Tag Archives: American Chestnut

Prunus campanulata

Botanical Name : Prunus campanulata
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. campanulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:
*Cerasus campanulata (Maxim.) A.Vassiliev
*Prunus cerasoides Koidz.
*Prunus cerasoides var. campanulata (Maxim.) Koidz.
*Prunus pendula hort.

Common Names: Taiwan cherry, Formosan cherry, or Bellflower cherry.

Habitat : Prunus campanulata is native to Japan, Vietnam, and China (including Taiwan), widely grown as an ornamental tree, and a symbol of Nago, Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. It grows on the hill forests below 600 metres. Forests in ravines, forest margins at elevations of 100 – 1300 metres.

Description:
Prunus campanulata is a small, deciduous tree that grows up to 10m high. It has characteristic deep red, bell shaped clusters of flowers (up to 2.2cm diameter), which appear in late winter to early spring. Flowers often appear on the bare branches before the leave emerge. Leaves are serrated, typically cherry-like and are up to 4-7cm long and 2-3.5cm wide. These are a bright green colour when they emerge in spring, changing to dark green in summer and finally turning bronze during autumn. The fruit of P. campanulata is small (10 x 6mm), shiny and scarlet and are very popular with birds.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.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 soil.

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. This species is not very hardy in Britain, though it succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of the country. When fully dormant, it probably tolerates temperatures down to about -10 to -15°c. This species grows well in areas that are too warm for other species of flowering cherries. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. A very ornamental plant, there are several named varieties. Closely related to P. cerasoides. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features:Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. A cherry, it is edible if the astringency is removed. The fruit is about 11mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses
Dye.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Prunus campanulata is a popular ornamental tree for both private gardens and public areas.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_campanulata
http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1666
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+campanulata

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Cornus florida

Botanical Name: Cornus florida
Family:    Cornaceae
Genus:    Cheshornus
Subgenus:    Benthamidia
Species:    C. florida
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Cornales

Synonyms:  Bitter Redberry. Cornel. New England Boxwood. Dog-Tree. Flowering Dogwood. American Dogwood. Benthamidia florida. Box Tree. Virginian Dogwood. Cornouiller à grandes fleurs. Mon-ha-can-ni-min-schi. Hat-ta-wa-no-minschi.

Common Name: Flowering dogwood

Other old names: ( now rarely used)  American Dogwood, Florida Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood, Indian Arrowwood, Cornelian Tree, White Cornel, White Dogwood, False Box, and False Boxwood.

Habitat:  Cornus florida is   native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southern Ontario, Illinois, and eastern Kansas, and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas, with a disjunct population in Nuevo León and Veracruz in eastern Mexico. In Ontario, this tree species has been assessed and is now listed as endangered.
Description:
Flowering dogwood is a small deciduous tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) high, often wider than it is tall when mature, with a trunk diameter of up to 30 cm (1 ft). A 10-year-old tree will stand about 5 m (16 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate, 6–13 cm (2.4–5.1 in) long and 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) broad, with an apparently entire margin (actually very finely toothed, under a lens); they turn a rich red-brown in fall……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are individually small and inconspicuous, with four greenish-yellow bracts 4 mm (0.16 in) long. Around 20 flowers are produced in a dense, rounded, umbel-shaped inflorescence, or flower-head, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter. The flower-head is surrounded by four conspicuous large white, pink or red “petals” (actually bracts), each bract 3 cm (1.2 in) long and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) broad, rounded, and often with a distinct notch at the apex. The flowers are bisexual.

When in the wild they can typically be found at the forest edge and popular on dry ridges. While most of the wild trees have white bracts, some selected cultivars of this tree also have pink bracts, some even almost a true red. They typically flower in early April in the southern part of their range, to late April or early May in northern and high altitude areas. The similar Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), native to Asia, flowers about a month later.

The fruit is a cluster of two to ten drupes, each 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) long and about 8 mm (0.31 in) wide, which ripen in the late summer and the early fall to a bright red, or occasionally yellow with a rosy blush. They are an important food source for dozens of species of birds, which then distribute the seeds.

In 2012, the United States sent 3,000 dogwood saplings to Japan to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Washington D.C. cherry trees given as a gift to the U.S. by Japan in 1912.

Cultivation:  Flowering dogwood does best horticulturally in moist, acidic soil in a site with some afternoon shade, but good morning sun. It does not do well when exposed to intense heat sources such as adjacent parking lots or air conditioning compressors. It also has a low salinity tolerance. The hardiness zone is 5–9 and the preferred pH is between 6.0–7.0. In urban and suburban settings, care should be taken not to inflict mower damage on the trunk or roots, as this increases the tree’s susceptibility to disease and pest pressure.

