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Sesbania grandiflora

Botanical Name : Sesbania grandiflora
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Sesbania
Species: S. grandiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Aeschynomene grandiflora, Agati grandiflora

Common Names: Vegetable hummingbird, Agati or Hummingbird tree

Bengali Name: Bok ful

Habitat :Sesbania grandiflora is native to Malaysia to North Australia, and is cultivated in many parts of India and Sri Lanka. It grows where there is good soil and a hot, humid climate.

Description:
Sesbania grandiflora is a fast-growing tree. The leaves are regular and rounded and the flowers white or red. The fruits look like flat, long, thin green beans. The tree thrives under full exposure to sunshine and is extremely frost sensitive.

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It is a small soft wooded tree up to 3–8 m tall. Leaves are 15–30 cm long, with leaflets in 10–20 pairs or more and an odd one. Flowers are oblong, 1.5–10 cm long in lax, 2–4 flower racemes. The calyx is campanulate and shallowly 2-lipped. Pods are slender, falcate or straight, and 30–45 cm long, with a thick suture and approximately 30 seeds 8 mm in size.

Cultivation:
Propagated readily by seeding or cuttings, requiring little maintenance. It has been aerially seeded, apparently with success. For reforestation, Mendoza (1980) recommends spacing cuttings ca 1 m long at 4 x 4 m. The saplings could serve as a nurse crop for mahogany, Banquet pine, etc. Cuttings should be set out at the beginning of the rainy season. When grown as shade plant for coconut seedlings, agati is sown in India in June and July, putting 3–4 seed per hole in a narrow channel, 30 cm x 30 cm, ca 1 m from the coconut seedlings.

Harvesting:
When cultivated for fodder, agati is usually cut when ca 1 m tall. Indonesian foresters, growing the species for fuelwood, harvest on a 5-year rotation. One hectare can yield three m3 of stacked fuelwood in a 2-year rotation. After the plant is harvested, shoots resprout with such vigor that they seem irrepressible. The tree’s outstanding quality is its rapid growth rate, particularly during its first 3 or 4 years (NAS, 1980a).

Edible Uses:
The flowers of Sesbania grandiflora are eaten as a vegetable in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Thailand, Java in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Ilocos Region of the Philippines.

In the Thai language, the flowers are called Dok khae and are used in the cuisine both cooked in curries, such as kaeng som and kaeng khae, and raw in nam phrik.

The young pods are also eaten. In Sri Lanka, agati leaves, known as Katuru murunga in Sinhala language, are sometimes added to sudhu hodhi or white curry, a widely eaten, thin coconut gravy, and are believed locally. In India this plant is known as agati (Tamil), agastya (Kannada), agise (Telugu), and both the leaves and the flowers have culinary uses.

Chemical Constituents:
Per 100 g, the leaf is reported to contain 73.1 g H2O, 8.4 g protein, 1.4 g fat, 11.8 g NFE, 2.2 g fiber, 3.1 g ash, 1,130 mg Ca, 80 mg P, 3.9 mg Fe, 9,000 IU vit. A, 0.21 mg thiamine, 0.09 mg riboflavin, 1.2 mg niacin, and 169 mg ascorbic acid. Leaves contain (ZMB) per 100 g, 321 calories, 36.3 g protein, 7.5 g fat, 47.1 g carbohydrate, 9.2 g fiber, 9.2 g ash, 1684 mg Ca, 258 mg P, 21 mg Na, 2,005 mg K, 25,679 mg b-carotene equivalent, 1.00 mg thiamine, 1.04 mg riboflavin, 9.17 mg niacin and 242 mg ascorbic acid. The flowers (ZMB) contain per 100 g, 345 calories, 14.5 g protein, 3.6 g fat, 77.3 g carbohydrate, 10.9 g fiber, 4.5 g ash, 145 mg Ca, 290 mg P, 5.4 mg Fe, 291 mg Na, 1,400 mg K, 636 mg b-carotene equivalent, 0.91 mg thiamine, 0.72 mg riboflavin, 14.54 mg niacin, and 473 mg ascorbic acid. Seeds (ZMB) contain 36.5% CP, 7.4% fat, 51.6% total carbohydrate, and 4.5% ash. The seed oil contains 12.3% palmitic, 5.2% stearic, 26.2% oleic, and 53.4% linoleic acids. The seed testa, which constitutes 20% of the seed, contains 5.2% moisture, 1.3% ash, 0.8% fat, 2.7% CF, 0.1% free reducing sugars, 1.4% sucrose, 2.8% nitrogen, 6.3% pentosans, and 65.4% carbohydrates. Yields of 33% galactomannans are reported for alkali extraction of the testae. Seeds allowed to germinate (sprouts) for 120 hours increased vit. C content from 17–166 mg/100 g. Extracellular invertase of Rhizobia japonicum and its role in free sugar metabolism in the developing root nodules was studied. The enzyme hydrolyzed sucrose extracellularly, and its release was substrate inducible. 0.1 m b-mercaptoethanol released the cell-bound form of this enzyme. The production of invertase was low when glucose, galactose, mannose, fructose, and farrinose were used as carbon sources in the growth medium. In the developing nodules sucrose was the major sugar. The content of fructose was low in comparison with that of glucose, suggesting that in the nodules the fructose is converted to glucose prior to its entry into the bacterial cell. The content of glucose synchronized with the pattern of change in the activity of invertase in the nodules (Singh et al, 1980).

