Tag Archives: Britain

Backhousia myrtifolia

Botanical Name : Backhousia myrtifolia
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus:     Backhousia
Species: B. myrtifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Myrtales

Common Names:carrol, carrol ironwood, neverbreak, ironwood or grey myrtle, or Australian

lancewood. Cinnamon myrtle

Habitat :Backhousia myrtifolia is native to subtropical rainforests of Eastern Australia.

\Description:
Backhousia myrtifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 12 m (39ft 4in). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in May. The leaves are ovate or elliptic, 4-7 cm long, with a cinnamon-like odour. Flowers are star-shaped and borne in panicles.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)  The small papery fruit are bell-shaped.The attractive flowers are creamy coloured and star shaped, followed by star-like capsules.
CLICK  SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:        
Prefers a position in full sun in a fertile moisture retentive well-drained soil. A very ornamental plant, in Britain it is only reliably hardy in the Scilly Isles. Plants in Australian gardens tolerate temperatures down to at least -7°c, but this cannot be translated directly to British gardens due to our cooler summers and longer, colder and wetter winters. Seed can remain viable on the plant for 3 – 4 years.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in spring or autumn in a greenhouse and keep the compost moist until germination takes place. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame

Edible uses:  Leaves can be harvested as sprigs for use in cooking.

The leaves of cinnamon myrtle have a cinnamon-like aroma sweet aroma and flavour, and can be used as a spice in various dishes. It’s used in
savory recipes, deserts, confectionary and herbal teas.

The main essential oil isolate in cinnamon myrtle is elemicin, which is also a significant flavouring component in common nutmeg.

Cinnamon myrtle can also be used in floristry.

Medicinal Uses:
Not available in the internet

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:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Backhousia+myrtifolia
http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/CINNAMON-MYRTLE,–Backhousia-myrtifolia.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backhousia_myrtifolia

Quillaja saponaria

Botanical Name : Quillaja saponaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales
Family: Quillajaceae
Genus:     Quillaja
Species: Q. saponaria

Synonyms: Soap Bark. Panama Bark. Cullay.

Common Names :Soap bark tree or Soapbark

Habitat: Quillaja saponaria IS native to Peru and Chile, and cultivated in Northern Hindustan.It has been introduced as an ornamental in California. Trees have been acclimatized in Spain but are rarely cultivated there. This tree occurs at altitudes to 2000 metres. The species is drought resistant, and tolerates about -12°C (10°F) in its natural habitat.

Description:
Quillaja saponaria is an evergreen tree  50 to 60 feet high. Leaves smooth, shiny, short-stalked, oval, and usually terminal white flowers, solitary, or three to five on a stalk. The tree has thick, dark bark, smooth, leathery, shiny, oval evergreen leaves 3–5 cm long, white flowers 15 mm diameter borne in dense corymbs, and a dry fruit with five follicles each containing 10-20 seeds. Bark thick, dark coloured, and very tough. In commerce it is found in large flat pieces 1/5 inch thick, outer surface brownish-white, with small patches of brownish cork attached, otherwise smooth; inner surface whitish and smooth, fracture splintery, chequered with pale-brown vast fibres, embedded with white tissue; it is inodorous, very acrid and astringent.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:  
Requires a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -12°c in their natural range in South America but they usually require greenhouse protection in Britain. They can succeed outdoors in the milder areas of this country, often as small shrubs but making a tree in the very mildest areas. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts, so it is best to site the plant in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This species is cultivated for the saponins in its bark in some warm temperate areas of the world.

Propagation:    
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in early summer and give some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of fully ripe wood of the current year’s growth, November in a frame

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  Dried inner bark.

Constituents: Its chief constituent is saponin, which is a mixture of two glucosides, guillaic acid and guillaia-sapotoxin. The latter is very poisonous and possesses marked foam-producing properties. Calcium oxalate is also present in the bark. The drug also contains cane-sugar and a non-toxic modification of guillaic acid. As the active principles of Soap Bark are the same as those of Senega, Quillaia has been suggested as a cheap substitute for Sarsaparilla.

Antiseborrheic;  Expectorant;  Skin;  Stimulant.

