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Herbs & Plants

Picea rubens

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

Synonyms : Picea rubra. (DuRoi.)Link.

Common Names: Red spruce (This species is also known as yellow spruce, West Virginia spruce, eastern spruce as well as he-balsam)

Habitat : Picea rubens is native to eastern North America, ranging from eastern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and from New England south in the Adirondack Mountains and Appalachians to western North Carolina. It grows at or near sea level in the northern part of its range, where it grows in swamps, along bogs or on well-drained slopes. In the south it is found in mountain ranges, usually in thin soils.

Description:
Red spruce is a perennial, shade-tolerant, late successional coniferous tree which under optimal conditions grows to 18–40 metres (59–131 ft) tall with a trunk diameter of about 60 centimetres (24 in), though exceptional specimens can reach 46 m (151 ft) tall and 100 cm (39 in) diameter. It has a narrow conical crown. The leaves are needle-like, yellow-green, 12–15 millimetres (0.47–0.59 in) long, four-sided, curved, with a sharp point, and extend from all sides of the twig. The bark is gray-brown on the surface and red-brown on the inside, thin, and scaly. The wood is light, soft, has narrow rings, and has a slight red tinge. The cones are cylindrical, 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a glossy red-brown color and stiff scales. The cones hang down from branches.

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Bloom Color is Red. Main Bloom Time is Late spring, Mid spring and the form is Pyramidal.

It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Ot to November. 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 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. Resists wind exposure to some degree. A shallow-rooted tree, in the wild it is often blown down by strong winds. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. This species has been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe. It is slow to get started, but can then grow fairly rapidly when established though it soon slows down and seems to be fairly short-lived in cultivation, around 100 years is probably the limit. Wild trees live about 300 – 400 years. 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. Seed production commences when the tree is about 15 years old, though reliable crops are not produced for another 5 – 10 years. Heavy crops occur every 4 – 6 years. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Closely related to and hybridizes in the wild with P. mariana. It is believed by some botanists to be a hybrid between P. mariana and P. glauca. 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. The crushed leaves are redolent of apples or camphor. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

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. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place. 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:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Leaves; Seed.

Young shoots. An emergency food, used when all else fails. 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 3 – 5cm in diameter. 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, it is only used 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. A gum is exuded from the tree as a result of injury to the sapwood. It is used for chewing. The sap can be used to make spruce gum. Leafy red spruce twigs are boiled as a part of making spruce beer. Also it can be made into spruce pudding.
Medicinal Uses:
A tea made from the boughs has been used in the treatment of colds and to ‘break out’ measles. The pitch from the trunk has been used as a poultice on rheumatic joints, the chest and the stomach in order to relieve congestion and pain. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of lung complaints and throat problems.

Other Uses:
The bark has been used to make baskets. Pitch can be obtained from the trunk. The roots have been used to make thread for sewing baskets, canoe skins etc. Wood – straight-grained, soft, light, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Used for boxes, sash frames etc. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper and is commonly used to produce stringed musical instruments.

Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen. Red spruce is also used for Christmas trees. It can also be used as construction lumber and is good for millwork and for crates. Red spruce is the provincial tree of Nova Scotia.

Known Hazards : The sawdust, the resin from the trunk and even the needles can cause dermatitis in some people.

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_rubens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+rubens

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Linum perenne

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Botanical Name: Linum perenne
Family: Linaceae
Genus: Linum
Species: L. perenne
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Other Names: Perennial flax, Blue flax or Lint

Habitat: Linum perenne is native to Europe, primarily in the Alps and locally in England.

Description:
Linum perenne is a slender herbaceous perennial plant growing to 60 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2.5 cm long. The flowers are pale blue, 2–2.5 cm diameter, with five petals.

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The English populations are sometimes distinguished as Linum perenne subsp. anglicum and high altitude populations in the Alps as Linum perenne subsp. alpinum. The similar western North American species Linum lewisii is sometimes treated as a subspecies of L. perenne.

Medicinal Uses:      Fluid extract of Linum perenne… 10 to 30 drops.
A tincture is also made from the entire fresh plant, 2 or 3 drops in water being given every hour or two for diarrhoea.

Country people boil the fresh herb and take it for rheumatic pains, colds, coughs and dropsy.

The Perennial Flax is a native plant not uncommon in some parts of the country upon calcareous soils. It grows about 2 feet in height and is readily distinguished from the annual kind by its paler flowers and narrower leaves. The rootstock usually throws up many stems. It flowers in July.

This species has been recommended for cultivation as a fibre plant, but it has been little adopted, the fibre being coarser and the seeds smaller than those of the Common Flax.

As the plant will last several years and yields an abundant crop of stems, it might be advantageously grown for paper making.

The seeds contain the same kind of oil as the ordinary species.

The All-Seed or Flax-Seed (Radiola linoides) belongs to the Flax family also; it is a minute annual with very fine, repeatedly forked branches. The leaves are opposite. Flowers in clusters very small, and seeding abundantly. It occurs inland on gravelly and sandy places, but is not common, from the Orkneys to Cornwall, e.g., near St. Ives, on the hills, and in the New Forest, near Lyndhurst.