Medicinal Uses:
The leaf extract may inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end-products. The leaf extract contains linolenic acid and aspartic acid, which were found to be the major compounds responsible for the anti-glycation potential of the leaf extract.

The flowers and the pods are eaten to to cure canker sores.

Folk Medicine:-
Resorted to be aperient, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, and tonic, agati is a folk remedy for bruises, catarrh, dysentery, eyes, fevers, headaches, smallpox, sores, sorethroat, and stomatitis (Duke and Wain, 1981). Bark, leaves, gums, and flowers are considered medicinal. The astringent bark was used in treating smallpox and other eruptive fevers. The juice from the flowers is used to treat headache, head congestion, or stuffy nose. As a snuff, the juice is supposed to clear the nasal sinuses. Leaves are poulticed onto bruises. Rheumatic swellings are poulticed or rubbed with aqueous decoctions of the powdered roots of the red-flowered variant. In India the flowers are sacred to Siva, representing both the male and female sex organs; still I find no mention of their use as aphrodisiacs. Ayurvedics, believing the fruits to be alexeteric, laxative, and intellectually stimulating, prescribe them for anemia, bronchitis, fever, pain, thirst, and tumors; the flowers, apertif and refrigerant, for biliousness, bronchitis, gout, nyctalopia, ozoena, and quartan fever; the root for inflammation, the bark as astringent; leaves, alexeteric, anthelmintic, for epilepsy, gout, itch, leprosy, nyctalopia, and ophthalmia. Yunani consider the tonic leaves useful in biliousness, fever, and nyctalopia. Indians apply the roots in rheumatism, the juice of the leaves and flowers for headache and nasal catarrh. Mixed with stramonium and pasted, the root is poulticed onto painful swellings. In Amboina, flower juice is squeezed into the eye to correct dim vision. The bark is used in infusions for smallpox. Cambodians consider the flowers emollient and laxative, the bark for diarrhea, dysentery, and paludism. Malayans apply crushed leaves to sprains and contusions. They gargle with the leaf juice to cleanse the mouth and throat. In small doses, the bark is used for dysentery and sprue, in large doses, laxative, in still larger doses, emetic. Pounded bark is applied to scabies. Philippines use the pounded bark for hemoptysis. The powdered bark is also recommended for ulcers of the mouth and alimentary canal. In Java, the bark is used for thrush and infantile disorders of the stomach. Leaves are chewed to disinfect the mouth and throat.

Other Uses:
The inner bark of Sesbania grandiflora can serve as fiber and the white, soft wood not too durable, can be used for cork. The wood is used, like bamboo, in Asian construction. The tree is grown as an ornamental shade tree, and for reforestation. In Java, the tree is extensively used as a pulp source. A gum resembling kino (called katurai), fresh when red, nearly black after exposure, exudes from wounds. This astringent gum is partially soluble in water and in alcohol, but applied to fishing cord, it makes it more durable. Pepper vines (Piper nigrum) are sometimes grown on and in the shade of the agati. According to NAS (1980a), this small tree produces firewood, forage, pulp and paper, food, and green manure and appears to hold promise for reforesting eroded and grassy wastelands throughout the tropics. It combines well with agriculture (agroforestry) in areas where trees are not normally grown and becomes an important fuelwood source. Dried and powdered bark is used as a cosmetic in Java. Allen and Allen enumerated three undesirable features (1) short lived (2) shallow-rooted and subject to wind throw, and (3) prolific seeder, the pods often considered a litter. An aqueous extract of bark is said to be toxic to cockroaches.

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/Sesbania_grandiflora
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Sesbania_grandiflora.html

Myrica pennsylvanica

Botanical Name: Myrica pennsylvanica
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. pensylvanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: M. carolinensis. non Mill. M. cerifera latifolia

Common Names: Northern Bayberry

Habitat : Myrica pennsylvanica is native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Ohio, and south to North Carolina. It grows on dry or wet sterile soil near the coast. Coastal dunes, pine barrens, pine-oak forests, old fields, bogs, edges of streams, ponds, and swamps from sea level to 325 metres.

