Tag Archives: Biological specimen

Polygonatum multiflorum

Botanical Name : Polygonatum multiflorum
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Polygonatum
Species: P. multiflorum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Convallaria ambigua. Convallaria bracteata. Convallaria broteroi

Common Names: Solomon’s seal, David’s harp, Ladder-to-heaven, Eurasian Solomon’s seal

Habitat: Polygonatum multiflorum is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, and temperate Asia to Japan. It grows in woodland, usually on limestone.

Description:
Polygonatum multiflorum is a rhizomatous perennial plant, growing to 90 cm (35 in) tall by 25 cm (10 in) broad, with arching stems of alternate leaves, and slightly necked, pendent tubular white flowers with green tips, hanging from the undersides of the stems. It is valued in cultivation for its ability to colonise shady areas, and is suitable for a woodland style planting. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile humus rich moisture retentive well-drained soil in cool shade or semi-shade. Succeeds in dry shade if the soil is rich in humus[190]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are intolerant of heat and drought but tolerate most other conditions[200]. Another report suggests that they tolerate drought so long as the soil is rich in humus. A very ornamental plant, growing well on the woodland edge. There are some named forms. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. The young shoots of most members of this genus are very attractive to slugs. Hybridizes with other members of this genus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in early autumn in a shady part of a cold greenhouse. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. Germination can be slow, they may not come true to type and it takes a few years for them to reach a good size. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in March or October. 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: Young shoots – cooked. Boiled and used as an asparagus substitute, they make an excellent vegetable and are widely used in Turkey. Root – cooked. Rich in starch. The root should be macerated for some time in water in order to remove bitter substances. Normally only used in times of famine, the root was powdered and then made into a bread by the North American Indians.

The roots macerated for some time in water yield a substance capable of being used as food and consisting principally of starch. The young shoots form an excellent vegetable when boiled and eaten like Asparagus, and are largely consumed in Turkey. The roots of another species have been made into bread in times of scarcity, but they require boiling or baking before use.

Constituents: The rhizome and herb contain Convallarin, one of the active constituents of Lily-of-the-Valley, also Asparagin, gum, sugar, starch and pectin.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent; Demulcent; Emetic; Poultice; Tonic.

Solomon’s seal has been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine. It is used mainly in the form of a poultice and is believed to prevent excessive bruising and to stimulate tissue repair. The root is astringent, demulcent, emetic and tonic. An infusion is healing and restorative, it is good in the treatment of stomach inflammations, chronic dysentery etc. It is used with other herbs in the treatment of pulmonary problems, including tuberculosis, and women’s complaints. The powdered roots make an excellent poultice for bruises, piles, inflammation etc. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The plant should not be used internally except under professional supervision. A distilled water made from the whole plant has been used as a skin tonic and is an ingredient of expensive cosmetics. The dried powdered roots and flowers have been used as a snuff to promote sneezing and thus clear the bronchial passages.

Solomon’s Seal is given in pulmonary consumption and bleeding of the lungs. It is useful also in female complaints. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses and is also used as an injection. It is a mucilaginous tonic, very healing and restorative, and is good in inflammations of the stomach and bowels, piles, and chronic dysentery.

The flowers and roots used as snuff are celebrated for their power of inducing sneezing and thereby relieving head affections. They also had a wide vogue as aphrodisiacs, for love philtres and potions.

The berries are stated to excite vomiting, and even the leaves, nausea, if chewed.

The properties of these roots have not been very fully investigated. It is stated that a decoction will afford not only relief but ultimate cure in skin troubles caused by the poison vine, or poisonous exalations of other plants.

Other Uses: Can be used as Cosmetic………..Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 30cm apart each way. A distilled water made from the whole plant is used as a cosmetic to improve the complexion.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the fruits are poisonous. It has laxative properties and can increase the laxative effects of aloe, rhamnus, senna & yellow dock. May lead to gastrointestinal irritation with prolonged use. Overdose leads to nausea,

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/Polygonatum_multiflorum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/solsea63.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polygonatum+multiflorum

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Gymnadenia conopsea

Botanical Name: Gymnadenia conopsea
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Gymnadenia
Species: G. conopsea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Orchis conopsea. L. Habenaria conopsea. non Rchb.f.

