Tag Archives: British Isles

Hydrocotyle

Botanical Name: Hydrocotyle Asiatica
Family: Araliaceae
Subfamily: Hydrocotyloideae
Genus: Hydrocotyl
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Indian Pennywort. Marsh Penny. White Rot. Thick-leaved Pennywort.

Common Names: Water pennywort, Indian pennywort, Marsh penny, White rot

Habitat: Hydrocotyleae grows in Asia and Africa in wet and damp places in the tropics and the temperate zones.
Description:
Water pennyworts, Hydrocotyles, are very common. They have long creeping stems that often form dense mats, often in and near ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes and some species in coastal areas by the sea….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Leaves are Simple, with small leafy outgrowth at the base, kidney shaped to round. Leaf edges are scalloped.
Flowers: Flower clusters are simple and flat-topped or rounded. Involucral bracts Inconspicuous bracts at the base of each flower. Indistinct sepals.
Fruits and reproduction: Elliptical to round with thin ridges and no oil tubes (vitta) which is characteristic in the fruit of umbelliferous plants. The prostrate plants reproduce by seed and by sending roots from stem nodes.

Selected species:
The Hydrocotyle genus has between 75 and 100 species. that grow in tropical and temperate regions worldwide A few species have entered the world of cultivated ornamental aquatics. A list of selected species are :

*Hydrocotyle americana L. — American marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle batrachium Hance
*Hydrocotyle benguetensis Elm.
*Hydrocotyle bonariensis Lam. — largeleaf pennywort
*Hydrocotyle bowlesioides Mathias & Constance — largeleaf marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle calcicola
*Hydrocotyle dichondroides Makino
*Hydrocotyle dielsiana
*Hydrocotyle heteromeria — waxweed
*Hydrocotyle hexagona
*Hydrocotyle himalaica
*Hydrocotyle hirsuta Sw. — yerba de clavo
*Hydrocotyle hitchcockii
*Hydrocotyle hookeri
*Hydrocotyle javanica Thunb.
*Hydrocotyle keelungensis Liu, Chao & Chuang
*Hydrocotyle leucocephala Cham. & Schltdl. — Brazilian pennywort
*Hydrocotyle mannii Hook.f.
*Hydrocotyle microphylla A.Cunn.
*Hydrocotyle moschata G. Forst. — musky marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle nepalensis Hook.
*Hydrocotyle novae-zelandiae DC.
*Hydrocotyle prolifera Kellogg — whorled marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle pseudoconferta
*Hydrocotyle pusilla A. Rich. — tropical marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle ramiflora
*Hydrocotyle ranunculoides L. f. — floating marshpennywort, floating marshpennywort, floating pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle salwinica
*Hydrocotyle setulosa Hayata
*Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides Lam. — lawn marshpennywort
*Hydrocotyle tambalomaensis
*Hydrocotyle tripartita
*Hydrocotyle umbellata L. — manyflower marshpennywort, umbrella pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle verticillata Thunb. — whorled marshpennywort, whorled marshpennywort, whorled pennyroyal
*Hydrocotyle vulgaris L.
*Hydrocotyle wilfordii
*Hydrocotyle wilsonii
*Hydrocotyle yanghuangensis

Part Used: The Leaves.

Constituents: An oily volatile liquid called vellarin (which has a strong smell reminiscent of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, persistent taste) and tannic acid.

Medicinal Uses:  A valuable medicine for its diuretic properties; has long been used in India as an aperient or alterative tonic, useful in fever and bowel complaints and a noted remedy for leprosy, rheumatism and ichthyosis; employed as a poultice for syphilitic ulcers. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, in large doses as a narcotic, causing stupor and headache and with some people vertigo and coma.

Other Species:
The native species is not unlike the Indian variety, but there is a slight difference in the leaves.

European hydrocotyle vulgaris (syn. Common Pennywort). Leaves orbicular and peltate. The plant appears to have no noxious qualities; it grows freely in boggy places on the edges of lakes and rivers.

The plant has come into disfavour because it is said to cause footrot in sheep.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrocotyle
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hydcol46.html

Peucedanum officinale

 

Botanical Name : Peucedanum officinale
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Peucedanum
Species: P. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sow Fennel. Sulphurwort. Chucklusa. Hoar Strange. Hoar Strong. Brimstonewort. Milk Parsley. Marsh Parsley. Marsh Smallage.
(French) Persil des Marais.
(German) Sumpfsilge.

