Penicillium notatum at ?5?mg mL?1 which was the highest concentration tested in the study. The ability of the herb to inhibit the growth of various bacteria and fungi species is an indication of the broad-spectrum antimicrobial potential of A. amatymbica; this further validates the use of the herb for various diseases by the people of the Eastern Cape..

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.plantzafrica.com/medmonographs/alepideaatym.pdf
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Alepidea_amatymbica
http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13880200902817919
http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/alepidamat.htm

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Sweet Aroma

Researchers in Israel have found a way to genetically enhance the smell of flowers:…….CLICK & SEE

Plant biotechnologist Alexander Vainstein
The beautiful camellias in the vase really brighten up your room. How many times have you wondered why the room doesn’t smell with a fragrance that matches the camellias’ beauty? If a team of Israeli scientists have their way, however, they may soon leave you with no room to rue.

These researchers claim to have discovered a way to genetically boost the smell of flowers and even introduce scents in those that don’t have any.

The scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been able to create transgenic petunias and carnations which smell like roses. They have also swapped smells between carnations and petunias, according to a research paper published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

“We’ve found a way of enhancing the scent of a flower (Petunia hybrida) 10-fold and make it emit a scent during day and night — irrespective of the natural rhythm of scent production,” said Alexander Vainstein, the lead scientist at the University’s Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture. In addition, they also have devised a way to boost the colour of flowers. The novel ‘biotechnolgical strategy’ to ‘activate scent and colour production’ in flowers could eventually be used to create tastier fruits and vegetables that have turned bland because of repeated cross-breeding and excessive use of pesticides.

“Smell plays an important role in our lives — it influences the way we choose fruit and vegetables, perfumes, and even a partner,” said Vainstein in a statement. “Aromas define not just fragrance but the taste of food, too.”

According to Vainstein, in Nature “flower colour and fragrance are the two main means adopted by plants to attract pollinators (such as bees and beetles), thereby ensuring reproductive success.”

The intensity of a flower’s scent largely depends on factors like the time of day, the plant’s age, crossbreeding and so on. “Many flowers have lost their scent owing to repeated breeding over the years. Recent technological developments — including ours — will help create flowers with an increased scent as well as produce novel scent components in the flowers.”

Such an innovation could not only help create new genetic variability for breeding purposes, but also offer the plant an advantage in survival and to evolve. In other words, the technique will make flowers more fragrant and draw more pollinating insects towards the plant, aiding better reproduction and survival. “The knowledge gained from an understanding of mechanisms leading to floral scent production or emission should provide us with a better insight into Nature’s way of ensuring evolutionary success, as well as with advanced tools for the metabolic engineering of fragrance,” said Vainstein.

However, such genetic engineering may not work as expected, believes Tapas Ghose, a botanist at Bose Institute, Calcutta. “It is difficult to predict whether pollinators will love the novel scent. It can attract pests too,” said Ghose. According to him it is too early to smell success with the genetically modified flower unless there is a prolonged field test along with definitive ecological studies.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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