Description:
Myrica pensylvanica is a deciduous shrub growing to 4.5 m tall. The leaves are 2.5–7 cm long and 1.5-2.7 cm broad, broadest near the leaf apex, serrate, and sticky with a spicy scent when crushed. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October.The flowers are borne in catkins 3–18 mm long, in range of colors from green to red. The fruit is a wrinkled berry 3-5.5 mm diameter, with a pale blue-purple waxy coating; they are an important food for yellow-rumped warblers.

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The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. Does well in dry maritime sites[200]. Hardy to about -40°c. Closely related to M. cerifera and perhaps no more than a hardier northern form of it, it has larger fruits than M. cerifera. Where their ranges overlap, Myrica pensylvanica hybridizes quite readily with both M . cerifera and M . Heterophylla. Tolerant of salt spread on roads. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants 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.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is about 4mm in diameter and contains a single large seed. There is very little edible flesh and this is of poor quality. The leaves and fruit are used as a food flavouring in soups etc. A bay leaf substitute, imparting a delicate aroma and subtle flavour. The herb is removed before the food is served.
Medicinal Uses:
The root bark is astringent and emetic in large doses. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and externally as a wash for itchy skin.
Other Uses:
A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather. They are slightly aromatic, with a pleasant balsamic odour, and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles. The wax is also used in making soaps. A green dye is obtained from the leaves. The plant is very wind hardy and can be grown as an informal hedge.

Known Hazards : There is a report that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.
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/Myrica_pensylvanica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+pennsylvanica

Prunus alleghaniensis

 

Botanical Name: Prunus alleghaniensis
Family:  Rosaceae
Subfamily: Prunoideae
Genus:  Prunus
Species:  P. alleghaniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:  Rosales

Common Name: Allegheny plum,Davis’ plum

Habitat :    Prunus alleghaniensis is native to the Appalachian Mountains from New York to Kentucky and North Carolina, plus the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. There are old reports of it growing also in New Jersey and Connecticut, but it now appears to have been extirpated in those two states.
It is not common in moist woodlands. It is typically found in elevations between 1200 and 2000 feet (360-600 meters).

Description:
Prunus alleghaniensis is a shrub or small tree 3-12 feet (90-360 cm) tall. The leaves of are two to three and a half inches (5.0-8.8 cm) long, the tip is usually long and pointed. The leaf margins are finely toothed. The twigs sometimes have thorns. The bark is fissured in older specimens. The flowers are plentiful and white, eventually turning pink. The dark reddish purple fruit is half an inch (13 mm) wide, with a whitish bloom.

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It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation: 
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.  This species is closely related to P. americana. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe.  Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Fruit – raw or cooked. The thick juicy flesh is pleasantly acid. The fruit can also be made into jams, preserves etc. The fruit has a tough skin, it can be up to 2cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Dye;  Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. Wood – hard, heavy, close grained. Trees are too small for the wood to be commercially valuable.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+alleghaniensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_alleghaniensis

Rhus typhina

Botanical Name : Rhus typhina
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. typhina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms:Rhus hirta,Rhus viridiflora.

Common Names:Stag’s Horn Sumach, Velvet Sumac, Staghorn Sumac

Habitat :Rhus typhina is native to eastern North America. It is primarily found in southeastern Canada, the northeastern and midwestern United States and the Appalachian Mountains, but is widely cultivated as an ornamental throughout the temperate world.
Description:
Rhus typhina is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 5 m (16 ft) tall by 6 m (20 ft) broad. It has alternate, pinnately compound leaves 25–55 cm (10–22 in) long, each with 9–31 serrate leaflets 6–11 cm long. The leaf petioles and the stems are densely covered in rust-colored hairs. The velvety texture and the forking pattern of the branches, reminiscent of antlers, have led to the common name “stag’s horn sumach“.

