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Herbs & Plants

Mahonia pumila

Botanical Name: Mahonia pumila
Family: Berberidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Berberis
Species: M. pumila

Synonyms:
*Berberis pumila
*Odostemon pumilus

Common Names: Dwarf Barberry

Habitat: Mahonia pumila is native to South-western N. America – California and southern Oregon. It grows on mountains. Open woods and rocky areas at elevations of 300 – 1200 metres.

Description:
Mahonia pumila is an evergreen shrub growing 10 – 40cm tall. The plant suckers at the base, producing a cluster of unbranched stems. Stems monomorphic, without short axillary shoots. Bark of 2d-year stems gray-brown or purplish, glabrous. Bud scales 3-6 mm, deciduous. Spines absent. Leaves 3-9-foliolate; petioles 0.5-4 cm. Leaflet blades thick and rigid; surfaces abaxially dull, papillose, adaxially dull, glaucous; terminal leaflet stalked, at least on most leaves, blade 4-8 × 2-5 cm, 1.3-1.9 times as long as wide; lateral leaflet blades ovate to oblong-ovate or elliptic, 1(-3)-veined from base, base obtuse, rarely truncate, margins plane or undulate, toothed, with 2-10 teeth 1-3 mm tipped with spines to 1.6-3 – 0.3-0.4(-0.5) mm, apex obtuse or rounded, rarely broadly acuminate. Inflorescences racemose, dense, 30-45-flowered, 2-4 cm; bracteoles membranous, apex rounded or obtuse, sometimes apiculate. Flowers: anther filaments with distal pair of recurved lateral teeth. Berries dark blue, glaucous, oblong-ovoid to spheric, 5-8 mm, juicy, solid. 2n = 28.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and a medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental, where it can be used as a ground cover.

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Cultivation:
Mahonia pumila is hardy to about -15°c if growing in a sheltered position.
An easily grown plant, it thrives in any good well-drained garden soil, preferring one on the dryish side. Prefers a sunny position, but also succeeds in the light shade of trees.
Established plants sucker freely and form quite dense thickets Resistant to honey fungus.

Some Berberis/Mahonia species (especially Berberis vulgaris) harbour the black stem-rust fungus (Puccinia graminis Persoon). This is a major disease of wheat and barley crops and can spread from infected barberries to the grain crop. The sale or transport of susceptible or untested species of Berberis is illegal in the United States and Canada This species is resistant to infection by the fungus.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are eaten – raw or cooked. We have seen no reports of edibility for this species, but it is certainly not poisonous. The fruit is likely to have an acid flavour and be suitable for making jams. jellies etc. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the roots is used as a blood tonic and as a treatment for coughs.
Mahonia species have a long history of medicinal usage, with several members of the genus being commonly used in traditional medicine and also in modern herbalism. They are employed in the treatment of a wide range of conditions and have, in particular, been demonstrated to exert good efficacy in the clinical treatment of dysentery, internal and external haemorrhage, acne vulgaris and chronic pharyngitis amongst other diseases. Phytochemical research into this genus has resulted in the identification of more than 150 chemical constituents, amongst which alkaloids are predominant. The isolated compounds and crude extracts have been shown to exhibit a wide spectrum of in vitro and in vivo pharmacological effects, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antimutagenic and analgesic properties.
Berberine, an alkaloid that is universally present in the rhizomes and stems of Mahonia species, has been shown to have a marked antibacterial effect. and is also used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it can be used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery
Berberine has also shown antitumour activity.

The plant should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine.

Agroforestry Uses: This species forms suckers freely and should make a good dense ground cover in a sunny position.

Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the inner bark of the stem and roots It is green.
Dark green, violet and dark blue-purple dyes are obtained from the fruit. A green dye is obtained from the leaves.

Known Hazards:
All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid berberine – this is most concentrated in the roots, stems and inner bark, and least concentrated in the fruits. In small quantities berberine has a range of effective medicinal applications but, in excess, can cause vomiting, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, lethargy, and other ill-effects.
The fruit of most, if not all, members of this genus are more or less edible and can be eaten in quantity since the levels of berberine in the fruit are very low.

