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Herbs & Plants

Urn Plant

Botanical Name: Aechmea fasciata
Family: Bromeliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Genus: Aechmea
Subgenus: Aechmea subg. Platyaechmea
Species:A. fasciata

Common Names: Urn Plant, Aechmea, Silver Vase PlantUrn, Vase Plant

Habitat:Urn Plant is native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas.

Description:
Grow in bright but filtered light as a house plant. Indoor perennial herb . The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm (12–35 in) in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm (24 in). It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm (18–35 in) long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern. They like to have moisture in the cup-like space of the whorl of leaves. Do not overwater in the winter and remove dead leaves as necessary to maintain a quality appearance. It does die after flowering but often produces pups that can be transplanted. If you would like to try to force the plant to flower place a cut apple near the plant and cover with a plastic bag for a few weeks. Keep the plant out of direct sunlight. The ethylene released from the apple should induce flowering.

In its native habitat, it will grow in the ground or in trees without taking any nourishment from the tree. This is a stemless plant that typically grows 1-3′ tall in a basal rosette of stiff, arching, broad, strap-shaped, elliptic-oval, silvery-green leaves which resemble an urn. Leaf margins have black spines. An urn plant shoot blooms only once and then dies. But the bloom is spectacular.

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Uses:
It is air-feeder, collecting nourishment from water and decaying mater in the upturned cup of their leaves. Aechmea fasciata do not really use their roots other than for anchoring. Aechmea fasciata have adapted to their environment and are always arranged in a rosette, shaped to capture and hold the water.

Garden Uses:
Good flowering houseplant.

Known Hazards: Aechmea fasciata is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database under the section for “Skin irritating substances in plants” and is known to cause contact dermititis, phytophoto dermatitis, and contact allergy.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aechmea_fasciata
https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/aechmea/
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=b647

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Herbs & Plants

Ursinia calenduliflora

Botanical Name: Ursinia calenduliflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Ursinia
Type species: Ursinia paradoxa

Synonyms:
*Sphenogyne R.Br.
*Ursiniopsis E.Phillips
*Chronobasis DC. ex Benth. & Hook.f.

Common Names: Namaqua parachute daisy, Springbok rock-ursinia; Bergmagriet, Berggousblom (Afrikaans).

Habitat:Ursinia calenduliflora is native to Richtersveld Mountains to Springbok and the Kamiesberg Mountains.It grows in sandy soil on rocky slopes in Namaqualand, the semi-desert region in the Northern Cape that is well known for its spectacular displays of spring flowers.

Description:
Ursinia calenduliflora is an annual herb, up to 350 mm high, with finely dissected, fresh green, hairless leaves. The flower is a large, bright orange-yellow daisy, up to 50 mm in diameter, and a single flower is produced at the tip of a long, thin flower stalk. The ray florets are sterile and orange or occasionally yellow, with a purple spot at the base. The disc florets are hermaphrodite (contain male and female reproductive structures) and are yellow. There are two different flower forms, one with a dark ring of purple spots around the yellow centre and one with no dark ring.

Flowers are produced from mid- winter to spring, (July to September), depending on the weather; in a year with good and early rains, they will start flowering in July, and if the rain persists, they could continue flowering into late spring, however, in years with little rain, the flowers will be fewer and will be produced over a shorter period. The involucral bracts are free and occur in many, densely overlapping rows, and have conspicuous membranous tips.

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Uses:
Ursinia calenduliflora is not used in traditional medicine, nor is it widely grown in gardens. It is easy and rewarding to grow and a colourful bedding plant for spring display.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursinia
http://pza.sanbi.org/ursinia-calenduliflora

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Herbs & Plants

Epiphyllum xypetalum

Botanical Name: Epiphyllum xypetalum
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Epiphyllum
Species: E. oxypetalum

Synonyms:
*Cactus oxypetalus Moc. & Sessé ex DC.
*Cereus latifrons Zucc.
*Cereus oxypetalus DC.
*Epiphyllum acuminatum K.Schum.
*Epiphyllum grande (Lem.) Britton & Rose

Common Names: Dutchman’s pipe cactus or Queen/princess of the nigh
Orchid cactus, Jungle cactus, Night blooming cereus, Dutchman’s Pipe • Hindi: Nishagandhi • Marathi: Brahma kamal • Urdu: Gul-e bakawali • Mizo: Bethlehempar

Vernacular Names:
In India, it is called Iruludavare in Kannada, meaning ‘night lotus’. Brahma Kamalam in Sanskrit, named after the Hindu god of creation, Lord Brahma. It is believed that the wishes of people who pray to God while the flower is blooming will be fulfilled. Also it is called Gulebakavali in Ancient Tamil. It is called Kadupul flower in Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka’s native blossom)

The Chinese chengyu (four character idiom) use this flower to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a “flash in a pan,” since an Epiphyllum oxypetalum plant might bloom only once a year over a few days. Therefore, someone described as is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky. The flower also has a rich history in Japan, where it is known as the (Gekka Bijin) or “Beauty under the Moon”. In Sri Lanka it is called “Kadupul” which means the flower from heaven. In Indonesia it is called “Wijaya Kusuma” which means “Flower of Triumph”.