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Staghorn sumac is dioecious, and large clumps can form with either male or female plants. The fruit is one of the most identifiable characteristics, forming dense clusters of small red drupes at the terminal end of the branches; the clusters are conic, 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long and 4–6 cm (2–2 in) broad at the base. The plant flowers from May to July and fruit ripens from June to September. The foliage turns to brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow in autumn (fall). The fruit has been known to last through winter and into spring.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Tolerates poor soils. Succeeds in dry soils and is drought resistant once it is established.  A fairly wind hardy plant, though the branches are brittle and can be broken off in very high winds. A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to at least -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A fast growing but short-lived tree, it can sucker freely, forming thickets and becoming quite anti-social when grown in small areas. Single-stem plants are short-lived in cultivation, but if the plants are coppiced regularly and allowed to form thickets, then they will live longer and also be more ornamental with larger leaves. Any coppicing is best carried out in early spring. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. It is susceptible to coral spot fungus but is notably resistant to honey fungus. It transplants easily. This is a very good bee plant, the flowers producing an abundance of pollen and nectar. There is some doubt over the validity of this name and the earlier R. hirta. has been proposed as the correct name. However, it seems likely that R. typhina will be retained because it is so well known. This species is closely related to and hybridizes with R. glabra. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – cooked. A very sour flavour, they are used in pies. The fruit is rather small and with very little flesh, but it is produced in quite large clusters and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
Stag’s horn sumach was often employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for its astringent qualities. It is little used in modern herbalism. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. The bark is antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue and tonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, piles, general debility, uterine prolapse etc. An infusion is also said to greatly increase the milk flow of a nursing mother – small pieces of the wood were also eaten for this purpose. The inner bark is said to be a valuable remedy for piles. The roots are astringent, blood purifier, diuretic and emetic. An infusion of the roots, combined with purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. A poultice of the roots has been used to treat boils. The leaves are astringent. They have been used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis. An infusion of the fruits has been used as a tonic to improve the appetite and as a treatment for diarrhoea. The berries are astringent and blood purifier. They were chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. A tea made from the berries has been used to treat sore throats. The flowers are astringent and stomachic. An infusion has been used to treat stomach pains. The sap has been applied externally as a treatment of warts. Some caution is advised here since the sap can cause a rash on many people.

Other Uses:
The leaves are rich in tannin, up to 48% has been obtained in a controlled plantation. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The bark, especially the root bark, and the fruits are also very rich in tannin. A yellow dye can be obtained from the roots. An orange dye can be obtained from the inner bark and central pith of the stem, mixed with bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). A black ink can be made by boiling the leaves and the fruit. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. Pipes are made from the young shoots and are used for drawing the sap of sugar maples (Acer spp). They are also used as flutes. The plant has an extensive root system and is planted as a windbreak screen and to prevent soil erosion. Wood – soft, light, brittle, coarse grained. It weighs 27lb per cubic foot. Of no commercial value, though it is sometimes used as a rough construction wood or is employed in turning.

Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation’.

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/Rhus_typhina
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+typhina

Ribes glandulosum

Botanical Name : Ribes glandulosum
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. glandulosum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: R. prostratum.

Common Names: Skunk Currant

Habitat :
Ribes glandulosum is native to N. America – Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin. It grows on wet woods and rocky slopes.
Description:
Ribes glandulosum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It has palmately lobed leaves with 5 or 7 deeply cut segments. Flowers are in elongated clusters of 6-15 pink flowers. Fruits are red and egg-shaped, sometimes palatable but sometimes not.
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It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position. Prefers a cool moist position. Hardy to about -20°c. Plants come into growth very early in the year. The branches are decumbent or spreading. Plants can harbour a stage of ‘white pine blister rust’, so they should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. The leaves have an unpleasant smell.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors.

Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit – raw or cooked. A blackcurrant, it is juicy and palatable. Another report says that it has the odour of a skunk and the skin has short bristly hairs. The fruit is about 8mm in diameter. The stems have been used to make a bitter tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ojibwa people take a compound decoction of the root for back pain and for “female weakness.” The Cree people use a decoction of the stem, either by itself or mixed with wild red raspberry, to prevent clotting after birth. The Algonquin people use the berries as food.
Other Uses : Can be used as a ground cover plant

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/Ribes_glandulosum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ribes+glandulosum

Ribes cynosbati

Botanical Name : Ribes cynosbati
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Species: R. cynosbati
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms: Grossularia cynosbati (L.) Mill., Ribes cynosbati var. atrox Fernald, Ribes cynosbati f. atrox (Fernald) B. Boivin

Common Names: Prickly gooseberry, Eastern prickly gooseberry, Dogberry, Dog bramble, and Groseillier des chiens (in Quebec)

Habitat :Ribes cynosbati is native to Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to North Carolina, west to Manitoba, Alabama and Missouri. It grows on Open, loamy or rocky woods.

Description:
Ribes cynosbati is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft) with erect to spreading stems. Leaves have 3 or 5 lobes, with glandular hairs. Flowers are greenish-white, and the bristly fruits white to greenish and pleasant-tasting.
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It and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position. Hardy to about -20°c. A parent of the cultivated American gooseberry, it is occasionally cultivated in America for its edible fruit. It does not tend to fruit very heavily in Britain. The ssp. R. cynosbati inerme. Rehd. has a fruit that is without bristles. Plants can harbour a stage of white pine blister rust, so should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between -2 to +2°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. A pleasant sub-acid flavour, good for quenching thirst, they also make excellent pies, jellies and preserves. A gooseberry. The fruit can also be dried for later use. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter and is covered with short weak bristles.
Medicinal Uses:

Ophthalmic; Women’s complaints.

The root or the root bark has been used in the treatment of uterine problems caused by having too many children. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes.

