Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agave parryi

Botanical Name: Agave parryi
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily:Agavoideae
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Agave
Species:A. parryi

Common Names: Century Plant, Parry’s agave, Mescal

Habitat: Agave parryi is native to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. It grows on semi-arid land, 1300 – 2400 metres. Gravelly to rocky places in grasslands, desert scrub, chaparral, pinyon-juniper, and oak woodlands, 1200 – 2800 metres Ariz., N.Mex.; nw Mexico.

Description:
Agave parryi is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a slow rate.
. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Moths, bats.

The leaves are grey green and have a spine at the tip. One of the distinguishing features is that the point on the tip, which is typically dark tan, brown, or black, is darker than the leaf. Indentations of previous leaves show on the back of each leaf. The Huachuca variety grows in a rosette pattern as large as 2½ feet in diameter.

Because of its compact size, plus its low water use and low maintenance, Huachuca agave is considered a good landscaping plant for desert residential landscaping. It requires full sun.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses:
The heart of the plant is very rich in saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked. Sweet and nutritious, but rather fibrous. It is partly below ground. Seed – ground into a flour and used as a thickener in soups or used with cereal flours when making bread. Young flower stalk – raw or cooked. It was generally roasted. Tender young leaves – roasted. Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as a syrup. Nectar from the flowering stems is made into a sweet syrup. The sap can also be tapped by boring a hole into the middle of the plant at the base of the flowering stem. It can be fermented into ‘Mescal’, a very potent alcoholic drink.

Medicinal Uses:
The sap is antiseptic, diuretic and laxative.

Other Uses:
The leaves contain saponins and an extract of them can be used as a soap. It is best obtained by chopping up the leaves and then simmering them in water – do not boil for too long or this will start to break down the saponins. A very strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making rope, coarse fabrics etc. A paper can also be made from the fibre in the leaves. The thorns on the leaves are used as pins and needles. The dried flowering stems are used as a waterproof thatch and as a razor strop..

Known Hazards : The plants have a very sharp and tough spine at the tip of each leaf. They need to be carefully sited in the garden.

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/Agave_parryi
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Agave+parryi

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agave murpheyi

Botanical Name: Agave murpheyi
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Agave
Species: A. murpheyi

Common Names: Hohokam agave, Murphey agave, and Murphey’s century plant

Habitat: Agave murpheyi is native to Southern-central Arizona (U.S.A., Northern America) from the Bradshaw and New River Mountains, east to the Sierra Ancha Mountains and northern Sonora desert (Mexico). It grows in warm temperate to subtropical highlands, arid to semi-arid. Plants are usually found in close proximity of major drainage systems on open, hilly slopes or alluvial terraces in desert scrub with pre-Columbian agricultural and settlement features. Agave murpheyi grows at elevations from 400 to 900 meters.

Description:
Agave murpheyi is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a slow rate. It agave produces a rosette of leaves up to 80 centimeters long by 20 centimeters wide in shades of green to blue-green with pale banding. They develop a red coloration during flowering. The leaves may curl slightly toward the center. They are lined with small, straight teeth and tipped with a spine up to 2 centimeters long. The plant produces an inflorescence 3 to 4 meters tall with many flowers along the branches. The flowers are greenish with purple or brown tips and are up to 7.5 centimeters long. The fruit is a woody capsule 5 to 7 centimeters long containing seeds but these are rarely produced with the flowers aborting before the fruits form. Despite being untended for more than 500 years Hohokam agave continue to grow at a few old archaeological sites. This agave produces only by bulbils and hybridizes with Agave chrysantha in Arizona (almost all species labeled as Murphey agave are in fact hybrids with the Murphey agave being a hybrid of Agave palmeri x vivipara).

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Climate: warm temperate, tropical highlands. Humidity: arid to semi-arid. Grow it in porous soil with adequate drainage. It should be grown in full sun. The leaves will keep their blue-gray colour and the plants will stay more compact. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch, with supplemental water during hottest part of year. In winter watering this plant can be done once every 1-2 months, there is no need to mist the leaves. It is a cold hardy species. Agave murpheyi grows at elevations from 400 to 900 meters. Agave was cultivated by the Hohokam Indians in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico in rocky areas above the floodplain of the Santa Cruz river where more water-dependent crops were grown. The Hohokam planted agave in rockpiles about 5 ft (1.5 m) across and 2 ft (0.61 m) high. The pile of rocks around the base of the agave plant act as a mulch to help preserve moisture and prevent rodent predation. Hardy to at least -12° C. Carbon Farming Solutions – Cultivation: historic crop. Management: standard (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation.