Culpepper mentions remedies which include ‘Lin-seed,’ more than once – usually in the form of ‘mussilage of Lin-seed’; in one he mentions ‘the seeds of Flax’ and (later in the same prescription) ‘Linseed.’ He says it ‘heats and moistens, helps pains of the breast, coming cold and pleurises, old aches, and stitches, and softens hard swellings.’
Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flaper25.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linum_perenne

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Blue Lettuce

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Botanical Name : Lactuca pulchella
Family :Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Lactuca L. – lettuce
Species: Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. – blue lettuce
Variety:Lactuca tatarica (L.) C.A. Mey. var. pulchella (Pursh) Breitung – blue lettuce
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Lactuca tatarica (Linnaeus) C.A. Meyer subsp. pulchella (Pursh) A.P. de Candolle
*Mulgedium pulchellum (Pursh) G. Don
*Sonchus pulchellus Pursh

Common Name : Blue Lettuce,Chicory Lettuce

Habitat:
In Michigan this species is native only to Isle Royale, where it occurs in rocky openings on ridges. It is adventive elsewhere in the state. In other portions of its range, this species inhabits moist prairies, meadows, clearings, and riverbanks. The Isle Royale populations have not been collected since 1930.

Description:
General: plant with milky sap, 20-100 cm tall.
Growth habit: perennial from white, deep-seated, creeping root, often growing in patches.
Stems: erect, hairless or almost so.
Leaves: alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, 5-18 cm
long and 6-35 mm wide, entire, or the lower ones more or
less with triangular, backward-pointig lobes or sharply
toothed, often with waxy coating beneath.
Flowerheads: blue, showy, about 2 cm wide, with
18-50 ray florets only, several in open clusters. Involucre
15-20 mm high in fruit, with overlapping bracts in 3 rows.
Flowering time: June-September.
Fruits: achenes, 4-7 mm long, the slender body
moderately compressed, prominently several-nerved on
each face, the beak stout, often whitish, equaling or less
than half as long as the body. Pappus of white, hair-like
bristles.
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Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. This species is considered to be a noxious weed in N. America where it spreads freely by suckers in cultivated ground – even a small portion of the root can regenerate to form a new plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Root cuttings in spring.

Edible uses:
Young leaves – raw or cooked – of blue lettuce have been eaten by Native tribes. A gum obtained from the roots is used for chewing. However, caution should be used, because of the mild narcotic properties of the plant.

Medicinal Uses:
A tea of the roots and stems has been used by the Okanagan-Colville Indians of British Columbia in the treatment of diarrhea in children. Hemorrhoids have been treated by applying a moist, usually warm or hot mass of plant material. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap, containing ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its mildly pain-relieving, antispasmodic, digestive, urination-inducing, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has mild narcotic effects. It has been taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. An infusion of the roots and stems has been given to children in the treatment of diarrhea. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Other Uses: The Gum has several uses.

Precautions:
The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness, excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis.

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://montana.plant-life.org/species/lactuca_tatari.htm
http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/explorer/species.cfm?id=13578
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LATAP
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/lactuca_pulchella.html

http://www.wildstaudenzauber.de/Seiten/Praerie.html

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Fletcher-FarmWeeds/pages/033-Blue-lettuce/411×764-q75.html

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

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Featured

Why Just One Cigarette Can Get You Hooked

A Canadian study has suggested that it may take only one cigarette for some people to get addicted to nicotine, because of how their brains are wired.

…………………………………….

By manipulating receptors in the brains of rats, researchers were able to control whether the first exposure to nicotine was enjoyable or repulsive. They experimented on two types of receptors for dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain’s reward circuitry.

By blocking the receptors, the researchers were able to switch how nicotine was processed — from repulsive to rewarding or positive. The natural variations that occur between people may therefore explain why some are more likely to become addicted to nicotine.
Sources:
CBC News August 5, 2008
The Journal of Neuroscience, August 6, 2008, 28(32):8025-8033

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Featured

Time Management

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Few simple tips for managing your time better
According to recent data — and most people’s experience –the workweek is expanding and leisure time is evaporating, not only for top-level executives but for the average person as well. Most experts advocate organization as the key to getting a grip on time. They suggest you start by asking what your real goals are for yourself, your family, and your career. With goals established, break your time down into manageable segments.

Use a monthly calendar for short-term scheduling and a 6-month calendar for long-range scheduling. Pencil in all things that pertain to your goals, including classes you want to take (learning a computer program for your job or mastering the piano for fun), regular exercise sessions, social events, and family time.
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On a daily action list, categorize tasks: those that need immediate attention (you had better do them yourself), those that can be delegated (you can hire a teenager to mow the lawn or to clean the garage, for example), and those that can be put off. To avoid procrastination, tackle the toughest jobs first, breaking them into smaller, less daunting components.
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Free up time for the things you really want to do by simplifying your life. Let go of activities (your third church committee assignment or polishing the car every week, for example) that don’t contribute to your goals.
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Reduce the waste – and frustration – of everyday delays. Wherever you go, take reading material or a portable player with music you want to hear. Then when you have to wait, you can make good use of or enjoy the time.
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Set aside a half-hour toward the end of the day to worry. Psychologist Roland Nathan believes that having a formal worrying time cuts down the amount of worrying you do.

Source:Reader’s Digest