Herbs & Plants

Gentiana andrewsii

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Botanical Name: Gentiana andrewsii
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentiana
Species: G. andrewsii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name : Closed Bottle Gentian, Dakota gentian, Bottle gentian, Closed gentian

Habitat ; Gentiana andrewsii is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Manitoba, Georgia and Nebraska. It grows on meadows, damp prairies and low thickets.

Gentiana andrewsii is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). It blooms in late summer (August–October). The flowers are 2 to 4 cm long, typically a rich blue color and bottle shaped with closed mouths. The flowers are clustered at the top of the plant or in the axis of the top leaves. The stems are 30 to 60 cm long, lax in habit, producing sprawling plants with upturned ends ending with clusters of bee pollinated flowers. The foliage is hairless with a glossy sheen to it. Plants are fed upon by ground hogs and scale insects. This species can hybridize with Gentiana alba, producing upright growing plants with white flowers with blue edges. This gentian is considered a threatened species in the USA states of New York and Maryland……...CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES 

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bumblebees, butterflies.

In general, gentians require a moist well-drained soil in a sheltered position, a certain minimum of atmospheric humidity, high light intensity but a site where temperatures are not too high. They are therefore more difficult to grow in areas with hot summers and in such a region they appreciate some protection from the strongest sunlight. Most species will grow well in the rock garden. This species is fairly easy to grow, succeeding in most humus-rich soils. It tolerates more shade (but not full shade) than most members of the genus, growing well in a woodland garden. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance. A moisture loving plant, preferring to grow with full exposure to the sun but with plenty of underground moisture in the summer, it grows better in the north and west of Britain.

Seed – best sown in early January in a light position in a cold frame. It can also be sown in late winter or early spring but the seed germinates best if given a period of cold stratification and quickly loses viability when stored, with older seed germinating slowly and erratically. It is advantageous to keep the seed at about 10°c for a few days after sowing, to enable the seed to imbibe moisture. Following this with a period of at least 5 – 6 weeks with temperatures falling to between 0 and -5°c will usually produce reasonable germination. It is best to use clay pots, since plastic ones do not drain so freely and the moister conditions encourage the growth of moss, which will prevent germination of the seed. The seed should be surface-sown, or only covered with a very light dressing of compost. The seed requires dark for germination, so the pots should be covered with something like newspaper or be kept in the dark. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The seedlings grow on very slowly, taking 2 – 7 years to reach flowering size. When the plants are of sufficient size, place them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March. Most members of this genus have either a single tap-root, or a compact root system united in a single root head, and are thus unsuitable for division. Cuttings of basal shoots in late spring

Medicinal Uses:
The root is said to be an antidote to snakebites. An infusion of the roots has been used as a wash and also taken internally in the treatment of pain and headaches. An infusion of the roots has been used as drops for sore eyes. This N. American species has medicinal properties practically identical with the European gentians. The following notes are based on the general uses of G. lutea which is the most commonly used species in the West. Gentian root has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders and is an ingredient of many proprietary medicines. It contains some of the most bitter compounds known and is used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system, stimulating the liver, gall bladder and digestive system, and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant, stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of liver complaints, indigestion, gastric infections and anorexia. It should not be prescribed for patients with gastric or duodenal ulcers. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Physalis heterophylla

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Botanical Name : Physalis heterophylla
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Physalis
Species: P. heterophylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms:  Physalis ambigua – (Gray) Britton.

Common Names:Clammy Groundcherry

Habitat : Physalis heterophylla  is native to North America, occurring primarily in the eastern United States and Canada. It is known to occur in all contiguous states except for Nevada and California. It is found mainly in habitats such as dry or mesic prairies, gravel hills and rises, sandy or rocky soils, and waste places such as roadsides.

Physalis heterophylla is a perennial, and is one of the taller-growing North American members of the genus, reaching a height up to 50cm. The leaves are alternate, with petioles up to 1.5cm, ovate in shape, usually cordate at the base (this is especially true of mature leaves), 6-11 cm long at maturity. Each member of the Physalis genus has at least one characteristic that makes it easy to differentiate in the field. For P. heterophylla, the stems and leaves are glandularly pubescent, giving it the “clammy” feel from which its name is derived. The plant also has distinctive thick rhizomes that run horizontal to the stem. Some sources recognize four distinct subspecies based primarily on leaf variation:


*P. heterophylla var. heterophylla, with thin leaves that have dentate margins;

*P. heterophylla var. clavipes, with thick, conspicuously veined leaves and sparingly tooth-like protrusions on otherwise entire margins;

*P. heterophylla var. ambigua, with thick, conspicuously veined leaves and dentate margins;

*P. heterophylla var. nycangienea, with thin leaves that have sparingly tooth-like protrusions on otherwise entire margins.

The flowers are on simple inflorescences that emerge from leaf apexes. The petals are yellow on the exterior, and yellow on the interior with purple highlights emanating up each petal from the base. They are funnelform in shape, with five fused petals. There are five reticulated sepals, which enlarge after flowering to eventually protect the maturing frut. Stamens five, with yellow anthers and purple filaments. The flowers face downwards when open, and are about 2.5cm in diameter. The fruits are typical for the family (appearing like a tomatillo), and have a slightly bitter taste, though they are perfectly edible. The rest of the plant is poisonous.

Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. A polymorphic species.

Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination. Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings in early summer. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Fruit – raw or cooked. Quite nice raw though rather small, the fruit can also be made into pies, jams, sauces etc. Pectin or pectin-rich fruit should be added if the fruit is used in jams and preserves. The fruit can also be dried, ground into a meal and added to flour for making bread etc. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own ‘paper bag’ (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
Antitumor; Diuretic; Poultice.

The seed is considered to be beneficial in the treatment of difficult urination, fever, inflammation and various urinary disorders. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of headaches and as a wash for burns and scalds. A poultice of the leaves and roots is applied to wounds. An infusion of the leaves and roots is used as a wash on scalds, burns and VD sores. Compounds in the plant are being investigated for antitumor activity.

Known  Hazards : All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous

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.

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