Edible Uses:
Edible Portion: Heart, Growing tip. Agave murpheyi was cultivated by the Hohokam and possibly other Native Americans for both food and fiber. For food the basal rosette was harvested just before the Hohokam agave sent up a flower stalk. At this time the concentration of sugars in the rosette is at its highest The rosettes weighing about 4 kg were cooked for two or three days in a pit filled with hot stones and covered with hot coals and dirt. The baked rosette compared in taste to a sweet potato (although containing inedible fiber) is nutritious with 347 calories and 3.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. Carbon Farming Solutions – Staple Crop: basic starch (The term staple crop typically refers to a food that is eaten routinely and accounts for a dominant part of people’s diets in a particular region of the world).

Other Uses:Agave murpheyi was cultivated by the Hohokam and possibly other Native Americans for both food and fiber. A good potted plant. An excellent garden landscape plants. Accent Plant.

Known Hazards: Sharp Leaves.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_murpheyi
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Agave+murpheyi

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agathis robusta

Botanical Name: Agathis robusta
Family: Araucariaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Agathis
Species: A. robusta

Synonyms: Agathis palmerstonii

Common Names: Queensland Kauri,Queensland kauri pine or Smooth-barked kauri

Habitat: Agathis robusta is native to Australia – Queensland. It grows in the Rainforests ( near sea level to (in the N) 900 m. )

Description:
Agathis robusta is a large evergreen tree growing straight and tall to a height of 30–50 m, with smooth, scaly bark. The leaves are 5–12 cm long and 2–5 cm broad, tough and leathery in texture, with no midrib; they are arranged in opposite pairs (rarely whorls of three) on the stem. The seed cones are globose, 8–13 cm diameter, and mature in 18–20 months after pollination; they disintegrate at maturity to release the seeds. The male (pollen) cones are cylindrical, 5–10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm thick.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
This species tolerates temperatures down to about -7°c in Australian gardens, though this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers that often do not fully ripen new growth and our longer colder and wetter winters

Propagation:
Seed – it cannot tolerate desiccation and does not store for much more than 2 months in normal conditions. It does not require pre-treatment. Sowing is done with the wing part of the seed pointing upwards and 66% of the seed buried in the soil. Germination commences within 6 days, with 90 – 100% germination rates within 10 days. Cuttings of leading shoots.

Different Uses:
The Queensland kauri was heavily logged in the past, and spectacular trees of prodigious size are much rarer than in pre-European times; despite this, the species as a whole is not endangered.

The plant yields a fibre or canes. A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used to made ropes and nets.

The bark yields a resin known as dammar – used for making varnish etc.
Dammar is a hard resin, obtained from various trees of Southeast Asia. Traditionally, it is used for purposes such as caulking boats and baskets, as an adhesive, a medicine, as a fuel for torches and sometimes in foods. Dammar has many commercial applications, though many of these uses are less important nowadays due to the advent of synthetic materials. Commercially, it is an ingredient of inks, lacquers, oil paints, varnishes etc, and is used as a glazing agent in foods
.
Harvesting of the resin commences when the bole is around 25cm in diameter (approx 20 years old). Triangular cuts (becoming circular with age) are arranged in vertical rows around the trunk. The cuts are several centimetres wide at first, but become enlarged at every tapping and eventually become holes of 15 – 20cm in depth and width. The average number of holes for a tree about 30 metres tall and 60 – 80cm in diameter is 9 – 11 in each of 4 – 5 vertical rows. For the higher holes, the tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt and using the lower holes as footholds.
The exuded resin is allowed to dry on the tree before it is collected. The frequency with which the tree is visited to refreshen the cut varies from once a week to once a month, depending on how far the tree is from the village. Tapping can continue for 30 years.

The heartwood is a pale cream, golden brown, to dark reddish or yellowish brown if resinous; it is usually not distinct from the sapwood. The wood is lustrous; the grain mainly straight; texture fine and uniform; generally without distinctive odour or taste. It is soft, strong, somewhat durable, vulnerable to termite attack and prone to blue stain. It works easily with hand and machine tools, finishes with a clean smooth surface; has good nailing and screwing properties; good veneer peeling characteristics; paints and polishes well; easy to glue. It is used for a range of purposes, including vats and tanks, patternmaking, millwork, boatbuilding, furniture components, face veneers, shingles and pencil slats.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathis_robusta
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Agathis+robusta
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Agathis+robusta

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agathis moorei

Botanical Name: Agathis moorei
Family: Araucariaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Agathis
Species: A. moorei

Common Names: Pacific Kauri, Moore Kauri

Habitat : Agathis moorei is native to Western Pacific – New Caledonia. It occurs scattered throughout the main island in subtropical rainforest at altitudes of 250 metres (800 ft) to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It is threatened by habitat loss.