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/Ribes_cynosbati
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ribes+cynosbati

Rubus allegheniensis

 

Botanical Name : Rubus allegheniensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Species:R. allegheniensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Alleghany Blackberry, Graves’ blackberry, and simply as Common blackberry

Habitat : Rubus allegheniensis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Ontario, New York, Virginia and North Carolina. It grows on the dry thickets, clearings and woodland margins.

Description:
Rubus allegheniensis is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate.Characteristics can be highly variable. It is an erect bramble, typically 5 feet (150 cm) but occasionally rarely over 8 feet (240 cm) high, with single shrubs approaching 8 feet or more in breadth, although it usually forms dense thickets of many plants. Leaves are alternate, compound, ovoid, and have toothed edges.

Thorny canes, with white, 5-petal, ¾ inch (19 mm) flowers in late spring and glossy, deep-violet to black, aggregate fruit in late summer. Shade intolerant.

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It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Plants have biennial stems, they produce a number of new stems from the perennial rootstock each year, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Often cultivated for its edible fruits in America, it is the parent of many named varieties. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw, cooked or dried for later use. A pleasant sweet and somewhat spicy flavour. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter and can be 3cm long. Young shoots – raw. They are harvested in the spring, peeled and used in salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Antihaemorrhoidal; Antirheumatic; Astringent; Diuretic; Ophthalmic; Stimulant; TB; Tonic.

The roots are antihaemorrhoidal, antirheumatic, astringent, stimulant and tonic. An infusion can be used in the treatment of stomach complaints, diarrhoea, piles, coughs and colds, tuberculosis and rheumatism. The infusion has also been used by women threatened with a miscarriage. The root can be chewed to treat a coated tongue. An infusion of the root has been used as a wash for sore eyes. The leaves are astringent. An infusion can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of urinary problems. A decoction of the stems has been used as a diuretic.

Other Uses:….Dye…..A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from 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/Rubus_allegheniensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rubus+allegheniensis

Critonia morifolia

Botanical Name : Critonia morifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Critonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Green Stick

Habitat : Critonia morifolia is native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. It grows in forest areas.
Description:
The most notable trait that characterizes the genus is the presence of pellucid punctations caused by internal secretory pockets of the leaves – to be seen these must be viewed with a hand lens while holding the leaf up to light in most species of the genus. Most species of Critonia also have smooth opposite leaves, a shrubby habit, unenlarged style bases, relatively few (3-5) flowers per head, and imbricate involucres. .CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Of the medicinal leaves found in the forest, this is one of the most important and useful to add to herbal bath formulas. Steam baths (“bajo”) are given in cases of swelling, retention of fluids, rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis, and muscle spasms. The leaf is heated in oil and applied to boils, tumors, cysts, and pus-filled sores. Boil leaf alone or in combination with other bathing leaves for any skin condition, exhaustion, wounds, feverish babies, insomnia, flu, aches, pains and general malaise.

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/Critonia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish)

Botanical Name : Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica
Family:    Brassicaceae
Genus:    Wasabia
Species:W. japonica
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Brassicales

Other Names: Japanese Horseradish
French: Raifort du Japon
German: Bergstockrose, Japanischer Kren
Korean: Kochu-naengi, Gochu-naengi, Gyeoja-naengi, Kyoja-naengi, Wasabi
Thai: Wasabi
Chinese (Canonese): Saan kwai
Chinese (Mandarin): Shan kui

As one of the most prized crops from Japan, this pale green root is grown in cold mountain streams under some of the most closely guarded growing practices in agriculture. Many outside Japan have gone to great lengths to duplicate its wonderfully hot flavour. In fact, most of the commercial wasabi products in the west are fake. Many of us believe wasabi is the eye-watering and sinus-scouring vivid green side dish paste served with sushi, however, most of the time it is a concoction of horseradish, mustard, and artificial colouring.

Plant Description and Cultivation
Wasabia japonica is a slow growing perennial with a rooted, thickened rhizome, long petioles and large leaves. The wasabi rhizome looks much like a brussel sprout stalk after the sprouts are removed. The long stems (petioles) of the Wasabia Japonica plant emerge from the rhizome to grow to a length of 12 to 18 inches and can reach a diameter of up to 1 ½ inches. They merge into single heart shaped leaves that can reach the size of a small dinner plate.

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Wasabia Japonoica plants can take as much as three years to reach maturity. Initially, given the right conditions, the wasabi plant produces robust top and root growth, growing to about 2 feet with an overall width about the same. After this initial establishment phase the rhizome begins to build and store reproductive nutrients, reaching a size of 6 to 8 inches in approximately two years.
Wasabi can grow in the ground, but commonly it’s cultivated in water. It’s said that it’s very difficult to grow wasabi. For wasabi cultivation, clean water is essential, and the temperature must be mild (heat must be avoided). When the wasabi plant grows to nearly 20 inches tall, with green leaves on the head, the rhizome grows above the root and the plant is ready for harvesting.