Propagation:  Cornus florida is easily propagated by seeds, which are sown in the fall into prepared rows of sawdust or sand, and emerge in the spring. Germination rates for good clean seed should be near 100% if seed dormancy is first overcome by cold stratification treatments for 90 to 120 days at 4 °C (39 °F). Flowering dogwood demonstrates gametophytic self-incompatibility, meaning that the plants can’t self-fertilize. This is important for breeding programs as it means that it is not necessary to emasculate (remove the anthers from) C. florida flowers before making controlled cross-pollinations. These pollinations should be repeated every other day, as the flowers must be cross-pollinated within one or two days of opening for pollinations to be effective.

Softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer from new growth can be rooted under mist if treated with 8,000 to 10,000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). In cold climates, potted cuttings must be kept in heated cold frames or polyhouses the following winter to maintain temperatures between 0 and 7 °C (32 and 45 °F). Although rooting success can be as high as 50–85%, this technique is not commonly used by commercial growers. Rather, selected cultivars are generally propagated by T-budding in late summer or by whip grafting in the greenhouse in winter onto seedling rootstock.

Micropropagation of flowering dogwood is now used in breeding programs aiming to incorporate resistance to dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew into horticulturally and economically important cultivars. Nodal (axillary bud) sections are established in a culture of Woody Plant Medium (WPM) amended with 4.4 µmol/L 6-Benzyladenine (BA) to promote shoot growth.[8] Rooting of up to 83% can be obtained when 5–7 week-old microshoots are then transferred to WPM amended with 4.9 µmol/L IBA

Part Used for Medicines::  The dried bark of the root.

Constituents:  The bark has been found to contain tannic and gallic acids, resin, gum, extractive, oil, wax, red colouring matter, lignin, potassa, lime, magnesia, iron, and a neutral, crystalline glucoside called Cornin. Either water or alcohol extracts the virtues of the bark. The flowers are said to have similar properties, and to be sometimes used as a substitute. It is said that the berries, boiled and pressed, yield a limpid oil.

Medicinal  Uses:   Before Europeans discovered America, the Red Indianswere using the bark in the same way as Peruvian bark. It is valuable in intermittent fevers, as a weak tonic for the stomach, and antiperiodic, as a stimulant and astringent. As a poultice in anthrax, indolent ulcers, and inflamed erysipelas, it is tonic, stimulant and antiseptic. In the recent state it should be avoided, as it disagrees with stomach and bowels. Cinchona bark or sulphate of quinea often replace it officially. 35 grains of Cornus bark are equal to 30 grains of cinchona bark.

The ripe fruit, infused in brandy, is used as a stomachic in domestic practice, and a tincture of the berries restores tone to the stomach in alcoholism. Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny recommend them in diarrhoea.

Root-bark tea or tincture widely used for malaria and diarrhea throughout South during the Civil War. Also used as a poultice for external sores and ulcers.

Fruits:  Berries soaked in brandy for heart burn and upset stomach.

Twigs:  Twigs chewed for cleaning teeth

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Other Uses:
The leaves make good fodder for cattle, and in Italy the oil is used in soups.

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/Cornus_florida
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/boxwoa68.html
http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/medicinal_plants/pages/Flowering_Dogwood.html

Carpinus caroliniana

Botanical Name :Carpinus caroliniana
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Carpinus
Species: C. caroliniana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms : Carpinus americana – Michx.,  muscletree

Common Name :American Hornbeam

Habitat: Carpinus caroliniana is native to eastern North America, from Minnesota and southern Ontario east to Maine, and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida. It also grows in Canada (southwest Quebec and southeast Ontario), Mexico (central and southern), Guatemala, and western Honduras

Description:
Carpinus caroliniana is a  decidious  tree reaching heights of 10–15 m, rarely 20 m, and often has a fluted and crooked trunk. The bark is smooth and greenish-grey, becoming shallowly fissured in old trees. The leaves are alternate, 3–12 cm long, with prominent veins giving a distinctive corrugated texture, and a serrated margin. The male and female catkins appear in spring at the same time as the leaves. The fruit is a small 7–8 mm long nut, partially surrounded by a three- to seven-pointed leafy involucre 2–3 cm long; it matures in autumn. The seeds often do not germinate till the spring of the second year after maturating.

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It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen in November. 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.

There are two subspecies, which intergrade extensively where they meet:

*Carpinus caroliniana subsp. caroliniana. Atlantic coastal plain north to Delaware, and lower Mississippi Valley west to eastern Texas. Leaves mostly smaller, 3–9 cm long, and relatively broader, 3–6 cm broad.

