Tag Archives: Flora and Fauna

Dwarf Red Rattle

Botanical Name :Pedicularis sylvatica
Family:Orobanchaceae
Genus: Pedicularis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species: sylvatica

Synonyms: Red Rattle Grass. Lousewort. Lesser Red Rattle.

Cmmon Names : Dwarf Red Rattle,Lousewort

Habitat : This plant is native to Europe, but has been introcuded in eastern newfoundland. As far as I know, this is the only North American site for this species!
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings.

Description:
There are two Red Rattles, but the commoner and medicinal one is the Dwarf or Lesser Red Rattle, frequent in moist pastures and on swampy heaths. It is quite a small plant, generally nestling rather closely to the ground, the short root-stock sending up many prostrate and spreading, leafy sterns, 3 to 10 inches long, branching a good deal at the base and rarely more than 3 or 4 inches high when in flower. The leaves are very deeply cut into numerous segments. The flowers are in terminal, loose spikes, the calyx smooth on the outside, but woolly inside at the mouth, broadly inflated and marked over with a fine network of veins, and at the top, cut into five unequal, leaf-like lobes. The lower portion of the corolla forms a tube hidden within the calyx, but then emerging projects boldly beyond it; it is labiate in form, like the Eyebright, the upper lip tall and dome-like, but compressed at the sides, the lower lip flatly expanded and cut into three very distinct lobes. Both are of a bright rose colour and the whole flower is very striking and quaint. As the seeds ripen, they may be heard rattling in their capsule within the inflated calyx, hence the popular name Red Rattle.

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Another name for the plant is ‘Lousewort,’ from a belief that sheep eating it became diseased and covered with parasites, but when sheep do suffer in this manner after eating this plant, it is really because the presence of it in a pasture indicates a very bad and unsuitable pasture, since marshy land, the best suited to its growth, is the worst from the health point of view for the sheep. The generic name, Pedicularis (from the Latin pediculus = a louse), refers also to the supposititious vermin-producing qualities of the plant.

Medicinal Uses:
The Red Rattle is accounted profitable to heal fistulas and hollow ulcers and to stay the flux of humours in them as also the abundance of the courses or any other flux of blood, being boiled in port wine and drunk.’

Other Uses:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/ratred06.html
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/93812/

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Adonis autumnalis

Botanical Name : Adonis autumnalis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Adonis
Species: A. annua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Red Chamomile. Pheasant’s Eye. Adonis. Red Morocco. Rose-a-rubie. Red Mathes. Sweet Vernal.

Common Names : Pheasant’s-eye, Adonis’ Flower, autumn adonis, Autumn Pheasant’s-eye, Blooddrops, Red Chamomile, Red Morocco, Rose-a-ruby, Soldiers-in-green,

Habitat :  Adonis autumnalis  is native to North Africa, Western Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe. The name Bird’s Eye is also associated with the bird’s-eye primrose. Pheasant’s eye is also an alternative name for poet’s narcissus.

Description:
Adonis annua grows to an height of 10 inches. The flowers are often scarlet in colour with darker spots at the base.It is a graceful plant, with finely cut leaves and terminal flowers like small scarlet buttercups.
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Medicinal Uses:
Adonis autumnalis contains a glucoside Adonidin and has an action almost exactly like that of digitalin, but is much stronger and is said not to be cumulative. It appears to be about ten times as powerful as digitoxin. It has been prescribed instead of digitalis, and sometimes succeeds where digitalis fails, especially where there is kidney disease. It is, however, less certainly beneficial in valvular disease than digitalis, and should be used only where digitalis fails. It produces vomiting and diarrhoea more readily than digitalis. It is given in the form of an infusion.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/helfal15.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis_autumnalis

Ptelea trifoliata

Botanical Name : Ptelea trifoliata
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Ptelea
Species: P. trifoliata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Swamp Dogwood. Shrubby Trefoil. Wingseed. Hop Tree.

Common Names :Hop Tree, Common hoptree, Pallid hoptree  , Stinking ash, Wafer ash

Habitat : Ptelea trifoliata is  native to Eastern N. America – Quebec and New York to Florida, west to Texas and Kansas .It grows in moist places, rocky slopes, edges of woods, alluvial thickets and gravels. It is found in many different soil types.

