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Herbs & Plants

Zanthoxylum planispinum

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Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum planispinum
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species: Z. planispinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Spindales

Synonyms : Z. alatum planispinum, Z. alatum subtrifoliatum.

Common Names: Winged Prickly Ash, Bamboo-Leaf Prickly Ash

Habitat :Zanthoxylum planispinum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on the low mountains in Japan.

Description:
Zanthoxylum planispinum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in). It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES .

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

Cultivation:
Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. A very ornamental plant, it is usually hardy in most parts of Britain but can be damaged in severe winters. Fruits are freely produced after a hot summer. The flowers are formed on the old wood. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take 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 early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Seed – cooked. It can be ground into a powder and used as a condiment, a pepper substitute. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour. The seed is an ingredient of the famous Chinese ‘five spice’ mixture. The peel is also used. Young leaves are eaten. No further details are given.

Medicinal Uses:
Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic; Vermifuge.

The seeds and roots are stomachic and vermifuge. A decoction of 7 – 14 seeds is used in the treatment of abscesses, arthritis, bruises, gastritis, swellings etc. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.

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/Zanthoxylum_planispinum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+planispinum

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Herbs & Plants

Zanthoxylum beecheyanum

Botanical Name: ylum Zanthoxbeecheyanum
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily:Toddalioideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Habitat : Zanthoxylum beecheyanum is native to E. Asia – southern Japan. It grows on rocky places near seashores, also in mountains.

Description:
Zanthoxylum beecheyanum is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in). The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required)The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Flowers are formed on the old wood.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take 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 early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: Condiment.

The fruit and bark are used as a condiment, a pepper substitute. The fruit is rather small but is produced in clusters which makes harvesting easy. Each fruit contains a single seed.

Medicinal Uses: The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic

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/Zanthoxylum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+beecheyanum

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Herbs & Plants

Digitalis lutea

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Botanical Name : Digitalis lutea
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Digitalis
Species: D. lutea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonym: Digitalis aurea, Digitalis guellii, Digitalis intermedia, Digitalis nutans

Common Names: Digitalis lutea, Straw foxglove or (small) Yellow foxglove

Habitat: Digitalis lutea is native to Europe. It grows in woodlands, hedgerows and uncultivated fields on siliceous soils.

Description:
Digitalis lutea is a short-lived perennial plant. It grows 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). The leaves are oblong to inversely lance-shaped, veined, glossy, dark green and, in early to midsummer, upright stems bearing slender racemes of narrow, tubular, pale yellow flowers, hairy inside.The flowers are yellow, with brown dots on the inside of the corolla. Flowers are borne beginning in late spring, then sporadically throughout the summer and fall. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Like many foxgloves, this plant is often grown in gardens, where it readily self-sows and can become weedy.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, especially if it is rich in organic matter. It also succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant. It prefers semi-shade but succeeds in full sun if the soil is moist. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. The yellow foxglove is a good companion plant, stimulating the growth of nearby plants. Root crops grown near to this plant will store better.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow early spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 4 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Medicinal Uses:
Cardiac; Diuretic; Stimulant; Tonic.

Yellow foxglove is little used in herbal medicine but is in fact a less toxic alternative to the purple and woolly foxgloves (D. purpurea and D. lanata) which are widely used in the treatment of heart complaints. The yellow foxglove has similar medical actions, but its alkaloids are more readily metabolized and flushed out of the body. The leaves are cardiac, strongly diuretic, stimulant and tonic. They are used in the treatment of a weakened or failing heart, increasing the strength of contraction, slowing and steadying the heart rate and lowering blood pressure by strongly stimulating the flow of urine – which reduces overall blood volume. The leaves of plants in their second year of growth are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. This remedy should be used with caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can prove fatal. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Other Uses: Preservative……..An infusion of the plant added to the water in the vase will prolong the life of cut flowers. When grown near root crops the roots will store better.
Known Hazards :All parts of the plant are poisonous. The plant is less dangerous that the common foxglove (D. purpurea) since its effects are not cumulative.

