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Herbs & Plants

Wisteria sinensis

Botanical Name : Wisteria sinensis
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Tribe: Millettieae
Genus: Wisteria
Species: W. sinensis

Common Names: Chinese wisteria

Habitat:
Wisteria sinensis is native to China, in the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, and Yunnan. It clambs over cliffs and trees on woodland edges at low altitudes in W. China.

Description:
Wisteria sinensis is a deciduous Climber growing to 25 m (82ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a medium rate. It clings to supporting plants or man-made structures by counterclockwise-twining stems. The leaves are shiny, green, pinnately compound, 10–30 cm in length, with 9-13 oblong leaflets that are each 2–6 cm long. The flowers are white, violet, or blue, produced on 15–20 cm racemes before the leaves emerge in spring. The flowers on each raceme open simultaneously before the foliage has expanded, and have a distinctive fragrance similar to that of grapes.Bloom Color: Blue, Lavender, Purple, White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal, Variable height, Variable spread. Though it has shorter racemes than Wisteria floribunda (Japanese wisteria), it often has a higher quantity of racemes. The fruit is a flattened, brown, velvety, bean-like pod 5–10 cm long with thick disk-like seeds around 1 cm in diameter spaced evenly inside; they mature in summer and crack and twist open to release the seeds; the empty pods often persist until winter. However seed production is often low, and most regenerative growth occurs through layering and suckering.

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Arbor, Espalier, Pollard, Standard. Prefers a good loamy soil in a sunny south or south-west facing position, sheltered from cold winds and from early morning sun on frosty mornings. Succeeds in partial shade. Plants can become chlorotic on alkaline soils. A soil that is too rich results in excessive foliage at the expense of flowering. Hardy to about -15°c. Plants can take a few years to settle down after planting out. Too much shade or too rich a soil are normally the culprits, some form of root restriction can be beneficial. There are several named forms selected for their ornamental value. Sparrows and other birds frequently eat the young buds of this plant and this is the commonest cause of poor flowering on established plants. Plants sometimes have a second season of flowering in August. The plants flower mainly on short spurs so, if removing unwanted side-branches, it is best to cut them back to 2 – 3 leaves rather than removing them completely since this will encourage the formation of flowering spurs. Any drastic pruning is best carried out in the spring, immediately after flowering. Plants are very tolerant of even the most drastic pruning and will re-grow even if cut right back to the base. A climbing plant supporting itself by twining around other plants, the shoots twine in an anticlockwise direction. Very tolerant of pruning, plants can regenerate from old wood. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Closely related to W. floribunda. 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. The plants also form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus which makes more water, phosphorus and other minerals available to the plants. Special Features:Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.


Propagation:
The seed does not exhibit any dormancy habits. It can be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame and should germinate in the spring. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in a greenhouse in early spring. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seedbed in late spring. Germination should take place in the first spring, though it can sometimes be delayed for another 12 months. 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. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Plants are very slow from seed and can take up to 20 years to come into flower. Basal cuttings of side-shoots in early to mid summer in a frame. Take the cuttings as soon as the new growth has hardened sufficiently, each cutting should have 2 – 3 leaves. It can also help to remove a shallow slice of bark from the bottom 15mm of the cutting to expose extra cambium, since this will encourage more callusing and better rooting. When kept in a mist frame with a bottom heat of 27 – 30°c, they will root within 4 weeks and produce well-established plants by the autumn. Layering in spring. Simply lay any convenient long shoot along the ground and cover it with a shallow layer of soil. The shoot will readily produce roots at intervals along the stem. When these are well formed, the shoot can be divided up into a number of plants. These should be potted up and kept in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until well established and can then be planted out as required. Division of suckers in the winter[249]. If growing named varieties, it is of course necessary to ensure they are growing on their own roots if the suckers are to be true to type.

Edible Uses:
Seeds are edible, eaten – cooked. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity below . Flowers are also cooked and eaten .They are thoroughly washed and then boiled or made into fritters. The flowers are also cured in sugar then mixed with flour and made into a famous local delicacy called ‘Teng Lo’. The leaves contain allantoic acid. They are used as a tea substitute. The young leaves have also been eaten.


Medicinal Uses:
The seed is diuretic. It is used in the treatment of heart ailments. One report says that the stems and flowers are also used in Chinese medicine, but gives no more information.

Other Uses:
A fibre from the stems can be used to make paper, the fibre is about 1.3 – 3.7mm long. Stems are harvested in the summer, the leaves removed and the stems steamed until the fibre can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then put in a ball mill for 3 hours. The paper is a buff colour. Nitrogen Fixer.