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/Berberis_pumila
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mahonia+pumila
http://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Mahonia+pumila
https://plants.jstor.org/compilation/Mahonia.pumila

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Herbs & Plants

Mahonia haematocarpa

Botanical Name: Mahonia haematocarpa
Family: Berberidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Berberis
Species: B. haematocarpa

Synonyms:
*Mahonia haematocarpa (Woot.) Fedde
*Berberis nevinii var. haematocarpa (Wooton) L. D. Benson

Common Names: Mexican Barberry, Red barberry, Red Mexican barbery, Colorado barberry

Habitat : Mahonia haematocarpa is native to South-western N. America – Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Mexico. It grows on slopes and flats in desert shrubland, desert grassland, and dry oak woodland; 900-2300 m; Arizona., California., Colorado., Nevada., New Mexico, Tex.; Mexico.

Description:
Berberis haematocarpa is a shrub growing up to 3–4 m (9.8–13.1 ft) tall, with stiff and erect branches. It has thick, rigid pinnate leaves of several centimeters long. Each is made up of a few thick 3-7 lance-shaped leaflets with very spiny toothed edges. They are a glaucus whitish-gray in color, due to a thick cuticle of wax.
The inflorescences bear 3 to 5 bright yellow flowers, each with nine sepals and six petals all arranged in whorls of three. The plant blooms from February to June.
The fruit is a juicy, edible deep red to purplish-red berry, spherical and up to 8 mm (0.31 in) across.

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This species is very closely related to Mahonia fremontii, being distinguished by the fruit which is blue-black in Mahonia fremontii and red in Mahonia haematocarpa
The genus Mahonia is not universally accepted. Many botanists prefer to treat it as part of Berberis – as per the Flora of N. America. However, although they are very closely related (and there are some intergeneric hybrids), from the point of view of the gardener they are quite distinct genera. We are therefore following the treatment in the Flora of China. which treats them as distinct. There is, however, at least one major revision (of the Chinese genera) currently (2016) in preparation and we will review the position of Mahonia once we have seen that revision.

Cultivation:
Mahonia haematocarpa is native to semi-arid regions of southwestern N. America. It only hardy in the milder areas of the temperate zone, tolerating short-lived temperatures down to about -10°c when fully dormant. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts.
Unlike most members of this genus, this species requires a dry, perfectly drained position in full sun, a gritty slightly acid soil is best. It grows best on a sunny south facing wall in Britain and does well in a hot, dry position. It requires a position sheltered from strong or cold winds.
The flowers are fragrant.

Edible Uses:
Fruit is eaten – raw or cooked. Juicy and acidic, it is used mainly for making jams and jellies in N. America. It makes an acceptable raw fruit and is especially nice when added to porridges or muesli. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
Inner wood shavings can be soaked in water to make an eyewash. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn.

Other Uses:
A green dye is obtained from the roots. Yellow according to another report . A green dye is obtained from the leaves. Dark green, violet and dark blue-purple dyes are obtained from the fruit.

Known Hazards:
All parts of the plant contain the alkaloid berberine – this is most concentrated in the roots, stems and inner bark, and least concentrated in the fruits. In small quantities berberine has a range of effective medicinal applications but, in excess, can cause vomiting, lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, lethargy, and other ill-effects.
The fruit of most, if not all, members of this genus are more or less edible and can be eaten in quantity since the levels of berberine in the fruit are very low.

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/Berberis_haematocarpa
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mahonia+haematocarpa
http://temperate.theferns.info/plant/Mahonia+haematocarpa

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Herbs & Plants

Mahonia fortunei

Botanical Name: Mahonia fortunei
Family: Berberidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Mahonia
Species: M. fortunei

Synonyms: Berberis fortunei Lindl.

Common Names: Chinese mahonia, Fortune’s mahonia, and Holly grape.

Habitat:
Mahonia fortunei is native to E. Asia – China. It is found in the provinces of Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, and Zhejiang.

Some authorities place the genus Mahonia in Berberis because there is no definite morphological distinction between the two genera. The subject awaits in-depth genetic analysis.

Description:
Mahonia fortunei is an evergreen shrub that usually grows up to 2 meters tall, but sometimes reaches 4 meters. It is upright, spreading, and somewhat rounded. It has a slow to moderate rate of growth and a moderate density. The leaves are odd-pinnately compound and alternately arranged. They are dull to dark green on top and pale yellowish green on the undersides. The blades measure up to 28 centimeters long by 18 wide. The foliage is borne in bunches at the stem tips. The inflorescence is a raceme with 4 to 10 fascicles of yellow flowers. The flowers have a sweet scent and are insect-pollinated. Bloom color is yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Early spring, Early winter, Late fall, Late spring, Late winter, Mid fall, Mid spring, Mid winter. Form: Rounded, Upright or erect. The fruit is a rounded purple-blue berry about half a centimeter long.