Since the flavor is wonderful, you might want to use fresh wasabi in your cooking. If you want to buy fresh wasabi, there is a place online that sell it.
Click to buy Wasabi
Under optimum conditions, Wasabia Japonica will reproduce itself by seed, though on commercial wasabi farms, plant stock is typically extended by replanting small offshoots which characteristically occur as the plant matures.

Wasabi prefers the cool, damp conditions found in misty mountain stream beds. It generally requires a climate with an air temperature between 8°C (46°F) and 20 °C (70°F), and prefers high humidity in summer. It is quite intolerant of direct sunlight so it is grown beneath a natural forest canopy or man-made shade.

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Wasabia Japonica grows in northern Japan, parts of China, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand. In North America, the rain forests found in British Columbia, the Oregon Coast and in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tenessee provide the right balance of climate, sunlight and water quality to grow natural wasabi. Limited success has been achieved by firms using greenhouse and/or hydroponic techniques, but the resulting costs are typically quite high. There are two main strategies that are used in growing Wasabi. The higher quality Wasabi, both in appearance and taste, grows in cool mountain streams and is known as semi-aquatic or “sawa” Wasabi. Wasabi known as field or “oka” Wasabi is grown in fields under varying conditions and generally results in a lower quality plant, both in appearance and taste.
Few places are suitable for large-scale wasabi cultivation, and cultivation is difficult even in ideal conditions. In Japan, wasabi is cultivated mainly in these regions:

Wasabia Japonica grows in northern Japan, parts of China, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand. In North America, the rain forests found in British Columbia, the Oregon Coast and in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tenessee provide the right balance of climate, sunlight and water quality to grow natural wasabi. Limited success has been achieved by firms using greenhouse and/or hydroponic techniques, but the resulting costs are typically quite high. There are two main strategies that are used in growing Wasabi. The higher quality Wasabi, both in appearance and taste, grows in cool mountain streams and is known as semi-aquatic or “sawa” Wasabi. Wasabi known as field or “oka” Wasabi is grown in fields under varying conditions and generally results in a lower quality plant, both in appearance and taste.
Few places are suitable for large-scale wasabi cultivation, and cultivation is difficult even in ideal conditions. In Japan, wasabi is cultivated mainly in these regions:

Izu peninsula, located in Shizuoka prefecture
Nagano prefecture
Shimane prefecture
Yamanashi prefecture
Iwate prefecture
There are also numerous artificially cultivated facilities as far north as Hokkaidō and as far south as Kyūshū. The demand for real wasabi is very high. Japan has to import a large amount of it from:Mainland China and Ali Mountain of Taiwan, New Zealand.
In North America, a handful of companies and small farmers are successfully pursuing the trend by cultivating Wasabia japonica. While only the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains provide the right balance of climate and water for natural cultivation of sawa (water grown) wasabi, the use of hydroponics and greenhouses has extended the range. British Columbia in Canada, Oregon in United States and North Carolina in United States.
While the finest sawa wasabi is grown in pure, constantly flowing water, without pesticides or fertilizers, some growers push growth with fertilizer such as chicken manure, which can be a source of downstream.

Spice Description
Wasabi a member of the cruciferae family originating in Japan and is related to cabbages. It is a perennial which grows about knee high, is semi aquatic and produces a thickened stem in a similar fashion to a small brussel sprout. As the stem grows the lower leaves fall off. This stem has a very pungent smell and flavour when made into a paste.

The fresh is certainly preferable, but in the West, it’s more commonly found as a dry powder. Premixed pastes are available but none capture the intensity well. Make your own paste from the powder or fresh root.

Preparation and Storage
Treat the fresh root like horseradish, shredding only as much as needed. Traditionally, a sharkskin grater or “oroshi” is used. Using sharkskin as a tool for grating wasabi has been a practice in Japan since the earliest times, and is still regarded as the preferred method of obtaining the best flavour, texture and consistency in freshly ground wasabi. If a sharkskin grater is not available, ceramic or stainless steel surfaces can be used. Ceramic graters with fine nubs are preferable to stainless steel, but in either case, the smaller and finer the ‘teeth’, the better.

Pulsing in a food mill pure will yield a fiery paste, or it can be tempered with other ingredients to make vinaigrettes, mayonnaise or other hot condiments.

Grating wasabi releases volatile compounds, which gradually dissipate with exposure to the air. Using a traditional sharkskin grater and keeping the rhizome at a 90-degree angle to the grating surface generally minimizes exposure to the air. In this way, the volatile compounds are allowed to develop with minimal dissipation. Once you have grated enough for the first ‘session’, pile the grated wasabi into a ball and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to allow the flavor and heat to develop. The flavor will dissipate within a short period, so grate only what will be used within 15 or 20 minutes.

