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Herbs & Plants

Helminthia echioides

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Botanical Name :  Helminthia echioides
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Cichorieae
Genus:     Helminthotheca
Species: H. echioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class:     Magnoliopsida
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms : Picris echioides

Common Names ;Ox-Tongue, Bristly ox-tongue

Habitat : Helminthotheca echioides is native to the Mediterranean Basin, but has become widely naturalised outside that range. In the British Isles, it is widely distributed in the south and east, but more patchily distributed to the north and west. In Northern Ireland, H. echioides is only found on the north side of Belfast Lough.

It has been introduced to North America, where it can now be found from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and California.

Description:
Helminthia echioides is an annual/biennial plant growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in), with a thick, furrowed stem and spreading branches. The leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long, oblanceolate with a short petiole. The leaves, branches and stem are all covered in thick bristles. The inflorescences are 2–3.5 cm (0.8–1.4 in) wide and subtended by between 3 and 5 large ovate-cordate involucral bracts. These large bracts are the defining feature of the genus Helminthotheca.
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A number of infraspecific taxa are recognised, varying in their leaf shape.

It is somewhat stout and coarse, the sturdy stems attaining a height of from 2 to 3 feet, branching freely and covered with short, stiff hairs, each of which springs from a raised spot and is hooked at the end.

The lower leaves are much longer than the upper, of lanceolate or spear-head form, with their margins coarsely and irregularly toothed and waved. The upper leaves are small and stalkless, heart-shaped and clasping the stem with their bases. All the leaves are of a greyish-green hue and very tough to the touch.

The flower-heads are ordinarily somewhat clustered together on short stalks and form an irregular, terminal mass at the ends of the main stems. The involucre, or ring of bracts from which the florets spring, is doubled outside the ring of eight to ten narrow and nearly erect scales, simple in form and thin in texture, is an outer ring composed of a smaller number of spiny bracts of a broad heart-shape, in their roughness of surface and general character resembling the leaves of the plant. The combination of the inner and outer bracts may be roughly compared to a cup and saucer, and gives the plant a singular appearance.

The Ox Tongue is in blossom during June and July; all the florets of the flower-heads, as in the Dandelion, are of a rich golden yellow.

Cultivation:    
Succeeds in most soils. Dislikes shade. Wild plants are an indicator of calcareous soils. Seed is often produced apomictically. Any seedlings from this seed will be genetically identical to the parent plant.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in situ, only just covering the seed. Germination should take place quite quickly.

Medicinal Uses:
Information is not available.

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/Helminthotheca_echioides
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/oxtong17.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picris+echioides

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Herbs & Plants

Leontodon hispidus

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Botanical Name :Leontodon hispidus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cichorieae
Genus:    Leontodon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Common Names :  Hawkbits, Bristly Hawkbit

Habitat : Although originally only native to Eurasia and North Africa, some species have since become established in other countries, including the United States and New Zealand.It grows on meadows, roadside verges etc, usually on calcareous soils and avoiding shade

Description:
Leontodon hispidus is a perennial plant growing to a height of 4 to 16 in. Stem is leafless, unbranched with a single capitulum, usually densely covered with star-shaped hairs (sometimes almost or completely glabrous). The leaves are basal rosette. Blades are narrowly elliptic, pinnately lobed–large-toothed, lobes wide.

The  flowers are 0.8 to 1.6 in. wide, single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum’s ray-florets bright yellow (outermost red-streaked), tongue-like, 5-toothed at tip. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping, hairy, green. Capitula solitary, terminating scape. Scape thickening only slightly at most. Buds are nodding.Flowering time is June–July.The fruit is achene, crowned by a pappus of yellowish-white feathery hairs.

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation:           
An easily grown and tolerant plant, it prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil and does well on clay. A good bee and butterfly plant[108, 200], it grows well in the spring meadow.