Common Names: Hog’s Fennel, Sulphurweed, Hoar Strange, Hoar Strong

Habitat:Peucedanum officinale or the Hog’s Fennel is a a native of Great Britain.It is found mainly in Central Europe and Southern Europe. It grows on rough grassland, clayey banks and cliffs near the sea.
Description:
Peucedanum officinale is a herbaceous perennial plant with stems up to 2 m in height, solid, striate, sometimes weakly angled, sparsely blotched wine red, surrounded by fibrous remains of petioles at the base and springing from a stout rootstock. The umbels of greenish-yellow flowers contrast pleasingly with the bushy, radiating mass of dark green, long-petioled leaves, which bear linear, sessile lobes, attenuate at both ends and having narrow, cartilaginous margins (i.e., individual lobes resembling blades of grass)
Flowers bloom from July to September. Its leaves are cut into long narrow segments, hence perhaps its popular name of Hog’s Fennel....CLICK & SEE HE PICTURES

The thick root has a strong odour of sulphur – hence one of the other popular names of the plant, Sulphurwort, and when wounded in the spring, yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice, which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong scent of the root.

This plant is now naturalized in North America, where in addition to the name of Sulphurwort, it is called Chucklusa.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:The gum.
Part Used in medicines : The whole Herb.

Constituents: The active constituent of the root is Peucedanin, a very active crystalline principle, stated to be diuretic and emmenagogue.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Aperient; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Pectoral.

The plant is anodyne, antispasmodic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic and pectoral. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh etc[9]. The root is mainly used, it is harvested in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, coughs, intermittent fevers and to stimulate menstrual flow.

The long stout taproot – ‘black without and white within’ and sometimes ‘as big as a man’s thigh’, as Gerard has it – yields,when incised in Spring, a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green latex, which dries into a gummy oleoresin and retains the strong, sulphurous scent of the root. This harvesting technique,and the product so obtained, very much recall those of two other medicinal umbellifers: Ferula assa-foetida and Dorema ammoniacum. A decoction of the root of P. officinale is diuretic, sudorific, antiscorbutic and controls menstruation. Gummi Peucedani, the oleoresin derived from the drying of the root latex, has properties similar to those of Gum Ammoniac (the oleoresin derived from Dorema ammoniacum). Peucedanum officinale has also been used in veterinary medicine

The juice used with vinegar and rose-water, or with a little Euphorbium put to the nose benefits those that are troubled with the lethargy, frenzy or giddiness of the head, the falling sickness, long and inveterate headache, the palsy, sciatica and the cramp, and generally all the diseases of the sinews, used with oil and vinegar. The juice dissolved in wine and put into an egg is good for a cough or shortness of breath, and for those that are troubled with wind. It also purgeth gently and softens hardness of the spleen…. A little of the juice dissolved in wine and dropped into the ears or into a hollow tooth easeth the pains thereof. The root is less effectual to all the aforesaid disorders, yet the powder of the root cleanseth foul ulcers, and taketh out splinters of broken bones or other things in the flesh and healeth them perfectly; it is of admirable virtue in all green wounds and prevents gangrene.’

Russian herbalists have used the powdered herbs as a remedy for epilepsy. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fever and to stimulate menstrual discharge .

The juice, say Dioscorides and Galen, used with vinegar and Rose-water put to the nose, helps those that are troubled with lethargy, frenzy, giddiness of the head, the falling-sickness, long and headache, palsy, sciatica and the cramp. The juice dissolved in wine, or put into an egg, is good for a cough, or shortness of breath and for those that are troubled with wind in the body. It purges the belly gently, expels the hardness of the spleen, gives ease to women that have sore travail in childbirth and eases the pains of the reins and bladder, and also the womb
Other Uses: The root is wounded in the spring and then yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong sulphur-like smell of the plant. The gum of Ferula communis is used as an incense and also has medicinal value.

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Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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/Peucedanum_officinale
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fenhog05.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Peucedanum+officinale

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

Galanthus nivalis

Botanical Name : Galanthus nivalis
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus:     Galanthus
Species: G. nivalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade:     Angiosperms
Clade:     Monocots
Order:     Asparagales

Synonyms:  Fair Maid of February. Bulbous Violet.

Common Name: Snowdrop or Common snowdrop

Habitat :Galanthus nivalis native to a large area of Europe, from Spain in the west, eastwards to Ukraine. It is native to Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It  is now widely grown in gardens, particularly in northern Europe, and is widely naturalised in woodlands in the regions where it is grown. It is considered naturalised in Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and parts of North America (Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Ontario, Massachusetts, Alabama, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Washington State, New York State, Michigan, Utah, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina).

