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Populus balsamifera

Botanical Name : Populus balsamifera
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Populus
Section: Tacamahaca
Species: P. balsamifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names : Balsam Poplar, Black cottonwood, Bam, Bamtree, Eastern balsam poplar, Hackmatack, Tacamahac poplar, Tacamahaca

Other common names :    Heartleaf balsam poplar, and Ontario balsam poplar.

The black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa, is sometimes considered a subspecies of P. balsamifera and may lend its common name to this species, although the black poplars and cottonwoods of Populus sect. Aigeiros are not closely related.

Habitat : Populus balsamifera is native to northern N. America – Newfoundland to Alaska, south to New England, Iowa and Colorado. It grows in deep moist sandy soils of river bottomlands, stream banks, borders of lakes and swamps.

Description:
Populus balsamifera is a deciduous medium to large-sized, averaging 23 – 30 m (75 – 100 ft) high, broadleaved hardwood. Crown narrow, pyramidal with thick, ascending branches. Branchlets moderately stout, round, shiny reddy-brown, orange lenticels, buds are reddish-brown to brown, 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, curved, resinous and fragrant. Twig has a bitter aspirin taste. Trunk bark greenish gray with lighter lenticels when young, later becoming darker and furrowed with long, scaly ridges.

Leaves – alternate, simple, ovate, finely serrated, shiny dark green, paler and often blotchy orange below, petiole long with glands at the leaf base.

Flowers – dioecious, male and female as hanging, long pale yellow green catkins, appearing in May.

Fruit – small, 2-valved, dry capsule containing numerous small seeds. Capsules are a lustrous green during development but turn dull green at time of dispersal. Male flowers are shed promptly and decay; female catkins are shed shortly after dispersal is completed but remain identifiable for the remainder of the summer.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it does well in a heavy cold damp soil, though it prefers a deep rich well-drained circumneutral soil, growing best in the south and east of Britain. Growth is much less on wet soils, on poor acid soils and on thin dry soils. Does not do well in exposed upland sites. Dislikes shade, it is intolerant of root or branch competition A fast-growing and generally short-lived tree, though specimens 150 – 200 years old have occasionally been recorded. This is a pioneer species, invading cleared land, old fields etc, but unable to tolerate shade competition and eventually being out-competed by other trees. It is not fully satisfactory in Britain. In spring and early summer the buds and young leaves have a strong fragrance of balsam. Poplars have very extensive and aggressive root systems that can invade and damage drainage systems. Especially when grown on clay soils, they should not be planted within 12 metres of buildings since the root system can damage the building’s foundations by drying out the soil. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – must be sown as soon as it is ripe in spring. Poplar seed has an extremely short period of viability and needs to be sown within a few days of ripening. Surface sow or just lightly cover the seed in trays in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the old frame. If sufficient growth is made, it might be possible to plant them out in late summer into their permanent positions, otherwise keep them in the cold frame until the following late spring and then plant them out. Most poplar species hybridize freely with each other, so the seed may not come true unless it is collected from the wild in areas with no other poplar species growing. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, 20 – 40cm long, November/December in a sheltered outdoor bed or direct into their permanent positions. Very easy. Suckers in early spring[

Edible Uses:…The inner bark is often dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. Catkins – raw or cooked. A bitter flavour. It is best used in spring.
Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antiinflammatory; Antiscorbutic; Antiseptic; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Febrifuge; Stimulant; Tonic.

Balsam poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat skin problems and lung ailments. In modern herbalism it is valued as an expectorant and antiseptic tonic. The buds are used as a stimulating expectorant for all conditions affecting the respiratory functions when congested. In tincture they have been beneficially employed in affections of the stomach and kidneys and in scurvy and rheumatism, also for chest complaints.

The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odor and a bitter taste. They are boiled in order to separate the resin and the resin is then dissolved in alcohol. The resin is a folk remedy, used as a salve and wash for sores, rheumatism, wounds etc. It is made into a tea and used as a wash for sprains, inflammation, muscle pains etc.

The bark is cathartic and tonic. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the bark of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The bark is therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps. A tea made from the inner bark is used as an eye wash and in the treatment of scurvy.

It is an excellent hemorrhoid treatment. For burns it lessens pain, keeps the surface antiseptic and also stimulates skin regeneration. The tincture is a very effective therapy for chest colds, increasing protective mucus secretions in the beginning, when the tissues are hot, dry and painful. Later, it increases te softening expectorant secretions when the mucus is hard and impacted on the bronchial walls, and coughing is painful. Are aromatics are secreted as volatile gases in expiration. This helps to inhibit microorganisms and lessen the likelihood of secondary, often more serious, infections.

Other Uses:
Pioneer; Repellent; Resin; Rooting hormone; Wood.