Known Hazards :The seed of all members of this genus is poisonous. The bark contains a glycoside and a resin that are both poisonous. The seed and seedpod contains a resin and a glycoside called wisterin. They have caused poisoning in children of many countries, producing mild to severe gastro-enteritis.
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/Wisteria_sinensis
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Wisteria+sinensis

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Herbs & Plants

Gentiana acaulis

Botanical Name: Gentiana acaulis
Family: Gentianaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. acaulis

Common Names: Stemless gentian or Trumpet gentian

Habitat: Gentiana acaulis is native to central and southern Europe, from Spain east to the Balkans. It grows on mountainous regions, such as the Alps and Pyrenees, at heights of 800–3,000 m (2,625–9,843 ft).


Description:
Gentiana acaulis is a perennial plant, growing ( at a slow rate )up to a height of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) tall and forming a mat up to 50 centimetres (20 in) wide. The leaves, which can be lanceolate, elliptical or obovate, are evergreen, 2–3.5 cm long, in a basal rosette, forming clumps. The trumpet-shaped terminal flowers are blue with olive-green spotted longitudinal throats. They grow on a very short peduncle, 3–6 cm long. The flower stem is often without leaves, or has 1 or 2 pairs of leaves. It likes full sun, is fully hardy and flowers in late spring and summer.It is in flower from June to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

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Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This is an easily grown species, succeeding in most good garden soils, though it prefers a light loamy soil and lime-free conditions. It grows well in a pocket of soil amongst paving stones, so long as there is a gritty substrate[200]. Plants dislike growing under the drip from trees. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. It is a rare and protected species in the wild. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance.

Propagation:
Through Seeds : Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early summer after the plant has flowered. Dig up the entire plant, divide it into 2 – 3 fair-sized clumps with a spade or knife, and replant immediately. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring or early summer. It is best to pot them up in a cold frame until well rooted, and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the whole plant is used externally to lighten freckles. This species is one of several species that are the source of the medicinal gentian root, the following notes are based on the general uses of a Gentiana acaulis which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.


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/Gentiana_acaulis
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentiana+acaulis

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Herbs & Plants

Gaultheria shallon

Botanical Name: Gaultheria shallon
Family: Ericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Gaultheria
Species:G. shallon

Common Names: Shallon, Salal

Habitat:
Gaultheria shallon is native to western N. America – British Columbia to California. Occasionally naturalized in Britain. It grows on sandy or peaty soils in shady positions from the coast up to elevations of 800 metres.

Description:
Gaultheria shallon is 0.4 to 3.05 metres (1+1/2 to 10 feet) tall, sprawling to erect. It is loosely to densely branched and often forms dense, nearly impenetrable thickets. The twigs are reddish-brown, with shredding bark. Twigs can live up to 16 years or more, but bear leaves only the first few years.

Its evergreen leaves are dense, leathery, and tough, of egg-headed shape. They are shiny and dark green on the upper surface, and rough and lighter green on the lower. Each finely and sharply serrate leaf is 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) long. Each leaf generally lives for 2 to 4 years before it is replaced.

The inflorescence of flowers consists of a bracteate raceme, one-sided, with 5–15 flowers at the ends of branches. Each flower is composed of a deeply five-parted, glandular-haired calyx and an urn-shaped pink to white, glandular to hairy, five-lobed petals (corolla), 7 to 10 millimetres (1/4 to 3/8 in) long.

The fruit is reddish to blue, rough-surfaced, covered in tiny hairs, nearly spherical and 6 to 10 mm in diameter. The fruits are ‘pseudoberries’, or capsules made up of a fleshy outer calyx, and each fruit contains an average of 126 brown, reticulate seeds approximately 0.1 mm in length.

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Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid soils and can grow in very acid soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade, but it can also succeed in full sun. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil. One report says that it can succeed in dry shade and another that it can withstand considerable drought once it is established. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A vigorous suckering plant, it can be invasive when growing in good conditions, but responds to cutting back. It also succeeds when planted under trees. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus]. Special Features: North American native. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 8 through 6. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of “heat days” experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form – tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. An evergreen. The plant growth habit is a running thicket former forming a colony from shoots away from the crown spreading indefinitely . The root pattern is flat with shallow roots forming a plate near the soil surface . The root pattern is stoloniferous rooting from creeping stems above the ground.