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/Digitalis_lutea
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/747/
http://www.shootgardening.co.uk/plant/digitalis-lutea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Digitalis+lutea

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Herbs & Plants

Taxus baccata

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Botanical Name : Taxus baccata
Family: Taxaceae
Genus: Taxus
Species: T. baccata
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms : Cephalotaxus adpressa Beissn. Cephalotaxus brevifolia Beissn.. Verataxus adpressa (Carrière) Carrièr

Common Names: It is the tree originally known as yew, though with other related trees becoming known, it may now be known as English yew, or European yew

Habitat : Taxus baccata is native to western, central and southern Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran and southwest Asia. It grows in woods and scrub, usually on limestone. It sometimes forms pure stands in sheltered sites on chalk in the south-east and on limestone in the north-west.

Description:
Taxus baccata is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree, growing 10–20 metres (33–66 ft) (exceptionally up to 28 metres (92 ft)) tall, with a trunk up to 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) (exceptionally 4 metres (13 ft)) diameter. The bark is thin, scaly brown, coming off in small flakes aligned with the stem. The leaves are flat, dark green, 1–4 centimetres (0.39–1.57 in) long and 2–3 millimetres (0.079–0.118 in) broad, arranged spirally on the stem, but with the leaf bases twisted to align the leaves in two flat rows either side of the stem, except on erect leading shoots where the spiral arrangement is more obvious. The leaves are poisonous.

It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

The seed cones are modified, each cone containing a single seed, which is 4–7 millimetres (0.16–0.28 in) long, and partly surrounded by a modified scale which develops into a soft, bright red berry-like structure called an aril. The aril is 8–15 millimetres (0.31–0.59 in) long and wide and open at the end. The arils mature 6 to 9 months after pollination, and with the seed contained, are eaten by thrushes, waxwings and other birds, which disperse the hard seeds undamaged in their droppings. Maturation of the arils is spread over 2 to 3 months, increasing the chances of successful seed dispersal. The seeds themselves are poisonous and bitter, but are opened and eaten by some bird species including hawfinches, greenfinches and great tits. The aril is not poisonous, but is gelatinous and very sweet tasting. The male cones are globose, 3–6 millimetres (0.12–0.24 in) diameter, and shed their pollen in early spring. The yew is mostly dioecious, but occasional individuals can be variably monoecious, or change sex with time. Taxus baccata can reach 400 to 600 years of age. Some specimens live longer but the age of yews is often overestimated.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Espalier, Firewood, Hedge, Screen, Standard, Superior hedge, Specimen. A very easy plant to grow, it is extremely tolerant of cold and heat, sunny and shady positions, wet and dry soils, exposure and any pH. Thrives in almost any soil, acid or alkaline, as long as it is well-drained. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Sensitive to soil compaction by roads etc. Very shade tolerant. Tolerates urban pollution. In general they are very tolerant of exposure, though plants are damaged by severe maritime exposure. A very cold hardy plant when dormant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. The fresh young shoots in spring, however, can be damaged by frosts. Plants are dioecious, though they sometimes change sex and monoecious trees are sometimes found. Male and female trees must be grown if fruit and seed is required. The fruit is produced mainly on the undersides of one-year old branches. A very long lived tree, one report suggests that a tree in Perthshire is 1500 years old, making it the oldest plant in Britain. Another report says that trees can be up to 4000 years old. It is, however, slow growing and usually takes about 20 years to reach a height of 4.5 metres. Young plants occasionally grow 30cm in a year but this soon tails off and virtually no height increase is made after 100 years. A very ornamental tree, there are many named varieties. Very resistant to honey fungus, but susceptible to phytopthera root rot. The bark is very soft and branches or even the whole tree can be killed if the bark is removed by constant friction such as by children climbing the tree. Plants produce very little fibrous root and should be planted in their final positions when still small. The fruit is greatly relished by thrushes. Special Features: Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – can be very slow to germinate, often taking 2 or more years. It is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn when it should germinate 18 months later. Stored seed may take 2 years or more to germinate. 4 months warm followed by 4 months cold stratification may help reduce the germination time. Harvesting the seed ‘green’ (when fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and then sowing it immediately has not been found to reduce the germination time because the inhibiting factors develop too early. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in pots in a cold frame. The seedlings are very slow-growing and will probably require at least 2 years of pot cultivation before being large enough to plant out. Any planting out is best done in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, July/August in a shaded frame. Should root by late September but leave them in the frame over winter and plant out in late spring. High percentage. Cuttings of ripe terminal shoots, taken in winter after a hard frost, in a shaded frame.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw. Very sweet and gelatinous, most people find it delicious though some find it sickly. A number of people who like the flavour do not like the texture which is often described as being ‘snotty’. All other parts of this plant, including the seed, are highly poisonous. When eating the fruit you should spit out the large seed found in the fruit’s centre. Should you swallow the whole seed it will just pass straight through you without harm (UPDATE: this is probably not true: unfortunately, the digestive system of most mammals, including humans, is robust enough to break down the seeds. This will release the toxic taxanes. Birds are able to eat the whole “berry” because they cannot digest the seeds). If it is bitten into, however, one will notice a very bitter flavour and the seed should immediately be spat out or it could cause some problems. The fruit is a fleshy berry about 10mm in diameter and containing a single seed. Some reports suggest using the bark as a tea substitute, this would probably be very unwise.

