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Herbs & Plants

Digitalis laevigata

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

Common names: Grecian Foxglove or Giraffe Foxglove

Habitat :Digitalis laevigata is native to southern Europe. It grows wild in The Balkans.

Description:
Digitalis laevigata is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It has has erect stems with lance-shaped leaves, while basal leaves are oblong to ovate. It produces spires of orange or yellow-brown bell-shaped flowers with a large whitish lower lip and purple veined, speckled interiors. It blooms from May to July.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
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. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.
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:
The leaves are cardiac, stimulant and tonic. They are much used in the treatment of certain heart complaints, but cause distress when used in large doses.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are 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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis_laevigata
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Digitalis+laevigata

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Viola cucullata

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Botanical Name: Viola cucullata
Family: Violaceae
Genus: Viola
Species: V. cucullata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Viola obliqua Hill

Common Names: Hooded blue violet, Marsh blue violet or Purple violet

Habitat : Viola cucullata is native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Minnesota, and south to Georgia. It grows on wet places, often in open woods. Wet meadows, springs, bogs, swamps etc.

Description:
Viola cucullata is a low-growing perennial herbaceous plant up to 20 cm tall. The leaves form a basal cluster; they are simple, up to 10 centimetres (3.9 in) broad, with an entire margin and a long petiole. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are violet, dark blue and occasionally white. with five petals. The fruit is a capsule 10–15 mm long, which splits into three sections at maturity to release the numerous small seeds.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, cleistogamous.The plant is self-fertile.

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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 or wet soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a cool moist well-drained humus-rich soil in partial or dappled shade and protection from scorching winds. Very intolerant of drought. Succeeds in dense shade. Tolerates sandstone and limestone soils but becomes chlorotic if the pH is too high. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. This plant produces cleistogamous flowers as well as the usual insect pollinated flowers. It usually self-sows freely. All members of this genus have more or less edible leaves and flower buds, though those species with yellow flowers can cause diarrhoea if eaten in large quantities. A polymorphic species. there are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in the autumn in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in the autumn or just after flowering. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.

Edible Uses:
Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked. When added to soup they thicken it in much the same way as okra[85, 159, 177]. A tea can be made from the leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of coughs, colds and dysentery. A poultice of the leaves has been used to reduce the pain of headaches. A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.

Other Uses: Repellent and a good ground cover plant but it is slow to thicken up and may need weeding for the first year or so. An infusion of the root has been used to soak corn seeds before planting them in order to keep off insects.

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/Viola_cucullata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Viola+cucullata

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Lactuca quercina

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Botanical Name : Lactuca quercina
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Common Names: Wild Lettuce

Habitat: Lactuca quercina is native to Europe. It grows in woods and scrub.

Description:
Lactuca quercina is an annual/biennial plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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.

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Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Requires a nitrogen-rich soil. Cultivated, especially in France. (Is this for its medicinal properties?)

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.
Edible Uses: Leaves- eaten – raw or cooked

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains ‘lactucarium‘, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets[4], nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.
Known Hazards : Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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/Lactuca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+quercina

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Agalinis tenuifolia

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Botanical Name :Agalinis tenuifolia
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Agalinis
Species: A. tenuifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Gerardia tenuifolia – Vahl.

Common Names: Common gerardia, Slender false foxglove, Common false foxglove

Habitat :Agalinis tenuifolia  is native to the eastern and southwestern United States, and Canada, which produces purple flowers in late summer or early fall. It grows in moist open areas and low woods in Texas.

Description:

Agalinis tenuifolia is a perennial plant .It is  erect, annual, 8″-24″ tall forb, dark green, blackish when dry, many erect branches; stems smooth.Individual flowers and their buds are produced from the axils of the leaves on the upper and outer stems; these flowering stems can be regarded as leafy racemes. The swollen flower buds are conspicuously white. Each flower is about ½–¾” across, consisting of a short tubular corolla with 5 petal-like lobes and a tubular calyx with 5 short teeth. The corolla is pink, purplish pink, or medium purple; its 5 rounded lobes are quite large in relation to its tubular base. The lobes are finely ciliate along their margins. The lower interior of the corolla has dark purple spots and a pair of faint yellow lines. Near the upper interior of the corolla, there are 4 stamens with hairy white anthers and an undivided white style (sometimes with a pale yellow tip). The slender pedicels of the flowers are green to reddish purple; they are usually as long or longer than the flowers (at least ½” long). The blooming period occurs during the late summer or early fall and lasts about 2-3 weeks. Each flower lasts only a day or two before its corolla falls to the ground. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each flower is replaced by a globoid seed capsule containing many small seeds that can be blown about by the wind. The root system is fibrous. Slender False Foxglove is partially parasitic on other plants.

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Flower: purple to pink, 5-parted, 1/3″-1/2″ long, smooth inside, upper lobe arched forward over the 4 stamens the lower stamens longer; inflorescence a cluster (raceme) of flowers on 1/3″-1″ long stalks; blooms Aug.-Sept.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) It is in flower from July to August.

Fruit: roundish capsule
Leaf : linear to 1/4″ wide
It is hardy to zone 8.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained soil, preferably on the dry side. Grows well in a woodland garden. This species is not very hardy outdoors in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. A semi-parasitic plant, thus making it very difficult to establish in cultivation. We are not sure which species it parasitizes.

Propagation:  Seed –

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of diarrhea.
Known Hazards : The plant is said to be poisonous to cattle and sheep.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Agalinis+tenuifolia
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=AGATEN
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/slfs_foxglove.htm

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