How To Grate Wasabi.
*Rinse the rhizome under cold running water.
*Scrape off any bumps or rough areas along the sides.
*Scrub the rhizome with a stiff brush.
*Cut the rhizome just below the leaf base and inspect the exposed flesh to ensure that it is a uniform green colour.
*Grate the cut end against the grater surface, using a circular motion.
*After use, rinse the rhizome under cold running water. If you are using a sharkskin grater, rinse it under cold running water as well and let it air dry.

If you have powdered wasabi, make sure to allow some time once it is rehydrated so that the flavour compounds come back to the surface.
Wasabi powder is very convenient for use and storage, when sealed in an air-tight container or bag, and stored in low temperature, the self-life is almost 2 years.

Uses
Wasabi is generally sold either in the form of a root, which must be very finely grated before use, or as a ready-to-use paste, usually in tubes approximately the size and shape of travel toothpaste tubes. Once the paste is prepared it should remain covered until served to protect the flavor from evaporation. For this reason, sushi chefs usually put the wasabi between the fish and the rice.

Fresh leaves of wasabi can also be eaten and have some of the hot flavor of wasabi roots. They can be eaten as wasabi salad by pickling overnight with a salt and vinegar based dressing, or by quickly boiling them with a little soy sauce. Additionally, the leaves can be battered and deep-fried into chips.

For those who mistakenly consume too much of this condiment, the burning sensations it can induce are short-lived compared to the effects of chili peppers, especially when water is used to dissipate the flavor.

Wasabi is often served with sushi or sashimi, usually accompanied with soy sauce. The two are sometimes mixed to form a single dipping sauce known as Wasabi-joyu. Legumes may be roasted or fried, then coated with a wasabi-like mixture (usually an imitation); these are then eaten as an eye-watering “in the hand” snack.

Wasabi Ice Cream is a recent but increasingly popular innovation.

Culinary Uses
The pungent flavour of Wasabi lends itself to a great range of culinary uses. For most people the first introduction to its splendid taste is as a condiment for use with Japanese dishes such as Sushi, Sushimi and Soba dishes, and also with raw fish. For these uses it is ground up into a paste for seasoning.

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine. It’s the light green paste that accompanies sushi, seafood, noodle dishes, and more. Typically, people dip sashimi (raw fish) slices in a mixture of wasabi and soy sauce. Wasabi is said to be effective as an antidote to prevent food poisoning. That is one reason that wasabi is served with sushi and raw fish slices.

Ideally, to use fresh wasabi, the rhizome is grated by a metal grater. But the availability of fresh wasabi rhizomes is usually low, and 100 % real, fresh wasabi is rarely used. Wasabi powder, which is used by mixing with water, or tubed wasabi, is substituted for fresh wasabi.
These prepared products are commonly used in Japanese homecooking.
The powdered wasabi is made mainly from seiyo-wasabi (western horseradish) powder, mustard powder, and food colorings. Also, the Japanese brands of tubed wasabi (such as S&B) include both real wasabi and western horseradish. It’s more convenient and cheaper to use the wasabi substitutes than using fresh wasabi. But, the taste and smell of real wasabi can never be matched. If you are using the powdered wasabi, mix with it water right before you intend to use it. You can ensure the best flavor that way.

Increasingly, we are finding that the use of wasabi extends beyond the scope of these traditional dishes. It is a flavour in its own right and can be used to enhance dips, meats and other foods.

Chemistry
The chemicals in wasabi that provide its unique flavor are the isothiocyanates, including:

6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate,
7-methylthioheptyl isothiocyanate and
8-methylthiooctyl isothiocyanate.
Research has shown that isothiocyanates have beneficial effects such as inhibiting microbe growth. This may partially explain why wasabi is traditionally served with seafood, which spoils quickly. However, if the quality of seafood is questionable, it should not be eaten raw, with or without wasabi. It is not a treatment for food poisoning.

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Besides its unique role as a food condiment, Wasabi also possesses many potential health benefits. A number of studies have shown that the active ingredients in Wasabia japonica are able to kill a number of different types of cancer cells, reduce the possibility of getting blood clots, encourages the bodies own defences to discard cells that have started to mutate, and acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent against food poisons.

Wasabia Japonica owes its flavor and health benefits in part to a suite of isothicyanates (ITC’s) with unique characteristics including powerful anti-bacterial properties, which help mitigate microbial elements or pathogens potentially present. This helps reduce the effects food poisoning, supports detoxification and helps prevent conditions that lead to tooth decay. Rich in beta-carotenes and glucosinolates, Wasabi also kills some forms of E-Coli and Staphylococcus. Studies also indicate it helps reduce mucous, which has made it the focus of experiments relating to its use in combating asthma and congestive disorders.