Description:
Agathis moorei is a medium-sized evergreen tree with a rounded crown that grows up to 30 m in height and 60-120 cm in diameter. Bark whitish, exfoliating in fine scales; inner bark tan or reddish. Branches fine, pendent at the tips. Leaves lanceolate to elliptic, attenuate, dark green above, pale below, 5-7 × 0.8-1.2 cm, nearly sessile. Juvenile leaves lanceolate, opposite, 20 × 3.3 cm, on a short, wide petiole. Buds short and round with a few large scales. Cones globular or pyriform, 10-15 × 9-12 cm; cone scales broadly rounded. Pollen cones cylindrical, 2.5-3 × 0.8-0.9 cm, on an 8-12 mm peduncle; scales imbricate, erose and finely denticulate. Seeds narrow, with one oblique wing and one small, acute wing.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Young plants grow better in the shelter and shade of the woodland, but require increasing amounts of light as they grow larger…

Propagation:
Seed – it cannot tolerate desiccation and does not store for much more than 2 months in normal conditions. It does not require pre-treatment. Sowing is done with the wing part of the seed pointing upwards and 66% of the seed buried in the soil. Germination commences within 6 days, with 90 – 100% germination rates within 10 days.Cuttings of leading shoots

Different Uses:
Agathis species in general yield a high quality resin, often known as Manila Copal. The resins obtained from Agathis borneensis, Agathis dammara, Agathis lanceolata, Agathis macrophylla and Agathis philippinensis are the most important commercially, but all members of the genus yield usuable quantities.
The resin is obtained in three forms. Firstly, it naturally exudes from the bark, branches, cones etc of the tree, especially as a result of any damage – some of these exudations can weigh as much as 20 kilos. The second form, known as fossil resin, is dug up from the ground – some of this resin can be of fairly recent origin (perhaps secreted by the roots of trees that have been felled, but much of it can be up to 50,000 years old, perhaps formed on a tree that fell naturally and was then gradually buried. The third form of resin is harvested by tapping the tree, though this can easily damage the tree and lead to premature death.
The resin has a range of applications. Traditionally it has been used as a fuel for camp fires, as a torch, as a waterproofing on boats, as a medicine, the smoke from the burning resin is used as a black dye and for tatooing. The resin is used commercially in making high quality varnishes, lacquers, linoleum.

The heartwood is a creamy-white or light yellow, often with a pink reflection, turning golden brown on exposure; it is not clearly demarcated from the 8 – 11cm wide band of heartwood. The texture is fine; the grain straight. The wood is light in weight, soft, not very durable, being susceptible to dry wood borers and termites, and moderately susceptible to fungi. The wood seasons well with only a slight risk of checking or distorting; once dried it is stable in service. It works well with normal tools; screwing and nailing are good; gluing is correct. The wood has a wide range of uses, including for cabinet work and high class furniture, interior panelling and joinery, turnery, wood ware, light carpentry, boxes and crates, cooperage, veneer etc.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathis_moorei
https://www.conifers.org/ar/Agathis_moorei.php
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Agathis+moorei

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agathis macrophylla

Botanical Name: Agathis macrophylla
Family: Araucariaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Genus: Agathis
Species: A. macrophylla

Synonyms:
*Agathis obtusa
*Agathis silbae
*Agathis vitiensis

Common Names: Dakua, Pacific kauri

Habitat: Agathis macrophylla is native to the islands of the southwestern Pacific Ocean in tropical humid lowlands and lower montane regions, notably in Fiji, Vanuatu, the Santa Cruz Islands, and the Solomon Islands. The Pacific kauri is one of the largest and fastest growing species in its genus, and is important in forestry.

Description:
Agathis macrophylla is a large evergreen coniferous tree, reaching 40 m in height and 3 m in diameter. It possesses the mottled, shedding bark that is characteristic of other kauri species. Young trees are narrow and conic in shape, but begin to grow a wider, deeper canopy after attaining a trunk diameter of 30–50 cm. In mature specimens, the trunk is generally straight or slightly tapered and clear for 15–20 m before branching into a spreading canopy up to 35 m in diameter. The root system is deep and strong, and the trees are highly wind resistant.

The leaves are green and glossy, elliptical to lanceolate, 7–15 cm long and 2–4 cm wide. They are borne on short petioles and held in a decussate pairs, but twisted so they lie in one plane. Leaves in the shade, of juvenile trees, and of individuals growing in wetter regions, tend to be larger.

