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Herbs & Plants

Allium validum

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Botanical Name: Allium validum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. validum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Swamp onion, Wild onion, Pacific onion, and Pacific mountain onion

Habitat : Allium validum is native to the Cascade Range, to the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains, and other high-elevation regions in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho and British Columbia. It grows on swampy meadows at medium to high elevations in the mountains.

Description:
The Allium validum bulb is three to five centimeters long, ovoid and clustered on the short end. The outer coat of the stout rhizome is brown or gray in color, fibrous, and vertically lined. The stem is 50 to 100 centimeters long and angled. There are three to six leaves more or less equal to the stem and the leaves are flat or more or less keeled. There are 15 to 40 flowers with pedicels being seven to twelve millimeters in length. The flower itself is six to ten millimeters, its perianth parts are more or less erect, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, and entire with a rose to white color. The stamens are longer than the tepals, and there is no ovary crest.

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It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

 

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulb is somewhat fibrous but is very acceptable as a flavouring in soups and stews. The bulb is fairly large, up to 5cm in diameter, and is produced in clusters. The plant has thick iris-like rhizomes. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses: Repellent.……The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. This species tolerates much wetter soils than most members of the genus but it dislikes winters with alternating periods of damp and cold and no snow cover, so it is best given a damp though well-drained soil. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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/Allium_val
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+validum

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Herbs & Plants

Frasera caroliniensis

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Botanical Name: Frasera caroliniensis
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Frasera
Species: F. caroliniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: American Calumba.  Radix Colombo Americanae. Frsera Walteri. Frasera Canadensis. Faux Colombo.

Common Name : American Columbo

Habitat: Frasera caroliniensis grows in dry upland areas, rocky woods and areas with calcareous soil, though it is not limited by soil texture or other soil characteristics.The species ranges from deciduous forest regions in southern Ontario, through southern Michigan, northern Indiana, southern Illinois, southern Missouri, southeast Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and northern Louisiana. This plant is native to Eastern N. America – New York to Ontario and Wisconsin, south to Georgia and Tennessee
Description:
Frasera caroliniensis is a monocarpic perennial plant, meaning it flowers once after multiple seasons, and then dies. It is a plant of from 4 to 9 feet in height, with a smooth, erect stem, bearing lanceolate leaves in whorls, and yellowish-white flowers in terminal panicles. The roots are triennial, horizontal, long, and yellow. They should be collected in the autumn of the second or the spring of the third year and cut into transverse slices before being dried. When sliced longitudinally they have been put on the market as American Gentian, and when fresh, their properties closely resemble Gentiana Lutea, the European Yellow Gentian. The sliced root as found in the market has a reddish-brown epidermis, yellow cortex and spongy centre. The taste is slightly bitter and saccharine. It may be distinguished from true Colombo Root by the absence of concentric circles, and the smaller, thicker slices….click  & see the picture

When it reaches the flowering stage, the leaves develop in whorls on an elongated stem, and approximately 50 to 100 flowers will develop a panicle, with the fruits maturing soon after. The flowers that it produces are folious (tall and “spike”-like), green to yellow in colour with purple speckles. It is a perfect and complete flower, with four stamens and two carpels. The entire plant can reach heights over 2 metres (7 ft). Though it is monocarpic, the plant may live for up to 30 years before flowering.

The roots of F. caroliniensis are a taproot system, with a thick and fleshy taproot, and in some Frasera species, this may be modified into a branched rhizome. The leaves of F. caroliensis are carried on stalks (“petiolate”) and have a thick, waxy texture.

Cultivation: Requires a moist but well-drained position and a stony peaty soil. Requires an acidic soil. Plants are hardy to at least -12°c. Plants can be grown in a woodland garden.

Propagation: : Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late winte

Part Used in medicine : The dried root.

Constituents: The root contains a peculiar acid, bitter extractive, gum, pectin, glucose, wax, resin, fatty matter, and yellowcolouring matter.

