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Arum italicum

Botanical Name : Arum italicum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Arum
Species: A. italicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : A. neglectum. A. modicense. A. numidicum.

Common Names : Cuckoo Pint, Italian arum and Italian lords-and-ladies

Habitat ; Arum italicum is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East) plus Great Britain, the Netherlands, Crimea, Caucasus, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. It is also naturalized in Argentina and in scattered locations in the United States. It grows on Stony ground near the sea, hedges and among old walls, often on calcareous soils.

Description:
Arum italicum is a perennial plant. It grows 30–46 cm (1–1.5 ft) high, with equal spread. It blooms in Spring with white flowers that turn to showy red fruit. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for traditional and woodland shade gardens. Some gardeners use this arum to underplant with hosta, as they produce foliage sequentially; when the hosta withers away, the arum replaces it, leaving the ground covered.Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which A. italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Arum italicum can be invasive in some areas.

Arum italicum may hybridize with Arum maculatum.

In 1778, Lamarck noticed that the inflorescence of this plant produces heat.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Succeeds in sun or dry shade, preferring a shady position and growing well in woodland conditions. A polymorphic species, the British form has been separated off by some botanists as A. neglectum. The leaves appear in the autumn, the plant staying green all winter. The inflorescence has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. This probably protects the flowers from damage by frost, or allows it to penetrate frozen ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c]. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.
Edible Uses:…Tuber – cooked and used as a vegetable. An arrowroot can be extracted from the dried root. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in ancient medicine, mixed with honey, to cure coughs. Currently used in homeopathy.

Known Hazards: The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

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/Arum_italicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arum+italicum

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Vaccaria hispanica

Botanical Name : Vaccaria hispanica
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Vaccaria
Species: V. hispanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : V. pyramidata. V. segetilis. V. vulgaris. Saponaria vaccaria. L.

Common Names : Cowherb, Cowcockle, Cow basil, Cow soapwort, and Prairie carnation,Bladder-soapwort (English), China cockle (English) , Cow cockle (English), Cowherb (English), Cow-soapwort ( English) , Ful al-arab( Arabic), Saponaire des vaches ( French), Kuhlkraut (German) , Akernejlika (Swedish), mai lan cai (Chinese)

Habitat : Vaccaria hispanica is native to Central and Southern Europe, North to Belgium. An introduced and not infrequent casual in Britain. It grows as a weed of cultivated fields.

Description:
Vaccaria hispanica is an annual plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera, self. The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
Physical  Characteristics:
Flower petal color : blue to purple, pink to red
Leaf type : the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement: opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry: there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals : both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number: 10
Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its seed which is often added to wild bird foods. By this means, the plant is often found as an introduced casual in Britain.

Propagation: Seed – sow April in situ.

Edible Uses: Condiment……….Leaves – used as a condiment. Seed – ground into a meal. Rich in starch. The seed contains 13.8 – 16.1% protein and 1.6 – 3.2% fat. The seed also contains saponins, see notes above on toxicity below.

Chemical Constituents:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
* 0 Calories per 100g
* Water : 0%
* Protein: 15g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
* Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
* Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Notes: The report does not make it clear whether this is a zero moisture basis.

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne; Antiphlogistic; Antipruritic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Galactogogue; Oxytoxic; Styptic; Vulnerary.

The seed is anodyne, discutient, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, styptic and vulnerary. They are used in Chinese medicine. This medicinal ingredient is known as Wang Bu Liu Xing. It is supposed to promote diuresis and milk secretion, activate blood circulation and relieve swelling.

A decoction of the seed is used to treat skin problems, breast tumors, menstrual problems, deficiency of lactation and sluggish labor. The seeds are also taken internally as a galactogogue. The flowers, leaves, roots and shoots also have the same properties. The sap of the plant is said to be febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type as well as coughs. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type. The plant is used externally to cure itch.

The medicinal seeds are round, reddish brown, and look like mustard seeds. They are bitter and contain saponin. The plant is used externally to cure itch. This herb is used for its astringent properties in a patent formula called Prostate Gland Pills, for swelling and inflammation of the prostate. The formula is quite effective, but during treatment the herb causes some men to temporarily lose the capacity to sustain erection, a side effect that disappears when the herb is withdrawn. In fact, this effect helps support the therapy, because men are supposed to refrain from sexual intercourse anyway during treatment for prostate problems.
Known Hazards :The seeds and other parts of the plant contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also broken down if thoroughly heated. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Vaccaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccaria+hispanica
https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?310852
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/vaccaria/hispanica/

Thelesperma megapotamicum

Botanical Name : Thelesperma megapotamicum
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Coreopsideae
Genus: Thelesperma
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:  Thelesperma megapotanicum

Common Names: Navajo Tea, Cota, Hopi tea greenthread.

Habitat : Thelesperma megapotamicum is native to Western N. America. It grows on sandy or rocky prairies and roadsides in Texas. Dry sandy soils in south-western S. Dakota.

Description:
Thelesperma megapotamicum is a perennial flowering herb, producing a slender, branching stem 30 to 60 centimeters tall or more. The leaves are narrow, mostly compound with linear or threadlike segments measuring a few centimeters long. The inflorescence bears several flower heads each in a cuplike involucre of phyllaries with purple-tinged, pointed lobes with white edges. The head contains many yellow or orange disc florets, and sometimes one or more yellow ray florets, although these may be absent.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 
Cultivation: Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil in full sun. This species is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, usually requiring cold greenhouse treatment. According to one report this species might be no more than a synonym for T. gracile.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ, only just covering the seed. In dry weather the seed should be watered in. Division might be possible.