Propagation:
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 – 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 – 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 – 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring when new growth is about 7cm tall. Divided plants can be rather slow to get established. We have found that it is best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a shady position in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are edible, eaten – raw, cooked or dried for later use. Sweet and juicy with a pleasant flavour, it makes good raw eating. The fruit can also be made into preserves, pies, drinks etc or be dried and used like raisins. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter and is produced over a period of several weeks in late summer. A pleasant tea is made from the leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
A poultice of the toasted, pulverized leaves has been applied to cuts. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied to burns and sores. The leaves have been chewed to dry the mouth. An infusion of the leaves have been used as a stomach tonic and a treatment for diarrhoea, coughs, TB etc.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses: Erosion control, Ground cover, Hedge, Massing. A purple dye is obtained from the fruit. It is dark green. A greenish-yellow dye is obtained from the infused leaves. A ground cover plant for a shady position under trees, spreading slowly by means of suckers. It should be spaced about 90cm apart each way.

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/Gaultheria_shallon
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gaultheria+shallon

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Herbs & Plants

Gaultheria japonica

Botanical Name: Gaultheria japonica
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Gaultheria
Class: Dicotyledon
Order: Bicornes

Common Names: Creeping Snowberry

Habitat: Gaultheria japonica is native to E. Asia – central and northern Japan. It grows on the mossy grounds under conifers at elevations of 1600 – 2000 metres.

Desacription:
Gaultheria japonica is an evergreen shrub with slender, loosely-branched, prostrate stems 20 – 60cm long . It’s groth rate is very fast. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine
. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil. A fast growing plant. The plant can make a good nesting place for mice, these mice then eat the bark of the stems in winter causing die-back. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Gaultheria japonica bears a close resemblance to G. hispidula (L.) Bigelow of N. America and sometimes treated as a variety or subspecies of the latter. G. japonica, however, has calyx much longer than the bracteoles, ovate and acute calyx lobes, and shorter anther projections. In G. hispidula the calyx is as long as or slightly longer than the bracteoles, the calyx lobes are broadly ovate and obtuse or subacute, and the anthers have distinct projections.

Propagation:
Through seeds> The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 – 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist[78]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 – 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 – 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring just before new growth begins. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Layering.


Edible Uses:
Fruits are edible, eaten – raw or cooked. Pleasantly acid and refreshing, with a delicate flavour of wintergreen. An agreeable sub-acid taste, similar to G. shallon. They can be made into delicious preserves[183]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200]. Leaves – raw or cooked. The leaves are used to make a tea. A mild flavour of wintergreen. Said to be superior to china tea.
Medicinal Uses:
The plant is said to remove the cancerous taint from the body. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a tonic for a person who has overeaten.

Other Uses:
A useful fast growing very good ground cover plant for shady positions.
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://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gaultheria+japonica
https://www.bing.com/search?q=description++of+Gaultheria+japonica+plant&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=description+of+gaultheria+japonica+plant&sc=6-40&sk=&cvid=6927BE43268F41F397EE766424C0D36A&ghsh=0&ghacc=0&ghpl=

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Herbs & Plants

Gaultheria hispida

Botanical Name: Gaultheria hispida
Family: Ericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales
Genus: Gaultheria


Common Names:Snowberry or Copperleaf snowberry

Habitat: Gaultheria hispida is native to Australia – Tasmania.. It grows on the mountains to 1200 metres. Usually in wet eucalyptus forests in the montane and sub-alpine zone

Description:
Gaultheria hispida is a small, erect multi-branched shrub that can grow up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in a protected site, such as a forest, but will be smaller in more exposed alpine sites. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. Its leaves grow to be 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) long and appear dark green and glossy with depressed veins and finely serrated leaf margins, tinged copper. Stems are usually red with terminal clusters of small white, urn-shaped flowers at its apex. The plant flowers in Spring through Summer followed by distinctive snowy white sepals enclosing reddish capsules or “fruit” in Autumn. The fruit is about 8 – 10mm wide.

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Cultivation:
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils. Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil. Prefers a warmer climate than Britain in order to do really well, but it is quite hardy here. It is sometimes temperamental in cultivation. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland).

Propagation:
Gaultheria hispida can be easily propagated from cuttings or seeds, making it a favourable garden plant. The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 – 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 – 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 – 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring just before new growth begins. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Layering.

Edible Uses:
The fruit of G. hispida are edible and have bitter taste. They were commonly collected by Tasmanian Aboriginal People as bushfood and were eaten by early settlers. Other members of the genus Gaultheria have been used to make teas and jellies, and even claimed to have natural anti-inflammatory properties.


Medicinal Uses: The plant is said to remove the cancerous taint from the body. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a tonic for a person who has overeaten.


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/Gaultheria_hispida
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gaultheria+hispida

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