Tag Archives: Central Asia

Allium macleanii

Botanical Name: Allium macleanii
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. macleanii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: A. elatum. Regel.

Common Names: Wild Onion

Habitat : Allium macleanii is native to W. Asia – Afghanistan. It is found at high elevations in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, and northern India. It grows in gentle slopes at low altitudes to 1200 metres.

Description:
Allium macleanii is a perennial herb up to 100 cm tall, with a spherical umbel up to 7 cm in diameter. The umbel is crowded with many purple flowers. It is in flower from Jun to July.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained 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 prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1, 90, 203]. Dislikes dry soils. Plants are not very hardy in Britain, succeeding outdoors in the milder areas of the country and probably tolerating temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. This species is closely related to A. giganteum. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Bulb – raw or cooked. An onion substitute, it can be sliced and added to salads, cooked as a vegetable, or added as a flavouring to cooked foods. The bulbs are 2 – 6 cm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses: The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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/Allium_macleanii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+macleanii

Anabasis aphylla

Botanical Name : Anabasis aphylla
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily:Salsoloideae
Tribe: Salsoleae
Genus: Anabasis
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:Caryophyllales

Habitat :Anabasis aphylla is native to Europe – Russia to Siberia and northern China. It grows in the gobi desert, inter-dunes, gravelly alluvial fans, sometimes on arid slopes.

Description:
Anabasis aphylla is a perennial herb, growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. It is a low, branching semishrub with tiny, scalelike, opposite leaves; the flowers are spikelike inflorescences. The fruit is berry-shaped and has yellowish or pink winglike appendages. It grows in the saline and clayey deserts and semideserts of Southeast, Middle, and Central Asia and also in the southern European part of the USSR, the Caucasus, and Southern Siberia. The young, green branchlets of A. aphylla contain alkaloids, most importantly anabasine, an effective agent for control of insect pests in agriculture; anabasine is also the raw material for obtaining nicotinic acid, or niacin…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
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 habitat it is likely to succeed at least in the milder parts of the country, particularly the drier areas. It is likely to prefer a well-drained soil and a sunny position.

Propagation : Seed –

Medicinal Uses:…The plant is used medicinally. No more information is given.

Other Uses:….Insecticide; Miscellany; Soil stabilization.

The annual branches contain the alkaloid anabasine (C10H14N2), a botanical insecticide. The plant is used for stabilizing sand dunes

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/Anabasis_(plant)
http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Anabasis+Aphylla
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Anabasis+aphylla

Equisetum palustre

Botanical Name : Equisetum palustre
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. palustre
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Names ; Marsh horsetail or the Humpback

Habitat : Equisetum palustre is native to temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It is widespread in cooler regions of North America and Eurasia. It grows on bogs, fens, marshes and wet heaths, woods and meadows throughout Britain, ascending to 900 metres.

Description:
Equisetum palustre is a perennial cryptophyte, growing between 10 to 50 centimeters (4″ to 20″), in rare cases up to one meter (3′). Its fertile shoots, which carry ears, are evergreen and shaped like the sterile shoots. The rough, furrowed stem is one to three mm in diameter with usually eight to ten ribs, in rare cases, four to 12. It contains whorled branches. The tight-fitting sheaths end in four to 12 teeth. The lower sheaths are dark brown and much shorter than the sheaths of the main shoot. The central and vallecular canals are about the same size, but the carinal channels are much smaller. The central channels measure about one sixth of the diameter of the stem.

Equisetum palustre is green from spring to autumn and grows spores from June to September. It grows primarily in nutrient-rich wet meadows.

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The spores are spread by the wind (anemochory) and have four long ribbon-like structures attached to them. They sit on strobili which are rounded on the top. Marsh Horsetails often form subterranean runners and tubers, with which they also can proliferate vegetatively.

Cultivation:
We have no information on the needs of this species but, judging by the plant’s native habitat, it is likely to require a moist to wet soil in a sunny position. A very cold-hardy species tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation:
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Medicinl Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. Horsetail is very astringent and makes an excellent clotting agent, staunching wounds, stopping nosebleeds and reducing the coughing up of blood. It helps speed the repair of damaged connective tissue, improving its strength and elasticity. An infusion or decoction of the plants has been used in the treatment of constipation, stomach and bowel complaints.

Known Hazards: Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information.