Description:
Ptelea trifoliata is a small deciduous tree, or often a shrub of a few spreading stems, 6–8 m (20–26 ft) tall with a broad crown. The plant has thick fleshy roots, flourishes in rich, rather moist soil. In the Mississippi embayment (Mississippi River Valley) it is found most frequently on rocky slopes as part of the undergrowth. Its juices are acrid and bitter and the bark possesses tonic properties.
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The twigs are slender to moderately stout, brown with deep U-shaped leaf scars, and with short, light brown, fuzzy buds. The leaves are alternate, 5–18 cm long, palmately compound with three (rarely five) leaflets, each leaflet 1–10 cm long, sparsely serrated or entire, shiny dark green above, paler below. The western and southwestern forms have smaller leaves (5–11 cm) than the eastern forms (10–18 cm), an adaptation to the drier climates there.

The flowers are small, 1–2 cm across, with 4-5 narrow, greenish white petals, produced in terminal, branched clusters in spring: some find the odor unpleasant but to others trifoliata has a delicious scent. The fruit is a round wafer-like papery samara, 2-2.5 cm across, light brown, maturing in summer. Seed vessel has a thin wing and is held on tree until high winds during early winter

The bark is reddish brown to gray brown, short horizontal lenticels, warty corky ridges, becoming slightly scaly, unpleasant odor and bitter taste. It has several Native American uses as a seasoning and as an herbal medicine for different ailments.

*Bark: Dark reddish brown, smooth. Branchlets dark reddish brown, shining, covered with small excrescences. Bitter and ill-scented.

*Wood: Yellow brown; heavy, hard, close-grained, satiny. Sp. gr., 0.8319; weight of cu. ft., 51.84 lbs.

*Winter buds: Small, depressed, round, pale, covered with silvery hairs.

*Leaves: Alternate, compound, three-parted, dotted with oil glands. Leaflets sessile, ovate or oblong, three to five inches long, by two to three broad, pointed at base, entire or serrate, gradially pointed at apex. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins prominent. They come out of the bud conduplicate, very downy, when full grown are dark green, shining above, paler green beneath. In autumn they turn a rusty yellow. Petioles stout, two and a half to three inches long, base enlarged. Stipules wanting.

*Flowers: May, June. Polygamomonoecious, greenish white. Fertile and sterile flowers produced together in terminal, spreading, compound cymes; the sterile being usually fewer, and falling after the anther cells mature. Pedicels downy.

*Calyx: Four or five-parted, downy, imbricate in the bud.

*Corolla: Petals four or five, white, downy, spreading, hypogynous, imbricate in bud.

*Stamens: Five, alternate with the petals, hypogynous, the psitillate flowers with rudimentary anters; filaments awl-shaped, more or less hairy; anthers ovate or cordate, two-celled, cells opening longitudinally.

*Pistils: Ovary superior, hairy, abortive in the staminate flowers, two to three-celled; style short; stigma two to three-lobed; ovules two in each cell.
*Fruit: Samara, orbicular, surrounded by a broad, many-veined reticulate membranous ring, two-seeded. Ripens in October and hangs in clusters until midwinter.

Cultiv:ation: 
Succeeds in any fertile well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or light part day shade. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant, it is slow-growing and short-lived in the wild. The sub-species P. trifoliata mollis. Torr.&Gray. is the form that is eaten by children. The leaves are aromatic. All parts of the plant emit a disagreeable odour. The flowers are especially pungent and are pollinated by carrion flies. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification at 5°c and should be sown as early as possible in the year. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Very little of the seed produced in Britain is viable. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Fruit. A very bitter flavour, though it is eaten by young children. The fruit is also used as a hop substitute when making beer and it is added to yeast to make it rise more quickly when making bread. The fruit is produced abundantly in Britain, though very little of it is fertile. The fruit is very thin and about 25mm long.
Part Used: Root-bark.

Constituents:The bark contains at least three active constituents, a powerful volatile oil, a salt, acrid resin, and an alkaloid: Berberine. The alkaloid Arginine is also stated to be present in the root.

Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antibacterial; Antiperiodic; Antirheumatic; Miscellany; Stomachic; Tonic.

The root-bark is anthelmintic, antibacterial, antiperiodic, stomachic and tonic. It has been mixed with other medicines in order to give added potency. It has a soothing influence on the mucous membranes and promotes the appetite, being tolerated when other tonics cannot be retained. It is also taken in the treatment of intermittent fevers such as malaria, heartburn, roundworms, pinworms and poor digestion. Externally it is applied to wounds. The roots are harvested in the autumn, the bark peeled off and dried for later use. The roots are a tonic, used in the treatment of asthmatic breathing, fevers, poor appetite etc. The leaves are said to be useful in the treatment of wounds and also in the destruction of intestinal worms.