Propagation:     
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in situ, only just covering the seed. Very fast germination. The seed can also be sown in the spring. If you are short of seed it can be sown in a pot in the cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Edible Uses :  
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. Neither the taste nor the texture are by any means wonderful, but the leaves are acceptable raw, particularly since they can be available in the late winter. The roasted root is a coffee substitute

Medicinal Uses:
The herb is diuretic. An infusion is used in the treatment of kidney complaints and as a remedy for dropsy and jaundice.

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/Leontodon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Leontodon+hispidus
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/rough-hawkbit
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hawrou05.html

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Herbs & Plants

Autumn hawkbit

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Botanical Name : Leontodon autumnalis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus:     Scorzoneroides
Species: S. autumnalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonyms: Scorzoneroides autumnalis

Common Names :Autumn hawkbit,fall dandelion

Habitat : Leontodon autumnalis is native range in Eurasia (from Europe east to western Siberia), and introduced in North America.It grows on shores, rocky outcrops, roadsides, paths, wasteland, pastures, yards, lawns, fell tundra meadows, shores, snow-bed sites.

Description:
Leontodon autumnalis is a perennial plant,  growing to a height of 4 to 15 inches.  The stem  is  usually branched with many capitula  and the leafless  are  almost glabrous scape.
The flower is single flower-like capitula 1 to 1.2 in. broad, surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum flowers yellow (outermost edge usually slightly reddish), tongue-like, tip 5-toothed. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping in 2–3 rows, hairy–glabrous. Capitula solitary terminating branches, pedicels thickening towards top. Flower with weak, pansy-like, slightly pungent fragrance.Flowering time is July to September.

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The leaves are  basal rosette, stalked, stalks winged. Blade lanceolate, glabrous, pinnate (occasionally large-toothed), lobes long, narrow.
The fruit is almost glossy, yellowish cypsela, crowned with feathery hairs.The seeds are long and brown, attached to a parachute consisting of a single row of hairs.

(Leontodon is from Lion’s tooth which describes the shape of the leaves.)

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/Scorzoneroides_autumnalis
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/autumn-hawkbit
https://www.growwilduk.com/know-your-wild-flowers

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Herbs & Plants

Vernonia fasciculata

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Botanical Name : Vernonia fasciculata
Family : Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Common Name : Prairie ironweed, Common ironweed, Smooth ironweed

Habitat :Smooth Ironweed is fairly common in in the northern half of Illinois, but uncommon elsewhere in the state . Habitats include wet to moist black soil prairies, riverbottom prairies, marshes, sloughs along railroads, and edges of fields. Smooth Ironweed is found in wetland habitats to a greater extent than other species of Ironweeds.

Description:
Vernonia fasciculata is a perennial plant. It grows   2-4′ tall and unbranched. The central stem is round, hairless, and white, light green, or reddish purple. The alternate leaves are up to 5″ long and ½” across. They are narrowly lanceolate, narrowly ovate, or linear. Their margins are serrated, while the upper and lower leaf surfaces are hairless. The lower leaf surface also has a prominent central vein, and black dots may be present. The leaves are sessile against the stem, or they have short petioles. The central stem terminates in a flat-topped cluster of magenta compound flowers (i.e., a corymb). This flower cluster is quite dense, rather than loose and spreading. The flowering stalks may be slightly pubescent. A compound flower consists of 15-30 disk florets with a short cylinder of green bracts underneath. These bracts are appressed together like fish scales, and they are often slightly ciliate. The cylinder of bracts spans about 1/5″ across. A disk floret is magenta, with 5 spreading lobes and a prominent divided style. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall, and lasts about a month. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flowers are replaced by achenes that have a pappus of hair-like scales. These achenes can be blown several feet from the mother plant by gusts of wind. The root system is spreading and fibrous.