Habitat: Epiphyllum oxypetalum is native to Southern Mexico and to extensive areas of South America. It is widely cultivated, escapes from cultivation in tropical areas especially in the southeast Asia, and has become naturalised in China.

Description:
Epiphyllum xypetalum is a shrub growing on trees, freely branched, 2-6 m tall, with aerial roots. Old stems and basal extension shoots round, to 2 m or more, woody; branches numerous, dark green, laterally flattened, leaflike, lanceshaped to oblong-lanceshaped, 15-100 × 5-12 cm, hairless, base wedge-shaped, narrowed, or stalked, margin wavy to deeply rounded toothed, tip pointed to tapering; midrib 2-6 mm wide, stout. Areoles small, spineless.

The flower blooms at night, since the flowers are predominantly pollinated by bats and large moths. They have large white star-like flowers to help their pollinators locate the blossoms by moon or star light, and many have very lovely fragrances. Pure white flowers, the size of a dinner plate, open as soon as the sun goes down and stay open all night, closing in the morning.

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Flowers nocturnal, fragrant, funnel-shaped, 25-30 × 10-27 cm. Receptacle tube 13-18 cm, base green, 4-9 mm in diameter, slightly angled, with triangular to lanceshaped scales 3-10 mm. Sepaloids often recurved, pale green or pinkish red, linear to inverted-lanceshaped. Petaloids white, inverted-lanceshaped to obovate, 7-10 × 3-4.5 cm. Filaments white, 2.5-5 mm; anthers cream, 3-3.5 mm. Style white, 20-22 cm; stigmas 15-20, cream, narrowly linear, 1.6-1.8 mm. Fruit rare, purplish red, oblong, about 16 × 5.7 cm. Seed 2-2.5 × about 1.5 mm. Fl. Jun-Oct.

Cultivation:
Epiphyllum oxypetalum is an easily cultivated, fast growing Epiphyllum. It flowers in late spring through late summer; large specimens can produce several crops of flowers in one season. This is the most commonly grown of the Epiphyllum species.

it usually takes at least three years before you will begin to get flowers. A cutting takes time to grow new branches. Buds will appear in the notches (areoles) along the branches. A plant that is already rooted and growing will usually bloom in less than three years.

Edible Uses:
The fruit of Epiphyllum oxypetalum is edible, very similar to the pitaya fruit from the closely related genus Hylocereus, though not so large, being only 3–4 cm long.

Medicinal Uses:
The indigenous peoples of America have used the night blooming cereus as a topical remedy for rheumatism and itchy rashes, as well as an internal herbal remedy for worms, cystitis and fever.

The Native American tribe Death Valley Shoshone called this plant “pain in the heart”, and used it to treat angina-like pains. Several other tribes of Native Americans use the stem to treat diabetes.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is used in homeopathy and recommended for urinary tract infections, for heart conditions such as the crushing pain of angina and for spasmodic pain and haemorrhage.

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/Epiphyllum_oxypetalum
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Orchid%20Cactus.html

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Herbs & Plants

Tulip

Botanical Name:Tulipa gesneriana
Family: Liliaceae
Subfamily:Lilioideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Tribe: Lilieae
Genus: Tulipa

Common Names: Tulip, Didier’s tulip or Garden tulip

Habitat: The origin of this plant could not be found, though it is naturalized in S.W. Europe.(very popular in Holand).It grows in and arround cultivated land.

Description:
Tulip is a genus of spring-blooming perennial herbaceous bulbiferous geophytes, dying back after flowering to an underground storage bulb. Depending on the species, tulip plants can be between 10 and 70 cm (4 and 28 inches) high.

Flowers: The tulip’s flowers are usually large and are actinomorphic (radially symmetric) and hermaphrodite (contain both male (androecium) and female (gynoecium) characteristics), generally erect, or more rarely pendulous, and are arranged more usually as a single terminal flower, or when pluriflor as two to three (e.g. Tulipa turkestanica), but up to four, flowers on the end of a floriferous stem (scape), which is single arising from amongst the basal leaf rosette. In structure, the flower is generally cup or star shaped. As with other members of Liliaceae the perianth is undifferentiated (perigonium) and biseriate (two whorled), formed from six free (i.e. apotepalous) caducous tepals arranged into two separate whorls of three parts (trimerous) each. The two whorls represent three petals and three sepals, but are termed tepals because they are nearly identical. The tepals are usually petaloid (petal like), being brightly coloured, but each whorl may be different, or have different coloured blotches at their bases, forming darker colouration on the interior surface. The inner petals have a small, delicate cleft at the top, while the sturdier outer ones form uninterrupted ovals. Tulip flowers come in a wide variety of colours, except pure blue (several tulips with “blue” in the name have a faint violet hue), and have absent nectaries. Tulip flowers are generally bereft of scent and are the coolest of floral characters. The Dutch regarded this lack of scent as a virtue, as it demonstrates the flower’s chasteness.