Common Name : Fragrant Orchid

Habitat: Gymnadenia conopsea is native to Europe, including Britain, to north and west Asia. This species habitat includes mountain meadows and pastures, grassland and fens. They grow on siliceous and calcareous substrate, mildly damp and with low nutritional value, at an altitude of 0–2,400 metres (0–7,874 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Gymnadenia conopsea is a is a herbaceous plant It grows to an avarage height of 20–60 centimetres (7.9–23.6 in), with a maximum of 80 centimetres (31 in). These plants are bulbous geophytes, as they bring their buds in underground tubers or bulbs, organs that annually produce new stems, leaves and flowers. Furthermore these orchids are “terrestrial”, because unlike “epiphyte” species do not live at the expense of other plants of major sizes.

The stem is leafy and robust, with a striated surface. The leaves are long, narrow and lanceolate and vary from 3 to 7. The leaf color is gray-green. Size of leaf: width 1 to 2 cm, length 10 – 25 cm.

These orchids have two ovoidal bulbs, deeply webbed and with many small and short lobes. Size of tubers: 1 to 3.5 cm.

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The inflorescence is 5–25 centimetres (2.0–9.8 in) long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense cylindrical spikes (up to 50 flowers per spike). These inflorescences are scented and genes underlying eugenol (a volatile scent compound) production have been identified in Gymnadenia conopsea, Gymnadenia odoratissima and Gymnadenia densiflora The flowers are petiolated, placed in the axils of long bracts and reach on average 8–14 centimetres (3.1–5.5 in). They have a distinctive three lobed lip and long spurs. Their light scent is similar to cloves. Their colors vary from white and pink to pink-purple, more rarely white. These flowers bloom in the Summer, from June to July. They are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects (entomophily), including moths. The species is almost exclusively pollinated by moths (Lepidoptera). The most common pollinators are the small elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus), hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum), silver Y (Autographa gamma), burnished brass (Diachrysia chrysitis) and large yellow underwing (Noctua pronuba). Fruit set is high with an average of 73%. The seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
Cultivation:
Very easily grown in any good moist soil. Requires a deep rich soil. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. A polymorphic species, it also hybridizes readily with other members of the genus. The flowers have a delicious perfume which is more pronounced at night in order to attract Night Hawk-moths for pollination. The sub-species G. conopsea densiflora has larger, more strongly scented flowers. This species is a colonizer of disturbed ground and bare soils, new colonies can spring up many kilometres from the plants nearest known locality. They have been known to colonize sites such as waste heaps of clinker at power stations. Plants are very impatient of root disturbance.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant. Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers. Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts:…..The Root.

Bulb – cooked. Very nutritious. It is a source of ‘salep’, a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a flour. Salep is a starch-like substance with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell . It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.
Medicinal Uses:

Demulcent; Nutritive.

Salep  is very nutritive and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting seed

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/Gymnadenia_conopsea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gymnadenia+conopsea

Succisa pratensis

Botanical Name : Succisa pratensis
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Succisa
Species: S. pratensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Ofbit. Premorse Scabious,  Scabiosa succisa.

Common Names: Devil’s-bit or Devil’s-bit Scabious

Habitat : Succisa pratensis is distributed throughout the British Isles, western and central Europe, extending eastwards into central Asia. It is absent from eastern Asia and North America. It grows in wet or dry grassland and heath on acid or basic soils.It grows in meadows, pastures, marshes, fens and damp woods on slightly acid or calcareous
Description:
Succisa pratensis is a perennial herb up to 1m tall, growing from a basal rosette of simple or distantly-toothed, lanceolate leaves. Its unlobed leaves distinguish it from Field scabious,. The plant may be distinguished from Greater Knapweed by having its leaves in opposite pairs, not alternate as in knapweed. The bluish to violet (occasionally pink) flowers are borne in tight compound flower heads or capitula. Individual flowers are tetramerous, with a four-lobed epicalyx and calyx and a four-lobed corolla. Male and female flowers are produced on different flower heads (gynodioecious), the female flower heads being smaller. The flowering period is from June until October….CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

