Herbs & Plants

Dwarf Birch (Betula nana )

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Botanical Name :Betula nana
Family : Betulaceae
Genus : Betula
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales
Suenusbg: Chamaebetula
Species: B. nana
Synonyms: Betula exilis; Betula glandulosa; Betula glandulosa var. hallii; Betula glandulosa var. sibirica; Betula michauxii; Betula nana ssp. exilis; Betula nana var. sibirica; Betula terrae-novae Fern.
Other Names: : Bog birch; Scrub birch; Dwarf birch
Habitat : B. nana is native to arctic and cool temperate regions of northern Europe, including Britain, east to Siberia, northern Asia and northern North America and it will grow in a variety of conditions.It can be found in Greenland. Outside of far northern areas, it is usually found only growing in mountains above 300 m, up to 835 m in Scotland and 2200 m in the Alps. Its eastern range limit is on Svalbard, where it is confined to warm sites.

It is a decidious shrub growing to 1-1.2 m high. The bark is non-peeling and shiny red-copper colored. The leaves are rounded, 6-20 mm diameter, with a bluntly toothed margin. The fruiting catkins are erect, 5-15 mm long and 4-10 mm broad.
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It is hardy to zone 2 and is frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in July. 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 prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

There are two subspecies:-

1.Betula nana subsp. nana. Canada (Baffin Island), Greenland, northern Europe (south to the Alps at high altitudes), northwestern Asia. Young twigs hairy, but without resin; leaves longer (to 20 mm), usually as long as broad.

2.Betula nana subsp. exilis
. Northeastern Asia, northern North America (Alaska, Canada east to Nunavut). Young twigs hairless or only with scattered hairs, but coated in resin; leaves shorter (not over 12 mm long), often broader than long.


Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Grows well in moist places or the heath garden. Shade tolerant. This species is native to areas with very cold winters and often does not do well in milder zones. It can be excited into premature growth in mild winters and this new growth is susceptible to frost damage. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.


Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Edible Uses: Condiment.

Young leaves and catkins – raw. The buds and twigs are used as a flavouring in stews.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses
Antirheumatic; Astringent; Lithontripic; Miscellany; Salve; Sedative; Stomachic.

The bark is antirheumatic, astringent, lithontripic, salve and sedative. Moxa is prepared from the plant and is regarded as an effective remedy in all painful diseases. No more details are given, but it is likely that the moxa is prepared from yellow fungous excretions of the wood, since the same report gives this description when talking about other members of the genus. A compound decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of stomach ache and intestinal discomfort.

Other Uses

Dye; Ground cover; Hair; Tinder.

Plants can be used for ground cover, forming a spreading hummock up to 1.2 metres across. An infusion of the plant is used as a hair conditioner and dandruff treatment. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves. The plant has been used as a tinder, even when wet, and for cooking fires when there is a lack of larger wood. It is likely that the bark was used for tinder.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Norwegian Kelp.

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Botanical Name:  Norwegian Kelp.

Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Protista

(unranked): Chromista

Phylum: Heterokontophyta

Class: Phaeophyceae

Order: Fucales

Family: Fucaceae

Genus: Ascophyllum

A. nodosum

Norwegian Kelp is a large, common, brown alga, in the Class Phaeophyceae. It is seaweed of the northern Atlantic Ocean, also known as Ascophyllum nodosum, Knotted Kelp, knotted wrack or egg wrack. It is common on the north-western coast of Europe (from Svalbard to Portugal) including east Greenland and the north-eastern coast of North America.

It is is very popular amongst the science community and has been claimed to be both the best known seaweed on the planet as well as the most researched by the academic community

Kelp (acophyllum nodosum) is a seaweed with a long history of use as a food and as a source of assimilable iodine. Ascophyllum nodosum is a species of kelp that only grows deep in ocean waters. Other off shore kelps may absorb heavy metals and toxins. That is why Now Foods kelp is wild grown Norwegian Kelp, and is comprised only of valuable nutrients from ocean floors. We use the whole dried kelp plant.

Kelp is a large, leafy brown algae that belongs to the seaweed family and grows in the colder waters of the world’s oceans. It is a good source of marine minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. It is also an excellent source of iodine, which has been shown to support healthy thyroid function. Your thyroid gland is responsible for producing the hormones that support normal cellular metabolism. As with most green foods, kelp also contains vitamins and cell salts essential for good nutrition.*

Description and ecology:
Ascophyllum nodosum has long fronds with large egg-shaped air-bladders set in series at regular intervals in the fronds and not stalked. The fronds can reach 2 m in length and are attached by a holdfast to rocks and boulders. The fronds are olive-brown in color and somewhat compressed but without a mid-rib.
This seaweed grows quite slowly and can live for several decades; it may take approximately five years before becoming fertile.

Life history is of one diploid plant and gametes. The gametes are produced in conceptacles embedded in yellowish receptacles on short branches.

Ascophyllum nodosum is found mostly on sheltered sites on shores in the mid-littoral where it can become the dominant species in the littoral zone.

Polysiphonia lanosa (L.) Tandy is a small red alga, commonly found growing in dense tufts on Ascophyllum whose rhizoids penetrate the host. It is considered by some as parasitic.

Varieties and forms:
Several different varieties and forms of this species have been described.

Ascophyllum nodosum var. minor has been described from Larne Lough in Northern Ireland.
There are free floating ecads of this species such as Ascophyllum nodosum mackaii Cotton, which is found at very sheltered locations, such as at the heads of sea lochs in Scotland and Ireland.

The species is found in a range of coastal habitats from sheltered estuaries to moderately exposed coasts, often it dominates the inter-tidal zone (although sub-tidal populations are known to exist in very clear waters). However it is rarely found on exposed shores, and if it is found the fronds are usually small and badly scratched.

It has been recorded as an accidental introduction to San Francisco, California, and eradicated as a potential invasive species there.

Recorded in Europe from: Faroe Islands, Norway, Ireland, Britain and Isle of Man Netherlands North America: Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Baffin Island, Hudson Strait, Labrador and Newfoundland.

Ascophyllum nodosum is harvested for use in alginates, fertilisers and for the manufacture of seaweed meal for animal and human consumption. It has long been used as an organic and mainstream fertilizer for many varieties of crops due to its combination of both macronutrient, (eg. N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and micronutrients (eg. Mn, Cu, Fe, Zn, etc.) It also host to cytokinins, auxin-like, gibberellins, betaines, mannitol, organic acids, polysaccharides, amino acids, and proteins which are all very beneficial and widely used in agriculture.

Ascophyllum nodosum along with Macrocystis pyferais harvested in Ireland, Scotland and Norway from which alginates are extracted it is one of the world’s principal alginate supply.

Medical Uses:
A long history of use as a source of assimilable iodine. Some benefits include:
– Contains many nutrients absorbed from the sea.*
– Naturally Pure Wild Grown Norwegian Kelp
– Natural Potency of Iodine.

Norwegian Kelp may reduce, or even eliminate, not only bacterial plaque and dental caries but also arteriosclerotic plaque, atherosclerotic plaque, pleural plaque, renal calculus, biliary calculus, and prostatic calculus.

Furthermore, the medicinal and dental uses have been recognized for well over a century.

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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