.
Medicinal Uses:

Anticonvulsant; Antispasmodic; Cancer; Cardiotonic; Diaphoretic; Emmenagogue; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Narcotic; Purgative.

The yew tree is a highly toxic plant that has occasionally been used medicinally, mainly in the treatment of chest complaints. Modern research has shown that the plants contain the substance ‘taxol’ in their shoots. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers. Unfortunately, the concentrations of taxol in this species are too low to be of much value commercially, though it is being used for research purposes. This remedy should be used with great caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes  below on toxicity. All parts of the plant, except the fleshy fruit, are antispasmodic, cardiotonic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, narcotic and purgative. The leaves have been used internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccup, indigestion, rheumatism and epilepsy. Externally, the leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for rheumatism. A homeopathic remedy is made from the young shoots and the berries. It is used in the treatment of many diseases including cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems, rheumatism etc. Ingestion of 50-100g of needles can cause death.

Other Uses:
Fuel; Hedge; Hedge; Incense; Insecticide; Wood.

Very tolerant of trimming, this plant makes an excellent hedge. The plants are often used in topiary and even when fairly old, the trees can be cut back into old wood and will resprout. One report says that trees up to 1000 years old respond well to trimming. A decoction of the leaves is used as an insecticide. Some cultivars can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 1 metre or more apart each way. ‘Repandens’ has been recommended. Wood – heavy, hard, durable, elastic, takes a good polish but requires long seasoning. Highly esteemed by cabinet makers, it is also used for bows, tool handles etc. It makes a good firewood. The wood is burnt as an incense.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant, except the flesh of the fruit, are highly poisonous, having a paralyzing affect on the heart. Poisoning symptoms are dry mouth, vomiting, vertigo, abdominal pain, dyspnoea, arrhythmias, hypotension & unconsciousness.

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/Taxus_baccata
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yew—08.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Taxus+baccata

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Herbs & Plants

Drosera rotundifolia

Botanical Name: Drosera rotundifolia
Family: Droseraceae
Genus: Drosera
Species: D. rotundifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Dew Plant. Round-leaved Sundew. Red Rot. Herba rosellae. Sonnenthau rosollis. Rosée du Soleil.

Common Names: Round-leaved sundew or Common sundew

Part Used: The flowering plant dried in the air, not artificially.

Habitat: Drosera rotundifolia is found in all of northern Europe, much of Siberia, large parts of northern North America, Korea, Japan and is also found on New Guinea. It grows in muddy edges of ponds, bogs and rivers, where the soil is peaty.