Male cones of A. macrophylla are elliptical and measure roughly 2–5 cm long at pollen shed. The short pollen cones help distinguish this species from related Agathis species. Female (seed) cones are globular, 8–13 cm across, and are borne on short woody stalks. The majority of the cone crop matures early to mid February, as the cones turn brown and release the winged seeds, which are small, flattened, and attached to a wing about 3.5 cm in length. Wind dispersal is very efficient; seeds have been known to travel tens of kilometres in the wind, and may even travel hundreds of kilometres during the tropical cyclones that occur frequently in the species’ range.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
A plant of the moister lowland tropics and subtropics, growing in areas where the rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year and is in the range of 1,900 – 6,000 mm. The mean annual temperature is in the range 25 – 28°c Most commonly found on well structured, friable, and freely drained soils. Prefers a position in full sun or light shade, it can also tolerate quite considerable shade, though growth will be greatly reduced. Young plants require sheltered, shady positions. The tree generally prefers basalt-derived clay loams and clays with a well developed upper humus layer. It has also been reported on coral limestone terraces and bordering mangrove vegetation. Tree growth is poor on compacted and waterlogged soils. Plants can withstand strong winds. Grows well in acid soils, tolerating a pH in the range 4.0 – 7.4. A long lived tree that can live for up to 1,000 years. It is fairly fast-growing tree, in favourable conditions, annual growth can reach about 1 – 1.5 metres. Young specimens have a vigorous taproot, whilst mature specimens have wide, spreading root systems that help stabilize soils on ridges and slopes. Trees start producing flowers when about 10 years old, the seed taking two years to mature. The use of selected, superior seed provenances (notably from Vanuatu) and good silviculture will enable the commercial production of timber and veneer in plantations on a 40 – 55-year rotation period. For introduction into areas outside of its natural range, it is important to inoculate seedlings with appropriate mycorrhizal fungi. From a plantation viewpoint, this species stands apart from most other members of the genus because of its ability to grow moderately fast and establish in open, sunny sites

Different Uses:
Agroforestry Uses: Tropical cyclones occur at periodic intervals in all parts of its range. Pacific kauri has an ability to withstand strong winds thereby acting as a wind break or barrier. In certain situations it is suited as boundary marker, due to size and longevity. The species is suitable for soil protection and binding in areas where long term stabilization of less stable soil profiles is needed. It has spreading root systems that help stabilize soils on ridges and slopes. The tree is mainly suitable as a long term top storey tree for more shade tolerant understory crops; however, wide-spaced plantings of less dense forms may provide light shade for a wider variety of crops. Other Uses A resin, called ‘resin of Fiji’, is obtained from the trunk. The resin, produced from the living inner bark, was an important component of many varnishes and is still used mixed with synthetics. Commercial export of the resin was formerly practiced in Fiji but was prohibited in 1941, as no method could be found for tapping an economic yield of gum without endangering the life of the tree. The resin is traditionally used as canoe caulk, and the resin soot was used for tattoos. The resin has also been used for glazing pots. The resin has also been used for lighting and torches. Smoke residues of the burnt resin were traditionally used as a dye for the hair. The heartwood is pale cream to gold brown; the sapwood straw yellow to pale brown. The wood is finely grained, lustrous, uniform and easily worked. Damage from pinhole borers may occur in standing trees, while drywood termites and Anobium borers may cause damage in service. The wood is readily kiln dried with a medium shrinkage value. In service the timber is very stable. It is suitable for a wide range of end-uses including laboratory bench tops, vats, sauna baths, battery separators, weatherboards, bowls, novelties, handles, furniture, veneer, and boat building. It has good peeling and gluing properties and is highly sought after for surface veneer. Its finely grained, pale, easily worked, and uniform timber is of major commercial importance with various high value end-uses, including furniture, handicrafts, veneer, boat building, light construction, and panelling.

A. macrophylla is a valued commercial timber species, and its wood is much sought after for many uses. The wood is a cream to gold colour (mature heartwood is a lustrous brown) and much appreciated in the timber industry, particularly as a surface veneer. The dry wood has a density of approximately 540 kg/m³.

Pacific kauri is a valuable tree throughout the southeastern Pacific (Melanesia). The timber is frequently used for house construction, canoe carving, and totem pole construction. Smoke from the resin is used as a black dye for hair, clothes and tattoos, and the leaves are used in traditional medicine.

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/Agathis_macrophylla
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Agathis+macrophylla