It may be distinguished from Calumba by the absence of starch (though it contains tannin), and by its change of colour when treated with sulphate of iron, remaining unchanged by tincture of iodine or galls. It has not the pectine of gentians.

Medicinal Uses: Tonic, cathartic, emetic stimulant. When dried it is a simple bitter that may be used in a similar way to gentian. In its fresh state it is cathartic and emetic.

Medicinal uses for American columbo have mostly been rebutted. However, it was a common belief in the early 19th century that the root of the plant might be externally used for gangrene. It was also claimed to be useful in treating jaundice, scurvy, gout and rabies.
The powdered plant is applied externally to ulcers as a poultice. The plant is a feeble simple bitter. The root is cathartic, emetic, stimulant and tonic. When dried it is a simple bitter that can be used as a digestive tonic in a similar way to gentian root (Gentiana spp), but the fresh root is cathartic and emetic. The root is used in the treatment of dysentery, stomach complaints and a lack of appetite. It should be harvested in the autumn of its second year, or the spring of its third year.

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/Frasera_caroliniensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/coluam90.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Frasera+caroliniensis

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Butterfly Ginger or White Ginger (Dolon Champa)

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Botanical Name :Hedychium coronarium
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Hedychium
Species: H. coronarium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales
Common Names:White ginger lily,Dolan champa  (in Bangal)   Takhellei angouba in Manipur, Sontaka in Maharastra, and Suruli sugandhi in Karnataka.
Bengali Name : Dolon Champa
Habitat:   It is originally from the Himalayas region of Nepal and India.Grows in Brazil where it is very common and considered to be an invasive weed. It was introduced in the era of slavery, brought to the country by African slaves who used its leaves as mattresses. It is also considered an invasive species in Hawaii.
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In Cuba it is the National Flower, known as “Mariposa blanca” literally “White Butterfly Flower”, due to its similarity with a flying white butterfly. This particular species is incredibly fragrant and women used to adorn themselves with these flowers in Spanish colonial times; because of the intricate structure of the inflorescence, women hid and carried secret messages important to the independence cause under it. It is said that a guajiro’s (farmer’s) house is not complete without a white ginger in its garden. Today the plant has gone wild in the cool rainy mountains in Sierra del Rosario, Pinar del Rio Province in the west, Escambray Mountains in the center of the island, and in Sierra Maestra in the very west of it, but the plant is not endemic of Cuba.

Description:
Hedychium coronarium is a perennial herb growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).It is a robust, attractive plant that will reach 6 feet in containers. It is a vigorous grower and needs to be divided often.Blooming time is  Summer-Fall. The white flowers are extremely fragrant and are good for cutting.
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a rich moist soil and a sunny position. It succeeds in shallow water and can also be grown in a sunny border as a summer sub-tropical bedding plant. Plants are not very hardy, they tolerate temperatures down to about -2°c and can be grown at the foot of a south-facing wall in the milder areas of Britain if given a good mulch in the winter. The flowers have a delicious perfume which is most pronounced towards evening. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The tubers should be only just covered by soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at 18°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in the greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division as growth commences in the spring. Dig up the clump and divide it with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that each division has a growing shoot. Larger clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a greenhouse until they are established. Plant them out in the summer or late in the following spring.

Edible Uses :-
Edible Parts: Flowers.

Young buds and flowers are eaten or used as a flavouring.   Root – cooked. A famine food used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses
Antirheumatic;  Aromatic;  Carminative;  Febrifuge;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The seed is aromatic, carminative and stomachic. The root is antirheumatic, excitant and tonic. The ground rhizome is used as a febrifuge. An essential oil from the roots is carminative and has anthelmintic indications. The plant has been used as a remedy for foetid nostril.

Other Uses
Essential;  Paper.

The stems contain 43 – 48% cellulose and are useful in making paper. An essential oil obtained from the flowers is valued in high grade perfumes. The root contains 1.7% essential oil, which is used medicinally.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedychium_coronarium
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week086.shtml
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Hedychium%20coronarium