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Senecio vulgaris

Botanical Name: Senecio vulgaris
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Senecioneae
Genus: Senecio
Species: S. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: (Scotch) Grundy Swallow, Ground Glutton.
(Norfolk) Simson, Sention

Common Names: Vernacular names for Senecio vulgaris in English include old-man-in-the-spring, common groundsel, groundsel, ragwort, grimsel, grinsel, grundsel, simson, birdseed, chickenweed, old-man-of-the-spring, squaw weed, grundy swallow, ground glutton and common butterweed.
Habitat : Senecio vulgaris is considered to be native to Europe, northern Asia, and parts of North Africa. Its further distribution is less clear. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Profile Database considers it to be native to all 50 of the United States of America, Canada, Greenland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the same USDA through the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) considers it to be native only to parts of Afro-Eurasia. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System Organization (ITIS), a partnership between many United States federal government departments and agenciesstates that the species has been introduced to the 50 United States, and the online journal Flora of North America calls it “probably introduced” to areas north of Mexico. Individual research groups claim it is not native to areas they oversee: Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Missouri. The United States Geological Survey reports that Common Groundsel is exotic to all 50 states and all Canadian provinces with the exception of Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Labrador. It is found along roadsides and waste places, it is also a common weed of cultivated land, succeeding on most soils but avoiding shade.

Description:
Senecio vulgaris is an annual plant, the root consisting of numerous white fibres and the round or slightly angular stem, erect, 6 inches to nearly 1 foot in height, often branching at the top, is frequently purple in colour. It is juicy, not woody, and generally smooth, though sometimes bears a little loose, cottony wool. The leaves are oblong, wider and clasping at the base, a dull, deep green colour, much cut into (pinnatifid), with irregular, blunt-toothed or jagged lobes, not unlike the shape of oak leaves. The cylindrical flower-heads, each about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch across, are in close terminal clusters or corymbs, the florets yellow and all tubular; the scales surrounding the head and forming the involucre are narrow and black-tipped, with a few small scales at their base. The flowers are succeeded by downy heads of seeds, each seed being crowned by little tufts of hairs, by means of which they are freely dispersed by the winds. Groundsel is in flower all the year round and scatters an enormous amount of seed in its one season of growth, one plant if allowed to seed producing one million others in one year.

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A variety of Senecio vulgaris, named S. radiata (Koch), with minute rays to the outer florets, is found in the Channel Islands.

Cultivation: A common weed of cultivated land, it does not require cultivation. Groundsel is a good food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species, and is one of only two species that provide food for cinnabar moth caterpillars. One report states that this plant was formerly cultivated as a food crop for livestock[54]! Since the plant is a cumulative toxin this use is most questionable.

Propagation: Seed – it doesn’t need any encouragement from us.

Edible Uses: Leaves – cooked or raw. The young leaves have been used in many areas as a salad, though this is very inadvisable, see the notes on toxicity at the top of the pag.

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Anticonvulsant; Antiscorbutic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Homeopathy; Poultice; Purgative.

Senecio vulgaris has a long history of herbal use and, although not an officinal plant, it is still often used by herbalists. The whole herb is anthelmintic, antiscorbutic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue and purgative. It is often used as a poultice and is said to be useful in treating sickness of the stomach, whilst a weak infusion is used as a simple and easy purgative. The plant can be harvested in May and dried for later use, or the fresh juice can be extracted and used as required. Use with caution. This plant should not be used by pregnant women, see also the notes above on toxicity. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of menstrual disorders and nose bleeds.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous to many mammals, including humans. The toxin affects the liver and has a cumulative affect. Some mammals, such as rabbits, do not seem to be harmed by the plant, and will often seek it out. Various birds also eat the leaves and seeds.

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/Senecio_vulgaris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/grocom41.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Senecio+vulgaris

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Blue fenugreek

Botanical Name: Trigonella caerulea
Family:    Fabaceae
Genus:    Trigonella
Species:T. caerulea
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Fabales

Synonyms: Trigonella melilotus-caerulea, Melilotus caeruleus, Trifolium caeruleum, Grammocarpus caeruleus

Common Names: Blue fenugreek, Sweet Trefoil

Other Names:
English:Blue–white clover, Blue–white trigonella, Sweet trefoil, Curd herb, Blue melilot

French:    Trigonelle bleue, Mélilot bleu, Baumier, Trèfle musque, Trèfle bleu, Lotier odorant, Mélilot d’Allemagne

Georgian: Utskho suneli, Utsxo suneli

German:    Schabziegerklee, Blauer Steinklee, Blauklee, Bisamklee, Brotklee, Hexenkraut, Ziegerkraut, Zigerchrut, Ziegerklee, Käseklee, Blauer Honigklee

Habitat:Blue fenu­greek is found in the Alps, in the moun­tains of East­ern and South East­ern Europe and in the Cau­casus.The plant is naturalized on waste and arable land.

Description:
Blue fenugreek  is an annual herb in the. It is 30-60 cm tall. Its leaves are obovate or lance-shaped, 2-5 cm long, 1-2 cm wide and saw-toothed in upper part. Its flower stalks are compact, globular racemes, longer than the leaves. The sepals are twice as short as the corolla, its teeth are equal to the tube. The corolla is 5.5-6.5 mm long and blue. The pods are erect or slightly curved, compressed, 4-5 mm long with beak 2 mm. The seeds are small and elongated. It blossoms in April-May, the seeds ripen in May-June. It is self-pollinated.
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Cultivation:         
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil in full sun. Cultivated in the Mediterranean for its leaves which are used as a flavouring. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in situ.

Edible Uses:
Young seedlings are eaten with oil and salt. The leaves and young plants are eaten cooked. The dried powdered leaves and flowers are used as a flavouring and colouring for bread etc. They are also used as a condiment in soups and potato dishes. A decoction of the leaves is used as an aromatic tea and as a flavouring for China tea

Blue fenugreek is widely used in Georgian cuisine, where it is known as utskho suneli. It is one of the ingredients of the Georgian spice mix khmeli suneli. Both the seeds, the pods and the leaves are used. The smell and taste are similar to ordinary fenugreek, but milder. In Switzerland it is used for flavouring the traditional schabziger cheese.

Constituents:  According to a some­what older publication, ??keto-acids are respon­sible for the flavour of blue fenu­greek: pyruvic acid, ??keto glutaric acid, ??keto isovalerianic acid and even a-keto isocapronic acid

Medicinal Uses: Not available in the internet
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Trigonella+caerulea
http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/Trig_cae.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trigonella_caerulea