Soap bark tree has a long history of medicinal use with the Andean people who used it especially as a treatment for various chest problems. The saponin content of the bark helps to stimulate the production of a more fluid mucous in the airways, thus facilitating the removal of phlegm through coughing. The tree is useful for treating any condition featuring congested catarrh within the chest, but it should not be used for dry irritable coughs. The inner bark contains about 9% of complex saponins, known collectively as ‘quillajasaponin’. It also contains calcium oxalate and tannin. It has been used internally as a stimulating expectorant, though it can cause irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract and so is no longer considered safe. The internal use of this plant needs to be carefully overseen by a professional practitioner. Sap bark tree is used as a source of compounds for the pharmaceutical industry. It is still used externally as a cutaneous stimulant in the treatment of skin ulcers and eruptions, dandruff etc.

Other Uses:
The fresh or dried inner bark is a soap substitute. It contains about 9% saponins and is a very gentle and effective cleaner. It is used for cleaning textiles and the skin. It can also be used as a hair tonic. The saponins are also used in anti-dandruff shampoos and exfoliant cleansers. They are used as a foaming agent in fire extinguishers. The bark also contains considerable quantities of carbonate of lime.

Known Hazards:  The plant is toxic if taken internally, tending to dissolve the blood corpuscles. The bark, and possibly other parts of the plant, contains saponins. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Quillaja_saponaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Quillaja+saponaria
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/soaptr60.html

Anagallis arvensis

Botanical Name : Anagallis arvensis
Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus:     Anagallis
Species: A. arvensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Ericales

Synonyms:Scarlet pimpernel, Shepherd’s Barometer. Poor Man’s Weatherglass. Adder’s Eyes.
(Old English) Bipinella.

Common Names: Red pimpernel, Red chickweed, Poorman’s barometer, Poor man’s weather-glass, Shepherd’s weather glass or Shepherd’s clock

Habitat:Anagallis arvensis is native to  Europe and Western and North Africa.  It grows on the roadside in waste places and on the dry sandy edges of corn and other fields; it is widely distributed, not only over Britain, but throughout the world, being found in all the temperate regions in both hemispheres.

Description:
Anagallis arvensis is a low-growing (4″ by 1′-4″) annual plant. It’s creeping, square stems, a foot in length at most, have their eggshaped, stalkless leaves arranged in pairs. The edges of the leaves are entire (i.e. quite free from indentations of any sort), and in whatever direction the stem may run, either along the ground, or at an angle to it, the leaves always keep their faces turned to the light.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The Pimpernel flowers from May until late into August. The flowers appear singly, each on longish, thin stalks, springing from the junction of each leaf with the stem. The little flower-stalks are erect during flowering, but curved backward when the seed is ripening. The corolla is made up of five petals, joined together at their base into a ring. A purple spot often appears in the centre of the flower. The petals are very sensitive, the flowers closing at once if the sky becomes overcast and threatens rain. Even in bright weather, the flowers are only open for a comparatively short time – never opening until between eight and nine in the morning and shutting up before three o’clock in the afternoon. As the petals are only brilliantly coloured on their upper faces, the flowers when closed disappear from view among the greenness of the leaves.

Cultivation:      
Prefers a sunny position and a good soil. Succeeds in dry or sandy soils. The flowers open at about 8 am and close at 3pm each day, though they close earlier if it rains. The flowers are also said to foretell wet weather if they close early.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow during spring time.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Used in salads and as a spinach. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses:

Anagallis arvensis was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems, but there is little evidence to support its efficacy and it is no longer recommended for internal use because it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder. The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use. Use with caution, large doses can cause polyuria and tremor. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts.

Other Uses:
Soap…..The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing.

Known Hazards:    The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known. Skin contact with the plant may cause dermatitis in some people.

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/Anagallis_arvensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Anagallis+arvensis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pimper33.html

Daffodil

Botanical Name : Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Narcissus
Species: N. pseudonarcissus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Narcissus. Porillon. Daffy-down-dilly. Fleur de coucou.

Common Names :Daffodil, Common daffodil, Wild daffodil, Easter lily, Lent lily, Downdilly.