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Cultivation: The preference is full sun, moist conditions, and fertile soil. Partial sun and slightly moister or drier conditions are also tolerated. This plant can withstand occasional flooding for short periods of time. The foliage is not bothered by pests and disease to any significant extent.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is bitter tonic used to improve the blood.Particularly useful in female  complaints, amenorrhea,dysmenorrhea,leucorrhea and menorrhagia. Considering a certain remedy for chills and intermitent and bilious fevers, and also valuable in scorfula, diseases of the skin and in constitunal syphilis. Some herbalist employed in the treatment of dyspepsia.

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_IJK.htm
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/sm_ironweedx.htm
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=VEFA2
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/Detail.asp?spcode=VERFASsFAS

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Herbs & Plants

Carrion Flower

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Botanical Name :Smilax herbacea
Family :Smilacaceae – Catbrier family
Genus :Smilax L. – greenbrier
Species: Smilax herbacea L. – smooth carrionflower
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class :Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales

Common Name :Carrion Flower

Habitat :According to official records, Smooth Carrion Flower is rare in Illinois. However, in neighboring states this vine has been found in many counties and it is regarded as more common. It is possible that some records of Smilax lasioneura (Common Carrion Flower) in Illinois are based on misidentifications and it was Smooth Carrion Flower that was observed. These two species are very similar in appearance and easily confused. Habitats of Smooth Carrion Flower include savannas, thickets, prairies, rocky upland woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, and fence rows. Occasional wildfires appear to be beneficial in managing populations of this species.

Description:
This climbing non-woody vine is a native perennial up to 8′ long that branches occasionally. The light green to purple stems are terete, slightly speckled, glabrous, and often glaucous. Alternate leaves up to 3½” long and 2½” across occur at intervals along each stem; they are ovate-oval to broadly ovate-lanceolate in shape, smooth along their margins, and parallel-veined. The upper surfaces of the leaves are medium green and glabrous, while their lower surfaces are pale green and hairless. There are no hairs along the raised veins on the leaf undersides. The petioles of the leaves are up to 1¾” long, light green, and hairless. At the base of most petioles, there is a pair of tendrils that can cling to adjacent vegetation or objects for support. At the base of each stem on the vine, there is an appressed to slightly spreading sheath that is usually bladeless.
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Individual umbels of flowers are produced from the axils of the middle to upper leaves of each mature vine. Each umbel is connected to the stem by a long stout peduncle about 4-10″ long. The peduncles are 4-8 times longer than the petioles of adjacent leaves; they are similar in appearance to the stems. Individual umbels are about 1½–3″ across, consisting of 20-120 flowers on slender pedicels; when fully developed, they are globoid in shape. Like other species in this genus, Smooth Carrion Flower is dioecious; some vines produce only staminate (male) flowers, while other vines produce only pistillate (female) flowers. The green to yellowish green staminate flowers are individually about ¼” across, consisting of 6 lanceolate tepals and 6 stamens with white anthers. The green to yellowish green pistillate flowers are individually about ¼” across, consisting of 6 lanceolate tepals and a pistil with 3 flattened stigmata. The tepals of both kinds of flowers are often recurved. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. The flowers often have a carrion-like scent, but its presence and strength varies with the local ecotype. Staminate flowers wither away after blooming, while pistillate flowers are replaced by globoid fleshy berries. Individual berries are about ¼” across and contain about 3-5 seeds; they are dark blue and glaucous at maturity. At the end of the growing season, the entire vine dies down to the ground.

Cultivation: Smooth Carrion Flower prefers full or partial sun and more or less mesic conditions. It flourishes in different kinds of soil, including those that are rocky or loamy. In a shady situation, this vine may fail to produce flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Eating the fruit is said to be effective in treating hoarseness.  The parched and powdered leaves havebeen used as a dressing on burns. The wilted leaves have been used as a dressing on boils. The root is analgesic. A decoction has been used in the treatment of back pains, stomach complaints, lung disorders and kidney problems.

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://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SMHE
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/smilaxherb.html
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/sm_carrion.htm

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