The florets composing the head are all very much the same size, the outer ones being scarcely larger than the inner. The stamens of each floret, as in the other species of Scabious are a very conspicuous feature, the anthers being large and borne upon filaments or threads that are almost as long again as the corolla. The root is, when fully grown, nearly the thickness of a finger, and ends in so abrupt a way as almost to suggest that it had been bitten off, a peculiarity that has given it a place in legends. In the first year of the plant’s existence the root is like a diminutive carrot or radish in shape; it then becomes woody and dies away, the upper part excepted; as it decays and falls away, the gnawed or broken look results. The portion left throws out numerous lateral roots, which compensate for the portion that has perished. The plant derives its common name from this peculiarity in the form of the root.

‘The greater part of the root seemeth to be bitten away; old fantastick charmers report that the divel did bite it for envie, because it is an herbe that hath so many good vertues and it is so beneficial to mankinde.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring damp conditions, in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a moist peaty soil. Hardy to about -20°c. Grows well in the summer meadow, it is an excellent bee and butterfly plant and a food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly species.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. Germination is usually rapid, but the seedlings are prone to damp off so make sure they are well ventilated[1]. Prick them out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Plant them straight out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Young shoots is eaten raw. The tender young shoots are sometimes added to spring salads

Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Demulcent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stomachic.

The herb is anthelmintic, demulcent, depurative, slightly diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, mildly expectorant, febrifuge and stomachic. It makes a useful tea for the treatment of coughs, fevers and internal inflammations and is also a popular application externally to eczema and other cutaneous eruptions. A tincture of the plant is a gentle but reliable treatment for bruises, aiding quick re-absorption of the blood pigment. The whole herb is collected in early autumn and dried for later use. Good results have been achieved by using a distilled water from the plant as an eye lotion to treat conjunctivitis

The whole herb being collected in September and dried.

It makes a useful tea for coughs, fevers and internal inflammation. The remedy is generally given in combination with others, the infusion being given in wineglassful doses at frequent intervals. It purifies the blood, taken inwardly, and used as a wash externally is a good remedy for cutaneous eruptions. The juice made into an ointment is effectual for the same purpose. The warm decoction has also been used as a wash to free the head from scurf, sores and dandruff.

Culpepper assigned it many uses, saying that the root boiled in wine and drunk was very powerful against the plague and all pestilential diseases, and fevers and poison and bites of venomous creatures, and that ‘it helpeth also all that are inwardly bruised or outwardly by falls or blows, dissolving the clotted blood,’ the herb or root bruised and outwardly applied, taking away black and blue marks on the skin. He considered ‘the decoction of the herb very effectual as a gargle for swollen throat and tonsils, and that the root powdered and taken in drink expels worms.’ The juice or distilled water of the herb was deemed a good remedy for green wounds or old sores, cleansing the body inwardly and freeing the skin from sores, scurf, pimples, freckles, etc. The dried root used also to be given in powder, its power of promoting sweat making it beneficial in fevers.

The SHEEP’S (or SHEEP’S-BIT) SCABIOUS (Jasione montana) is not a true Scabious, though at first sight its appearance is similar. It may be distinguished from a Scabious by its united anthers, and it differs from a Compound Flower (Compositae, to which the Scabious belongs) in having a two-celled capsule. It is a member of the Campanulaceae, and is the only British species. The whole plant, when bruised, has a strong and disagreeable smell.

Other Uses:  A green dye is obtained from the leaves.

It is a good source of nectar and is the foodplant of Marsh fritillary, whose eggs are laid in groups on the underside of the plant, and Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris tityus. As both plant and invertebrates are rare, their survival relies on careful management of sites containing these species.

The aim is to produce an uneven patchwork of short and long vegetation by the end of the grazing period, between 8 and 25 cm (3.1 and 9.8 in). This is to allow the devil’s bit scabious food plant to grow.This can be achieved through low intensity grazing (also known as extensive grazing) using cattle. Sheep are not so good as they are more efficient at removing wild plants.

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/Succisa_pratensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/scadev31.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Succisa+Pratensis