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/Equisetum_palustre
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+palustre

Fagopyrum esculentum

Botanical Name ; Fagopyrum esculentum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Fagopyrum sagittatum. Fagopyrum vulgare.

Common Name:Buckwheat

Habitat : Fagopyrum esculentum is native to Central Asia.  It occurs  occasional casual in Britain. It grows in waste ground as an escape from cultivation. Its original habitat is obscure.

Description:
Fagopyrum esculentum is an annual plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. 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 Bees, flies.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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It is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. To distinguish it from a related species, Fagopyrum tataricum that is also cultivated as a grain in the Himalayas, and from the less commonly cultivated Fagopyrum acutatum, it is also known as Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat.

Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Because its seeds are eaten and rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer that increased the productivity of other staples.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy  or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a cool moist climate, but it also succeeds in dry and arid regions. Buckwheat is frequently cultivated for its edible seed and leaves, it can produce a seed crop in 100 days from sowing and a crop of leaves in 8 weeks. There are some named varieties. The seed ripens irregularly over a period of several weeks so it is difficult to harvest. Plants have poor frost resistance but they are disease and insect resistant. They inhibit the growth of winter wheat. The flowers have a pleasant sweet honey scent and are extremely attractive to bees and hoverflies.

Propagation:
Seed – sow from the middle of spring to early summer in situ. The seed usually germinates in 5 days. The earlier sowings are for a seed or leaf crop whilst the later sowings are used mainly for leaf crops or green manure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;   Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked like spinach. Not that wonderful raw, they improve somewhat with cooking. The leaves are rich in rutin (see below for more details) and so are a very healthy addition to the diet. Seed – raw or cooked. A nutty flavour, though it has a somewhat gritty texture. The seed can be soaked overnight in warm water then sprouted for a few days and added to salads. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a cereal when it can be made into pancakes, noodles, breads etc or be used as a thickening agent in soups etc. Rich in vitamin B6. An excellent beer can be brewed from the grain.

Medicinal Uses:

Acrid; Astringent; Galactogogue; Vasodilator.

Buckwheat is a bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin. Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels, reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. It is best used in conjunction with vitamin C since this aids absorption. Often combined with lime flowers (Tilia species), it is a specific treatment for haemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested as the plant begins to flower and are dried for later use. They should be stored in the dark because the active ingredients rapidly degrade in the light. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb because it has been known to cause light-sensitive dermatitis. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease). A homeopathic remedy has been made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of eczema and liver disorders.

Buckwheat is used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems. It is best taken as a tea or tablet, accompanied by vitamin C or lemon juice to aid absorption. Buckwheat is used particularly to treat fragile capillaries, but also helps strengthen varicose veins and heal chilblains. Often combined with linden flowers, buckwheat is a specific treatment for hemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. A poultice made from the seeds has been used for restoring the flow of milk in nursing mothers. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease).

Other Uses:
Dye; Green manure; Soil reclamation…………..A very good green manure plant, it can be used to reclaim badly degraded soils and subsoils.  A blue dye is obtained from the stems. A brown dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards : This plant has caused photosensitivity in some people, only the dehusked grain is considered to be safe.

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/Buckwheat
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fagopyrum+esculentum

Sonchus palustris

Botanical Name : Sonchus palustris
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
Species: S. palustris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Marsh sow-thistle

Habitat : Sonchus palustris is native to temperate regions of the Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Province of Xinjiang in western China. It has also become naturalized in a few locations in the Canadian Province of Ontario. It grows in damp peaty or silty soils rich in nitrogen.

Description:
Sonchus palustris is a much taller species than either of the preceding, attaining a height of 6 to 8 feet, being one of the tallest of our English herbaceous plants.The root is perennial, fleshy and branched, but not creeping; the leaves, arrow-shaped at the base, large, shiny on the under surfaces; the flowers, large and pale yellow, with hairy involucres, are in bloom in September and October, much later than the last species, which it somewhat resembles, though the edges of the leaves are minutely toothed, not waved. It grows in marshy places but is rare in this country, being now extinct in most of the places in Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and Essex where it was formerly found, and only occurring on the Thames below Woolwich. This thistle was placed by mediaeval botanists under the planetary influences of Mars: ‘Mars rules it, it is such a prickly business.It produces an array of numerous flower heads, each with numerous yellow ray flowers but no disc flowers......CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: No data is found.

Medicinal Uses: No data is found
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonchus_palustris
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sowthi71.html