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Herbs & Plants

Iris macrosiphon

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Botanical Name: Iris macrosiphon
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Series: Californicae
Species: I. macrosiphon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Iris amabilis, Iris californica, Iris elata.

Common Name: Bowltube Iris

Habitat : Iris macrosiphon is native to South-western N. AmericaCalifornia to Oregon. It grows on the sunny grassy to woodland slopes below 1000 metres in California. Sunny hillsides, meadows and roadsides.

Description:
Iris macrosiphon is a perennial flowering plant, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in). The leaves are very slender, 2.5-5 mm wide, and blue-green in color. It is in flower from May to June. The flower is variable, golden yellow to cream or pale lavender to deep blue-purple, generally with darker veins. The flower stems are usually short (less than 25 cm) when in the sun and bear 2 flowers. It blooms in spring.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained lime-free soil. Requires a moist soil, growing well by water. Grows well in light shade. Plants resent root disturbance, any moving is best done in early September. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus, particularly other Pacific coast irises. Iris macrosiphon hybridizes with I. chrysophylla, I. douglasiana, I. fernaldii, I. hartwegii, I. innominata, I. munzii, I. purdyi, I. tenax, and I. tenuissima. Not all provenances of this species are hardy in Britain. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering. 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.

Medicinal Uses: The roots are used to hasten the birth of a child.
Other Uses:
Fibre; Paper.

A fibre is obtained from the leaves. Traditionally the N. American Indians would take just the one outside fibre from each side of a leaf. This must have necessitated using a huge number of leaves. It makes a beautifully strong and pliable cord or rope. The fibre can also be used for making paper. The leaves are harvested in summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin and are then soaked in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 3 hours. They make a light tan paper.

The fiber was used for fish nets, deer snares and other items.
It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant, where it prefers dry summer dormancy, with good drainage.

Known Hazards: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and all.

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/Iris_macrosiphon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Iris+macrosiphon

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Herbs & Plants

Iris germanica

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Botanical Name : Iris germanica
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Iris
Section: Iris
Species: I. germanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:
*Iris × alba’ (Savi)
*’Iris × amoena’ * ‘Iris × atroviolacea’ (Lange)
*’Iris × australis’ (Tod.)
*’Iris × belouinii’ (Bois & Cornuault)
*’Iris × biliottii’ (Foster)
*’Iris × buiana’ (Prodán)
*’Iris × buiana va

Common Names: Purple Flag, German iris, Orris-root, Tall Bearded German Iris, Bearded Iris
Habitat: The original habitat is obscure, it is probably of hybrid origin. It grows in the dry rocky places.
Description:
Iris germanica is a perennial flowering plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate. It is a European hybrid, rather than a true wild species. The roots can go up to 10 cm deep and it is a rhizomatous perennial that blooms mid to late spring. If is known to produce the isoflavone irilone. Hundreds of hybrids exist representing nearly every colour from jet black to sparkling whites, except bright scarlet. Varieties include I. g. var. florentina and I. g. var. germanica.

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It is not frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Rock garden, Specimen. A very easily grown plant that tolerates considerable neglect, it prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil that contains some lime. Grows well in dry soils in light deciduous shade. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7.5 or higher. Many named varieties have been selected for their ornamental value. The plant is also sometimes cultivated for the essential oil in its root. The plant is sterile and does not produce seed. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features:Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A sterile plant, it does not produce seed. Division, best done after flowering. 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: The root is dried and used as a flavouring.

Medicinal Uses:
Diuretic; Emetic; Expectorant; Purgative.

The root is diuretic, emetic, expectorant and mildly purgative. Another report says that the juice of the fresh root is a strong purge of great efficiency in the treatment of dropsy. In the past, sections of the dried root have been given to teething babies to chew on, though this has been discontinued for hygienic reasons. Roots of plants 2 – 3 years old are dug up after flowering and are then dried for later use.
Other Uses:
Baby care; Beads; Cosmetic; Dye; Essential.

The root is a source of Orris powder which has the scent of violets. It is obtained by grinding up the dried root. It is much used as a fixative in perfumery and pot-pourri, as an ingredient of toothpastes, breath fresheners etc and as a food flavouring. The root can take several years of drying to fully develop its fragrance, when fresh it has an acrid flavour and almost no smell. An essential oil is obtained from the fresh root, this has the same uses as the root. The juice of the root is sometimes used as a cosmetic and also for the removal of freckles from the skin. A black dye is obtained from the root. A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. The seeds are used as rosary beads.

Known Hazards: The leaves, and especially the rhizomes, of this species contain an irritating resinous substance called irisin. If ingested this can cause severe gastric disturbances. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.

Resources:
https://secure.icicidirect.com/NewSiteTrading/customer/logon.asp
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Iris+germanica

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Arnica diversifolia

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Botanical Name : Arnica diversifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Arnica
Species: A. ovata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Arnica diversifolia Greene
*Arnica latifolia var. viscidula

Common Names: Rayless arnica

Other Names: Sticky leaf arnica,Arnica ovata

Habitat ; Arnica diversifolia is native to western Canada (Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia), and the western United States (Alaska, Washin[amazon_link asins=’B01L07E8S6,B004OXCGFG,B00YETQ39K’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f1bf0a85-15c1-11e7-9fe7-7f593837763f’]gton, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado). It grows on rocky places from moderate to high elevations in mountains

Description:
Arnica diversifolia is a perennial herb growing 6–24 inches. Erect. Stems 1 to several, unbranched, with sticky gland-bearing hairs. Leaves triangular, irregularly toothed; 3–4 pairs along stem, with largest pair 1–3 in. long and in the middle. Lower leaves on petioles; upper leaves sessile. Flower heads 1–5 in cluster, 8–13 ray flowers less than 1 in. long in head. Flower heads are yellow, with both ray florets and disc florets.
Flowering Time: All Summer

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic, insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

 Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. This is a convenient name for a complex of apparent hybrids involving A. mollis or A. amplexicaulis with A. cordifolia or A. latifolia. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a moist, well-drained humus rich soil, preferably lime-free. Prefers a mixture of sand, loam and peat.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and make sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring

Medicinal Uses:
Antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine, sternutatory, vulnerary.