An extract of the shoots can be used as a rooting hormone for all types of cuttings. It is extracted by soaking the chopped up shoots in cold water for a day. The resin obtained from the buds was used by various native North American Indian tribes to waterproof the seams on their canoes. The resin on the buds has been used as an insect repellent. The bark has been burnt to repel mosquitoes. A pioneer species, capable of invading cleared land and paving the way for other woodland trees. It is not very shade tolerant and so it is eventually out-competed by the woodland trees. Wood – soft, light, rather woolly in texture, without smell or taste, of low flammability, not durable, very resistant to abrasion. It weighs 23lb per cubic foot, and is used for pulp, boxes etc. The wood is also used as a fuel, it gives off a pleasant odour when burning.
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/Populus_balsamifera
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Populus+balsamifera
http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/populus/balsamifera.htm

http://www.borealforest.org/trees/tree11.htm

Bellis perennis

Botanical Name: Bellis perennis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Bellis
Species: B. perennis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Bruisewort. (Scotch) Bairnwort. (Welsh) Llygad y Dydd (Eye of the Day).

Common Names: Common daisy, Lawn daisy or English daisy. bruisewort and occasionally woundwort

Habitat : Bellis perennis is native to western, central and northern Europe, but widely naturalised in most temperate regions including the Americas and Australasia

Description:
It is an herbaceous perennial plant with short creeping rhizomes and rosettes of small rounded or spoon-shaped leaves that are from 3/4 to 2 inches (approx. 2–5 cm) long and grow flat to the ground. The species habitually colonises lawns, and is difficult to eradicate by mowing – hence the term ‘lawn daisy’. Wherever it appears it is often considered an invasive weed.

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The flowerheads are composite, in the form of a pseudanthium, consisting of many sessile flowers about 3/4 to 1-1/4 in (approx. 2–3 cm) in diameter, with white ray florets (often tipped red) and yellow disc florets. Each inflorescence is borne on single leafless stems 3/4 – 4 in (approx. 2–10 cm), rarely 6 in (approx. 15 cm) tall. The capitulum, or disc of florets, is surrounded by two rows of green bracts known as “phyllaries”.

Cultivation:
B. perennis generally blooms from early to midsummer, although when grown under ideal conditions, they have a very long flowering season and will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters.

It can generally be grown in USDA Zones 4 – 8 (i.e. where minimum temperatures are above ?30 °F (?34 °C)) in full sun to partial shade conditions, and requires low or no maintenance. It has no known serious insect or disease problems and can generally be grown in most well-drained soils. The plant may be propagated either by seed after the last frost, or by division after flowering.

Though invasive, the species is still considered a valuable ground cover in certain garden settings (e.g., as part of English or cottage inspired gardens, as well as spring meadows where low growth and some color is desired in parallel with minimal care and maintenance while helping to crowd out noxious weeds once established and naturalised).

Numerous single- and double-flowered varieties are in cultivation, producing flat or spherical blooms in a range of sizes (1 cm to 6 cm) and colours (red, pink & white). They are generally grown from seed as biennial bedding plants. They can also be purchased as plugs in Spring. The cultivar ‘Tasso series’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Edible Uses:
This daisy may be used as a potherb. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, noting that the leaves become increasingly astringent with age. Flower buds and petals can be eaten raw in sandwiches, soups and salads. It is also used as a tea and as a vitamin supplement.

Parts Used- in medicine:–Root, leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Daisies are a popular domestic remedy with a wide range of applications. They are a traditional wound herb and are also said to be especially useful in treating delicate and listless children. Recent research (1994) has been looking at the possibility of using the plant in HIV therapy. The herb is mildly anodyne, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, digestive, emollient, expectorant, laxative, ophthalmic, purgative and tonic. The fresh or dried flowering heads are normally used. An infusion is used in the treatment of catarrh, rheumatism, arthritis, liver and kidney disorders, as a blood purifier etc. The daisy once had a great reputation as a cure for fresh wounds. An ointment made from the leaves is applied externally to wounds, bruises etc whilst a distilled water is used internally to treat inflammatory disorders of the liver. Chewing the fresh leaves is said to be a cure for mouth ulcers. Daisies also have a reputation for effectiveness in treating breast cancers. The flowers and leaves are normally used fresh in decoctions, ointments and poultices. A strong decoction of the roots has been recommended for the treatment of scorbutic complaints and eczema, though it needs to be taken for some time before its effect becomes obvious. A mild decoction may ease complaints of the respiratory tract, rheumatic pains and painful or heavy menstruation. The plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a homeopathic remedy. Its use is especially indicated in the treatment of bruising etc.

Herbal medicine:
Bellis perennis has astringent properties and has been used in herbal medicine. In ancient Rome, the surgeons who accompanied Roman legions into battle would order their slaves to pick sacks full of daisies in order to extract their juice, hence the origin of this plant’s scientific name in Latin. Bandages were soaked in this juice and would then be used to bind sword and spear cuts.

Bellis perennis is still used in homeopathy for wounds and after certain surgical procedures, as well as for blunt trauma in animals. Typically, the plant is harvested while in flower when intended for use in homeopathy.

Bellis perennis flowers have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea (or the leaves as a salad) for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract.

Other uses:
Daisies have traditionally been used for making daisy chains in children’s games.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellis_perennis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/daisyc03.html
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/b/bellis-perennis=daisy.php