The bark has tonic, antiperiodic and stomachic properties, and has been employed in dyspepsia and debility, and also in febrile diseases, especially in those requiring a mild, non-irritating bitter tonic, as it has a soothing influence upon the mucous membrane and promotes appetite, being tolerated when other tonics cannot be retained.

It is also useful in chronic rheumatism.

Other Uses:
Numerous cultivars have been developed for ornamental use in parks and gardens.Sometimes used as a hedge plant in N. America. Wood – hard, heavy, close grained. It weighs 51lb per cubic foot but the tree does not grow large enough for commercial exploitation

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ashwa078.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptelea_trifoliata

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ptelea+trifoliata

Juniper haircap moss

Botanical Name : Polytrichium Juniperum
Family: Polytrichaceae
Genus: Polytrichum
Species: P. juniperinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Bryophyta
Class: Polytrichopsida
Subclass: Polytrichidae
Order: Polytrichales

Synonyms: Bear’s Bed. Robin’s Eye. Ground Moss. Golden Maidenhair. Female Fern Herb. Rockbrake Herb.

Common Names :Juniper haircap moss,Robin’s Rye, Ground Moss.

Habitat: Juniper haircap moss grow across a wide gradient of habitats but it is most commonly found on dry, acidic, exposed habitats. It is frequent in areas that previously experienced disturbances such as fire and logging. Other areas they occupy are mineral soil, humus and rocks, stumps, banks, trailsides and dry open woods. Although Juniper haircap moss is not usually found in moist or wet environments, it has been found growing on moist woods and other moist sites such as streambanks.

Description:
Juniper haircap moss  is an evergreen and perennial plany. The stems are reddish with grey-green leaves that have a distinctive red-brown tip. This characteristic allows them to be separated from the bristly haircap, a plant that the juniper haircap moss have a close resemblance to; the difference is that the bristly haircap have a green tip. The leaves of juniper haircap moss are lanceolate and upright spreading when dry, and when moist, wide-spreading. Although their growth form can be varied, they generally grow in thin, interwoven mats, and hardly as closely associated individuals. Juniper haircap moss have a well-developed system of tiny tubes for carrying water from the rhizoids to leaves that is uncharacteristic of mosses, resembling the system that has evolved in vascular plants such as ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms. As a result of this developed system, stems have greater potential for height than in typical mosses.

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Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Whole herb.

The herb is believed to be a powerful diuretic by herbalists. Because it increases urinary secretions, it is useful in the treatment of urinary obstructions and dropsy, an old term for today’s edema, which is defined by medicinenet as the swelling of tissue due to accumulation of excess water. The plant is also considered to be excellent for long term use because it does not cause nausea.

A very valuable remedy in dropsy as a powerful diuretic, and used with hydragogue cathartics of decided advantage.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/moshai51.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytrichum_juniperinum
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Bears-Bed-Polytrichium-Juniperum.html

Adoxa Moschatellina

Botanical Name : Adoxa Moschatellina
Family: Adoxaceae
Genus: Adoxa
Species: A. moschatellina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Dipsacales

Synonyms: Tuberous Moschatel. Musk Ranunculus.

Common Names :Moschatel, five-faced bishop, hollowroot, muskroot, townhall clock, tuberous crowfoot

Habitat :Adoxa Moschatellina grows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, in hedgerows, cool forests, at low altitudes in the far north, to high altitudes in mountains in the south of its range.

Description:
Adoxa Moschatellina is an interesting little herbaceous plant, 4 to 6 inches high; stem four-angled; root-leaves long-stalked, ternate; leaflets triangular, lobed; cauline leaves or bracts two, smaller, with sheathing petioles; flowers arranged as if on five sides of a cube, small and pale green in colour; berry with one-seeded parchment-like chamber. Growing in hedgerows, local, but widely diffused, also in Asia and North America, even into the Arctic regions.

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The flowers, and indeed the whole plant, has a musk-like scent, which it emits towards evening when the dew falls – this scent, however, disappears if the plant is bruised. It flowers in April and May.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoxa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/moscha45.html