Although often thought of as a British native wild flower, or to have been brought to the British Isles by the Romans, it is now thought that it was probably introduced much later, perhaps around the early sixteenth century.

Description:
Galanthus nivalis  are perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs. It grows to around 7–15 cm tall, flowering between January and April in the northern temperate zone (January–May in the wild). Each bulb generally produces two linear, or very narrowly lanceolate, greyish-green leaves and an erect, leafless scape (flowering stalk), which bears at the top a pair of bract-like spathe valves joined by a papery membrane. From between them emerges a solitary, pendulous, bell-shaped white flower, held on a slender pedicel.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flower consists of six tepals, also referred to as segments. The outer three are larger and more convex than the inner ones. The inner flower segments are usually marked on their outer surface with a green, or greenish-yellow, V or U-shaped mark (sometimes described as “bridge-shaped”) over the small “sinus” (notch) at the tip of each tepal. The inner surface has a faint green mark covering all or most of it. Occasionally plants are found with green markings on the outer surface of the outer tepals.

Galanthus nivalis herbs reach their blooming peak between January and April in northern, temperate climates. After that, their flowers mature into fruits which ripen as three-celled capsules enclosing whitish seeds that contain substances appreciated by ants (who are also the ones responsible for the seed distribution).

The six long, pointed anthers open by pores or short slits. The ovary is three-celled, ripening into a three-celled capsule. Each whitish seed has a small, fleshy tail (the elaiosome) containing substances attractive to ants which distribute the seeds. The leaves die back a few weeks after the flowers have faded.

Galanthus nivalis  is the best-known and most widespread of the 20 species in its genus, Galanthus. Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised. They should not be confused with snowflakes (Leucojum and Acis.)

Medicinal Uses:
Galanthus nivalis content of galathamine is mostly responsible for its therapeutic action, very much appreciated in the treatment of traumatic injuries of the nervous system. It cannot cure Alzheimer disease, but it can at least prevent it or slow down its evolution. Being a strong inhibitor of cholinesterase, this alkaloid is also part of chemically-produced drugs used in anesthetics, but also in post-surgery treatment of myasthenia, myopathy, or atonia occuring either in the gastro-intestinal tract or in the bladder.

Since the alkaloid spectrum contained in Galanthus nivalis is considerably large, their medicinal effects also vary a lot: some of them are virostatic, or respiratory analeptics, while others are effective tumor-inhibitors. Galanthus nivalis homeopathic derivates are also emmenagogues, meaning that they stimulate the blood flow in the pelvic area, thus increasing the menstrual flow and possibly inducing abortion in early stages of the preganncy.

Lectin (or agglutinin) is currently being studied for its likely action against HIV (human immunodefficiency virus). Other medicinal uses of the plant have reportedly treated symptoms of polyneuropathy, neuritis, myelitis, thrombosis, thromboembolism, and spine injuries

Known Hazards:  This plant is no longer used as such in therapies, due to its relatively high levels of toxicity. Only chemically-extracted substances are used in standard medication, to avoid the occurence of adverse reactions such as digestive tissue irritation and stomach pain. Oral ingestion of parts of Galanthus nivalis reportedly leads to poisoning, manifested through diarrhea, colic, vomiting, and nausea.

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/s/snowdr59.html
http://www.liveandfeel.com/articles/galanthus-nivalis-improves-memory-and-has-many-other-health-benefits-3335
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galanthus_nivalis

Crithmum maritimum

Botanical Name : Crithmum maritimum
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Crithmum
Species: C. maritimum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sea Fennel. Crest Marine. Sampier.
(German) Meerfenchel.
(Italian) Herba di San Pietra. Sanpetra.

Common Names : Samphire, Rock samphire, or Sea fennel, Crithmum maritimum

Habitat :Crithmum maritimum is found on southern and western coasts of Britain and Ireland, on mediterranean and western coasts of Europe including the Canary Islands, North Africa and the Black Sea. “Samphire” is a name also used for several other unrelated species of coastal plant.It grows on the cliffs and rocks, or more rarely on shingle or sand, by the sea.

Description:
Crithmum maritimum is a perennial herb, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).Leaves are biternately or triternately compound; leaflets linear, fleshy, glaucous, 1/2 inch long. It is well distinguished by its long, fleshy, bright-green, shining leaflets (full of aromatic juice) and umbels of tiny, yellowish-green blossoms. The whole plant is aromatic and has a powerful scent.Flowers in compound umbels, very small, whaite or yellowish; fruit ovoid, ribbed, 1/4 inch long.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

 Cultivation:   
Prefers a moist light sandy or gravelly soil, doing very well between stones or by a south-east facing wall. Requires a warm dry well-drained sunny position and shade from the midday sun. Requires saline conditions. Plants are best grown in moist salty soil or a very well-drained poor dry soil. When grown away from the coast, this plant requires a warm sheltered position and some protection in cold winters. At one time this plant was sometimes cultivated in the vegetable garden, though it is quite difficult to do this successfully. It is difficult to grow outside its natural habitat.