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Cultivation:
This species is widely cultivated in China and in other places, such as Indonesia, Japan, and United States. This species is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. It has multicolored leaves and yellow flowers. The fruits attract birds. It does not tend to have pests, and it is heat-tolerant. It makes an adequate hedge and it can be confined to a container for use as a houseplant. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Edible Uses:
The fruit is edible and acidic in flavor but it has numerous seeds. It can be eaten cooked or raw and contains a good amount of vitamin C. It is eaten – raw or cooked. An acid flavour, but it makes an acceptable dessert fruit and is especially nice when added to muesli or porridge. Unfortunately, there is relatively little flesh and a lot of seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
This and many other related species contain the alkaloid berberine, a chemical being studied for its therapeutic potential. The leaf is anticancer. A decoction of the root is febrifuge and odontalgic. Berberine, universally present in rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in the treatment of various enteric infections, especially bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown antitumour activity. The root and root bark are best harvested in the autumn.

Other Uses: It is grown as an ornamental in many lands, with common names including Chinese mahonia, Fortune’s mahonia, and holly grape.

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/Mahonia_fortunei
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Mahonia+fortunei

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Herbs & Plants

Lindera benzoin

Botanical Name: Lindera benzoin
Family: Lauraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Laurales
Genus: Lindera
Species: L. benzoin

Common Names: Spicebush, Common spicebush, Northern spicebush, Wild allspice, or Benjamin bush

Habitat: Lindera benzoin is native to Eastern N. America – Maine and Ontario to Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas. It grows in wet woods and by streams on sandy or peaty soils. Stream banks, low woods, margins of wetlands; uplands, especially with exposed limestone, from sea level to 1200 metres.

Description:
Lindera benzoin is a deciduous shrub growing to 6–12 feet (1.8–3.7 m) tall. It has a colonial nature and often reproduces by root sprouting, forming clumps or thickets. The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem, simple, 6–15 cm (2–6 in) long and 2–6 cm (1–2 in) broad, oval or broadest beyond the middle of the leaf. They have a smooth edge with no teeth and are dark green above and paler below. The leaves, along with the stems are very aromatic when crushed with a spicy, citrusy smell, hence the common names and the specific epithet benzoin. In the fall the leaves turn a very bright and showy yellow color.

The yellow flowers grow in showy clusters which appear in early spring, before the leaves begin to grow. The flowers have 6 sepals and a very sweet odor. The ripe fruit is a red, elipsoidal, berrylike drupe, rich in lipids, about 1 cm (1?2 in) long and is eaten by several bird species. It has a “turpentine-like” taste and aromatic scent, and contains a large seed. Spicebush is dioecious (plants are either male or female), so that both sexes are needed in a garden if one wants drupes with viable seeds.

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Like other dioecious plants, the female plants have a greater cost of reproduction compared to the male plants. In the wild, the population tends to have more males than females possibly due to the heavier reproductive costs on females.

The stem of L. benzoin has a slightly rough, but flat, bark which is covered in small, circular lenticels which give it a rough texture.

Cultivation:
Lindera benzoin is often cultivated in gardens or edges of gardens. The brightly colored fruits and early flowers along with the spherical growth form make the plant desirable in gardens. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-9 and tolerates shade excellently but will also grow in full sun. When grown in sun the plant tends to grow denser and have more berries and flowers compared to growing in shade or partial shade. It is best to grow the plant from seed as its extensive rootsystem does not handle transplanting well. At least three cultivars have been developed although they are rarely available:

*Rubra’ has brick red male flowers, the winter buds are also a darker red brown color. Since it is male it produces no fruit.

*Xanthocarpa,’ which has yellow-orange fruits, was discovered in Arnold Arboretum in 1967 by Alfred Fordham.

*Green gold’ a male, non-fruiting cultivar with larger ornamental flowers.

Although several butterflies and moths used spicebush as a host, they are not considered a serious pest.

Edible Uses:
The young leaves, twigs and fruit contain an aromatic essential oil and make a very fragrant tea. The twigs are best gathered when in flower as the nectar adds considerably to the flavour. The dried and powdered fruit is used as a substitute for the spice ‘allspice. The fruit is about the size of an olive. The leaves can also be used as a spice substitute. The new bark is pleasant to chew.