Other Uses : This plant is used as a hair conditioner. No further details are found.

Known Hazards: The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications to unbroken skin[

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/Arnica_ovata
http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/arnica-diversifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arnica+diversifolia

Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Picea engelmannii

Botanical Name: Picea engelmannii
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. engelmannii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names : Engelmann spruce, White spruce, Mountain spruce, Silver spruce

Habitat :Picea engelmannii is native to Western N. America – Alberta and British Columbia to Arizona and New Mexico. It grows on montane regions to the tree-line, especially by swamps. Often found on poor thin rocky soils, though the best specimens are growing in deep well-drained clay-loam soils.

Description:
Picea engelmannii is a medium-sized to large evergreen tree growing to 25 metres (82 ft) – 40 metres (130 ft) tall, exceptionally to 65 metres (213 ft) tall, and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). The bark is thin and scaly, flaking off in small circular plates 5–10 cm across. The crown is narrow conic in young trees, becoming cylindric in older trees. The shoots are buff-brown to orange-brown, usually densely pubescent, and with prominent pulvini. The leaves are needle-like, 15–30 mm long, rhombic in cross-section, glaucous blue-green above with several thin lines of stomata, and blue-white below with two broad bands of stomata.

The cones are pendulous, slender cylindrical, 4–8 cm long and 1.5 cm broad when closed, opening to 3 cm broad. They have thin, flexible scales 15–20 mm long, with a wavy margin. They are reddish to dark purple, maturing pale brown 4–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 2–3 mm long, with a slender, 5–8 mm long pale brown wing.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen in September. 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.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree. Plants have a shallow root system and are easily wind-blown. Often planted for its timber in N. Europe. Trees are of moderate growth after a slow start, older trees often averaging over 40cm a year. Trees grow better and faster in the north of Britain than in the south. This is not an easy tree to grow in Britain, it prefers a continental climate and, although the dormant tree is very cold hardy, the new growth in spring is very susceptible to damage by late frosts in this country. Quite long-lived in its native range, with specimens 500 – 600 years old. Seed production commences around the age of 20 – 25 years, with excellent crops every 2 – 6 years. Closely related to P. glauca, this species also hybridizes with P sitchensis in the south of its range. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. The crushed foliage is often said to be foetid but after the first sniff the scent is sweet and like menthol or camphor. Plants are susceptible to damage by the green spruce aphid.
Propagation:
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best[78]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Edible Uses:
Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are about 5cm long. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of respiratory complaints, TB etc. A decoction of the leaves and gum has been used in the treatment of cancer. It was said that if this treatment did not work then nothing would work. The decoction was also used in the treatment of coughs. The ashes of the twigs, mixed with oil, have been used as an ointment or salve on damaged skin. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used in the treatment of eczema.

Other Uses
Basketry; Charcoal; Fibre; Fuel; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a source of tannin. The branches and the roots have been shredded, pounded and used to make cord and rope. (It is probably the bark that was used.) The bark has been used to make baskets and various small utensils. Wood – close-grained, light, soft, not strong. It is used for lumber, construction, fuel and charcoal. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper

Engelmann spruce is of economic importance for its wood, harvested for paper-making and general construction. Wood from slow-grown trees at high altitude has a specialised use in making musical instruments such as acoustic guitars, harps, violins, and pianos. It is also used to a small extent as a Christmas tree.
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/Picea_engelmannii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+engelmannii

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca canadensis

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Botanical Name : Lactuca canadensis
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. canadensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Cicerbita canadensis (L.) Wallr.
*Cicerbita elongata (Willd.) Wallr.
*Galathenium elongatum (Muhl. ex Willd.) Nutt.
*Galathenium salicifolium Nutt.
*Lactuca sagittifolia Elliott
*Lactuca steelei Britton
*Mulgedium canadense (L.) Farw.
*Mulgedium integrifolium Cass.
*Wiestia canadensis (L.) Sch.Bip.
*Wiestia elongata (Willd.) Sch.Bip.

Common Names: Canada lettuce, Canada wild lettuce, tall lettuce, and Florida blue lettuce.

Habitat: Lactuca canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to British Columbia, south to Georgia and Colorado. It grows in thickets, woodland borders and clearings. Moist open places. Usually found in sandy soils.

Description:
Lactuca canadensis is a bienneial growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). The leaves are deeply lobed and occasionally toothed. The top of the stem bears an inflorescence with many flower heads, each up to 1 cm (0.5 in) wide when open. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The heads have many pale yellow ray florets but no disc florets. The fruit is a dark-colored achene about half a centimeter (0.2 inches) long with a white pappus.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Hybridizes in the wild with L. ludoviciana and the two species can sometimes be difficult to separate.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.
Edible Uses: Young leaves and stems – raw or cooked. Cooked and eaten as greens.

Medicinal Uses :
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards : Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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/Lactuca_canadensis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+canadensis