Propagation:   
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Sow in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. One report says that the seed only has a short viability and should be sown as soon as it is ripe, but it has germinated well with us when sown in April in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring

Edible Uses:
Rock samphire has fleshy, divided aromatic leaves that Culpeper described as having a “pleasant, hot and spicy taste”

The stems, leaves and seed pods may be pickled in hot, salted, spiced vinegar, or the leaves used fresh in salads.

Richard Mabey gives several recipes for samphire, although it is possible that at least one of these may refer to marsh samphire or glasswort (Salicornia europaea), a very common confusion.

Medicinal Uses:
Carminative;  Depurative;  Digestive;  Diuretic.

Rock samphire is little used in herbal medicine, though it is a good diuretic and holds out potential as a treatment for obesity. It has a high vitamin C and mineral content and is thought to relieve flatulence and to act as a digestive remedy. The young growing tips are carminative, depurative, digestive and diuretic. They are gathered when in active growth in the spring and used fresh. The leaves have the reputation for helping people lose weight and so are used in treating cases of obesity as well kidney complaints and sluggishness. The essential oil is a digestive, a few drops being sprinkled on the food.

Other Uses: An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery.

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/Crithmum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crithmum+maritimum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/samphi10.html
http://titanarum.uconn.edu/198501242.html

Tragopogon porrifolius

Botanical Name : Tragopogon porrifolius
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tragopogon
Species: T. porrifolius
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Purple Goat’s Beard. Vegetable Oyster.
(French) Salsifis des prés.

Common Names :Purple or Common salsify, Oyster plant, Vegetable oyster, Jerusalem star,Goatsbeard or Simply salsify (although these last two names are also applied to other species, as well).

Habitat :Tragopogon porrifolius is   native to Mediterranean regions of Europe but introduced elsewhere, for example, into the British Isles (mainly in central and southern England), other parts of northern Europe, North America, and southern Africa and in Australia; in the United States it is now found growing wild in almost every state, including Hawaii, except in the extreme south-east.This plant is normally found near the sea and estuaries in S.E. England

Description:
Tragopogon porrifolius is a common biennial wildflower plant growing  to around 120 cm in height. As with other Tragopogon species, its stem is largely unbranched, and the leaves are somewhat grasslike. It exudes a milky juice from the stems.In the UK it flowers from June to September, but in warmer areas such as California it can be found in bloom from April. The flower head is about 5 cm across, and each is surrounded by green bracts which are longer than the petals (technically, the ligules of the ray flowers). The flowers are like that of Goatsbeard Tragopogon pratensis, but are larger and dull purple, 30-50mm across. The flowers are hermaphroditic, and pollination is by insects.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The fruits are of the clock variety.The seeds ripen from July to September.

Cultivation:     
Succeeds in ordinary garden soils, including heavy clays. Plants do not grow well in stony soils. Prefers an open situation and a cool moist root run. Salsify is occasionally cultivated in the garden for its edible root, there are some named varieties. Grows well with mustard.

Propagation:  
Seed – sow in situ as early in the year as possible, in March if weather conditions permit. Seed sowings often fail unless the soil is kept moist until the seedlings are growing well.

Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root;  Seed;  Stem.

Root – raw or cooked. The young root can be grated in salads, older roots are best cooked. The flavour is mild and sweet, and is said to resemble oysters. The roots are harvested as required from October until early spring, or can be harvested in late autumn and stored until required. Young shoots – raw or cooked. The new growth is used in spring. A sweet taste. Flowering shoots – raw or cooked. Used like asparagus. Flowers – raw. Added to salads[183]. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads or sandwiches. The root latex is used as a chewing gum.

Meditional Uses:

Antibilious;  Aperient;  Deobstruent;  Diuretic.

Salsify is a cleansing food with a beneficial effect upon the liver and gallbladder. The root is antibilious, slightly aperient, deobstruent and diuretic. It is specific in the treatment of obstructions of the gall bladder and jaundice and is also used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure

Other Uses : Gum.

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.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Tragopogon+porrifolius
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragopogon_porrifolius
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/salsaf08.html