Habitat :Daffodil is native to Western Europe from Spain and Portugal east to Germany and north to England and Wales. It is commonly grown in gardens and populations have become established in many other parts of Europe. Wild plants grow in woods, grassland and on rocky ground. In Britain native populations have decreased substantially since the 19th century due to intensification of agriculture, clearance of woodland and uprooting of the bulbs for use in gardens. In Germany it was a subject of a national awareness campaign for the protection of wildflowers in 1981.

In England, in the North York Moors National Park, the Farndale valley hosts a large population of the species, along the banks of the River Dove.

In England, in Gloucestershire, there are several nature reserves supporting large populations of the species near Dymock Woods SSSI. There is a Daffodil Walk Trail around several reserves in the spring.

Description:
Daffodil is a bulbous perennial flowering plant  with upright, strap-like, grey-green leaves. The leaves arise from the base of the stem and are up to 35 cm long and 12 mm wide, with rounded tips. A single flower is produced at the tip of the flattened flower-stalk. The flower consists of a dark yellow ‘trumpet’ (corona) surrounded by a ring of 3 sepals and 3 petals (perianth), which are a lighter yellow. The flowers are up to 60 mm long and the ‘trumpet’ and ring of petals are roughly the same length. Flowers are usually produced from March to April. The daffodil is clump-forming, but reproduction is primarily via seed production.

Click to see the pictures

The daffodil is the ‘golden’ flower that inspired the poetry of William Wordsworth.

Cultivation & propagation:
Propagation of daffodils at Kew is normally carried out by dividing clumps where drifts of plants have become dense. The bulbs taken out are used to bulk up areas where daffodils are thinly distributed, or to create new plantings.

Daffodils have also been propagated from seed at Kew. The seeds are collected from mature daffodils at Kew during early summer and sown on an open compost mix in pots and kept outside. The pots are then placed in a cold frame during the winter. The seeds germinate in autumn with emergence of seedlings the following spring; however it takes three to five years before daffodils are mature enough to be planted into the Gardens.

Commercially, daffodils are propagated by tissue culture or twin-scaling. In twin-scaling the bulbs are cut into longitudinal segments. These are separated into pairs of scales joined by a portion of basal plate. When planted in compost these develop bulbils on the basal plate and the bulbils can be grown on to form new plants.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Bulb, leaves, flowers.

Chemical Constituents:Professor Barger has given the following notes on the alkaloid of Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus. ‘In 1910 Ewins obtained from the bulbs a crystalline alkaloid, to which he gave the name of narcissine, and on analysis found the formula to be C16H17ON.’ He notes that the alkaloid is characterized by great stability and cannot easily be decomposed. Ringer and Morshead found the alkaloid from resting bulbs acted like pilocarpine, while that from the flowering bulbs resembled atropine. Laidlaw tested Ewins’ alkaloid on frogs and cats, but found no action similar to pilocarpine or atropine. 0.125 gram given by mouth to a cat caused vomiting, salivation and purgation. In 1920 Asahtna, Professor of Chemistry in the Tokyo College of Pharmacy, showed that narcissine is identical with Iycorine isolated from Lycoris radiata in 1899. The name narcissine has therefore been dropped. Lycorine is quite common in the N.O. Amaryllidaceae. It was found in Buphane disticha by Tutin in the Mellome Research Laboratory in 1911 (Journ. Chem. Soc. Transactions 99, page 1,240). It is generally present in quite small quantities, at most 0.1 to 0.18 per cent of the fresh material. Chemically, Iycorine or narcissine has some resemblance to hydrastine, and like it, contains a dioxymethylene group.

Uses:
The following is a quotation from Culpepper:
‘Yellow Daffodils are under the dominion of Mars, and the roots thereof are hot and dry in the third degree. The roots boiled and taken in posset drink cause vomiting and are used with good success at the appearance of approaching agues, especially the tertian ague, which is frequently caught in the springtime. A plaster made of the roots with parched barley meal dissolves hard swellings and imposthumes, being applied thereto; the juice mingled with honey, frankincense wine, and myrrh, and dropped into the ears is good against the corrupt and running matter of the ears, the roots made hollow and boiled in oil help raw ribed heels; the juice of the root is good for the morphew and the discolouring of the skin.’