Description:
Drosera rotundifolia is a small herbaceous, perennial, aquatic plant, with short and slender fibrous root, from which grow the leaves. These are remarkable for their covering of red glandular hairs, by which they are readily recognized, apart from their flowers which only open in the sunshine. Their leaves are orbicular on long stalks, depressed, Iying flat on ground and have on upper surface long red viscid hairs, each having a small gland at top, containing a fluid, which looks like a dewdrop, hence its name. This secretion is most abundant when the sun is at its height. Flower-stems erect, slender, 2 to 6 inches high, at first coiled inward bearing a simple raceme, which straightens out as flowers expand; these are very small and white, appearing in summer and early autumn. Seeds numerous, spindleshaped in a loose chaffy covering contained in a capsule. These hairs are very sensitive, they curve inward slowly and catch any insects which alight on them; the fluid on the points also retains them. After an insect has been caught, the glandular heads secrete a digestive fluid which dissolves all that can be absorbed from the insect. It has been noted that secretion does not take place when inorganic substances are imprisoned…..CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

The plant feeds on insects, which are attracted to its bright red colour and its glistening drops of mucilage, loaded with a sugary substance, covering its leaves. It has evolved this carnivorous behaviour in response to its habitat, which is usually poor in nutrients or is so acidic, nutrient availability is severely decreased. The plant uses enzymes to dissolve the insects – which become stuck to the glandular tentacles – and extract ammonia (from proteins) and other nutrients from their bodies. The ammonia replaces the nitrogen that other plants absorb from the soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a sandy peaty soil, succeeding in poor soils and bogs. Requires a sunny position. An insectivorous plant, it can survive in nitrogen poor soils because it gets the nutrients it needs from insects. The upper surfaces of leaves are covered with hairs that secrete a sweet sticky substance.This attracts insects, which become smeared with it and unable to escape – the plant then exudes a digestive fluid that enables it to absorb most of the insect into its system.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown thinly as soon as it is ripe into pots of a free-draining soil with some charcoal added and with a layer of finely chopped sphagnum moss on top. Surface sow and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. Grow the plants on in the pots for their first growing season, making sure that the soil does not become dry. Divide the plants in the autumn, grow them on in the greenhouse for the winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.
Edible Uses: The juice of the plant is used to curdle plant milks. You heat the milk and the leaves together in order to make the milk curdle

Constituents: The juice is bitter, acrid, caustic, odourless, yielding not more than 30 per cent ash, and contains citric and malic acids.

Medicinal Uses:
Drosera rotundifolia plant extracts show great efficacy as an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, more so than Drosera madagascariensis, as a result of the flavonoids such as hyperoside, quercetin and isoquercetin, but not the naphthoquinones present in the extracts. The flavonoids are thought to affect the M3 muscarinic receptors in smooth muscle, causing the antispasmodic effects. Ellagic acid in D. rotundifolia extracts has also been shown to have antiangiogenic effects.

In America it has been advocated as a cure for old age; a vegetable extract is used together with colloidal silicates in cases of arterio sclerosis.

The sundew has a long history of herbal use, having been popular for its fortifying and aphrodisiac effects. It relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, easing breathing and relieving wheezing and so is of great value in the treatment of various chest complaints. The plant has become quite rare and so it should not be harvested from the wild. The flowering plant is antibacterial, antibiotic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, expectorant and hypoglycaemic. The plant is used with advantage in the treatment of whooping cough, exerting a peculiar action on the respiratory organs. It is also used in the treatment of incipient phthisis, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Externally, it has been used to treat corns, warts and bunions.The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. Use with caution. Internal use of this herb causes a harmless colouring of the urine. An extract of the plant contains plumbagin, which is antibiotic against a wide range of pathogens. Because of their protein digesting enzymes, the leaf juice has been used in the treatment of warts and corns. The entire fresh plant, harvested when it is starting to flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used mainly in the treatment of coughs and is specific for whooping cough.

Other Uses
Fungicide.

Substances in the plant are used to curb the growth of bacteria

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sundew99.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosera_rotundifolia

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Drosera+rotundifolia