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Orobanche ludoviciana

Botanical Name: Orobanche ludoviciana
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Orobanche
Species:O. ludoviciana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name: Broom Rape, Louisiana broomrape, Manyflower broomrape, Prairie broom-rape

Habitat :Orobanche ludoviciana is native to North America – Illinois to South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona and California. It grows on sandy soils on the plains where it is parasitic on the roots of Ambrosia spp and other members of the Compositae. It is found below 1200 metres in California.
Description:
Orobanche ludoviciana is a perennial plant growing to 1.5 m (5ft) often without branches. Leaves are scales and numerous. The inflorescences are many-flowered spikes that occupy a half to a third of the shoot. Flowers sessile or with small up to 15mm pedicels for the lower flowers. Calyx subtended by 1 or 2 bracts, which are bilabiate. Corolla is 1.5-2.5 cm and often a violet-like color. 2n=24, 48, 72, 96. Inhabits sandy soil.

Numerous flowers are clustered in a dense spike, the spike often making up to 2/3 of the plant height. Flowers are tubular, ½ to ¾ inch long, the lower ones may have up to a 1-inch stalk while upper ones are stalkless. Flowers are densely hairy with color ranging from a light pink to often deep purplish rose with yellow on the inside lower lip. The typical flower has a 2-lobed upper lip and 4-lobed lower though they can be split with 3 above and 3 below. Sepals are also tubular with five long lance-linear lobes, brownish in color and densely hairy. Each flower is attended by a broad oval bract tapered to a point as well as 1 or 2 smaller bractlets, all brownish colored and densely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple
Stems are usually simple or may be branched, often subterranean with many scale-like leaves.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)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 full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
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 should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It requires a well-drained soil and should succeed in sun or shade. A fully parasitic plant lacking in chlorophyll, it is entirely dependant upon its host plant for obtaining nutrient.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in a pot containing a host plant. The seed is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. It might also be possible to sow the seed in situ around a host plant.

Edible Uses:
Root – roasted. Stem. Base of young stems roasted.

Medicinal Uses: The chewed plant has been used as a dressing on wounds. A poultice of the stems has been used in the treatment of ulcerated sores

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/Orobanche_ludoviciana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Orobanche+ludoviciana
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/louisiana-broomrape

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Centaurea melitensis

 

Botanical Name :Centaurea melitensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Centaurea
Species:C. melitensis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Maltese star-thistle in Europe, Tocalote or Tocolote

Habitat: Centaurea melitensis is native to Mediterranean region, eastwards to Greece and Tunisia.  It grows on wasteplaces and roadsides.

Description:
Centaurea melitensis is an erect winter annual with a spiny, yellow-flowered head that typically reaches 1 m tall. The stems are stiff and openly branched from near or above the base or sometimes not branched in very small plants. Stem leaves are alternate, and mostly linear or narrowly oblong to oblanceolate. Margins are smooth, toothed, or wavy, and leaf bases extend down the stems (decurrent) and give stems a winged appearance. Rosette leaves typically are withered by flowering time.

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It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
We do not have information on this species, but the following notes are based on the closely related C. solstitialis. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils. A good bee and butterfly plant the flowers are rich in nectar. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in situ in the spring, and an autumn swing in situ might also be worth trying.

Medicinal Uses: The plant is used in the treatment of the kidneys.

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/Centaurea_melitensis
http://texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=CEME2
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+melitensis

Crataegus champlainensis

Botanical Name: Crataegus champlainensis
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Series: Molles
Species: C. submollis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Crataegus submollis, Northern downy hawthorn, Northern red haw, Quebec hawthorn, or Hairy cockspurthorn

Common Name : Quebec hawthorn

Habitat:Crataegus champlainensis is native to Northern N. America – Quebec to New York and Ontario. It grows in thickets, streambanks and hillsides. Limestone ridges.
Description:
Crataegus champlainensis is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted. Closely related to C. submollis, and included in that species by some botanists. This species is possibly no more than a part of C. rotundifolia.
Propagation:
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time[80]. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.
Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. A nice sweet flavour, the fruit is about 1.5cm in diameter. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed.
Medicinal Uses:

Cardiotonic; Hypotensive.

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.

Other Uses :
Wood – heavy, hard, tough, close-grained. Useful for making tool handles, mallets and other small items

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/Crataegus_submollis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crataegus+champlainensis

Hibiscus diversifolius

Botanical Name : Hibiscus diversifolius
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species:H. diversifolius
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Swamp Hibiscus

Habitat : It occurs in tropical Africa, New Guinea, the Philippines, many Pacific Islands, Central and South America, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Norfolk Island as well as the states of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. There is disagreement over its native range. Some sources consider it native only to Africa, and naturalised elsewhere; but it is considered a native in New Zealand and Australia

It is found in low, swampy areas; in Africa it may occur inland or near the coast, but in all other continents it occurs only in coastal areas. This distribution, together with genomic evidence, suggests that it originated in Africa, and colonised the other continents through long-range salt-water dispersal.

Description:
Hibiscus diversifolius is a deciduous Shrub. It is a widespread species of hibiscus. It grows to between 1 and 2 metres in height, with prickly stems and yellow flowers with a maroon basal spot during spring summer.

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The stems have many short prickles.

The leaves near the ends of the stems can be undivided and the lower leaves can have either three or five lobes, but the lobing is only shallow. The leaf margins are irregularly toothed. The leaf surfaces are rough to touch because of the short, stiff, bristle-like hairs.

The flowers are pale yellow with purple centres.

Flowers are carried in arching terminal sprays and are held facing the ground. Blooms are produced in the warmer months.

The calyx is covered with stiff bristles and the nectary is conspicuous.

The seed pod is also covered with rigid bristly hairs.

It is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained humus rich fertile soil in full sun. A frost-tender shrub, it can be grown as an annual in temperate climates where it can flower and set seed in its first year of growth. Plants can also be overwintered in a cold greenhouse if the winter is fairly mild. As the specific name of this plant suggests, the leaves vary widely in shape. The first leaves to be produced are semi-circular in shape, but later leaves are distinctly three-lobed. Plants are self-fertile.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates inside 2 weeks and should be potted up into individual pots as soon as it is large enough to handle. Grow the plants on fast in a fairly rich compost and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. These will be difficult to overwinter unless kept in heated environment.

Edible Uses:
Young leaf buds – they are good either raw or cooked. The young leaves can also be eaten, they are mild and quite mucilaginous, making a pleasant addition to the salad bowl. Flowers – raw or cooked with other foods. They have a very mild flavour and are very mucilaginous. They make a very acceptable and beautiful addition to the salad bowl. Root – it is edible but very fibrousy[144]. Mucilaginous, without very much flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
Abortifacient.
Known Hazards: Some caution should be observed when using this plant because there is a report that it might be used to procure abortions. No further details are found.

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/Hibiscus_diversifolius
http://www.hibiscus.org/species/hdiversifolius.php
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+diversifolius

Luffa Acutangua (Bengali Jhingha)

Botanical Name : Luffa Acutangua
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Luffa
Species: L. acutangula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales

Common Names: Angled luffa, Chinese okra, Dish cloth gourd, Ridged gourd, Sponge gourd, Vegetable gourd, Strainer vine, Ribbed loofah, Silky gourd, Ridged gourd, Silk gourd, and Sinkwa towelsponge

Names in other languages:

Assamese: Jeeka
Bengali : Jhingge , Jhinga and Sataputi
Burmese: Bjuda; also Boun Loun
Hindi: Torai, Turai
Gujarati: Turiya
Kannada: Heere kayi
Tagalog: Patola
Lao: Mark noy
Vietnamese: Muop Khia
Tamil: Peerkangai
Telugu: Beera kaaya
Thai: Buap liyam
Marathi: Dodaki
Konkani: Gossale
Indonesian: Gambas, Oyong
Javanese: Oyong
Mandarin Chinese: Pinyin: Guangdongsigua
Cantonese Chinese: Sin qua or sing kwa(Australian spelling), Ling Jiao Si Gua, You Lin Si Gua, Sze Gwa, Sigwa
Hokkian: Kak kuey
Malayalam: Peechinga
Malay: Petola segi
Sinhalese: Watakolu
Japanese: Ito uri, Tokado hechima

Habitat : Luffa Acutangua is native to India and naturalized throughout tropics and subtropics of the world.

Description:
Luffa Acutangua is a large climber, with usually 3-fid tendrills. Leaves orbicular in outline, 15-20 cm long, palmately 5-7 angled or sublobate, scabrid. Flowers yellow, large; male flowers in axillary 12-20 flowered racemes; female flowers solitary. Fruit 15-30 cm long, clavate-oblong, tapering towards the base, longitudinally ribbed.
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Chemical Constituents:
The plant contains a bitter substance luffin. Seeds contain 20% of a saponin glycoside, enzyme and a fixed oil (Chopra et al., 1992). Flowers and fruits contain free amino acids, arginine, glycine, threonine, lysine, alanine, asparagines, aspartic and glutamic acids and leucines. Ripe seeds contain bitter glycosidic principles, cucurbitacins B, D, G and H (luffins) and oleanolic acid; roots contain cucurbitacin B and traces of C (Ghani, 2003).
Edible Uses: 
The young fruit of some cultivars are used as cooked vegetables or pickled or eaten raw, and the shoots and flowers are sometimes also used……..CLICK  & SEE

Young fruit can be eaten raw like cucumber or cooked like squash, while the young leaves, shoots, flower buds, as well as the flowers can be eaten after being lightly steamed. The seeds can be roasted as a snack, or pressed to produce oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Luffa Acutangua plant is bitter tonic, emetic, diuretic and purgative and useful in asthma, skin diseases and splenic enlargement. It is used internally for rheumatism, backache, internal hemorrhage, chest pains as well as hemorrhoids. Externally, it is used for shingles and boils. The dried fruit fibers are used as abrasive sponges in skin care, to remove dead skin and to stimulate the circulation. The fruits are anthelmentic, carminative, laxative, depurative, emollient, expectorant, tonic and galactagogue and are useful in fever, syphilis, tumours, bronchitis, splenopathy and leprosy. The vine is most commonly grown for the fibrous interior of the fruits. Kernel of seed is expectorant, demulcent and used in dysentery. Seed oil is used in leprosy and skin diseases. Fruit is intensely bitter and fibrous. It has purgative property and is used for dropsy, nephritis, chronic bronchitis and lung complaints. It is also applied to the body in putrid fevers and jaundice.

Other Uses: Like Luffa aegyptica, the mature fruits are harvested when dry and processed to remove all but the fruit fibre, which can then be used as a sponge or as fibre for making hats
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:
http://www.mpbd.info/plants/luffa-acutangula.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa_acutangula
http://www.hear.org/pier/species/luffa_acutangula.htm
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