Medicinal Uses:
Spice bush has a wide range of uses as a household remedy, especially in the treatment of colds, dysentery and intestinal parasites. It warrants scientific investigation. The bark is aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It is pleasant to chew. It is used in the treatment of coughs and colds. The bark can be harvested at any time of the year and is used fresh or dried. The fruits are carminative. The oil from the fruits has been used in the treatment of bruises and rheumatism. A tea made from the twigs was a household remedy for colds, fevers, worms and colic. A steam bath of the twigs is used to cause perspiration in order to ease aches and pains in the body. The young shoots are harvested during the spring and can be used fresh or dried. The bark is diaphoretic and vermifuge. It was once widely used as a treatment for typhoid fevers and other forms of fevers.

Other Uses:
The leaves contain small quantities of camphor and can be used as an insect repellent and disinfectant[169]. An oil with a lavender-like fragrance is obtained from the leaves. The fruit, upon distillation, yield a spice-scented oil resembling camphor. An oil smelling of wintergreen is obtained from the twigs and bark.

Many animals feed on the leaves, twigs, and berries of spicebush. Some mammals include whitetail deer, Eastern cottontail rabbit, opossums. Over 20 species of birds including both gamebirds and song birds such as ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite, ruffed grouse and others have been known to feed on spicebush. The berries are a favorite food of wood thrushs.

Spicebush is a favorite food plant of two lepidopterous insects: the spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) and the promethea silkmoth (Callosamia promethea). It also supports the caterpillars of the cynthia moth, eastern tiger swallowtail, imperial moth, and the tulip tree beauty.

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/Lindera_benzoin
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lindera+benzoin

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Herbs & Plants

Lecythis corrugata

Botanical Name: Lecythis corrugata
Family: Lecythidaceae
Subfamily:Lecythidoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms:
*Bergena Adans.
*Cercophora Miers
*Chytroma Miers
*Holopyxidium Ducke
*Sapucaya R.Knuth
*Pachylecythis Ledoux

*Lecythis rosea Spruce ex O.Berg
*Chytroma rosea (Spruce ex O.Berg) Miers ex
*Eschweilera conduplicata A.C.Sm.
*Bertholletia minor M.Choisy

Common Names: Mahot rouge, Guacharaco ( Venezuela: Cabullo, Kumaiteka (Arekuna language), Tabari (Arekuna language).

Habitat: Lecythis corrugata is native to South. America – northern Brazil, Venezuela, the Guyanas. It is a common plant of rain forests and marsh forests, especially along the sides of water courses.

Description:
Lecythis corrugata is an evergreen tree with a fairly long, narrow crown; it can grow up to 30 metres tall. The bole has shallow, longitudinal furrows, it can be unbranched for 12 metres or more, around 40cm in diameter with buttresses at the base.Leaf blades narrowly to widely elliptic, oblong to widely oblong, or narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 8-18.5 x4-9.5 cm, the adaxial surface with conspicuous, longitudinally oriented striations; secondary veins in 17-23 pairs. Calyx-lobes 5.5-8 x 3.5-5 mm . It flowers most profusely from Nov to Jan but flowering collections have also been made from Feb to Apr and in Sep.The flowers are pollinated by Bees, insects. The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and as a source of wood.

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Cultivation & propagation: This plant grows well in rain forests. they are propagated through seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the bark is used to treat diarrhoea.
A decoction of the bark is poured onto cuts in order to accelerate the healing process.
Other Uses
The inner bark is long and stiingy like that of the Lime-tree (Tilia spp.). The inner bark of the lime is a source of fibre .

The heartwood is a reddish or greyish-brown; it is not clearly demarcated from the 4cm wide band of light brown sapwood. The grain is fine and dense, the wood cold and smooth to the touch with a peculiar smell when worked, but no discernible taste when seasoned. It is heavy; hard, becoming harder with age; exceedingly strong and hard to break transversely; durable to very durable. There are differing reports on its ability to resist the attacks of toredo and barnacles. It is widely recognized for its high resistance to marine borers. The wood is very hard to saw and plane; it is fissile, taking nails badly; it turns and polishes indifferently, except in the best qualities; it cleaves straight. The wood is not very ornamental, but can be used for house-framing, wharves and sluices.

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/Lecythis
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lecythis+corrugata
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Lecythis+corrugata
http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/projects/lp/taxon-details/?irn=133650