Edible Uses:.……. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves and flowering stems. When well made it is delicious, with just a hint of mint in its aftertaste

Medicinal Uses:
Native American groups such as the Hopi and Navajo use this plant to make herbal teas, as a medicinal remedy . The plant has been used in the treatment of children with tuberculosis. An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used as a ‘nervous stimulant. An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used as a treatment for the teeth.
Other Uses:
A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. Reddish-brown according to another report. A brown dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. An orange-yellow dye can be obtained from the boiled roots.

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/Thelesperma_megapotamicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Thelesperma+megapotamicum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Botanical Name : Cephalanthus occidentalis
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Naucleeae
Genus: Cephalanthus
Species: C. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells

Habitat :Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota and California. It is a lowland species, growing along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, swamps and wet floodplains.

Description:
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, elliptic to ovate, 7–18 cm (2.8–7.1 in) long and 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) broad, with a smooth edge and a short petiole. The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation:
Easily grown in moist, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Grows very well in wet soils, including flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary, but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants become unmanageable, however, they may be cut back near to the ground in early spring to revitalize.

Propagation :
Seed – It is  suggested  to sow  the seed as soon as it is ripe in an acid compost in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of soft or semi-ripe wood, July in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Uses:
Button bush was often employed medicinally by native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a range of ailments. It is little used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the bark is astringent, emetic, febrifuge and tonic. A strong decoction has been used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, stomach complaints, haemorrhages etc. It has been used as a wash for eye inflammations. A decoction of either the roots or the fruits have been used as a laxative to treat constipation The leaves are astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic. A tea has been used to check menstrual flow and to treat fevers, kidney stones, pleurisy etc. The plant has a folk reputation for relieving malaria. The inner bark has been chewed in the treatment of toothaches.

Other Uses:
Buttonbush is cultivated as an ornamental plant for a nectar source or ‘honey plant’ and for aesthetics in gardens and native plant landscapes, and is planted on slopes to help control erosion. Buttonbush is a suitable shrub for butterfly gardens. Wood – light, tough.

Known Hazards : The leaves contain glucosides and can be toxic in large doses. Symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, chronic spasms and muscular paralysis

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalanthus_occidentalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cephalanthus+occidentalis
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=g830

Arctium minus

Botanical Name : Arctium minus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Arctium
Species: A. minus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names : Lesser Burdock, Burweed, Louse-bur, Common burdock,, Button-bur, Cuckoo-button, or Wild rhubarb

Habitat : Arctium minus is native to Europe, but has become an invasive weed in Australia, North and South America, and other places. It grows in waste ground, edges of woods, roadsides etc.

Description:
Arctium minus is a binnial plant.   It can grow up to 1.5 meters (1 to 5 feet) tall and form multiple branches. It is large and bushy. Flowers are prickly and pink to lavender in color. Flower heads are about 3/4 inches (2 cm) wide. The plant flowers from July through October. The flowers resemble and can be easily mistaken for thistles, but burdock can be distinguished by its extremely large (up to 50 cm) leaves and its hooked bracts. Leaves are long and ovate. Lower leaves are heart-shaped and have very wavy margins. Leaves are dark green above and woolly below. It grows an extremely deep taproot, up to 30 cm (12 in) into the ground.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

The plant produces purple flowers in its second year of growth, from July to October. Outer bracts end in hooks that are like Velcro. After the flower head dries, the hooked bracts will attach to humans and animals in order to transport the entire seedhead.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.  It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation :
Succeeds on most soils, preferably moist. Prefers a sunny position. Prefers partial shade according to another report. A polymorphic species. A good butterfly plant.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in situ in autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Root – raw or cooked. The best roots are obtained from young plants. Usually peeled and sliced. The roasted root is a coffee substitute. Young leaves and leaf stems – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb]. Mucilaginous. It is best to remove the rind from the stem. Young flowering stem – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. Seed sprouts.
Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Aperient; Blood purifier; Carminative; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Hypoglycaemic.

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. Arctium lappa is the main species used, though this species has similar properties. The dried root of one year old plants is the official herb, but the leaves and fruits can also be us. It is used to treat conditions caused by an ‘overload’ of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems. The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal and carminative. It has soothing, mucilaginous properties and is said to be one of the most certain cures for many types of skin diseases, burns, bruises etc. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc. The plant can be taken internally as an infusion, or used externally as a wash. Use with caution. One-year old roots are alterative, aperient, blood purifier, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic. The seed is alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypoglycaemic. It is used in the treatment of colds with sore throat and cough, measles, pharyngitis, acute tonsillitis and abscesses. The crushed seed is poulticed onto bruises. The seed is harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The seed contains arctiin, this excites the central nervous system producing convulsions an increase in respiration and later paralysis. It also lowers the blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. The leaves are poulticed onto burns, ulcers and sores.

Other Uses:..Paper.…..A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and is used to make paper. It is about 0.9mm long. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed in order to strip off the fibre. The fibres are then cooked for two hours in soda ash before being put in a ball mill for 2 hours. The resulting paper is a light tan/ brown colour.

Known Hazards :Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this plant, some caution is advised due to the following report for the closely related A. lappa[K]. Care should be taken if harvesting the seed in any quantity since tiny hairs from the seeds can be inhaled and these are toxic.

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/Arctium_minus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arctium+minus