*Carpinus caroliniana subsp. virginiana. Appalachian Mountains and west to Minnesota and south to Arkansas. Leaves mostly larger, 8–12 cm long, and relatively narrower, 3.5–6 cm broad.

It is a shade-loving tree, which prefers moderate soil fertility and moisture. It has a shallow, wide-spreading root system. The wood is heavy and hard, and is used for tool handles, longbows, walking sticks, walking canes and golf clubs. The leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, for example the Io moth (Automeris io).

Cultivation :
Thrives in any good loam, including chalk, it does not demand much light. Prefers a deep open loam. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A slow-growing and short-lived tree in the wild, it is slower growing than C. betulinus in cultivation. Seed production is cyclic, a year of heavy yields being followed by 2 – 4 years of low yields.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in an outdoors seedbed as soon as it is ripe. Germination is usually good, though it may take 18 months. If collected whilst still ‘green’ (after the seed is ripe but before it has dried fully on the plant) and sown immediately it should germinate in the following spring. Grow the plants on for two years in the seedbed and then plant them out into their permanent positions in the winter. The average seed viability is around 65%. Pre-treat stored seed with 4 weeks warm and 12 weeks cold stratification and sow in a cold frame[98]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall before planting them into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Seed.

Seed – cooked. An emergency food, used when all else fails.

Medicinal Uses:
Astringent.
American hornbeam was employed medicinally by some native North American Indian tribes, though it is not used in modern herbalism. The inner bark is astringent. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea and difficult urination with discharge.

The astringent inner bark was used to staunch bleeding.  Delaware Indians used the root or bark infusion for general debility and female ailments.  Iroquois used it for childbirth and used the bark chips in a polyherbal formula for tuberculosis.  Iroquois also used it for big injuries and Italian itch.

Other Uses:
Wood.

Wood – heavy, close grained, very hard, strong, but not very durable in the soil. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot. Too small to be exploited commercially, this high quality wood is often used locally for flooring, cogs, tool handles, golf clubs etc. It is especially suitable for making levers and is also a good fuel.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Carpinus+caroliniana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpinus_caroliniana
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/image/c/caca18wp24520.htm

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American Chestnut

Botanical Name :Castanea dentata
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Castanea
Species: C. dentata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Common Name :American Chestnut

Habitat : Castanea dentata is native to eastern North America. Before the species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, it was one of the most important forest trees throughout its range.

Description:
A rapidly growing deciduous hardwood tree, it reached up to 30–45 meters (100–150 ft) tall and 3 meters (10 ft) in diameter, and ranged from Maine and southern Ontario to Mississippi, and from the Atlantic coast to the Appalachian Mountains and the Ohio Valley. There are several related chestnut species, such as the European Sweet Chestnut, Chinese Chestnut, and Japanese Chestnut, which are distinguishable only with difficulty from the American species. C. dentata can be best identified by the larger and more widely spaced saw-teeth on the edges of its leaves, as indicated by the scientific name dentata, Latin for “toothed”. The leaves, which are 14–20 centimeters (5–8 in) long and 7–10 centimeters (3–4 in) broad, also tend to average slightly shorter and broader than those of the Sweet Chestnut. The blight-resistant Chinese Chestnut is now the most commonly planted chestnut species in the U.S. It can be distinguished from the American Chestnut by its hairy twig tips which are in contrast to the hairless twigs of the American Chestnut. The chestnuts are in the beech family along with beech and oak, and are not closely related to the horse-chestnut, which is in the family Sapindaceae.
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The American Chestnut is a prolific bearer of nuts, usually with three nuts enclosed in each spiny green burr, and lined in tan velvet. The nuts develop through late summer, the burrs opening and falling to the ground near the first fall frost.

The American Chestnut was a very important tree for wildlife, providing much of the fall mast for species such as White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkey and, formerly, the Passenger Pigeon. Black Bears were also known to eat the nuts to fatten up for the winter.

Medicinal Uses:
The Indians made a tea from the leaves to treat whooping cough and the same tea has been used as a sedative and tonic.  The bark was used to treat worms and dysentery.

Other Uses:
The nuts were once an important economic resource in the U.S., being sold on the streets of towns and cities, as they sometimes still are during the Christmas season (usually “roasting on an open fire” so their smell is readily identifiable many blocks away). Chestnuts are edible raw or roasted, though typically preferably roasted. Nuts of the European Sweet Chestnut are now sold instead in many stores. One must peel the brown skin to access the yellowish-white edible portion. The unrelated horse-chestnut’s “conkers” are poisonous without extensive preparation.

The wood is straight-grained, strong, and easy to saw and split, and it lacks the radial end grain found on most other hardwoods. The tree was particularly valuable commercially since it grew at a faster rate than oaks. Being rich in tannins, the wood was highly resistant to decay and therefore used for a variety of purposes, including furniture, split-rail fences, shingles, home construction, flooring, piers, plywood, paper pulp, and telephone poles. Tannins were also extracted from the bark for tanning leather. Although larger trees are no longer available for milling, much chestnut wood has been reclaimed from historic barns to be refashioned into furniture and other items. “Wormy” chestnut refers to a defective grade of wood that has insect damage, having been sawn from long-dead blight-killed trees. This “wormy” wood has since become fashionable for its rustic character.

This tree is not considered a particularly good patio shade tree because its droppings are prolific and a considerable nuisance. Catkins in the spring, spiny nut pods in the fall, and leaves in the early winter can all be a problem. These characteristics are more or less common to all shade trees, but perhaps not to the same degree as with the chestnut. The spiny seed pods are a particular nuisance when scattered over an area frequented by people.

Montreal, Quebec, is famous for its abundance of chestnuts in the downtown core during the autumn months. One may find a festival of ripened harvested chestnuts along rue Sherbrooke. Native Montréalers dub it the Le Festival De La Châtaigne, which generally occurs during the last week of September.

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/American_Chestnut
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Rumex hymenosepalus

Botanical Name :Rumex hymenosepalus
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. hymenosepalus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms :Rumex arizonicus Britton,Rumex salinus A.Nelson,Rumex hymenosepalus var. salinus (A. Nelson) Rech.,Rumex saxei Kellogg

Common Name : Canaigre dock,  Canaigre or Wild Rhubarb,

Habitat : Rumex hymenosepalus  is native to the United States and  it is found on sandy roadsides and fields at lower to middle elevations.It has been cultivated in the southwestern United States.  It grows in dry sandy places below 1500 metres in California

Description:
Rumex hymenosepalus is a perennial flowering plant with tall reddish colored stems .Rumex hymenosepalus grows very large basal leaves early in the spring.  The leaves are elliptic, thick, and wider than those of Rumex crispus.  The leaves can be wavy at the margin, but usually not as much as with Rumex crispus.A tall, stout flower stalk follows with tiny green/red/yellow flowers that are replaced by showy pink/red/brown seed pods.  Early leaves of this and related Rumex species are palatable as a potherb, giving rise to the “Wild Rhubarb” common name.  Leaves persist through the summer but toughen with age.  A number of species of Rumex are found in Canyon Country and were probably a common food for the Anasazi.
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The reproductive panicles are thickly packed  . Typically, Rumex hymenosepalus leaves are among the first early signs of spring in the lower parts of the Gila. The stems are reddish with an interior that is somewhat spongy with airspaces.
Cultivation : Succeeds in most soils but prefers a deep fertile moderately heavy soil that is humus-rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained and a position in full-sun or part shade. Judging by its native range, this plant should succeed in dry soils. Extensively cultivated for the tannin contained in its root.

Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ. Division in spring.

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

Young leaves – cooked as a pot-herb. They are usually cooked in several changes of water to remove the bitter-tasting tannin. Leaf stems – cooked. Crisp and tart, they are excellent when used in pies like rhubarb. They are often cooked with sugar, or can be baked and the central portion eaten. The stems, harvested before the flowers open, have been boiled to make a drink. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder, cooked with water to the consistency of a thick gravy and eaten as a mush. The powder can also be mixed with water, shaped into cakes and baked. Root. Eaten raw by children in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The use of cañaigre root in folk medicine has been as an astringent, prepared as a tea for diarrhea and as a garble for sore throat.  These uses are probably effective, owing to the plant’s high tannin content.  Herbalists have traditionally relied upon cañaigre as an astringent.  They used its large tuberous roots to make a tea for treating diarrhea and a gargle for easing sore throat.  One herbal suggests using the boiled root extract to stop bleeding from minor scrapes and cuts.  For sunburn, the root can be grated fresh on the burned skin, allowed to dry and a poultice of the inner pith of the cactus placed over or the juice rubbed in.  An infusion of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash for sores, ant bites and infected cuts.  The root has been chewed in the treatment of coughs and colds. The dried, powdered roots have been used as a dusting powder and dressing on burns and sores. A tea made from this plant is used to treat colds. The dried root combined with water is used as a mouthwash for pyorrhea and gum inflammations.  Sucking on a slice tightens the teeth.  The tea is used as a wash for acne and other moist or greasy skin problems.

Other Uses:
The roots are a good source of tannin, for use in leather tanning.  It is also a source of a mustard-colored dye.

Known Hazards : Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_hymenosepalus
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Brown%20Green%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/rumex%20hymenosepalus.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/rumex_hymenosepalus.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+hymenosepalus

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