It is said by Galen to have astringent properties. It has been used as an application to wounds. For hard imposthumes, for burns, for strained sinews, stiff or painful joints, and other local ailments, and for ‘drawing forth thorns or stubs from any part of the body’ it was highly esteemed.
The Daffodil was the basis of an ancient ointment called Narcissimum.

The powdered flowers have been used as an emetic in place of the bulbs, and in the form of infusion or syrup, in pulmonary catarrh.

Other Uses:
Modern daffodil cultivars are important ornamental crops; more daffodils are planted than any other perennial ornamental plant. Britain is the major grower of daffodils for both flowers and bulbs, which are also grown commercially in the Netherlands, United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Wild daffodils were picked in great numbers in Britain in the past, and in the 1930s there was even a ‘Daffodil Special’ train service run by the Great Western Railway to take Londoners to the Gloucestershire-Herefordshire border to admire and buy the flowers.

The national flower of Wales, traditionally worn on St David’s Day (1 March), is a daffodil, although it is thought by some to be the Tenby daffodil (N. pseudonarcissus subspecies major, also known by the synonym N. obvallaris), which is native to South Wales, rather than N. pseudonarcissus subspecies pseudonarcissus. The Tenby daffodil has small, uniformly yellow flowers and short stiff stems.

Known hazards: The leaves, stems, seed pods and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids. If eaten they can cause dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and occasionally also convulsions. The toxins are usually most concentrated in the bulbs. Rather surprisingly, daffodil bulbs have been eaten on occasion after being mistaken for onions. The sap can cause dermatitis, and the leaves are poisonous to livestock.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/daffod01.html
http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Narcissus-pseudonarcissus.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissus_pseudonarcissus

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Crosswort

Botanical Name : Galium cruciata
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Cruciata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms – Cruciata laevipes  and Cruciata chersonensis (Willd.) Ehrend.(The term laevipes refers to the smooth stalk but not hairless).

Common Names:Crosswort or Luc na croise

Habitat :  Crosswort is mostly found in Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands to Poland, south to S. Europe, W. Asia and Siberia.Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands to Poland, south to S. Europe, W. Asia and Siberia.It grows in meadows, road verges, riverbanks, scrub and open woodland, generally on well-drained calcareous soils.

Description:
Crosswort is a perennial sprawling plant which can grow to a height of 15–70 cm, spreads by seeds and stolons and has, unusually amongst this group, yellow hermaphrodite flowers.The flowers are not so showy, being only in short clusters of about eight together, in the axils of the upper whorls of leaves and of a dull, pale yellow. The inner flowers are male and soon fall off, whilst the outer are bisexual and produce the fruit. The flowers smell of honey. It is arbuscular mycorrhizal in which the fungus penetrates the cortical cells of the roots.

Click to see the pictures…..>…(01)..….....(1).…...(2).……..(3)..…….(4)…..…(5)..

The stems are slender and scarcely branched, 1 to 2 feet long, and bear soft and downy leaves oblong in shape, arranged four in a whorl, hence the name Crosswort.

The whorls of four leaves, only two in each group are real leaves, the other two being stipules.

Cultivation: 
Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun. This species does not thrive in a hot climate. The flowers have a sweet powerful perfume.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate. Division in spring or throughout the growing season if the plants are kept well watered. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:Leaves are eaten raw or cooked

Medicinal Uses:
The herb is astringent, diuretic and vulnerary. It is not much used nowadays, but was considered a very good wound herb for both external and internal use. A decoction of the leaves has also been used to treat obstructions of the stomach and bowels, to stimulate the appetite and as a remedy for rheumatism, rupture and dropsy. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

This species though now practically unused, was considered a very good wound herb for both inward and outward wounds. A decoction of the leaves in wine was also used for obstructions in the stomach or bowels and to stimulate appetite. It was also recommended as a remedy for rupture, rheumatism and dropsy.

Bald’s Leechbook recommended crosswort as a cure for headaches.

 

Other Uses:
A red dye is obtained from the root.

In Romanian folklore, it is called sânziana and it is linked to the Sânziene fairies and their festival is on June 24th.

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/Cruciata_laevipes
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cruciata+laevipes
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cross117.html

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