The unique ITC group found in Wasabi includes long-chain methyl isothicyanates which are uncommon in most American’s diets. Long-chain methyl ITC’s have proven efficacy and potency in supporting natural liver and digestive detoxification functions than other more common types of isothicyanates.

The powerful antioxidant characterisics of Wasabi are also attracting additional scientific study. Evidence suggests that glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products are efficacious in reducing cancer risk by encouraging the immune system to discard mutagenic cells.

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/Image:Wasabi%2C_Iwasaki_Kanen_1828.jpg
http://www.theepicentre.com/Spices/wasabi.html
http://japanesefood.about.com/od/wasabi/a/wasabi.htm

Mountain-laurel

Botanical Name :Kalmia latifolia
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Kalmia
Species: K. latifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Broad-leafed Laurel. Calico Bush. Spoon Wood. Ledum Floribus Bullates. Cistus Chamaerhodendros.

Common Names : Mountain-laurel, Calico-bush, or Cpoonwood

It is also known as Ivybush, Spoonwood (because native Americans used to make their spoons out of it), Sheep Laurel, Lambkill and Clamoun.

Habitat:Mountain-laurel is native to the eastern United States. Its range stretches from southern Maine south to northern Florida, and west to Indiana and Louisiana. Mountain-laurel is the state flower of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It is the namesake of the city of Laurel, Mississippi (founded 1882).

The plant is naturally found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It thrives in acidic soil, preferring a soil pH in the 4.5 to 5.5 range. The plant often grows in large thickets, covering great areas of forest floor. In North America it can become tree sized on undeveloped mountains of the Carolinas but is a shrub farther north. The species is a frequent component of oak-heath forests.

Description:
A beautiful evergreen shrub from 4 to 20 feet. When in full flower it forms dense thickets, the stems are always crooked, the bark rough. It was called Kalmia by Linnaeus in honour of Peter Kalm, a Swedish professor. The hard wood is used in the manufacture of various useful articles. Leaves ovate, lanceolate, acute on each end, on petioles 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers numerous, delicately tinted a lovely shade of pink; these are very showy, clammy, interminal, viscid, pubescent, simple or compound heads, branches opposite, flowering in June and July. The flowers yield a honey said to be deleterious. The leaves, shoots and berries are dangerous to cattle, and when eaten by Canadian pheasants communicate the poison to those who feed on the birds. The fruit is a dry capsule, seeds minute and numerous.

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Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  Leaves.

Constituents: Leaves possess narcotic poisoning properties and contain tannic acid, gum, fatty matter, chlorophyll, a substance resembling mannite, wax extractive, albumen, an acrid principle, Aglucosidearbutin, yellow calcium iron.

Indians are said to use the expressed juice of the leaves or a strong decoction of them to commit suicide. The leaves are the official part; powdered leaves are used as a local remedy in some forms of skin diseases, and are a most efficient agent in syphilis, fevers, jaundice, neuralgia and inflammation, but great care should be exercised in their use. Whisky is the best antidote to poisoning from this plant. An ointment for skin diseases is made by stewing the leaves in pure lard in an earthenware vessel in a hot oven. Taken internally it is a sedative and astringent in active haemorrhages, diarrhoea and flux. It has a splendid effect and will be found useful in overcoming obstinate chronic irritation of the mucous surface. In the lower animals an injection produces great salivation, lachrymation, emesis, convulsions and later paralysis of the extremities and laboured respiration. It is supposed, but not proved, that the poisonous principle of this plant is Andromedotoxin.

In Homeopathy this herb is used in different dialutions for different diseases.

Other Uses:
The wood of the mountain laurel is heavy and strong but brittle, with a close, straight grain. It has never been a viable commercial crop as it does not grow large enough, yet it is suitable for wreaths, furniture, bowls and other household items. It was used in the early 19th century in wooden-works clocks. Burls were used for pipe bowls in place of imported briar burls. It can be used for handrails or guard rails.

Known Hazards:
Mountain laurel is poisonous to several different animals due to grayanotoxin and arbutin, including horses, goats, cattle, deer, monkeys and humans. The green parts of the plant, flowers, twigs, and pollen are all toxic, including food products made from them, such as toxic honey that may produce neurotoxic and gastrointestinal symptoms in humans eating more than a modest amount. Fortunately the honey is sufficiently bitter to discourage most people from eating it, whereas it does not harm bees sufficiently to prevent its use as winter bee fodder. Symptoms of toxicity begin to appear about 6 hours following ingestion. Symptoms include irregular or difficulty breathing, anorexia, repeated swallowing, profuse salivation, watering of the eyes and nose, cardiac distress, incoordination, depression, vomiting, frequent defecation, weakness, convulsions, paralysis, coma, and eventually death. Autopsy will show gastrointestinal irritation and hemorrhage.

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/l/laumou12.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia