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Herbs & Plants

Carya myristiciformis (Nutmeg Hickory)

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Botanical Name : Carya myristiciformis
Family: Juglandaceae
Genus: Carya
Species: C. myristiciformis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Name : Nutmeg Hickory (No racial varieties or hybrids have been reported for nutmeg hickory.), Swamp hickory or Bitter water hickory

Habitat: Carya myristiciformis is native to Southern United States and in northern Mexico. It grows on rich moist soils of higher bottom lands and stream banks.

Description:
Carya myristiciformis is a deciduous medium-sized tree with a tall, straight trunk and stout, slightly spreading branches that form a narrow and rather open crown. It can attain heights of 24 to 30 in (80 to 100 ft) and a diameter of 61 cm (24 in). Although the pecan hickories (which include nutmeg hickory) grow more rapidly than the true hickories, specific information on the growth rate of nutmeg hickory is lacking. The pecan hickories, in turn, grow more slowly than most other bottom-land hardwoods. The average 10-year diameter increase for hickories in natural, unmanaged stands in the northeast Louisiana delta was 4.3 cm (1.7 in) in the 15- to 30-cm (6- to 12-in) diameter class; 3.3 cm (1.3 in) in the 33- to 48-cm (13- to 19-in) diameter class; and 3.8 cm (1.5 in) in the 51- to 71-cm (20- to 28-in) diameter class.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

It is in leaf 10-Jun It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation :
Prefers a deep moisture-retentive loam in a sunny sheltered position, requiring a good summer for best development. Slow growing. Trees are said to only be hardy to zone 9, but there is a good specimen growing outdoors at Kew which is in zone 7. Most species in this genus have quite a wide range of distribution and, in order to find trees more suited to this country, seed from the most appropriate provenances should be sought. Most trees growing in Britain at present tend to only produce good seed after hot summers. Trees are self-fertile but larger crops of better quality seeds are produced if cross-pollination takes place. Large seed crops are produced every 2 – 3 years in the wild. Plants are strongly tap-rooted and should be planted in their permanent positions as soon as possible. Sowing in situ would be the best method so long as the seed could be protected from mice. Trees are late coming into leaf (usually late May to June) and lose their leaves early in the autumn (usually in October). During this time they cast a heavy shade. These factors combine to make the trees eminently suitable for a mixed woodland planting with shrubs and other trees beneath them. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires a period of cold stratification. It is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be kept moist (but not wet) prior to sowing and should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible. Where possible, sow 1 or 2 seeds only in each deep pot and thin to the best seedling. If you need to transplant the seedlings, then do this as soon as they are large enough to handle, once more using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Put the plants into their permanent positions as soon as possible, preferably in their first summer, and give them some protection from the cold for at least the first winter. Seed can also be sown in situ so long as protection is given from mice etc and the seed is given some protection from cold (a plastic bottle with the top and bottom removed and a wire mesh top fitted to keep the mice out
Edible Uses: .….Seed – raw or cooked. Sweet, but with a thick shell. The seed is up to 3cm in diameter. The seed ripens in late autumn and, when stored in its shell in a cool place, will keep for at least 6 months.

Medicinal Uses: No known medicinal uses are found in the internet
Other Uses: …..Fuel; Wood…….Wood – hard, very strong, tough, close grained. A good fuel, burning well with a lot of heat.

The nuts of nutmeg hickory are relished by squirrels, which begin cutting them while they are still green. Other rodents and wildlife also eat the nuts. The species is too rare over most of its range to be of major economic importance. The wood of this pecan hickory is slightly inferior in strength and toughness to that of the true or upland hickories, but owing to the small volumes involved and difficulty of distinguishing it from the true hickories, nutmeg hickory is not separated from them during logging.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carya_myristiciformis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Carya+myristiciformis

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Cyclamen hederaefolium

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Botanical Name: Cyclamen hederaefolium
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Cyclamen
Subgenus: Cyclamen
Series: Cyclamen
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonym: Sowbread.

Common Names: Ivy-leaved cyclamen

Habitat : Cyclamen hederaefolium is native to woodland, shrubland, and rocky areas in the Mediterranean region from southern France to western Turkey and on Mediterranean islands, and naturalized farther north in Europe and in the Pacific Northwest.

Description:
Cyclamen hederifolium is a tuberous perennial herb that blooms and sprouts leaves in autumn, grows through the winter, and goes dormant before summer, when the seed pods ripen and open……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Tuber:
Dried tubers at market in Remscheid, Germany
The tuber is round-flattened and produces roots from the top and sides, leaving the base bare. In the florist’s cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), roots come from the bottom, leaving the top and sides bare.

The tuber becomes larger with age; older specimens commonly become more than 25 cm (10 in) across. In other species, tubers do not grow as large; Cyclamen coum usually does not reach more than 6.5 cm (2.6 in) across.  Leaves and flowers grow from buds on top.

Leaves:
The leaves are variably shaped and colored. Depending on the specimen, leaf shape varies from heart-shaped to long and arrow-shaped, usually with 2-3 angled lobes on each side, resembling the juvenile leaves of ivy (Hedera). Leaf color varies from all-green to all-silver, but the most common is a Christmas tree or hastate pattern in silver or pewter and various shades of green.

click & see the pictures

The leaf and flower stalks of Cyclamen hederifolium grow outwards and then up, forming an “elbow”. Plants in narrow pots often have a ring of leaves around the outside of the pot. In the closely related Cyclamen africanum, stalks grow up from the tuber without a bend near the base.

Flowers:
The flowers bloom from late summer to autumn and have 5 petals, usually pink, purple, or white with a streaky magenta V-shaped marking on the nose, but sometimes pure white with no markings.

The edges of the petals near the nose of the flower are curved outwards into strong auricles. These are not present in some other species, such as Cyclamen persicum. The flowers are occasionally fragrant. The shape of the flower varies from long and thin to short and squat.

Fruit:
After fertilization, the flower stem coils tightly, starting at the end, and rests above the tuber. Seeds are amber, held in a round pod, which opens by 5-10 flaps at maturity.

Cultivation:
Cyclamen hederifolium is usually listed as the hardiest species of cyclamen. In oceanic climates, it self-seeds abundantly and will crowd out less vigorous species such as Cyclamen coum if the two are planted together. In cold continental climates such as Calgary, Alberta, where Cyclamen purpurascens grows well, it may not survive. DavesGarden.com lists it as hardy to zone 5a (?20 °F or ?29 °C), although hardiness is dependent on presence of snow cover.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Part Used Medicine : The tuberous rootstock, used fresh, when the plant is in flower.

Constituents: Besides starch, gum and pectin, the tuber yields chemically cyclamin or arthanatin, having an action like saponin.

Medicinal Uses:
A homoeopathic tincture is made from the fresh root, which applied externally as a liniment over the bowels causes purging.

Old writers tell us that Sowbread baked and made into little flat cakes has the reputation of being ‘a good amorous medicine,’ causing the partaker to fall violently in love.

The fresh tubers bruised and formed into a cataplasm make a stimulating application to indolent ulcers.

An ointment called ‘ointment of arthainta’ was made from the fresh tubers for expelling worms, and was rubbed on the umbilicus of children and on the abdomen of adults to cause emesis and upon the region over the bladder to increase urinary discharge.

Other Uses: Although the roots are favourite food of swine, their juice is stated to be poisonous to fish.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen_hederifolium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cycya133.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Black Alder Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

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Botanical Name: Ilex verticillata
Family:    Aquifoliaceae
Genus:    Ilex
Species:    I. verticillata
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Aquifoliales

Synonyms:Prinos verticillatus

Common Names:  Black Alder Winterberry, Brook Alder, Canada holly ,Coralberry, Deciduous Holly, Deciduous Winterberry, False alder, Fever bush, Inkberry, Michigan Holly, Possumhaw, Swamp Holly, Virginian Winterberry, or Winterberry Holly.

Habitat : Black Alder is  native to eastern North America in the United States and southeast Canada, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Alabama. It grows on swamps, pond margins and damp thickets.

Description:
Black Alder  or Ilex verticillata is a  multi-stemmed shrubshrub growing to 1–5 metres (3.3–16.4 ft) tall. It is one of a number of hollies which are deciduous, losing their leaves in the fall. In wet sites, it will spread to form a dense thicket, while in dry soil it remains a tight shrub. The leaves are glossy green, 3.5–9 cm long, 1.5–3.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin and an acute apex. The flowers are small, 5 mm diameter, with five to eight white petals.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The fruit is a globose red drupe 6–8 mm diameter, which often persists on the branches long into the winter, giving the plant its English name. Like most hollies, it is dioecious, with separate male and female plants; the proximity of at least one male plant is required to pollenize the females in order to bear fruit. The Bark is dark gray to brown  generally smooth with some lenticels

Cultivation:
It is a tough plant which is easy to grow, with very few diseases or pests. Although wet acidic soils are optimal, the winterberry will grow well in the average garden. Numerous cultivars are available, differing in size and shape of the plant and color of the berry. At least one male plant must be planted in proximity to one or more females for them to bear fruit.

Propagation:
*Early summer cuttings are easily rooted
*Seeds possess a dormancy making germination tricky

Constituents: The bark contains about 4-8 per cent tannin, two resins, the one soluble and the other insoluble in alcohol, albumen, gum, sugar, and a bitter principle and a yellow colouring matter not yet isolated. There is no berberine.

Medicinal Uses:
Native American herbal tradition regarded the bark as a botanical aid for relieving occasional constipation. In fact, later herbalists describe its action similar to Cascara Sagrada.The berries were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, the origin of the name “fever bush”.

This remedy is a stimulant to the digestive and blood-making organs, and may be advantageously employed for the general purposes of a tonic. But beyond this, it influences the vegetative processes, probably through the sympathetic system of nerves, strengthening the circulation, aiding nutrition, and the removal of waste. We have used it but little, yet the testimony in its favor is such, that we strongly recommend its trial.

Other Uses:
Ornamental plant:
Ilex verticillata – the American Winterberry – is prized as an ornamental plant in gardens for the midwinter splash of bright color from densely packed berries, whose visibility is heightened by the loss of foliage; therefore it is popular even where other, evergreen, hollies are also grown. The bare branches covered in berries are also popular for cutting and use in floral arrangements.

Known Hazards:   Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity. The fruit is poisonous

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_verticillata
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/spec-med/prinos.html
http://www.pennherb.com/black-alder-bark-powder-16oz-6p16
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/detail.php?pid=221
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/alder018.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ilex+verticillata

 

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Aconitum Columbianum

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Botanical Name: Aconitum columbianum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Aconitum
Species: A. columbianum

Synonym: Helleboraceae (Hellebore Family).  Ranunculaceae  (Buttercup Family)
Common namesColumbian monkshood or western monkshood.

Habitat : This wildflower is native to western North America where it grows in moist areas.(North-western N. America – Alaska to California.) Moist woods to sub-alpine meadows, mostly along streams. Spring-fed bogs, seep areas, meadows, along streams, and in other wet areas at elevations of 300 – 3500 metres.

Description:
It is a spindly, twining perennial plant with lobed or toothed leaves and long stems with far-spaced flowers. The folded, wrinkly flowers are often deep blue or purple, but may also be white or yellowish, and they usually have a spur. The fruits are pod-like follicles. Like other monkshoods, this plant is poisonous.

It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.

Aconitum columbianum subsp. columbianum is a tall plant that resembles a Delphinium. The flower spike is terminal and deep blue or purple. The deeply lobed leaves also look like Delphinium, but the flowers have a distinct “hood,” making it easy to tell the two genera apart. Aconitum columbianum subsp. columbianum grows in moist, high elevation meadows.

Click to see more pictures:

Monkshood often is mistaken for its cousin Delphinium barbeyi; the two grow in similar moist habitats and both have broad, leafy, sometimes shrub-like growth, and very tall flower stalks.  Delphinium, though, reaches seven feet and Monkshood only five.  Monkshood flowers are most often intensely deep purple with a high arching hood.  Delphinium flowers range from inky blue through violet to purple and have a distinctive spur.  Delphinium is far more common but a discerning eye will often find Monkshood growing with Delphinium. The pictured plants are just over two feet tall and will grow another foot or two.   Notice the characteristic deeply incised leaves of Monkshood.

Cultivation:
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. Closely related to A. fischeri and part of that species according to some botanists. A very variable plant, there is also a sub-species (A. columbianum viviparum) that produces bulbils in the leaf axils.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year. One to several small daughter tubers are produced at the first few nodes above the parent tuber, usually below ground, in a small percentage of the plants in bulbiferous and nonbulbiferous populations. These can be removed and potted up to produce new plants. Bulbils are produced in the leaf axils of sub-species viviparum[270]. These are an effective means of vegetative reproduction. They fall to the ground late in the season and sprout vigorously, giving rise to new plants.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Nervine; Sedative.

The drug ‘aconite’ can be obtained from the root of this plant. It is used as a heart and nerve sedative. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Other Uses
Parasiticide.
The seed is used as a parasiticide.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+columbianum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconitum_columbianum
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Blue%20Purple%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/aconitum%20columbianum.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages2/gilaflora/aconitum_columbianum.html