Androecium: The flowers have six distinct, basifixed introrse stamens arranged in two whorls of three, which vary in length and may be glabrous or hairy. The filaments are shorter than the tepals and dilated towards their base.

Gynoecium: The style is short or absent and each stigma has three distinct lobes, and the ovaries are superior, with three chambers.

Fruit: The tulip’s fruit is a globose or ellipsoid capsule with a leathery covering and an ellipsoid to globe shape. Each capsule contains numerous flat, disc-shaped seeds in two rows per chamber. These light to dark brown seeds have very thin seed coats and endosperm that does not normally fill the entire seed.

Leaves: Tulip stems have few leaves. Larger species tend to have multiple leaves. Plants typically have two to six leaves, some species up to 12. The tulip’s leaf is cauline (born on a stem), strap-shaped, with a waxy coating, and the leaves are alternate (alternately arranged on the stem), diminishing in size the further up the stem. These fleshy blades are often bluish-green in colour.The bulbs are truncated basally and elongated towards the apex. They are covered by a protective tunic (tunicate) which can be glabrous or hairy inside.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a sunny position in a well-drained sandy soil with added leafmould. The bulbs are very hardy, surviving soil temperatures down to about -12°c. This is a complicated species, or perhaps a group of very closely related species, some members of which are probably native to Europe. It is a parent of the cultivated garden tulips. The flowers are sweetly scented. Bulbs can be harvested in June after they have died down and then stored in a cool dry place, being planted out again in October.

Edible Uses:
Bulb – cooked. It can be dried and ground into a powder and then mixed with cereals when making bread etc. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity.

Tulip petals are edible flowers. The taste varies by variety and season, and is roughly similar to lettuce or other salad greens. Some people are allergic to tulips.

Tulip bulbs look similar to onions, but should not generally be considered food. The toxicity of bulbs is not well-understood, nor is there an agreed-upon method of safely preparing them for human consumption. There have been reports of illness when eaten, depending on quantity. During the Dutch famine of 1944–45, tulip bulbs were eaten out of desperation, and Dutch doctors provided recipes

Medicinal Uses: Not known to us.

Other Uses:
Plants have been grown indoors in pots in order to help remove toxins from the atmosphere. It has been shown to help remove formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tulipa+gesneriana

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Herbs & Plants

Impatiens aurella

Botanical Name: Impatiens aurella
Family: Balsaminaceae
Order :Ericales
Genus: Impatiens
Species:Impatiens aurella Rydb.
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Impatiens, Jewelweed, Touch-me-not, Snapweed and patience, Paleyellow touch-me-not

Habitat: Impatiens aurella native to Western N. America – Central Alaska to Oregon and Idaho.It grows on damp thickets and springy places.

Description:
Impatiens aurella is an annual herbs with succulent stems. Plant size varies from five centimetres to 2.5 meters. Stems are often rooting when becoming in contact with the soil. The leaves are entire, often dentate or sinuate with extra floral nectaries. Dependent of the species leaves can be thin to succulent. Particularly on the underside of the leaves, tiny air bubbles are trapped over and under the leaf surface, giving them a silvery sheen that becomes pronounced when they are held under water.

The zygomorph flowers of Impatiens are protandric. The calyx consists of five free sepals, of which one pair is oft strongly reduced. The non-paired sepal forms a flower spur producing nectar. In a group of species from Madagascar the spur is completely lacking, but they still have three sepals. The crown consists of five petals, of which the lateral pairs are fused each. The five stamens are fused and form a cap over the ovary, which falls off after the male phase. After the stamens have fallen off, the female phase starts and the stigma becomes receptive, which reduces self-pollination.

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Cultivation:
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool site. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun. This species is probably part of I. noli-tangere.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots – cooked in one change of water. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity. Seed – raw or cooked. They are tedious to collect in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidote, parasiticide. Used in the treatment of warts, ringworm, nettle stings, poison ivy rash etc.
North American impatiens have been used as herbal remedies for the treatment of bee stings, insect bites, and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) rashes. They are also used after poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) contact to prevent a rash from developing. The efficacy of orange jewelweed (I. capensis) and yellow jewelweed (I. pallida) in preventing poison ivy contact dermatitis has been studied, with conflicting results. A study in 1958 found that Impatiens biflora was an effective alternative to standard treatment for dermatitis caused by contact with sumac, while later studies found that the species had no antipruritic effects after the rash has developed. Researchers reviewing these contradictions state that potential reason for these conflicts include the method of preparation and timing of application. A 2012 study found that while an extract of orange jewelweed and garden jewelweed (I. balsamina) was not effective in reducing contact dermatitis, a mash of the plants applied topically decreased it.

Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the plant. No more details are given. Used as a hair rinse for itchy scalps. No more details are given. A fungicide is obtained from the plant. No more details are given but it is likely to be the juice of the plant that is used.

Known Hazards:
Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content[172]. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

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/Impatiens
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Impatiens+aurella