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Alnus glutinosa

Botanical Name : Alnus glutinosa
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Alnus
Subgenus: Alnus
Species: A. glutinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: A. rotundifolia. Betula glutinosa.

Common Names: Alder, European alder , Common Alder, Black Alder

Habitat :Alnus glutinosa is native to most of Europe, including Britain, to Siberia, W. Asia and N. Africa. It grows on wet ground in woods, near lakes and along the sides of streams, often formng pure woods n succession to marsh or fen.
Description:
Alnus glutinosa is a medium size, short-lived deciduous Tree .It is a tree that thrives in moist soils, and grows under favourable circumstances to a height of 20 to 30 metres (66 to 98 ft) and exceptionally up to 37 metres (121 ft). Young trees have an upright habit of growth with a main axial stem but older trees develop an arched crown with crooked branches. The base of the trunk produces adventitious roots which grow down to the soil and may appear to be propping the trunk up. The bark of young trees is smooth, glossy and greenish-brown while in older trees it is dark grey and fissured. The branches are smooth and somewhat sticky, being scattered with resinous warts. The buds are purplish-brown and have short stalks. Both male and female catkins form in the autumn and remain dormant during the winter.

The leaves of the common alder are short-stalked, rounded, up to 10 cm (4 in) long with a slightly wedge-shaped base and a wavy, serrated margin. They have a glossy dark green upper surface and paler green underside with rusty-brown hairs in the angles of the veins. As with some other trees growing near water, the common alder keeps its leaves longer than do trees in drier situations, and the leaves remain green late into the autumn. As the Latin name glutinosa implies, the buds and young leaves are sticky with a resinous gum.

The species is monoecious and the flowers are wind-pollinated; the slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish in colour and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) long; the female flowers are upright, broad and green, with short stalks. During the autumn they become dark brown to black in colour, hard, somewhat woody, and superficially similar to small conifer cones. They last through the winter and the small winged seeds are mostly scattered the following spring. The seeds are flattened reddish-brown nuts edged with webbing filled with pockets of air. This enables them to float for about a month which allows the seed to disperse widely.

Unlike some other species of tree, common alders do not produce shade leaves. The respiration rate of shaded foliage is the same as well-lit leaves but the rate of assimilation is lower. This means that as a tree in woodland grows taller, the lower branches die and soon decay, leaving a small crown and unbranched trunk.

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It has short-stalked rounded leaves and separate male and female flower in the form of catkins. The small, rounded fruits are cone-like and the seeds are dispersed by wind and water.

It is in leaf 11-Mar It is in flower from Mar to April, and the seeds ripen from Sep 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.It can fix Nitrogen. The common alder provides food and shelter to wildlife, with a number of insects, lichens and fungi being completely dependent on the tree. It is a pioneer species, colonising vacant land and forming mixed forests as other trees appear in its wake. Eventually common alder dies out of woodlands because the seedlings need more light than is available on the forest floor.

Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pest tolerant, Pollard, Screen. Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation, tolerating prolonged submergence of its roots and periods with standing water to 30cm deep. Plants can also grow quickly in much drier sites, though they will usually not live for so long in such a position. Alders grow well in heavy clay soils, they also tolerate lime and very infertile sites. Tolerates a wide range of soils but prefers a pH above 6. Very tolerant of maritime exposure. Alder is estimated to tolerate an annual precipitation of 40 to 200cm, an annual average temperature of 8 to 14°C and a pH of 6 to 8. The leaves often remain green on the tree until November, or even later on young seedlings. The seeds contain a margin of air-filled tissue and are capable of floating in water for 30 days before becoming waterlogged. This enables distribution of the seed by water. The alder has a very rapid early growth, specimens 5 years old from seed were 4 metres tall even though growing in a very windy site in Cornwall. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Nitrogen-fixation by trees up to 8 years old has been put at 125 kg/ha/yr., for 20 years at 56 – 130 kg/ha/yr.. Trees often produce adventitious roots from near the base of the stem and these give additional support in unstable soils. Trees are very tolerant of cutting and were at one time much coppiced for their wood which had a variety of uses. Alders are an important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species and also for small birds in winter.There are 90 insect species associated with this tree. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. There are about 700,000 – 750,000 seeds per kilo, but on average only about 20 – 25,000 plantable seedlings are produced. Seeds can remain viable for at least 12 months after floating in water. Seeds germinate as well under continuous darkness as with normal day lengths. Air-dried seeds stored at 1 – 2°C retained their viability for two years. Seeds can however be sown immediately as soon as ripe. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring. The seedlings can either be panted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
Medicinal Uses:
The bark is alterative, astringent, cathartic, febrifuge and tonic. The fresh bark will cause vomiting, so use dried bark for all but emetic purposes. A decoction of the dried bark is used to bathe swellings and inflammations, especially of the mouth and throat. The powdered bark and the leaves have been used as an internal astringent and tonic, whilst the bark has also been used as an internal and external haemostatic against haemorrhage. The dried bark of young twigs are used, or the inner bark of branches 2 – 3 years old. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use. Boiling the inner bark in vinegar produces a useful wash to treat lice and a range of skin problems such as scabies and scabs. The liquid can also be used as a toothwash. The leaves are astringent, galactogogue and vermifuge. They are used to help reduce breast engorgement in nursing mothers. A decoction of the leaves is used in folk remedies for treating cancer of the breast, duodenum, oesophagus, face, pylorus, pancreas, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus. The leaves are harvested in the summer and used fresh.

Research:
In a research study, extracts from the seeds of the common alder have been found to be active against all the eight pathogenic bacteria against which they were tested, which included Escherichia coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The only extract to have significant antioxidant activity was that extracted in methanol. All extracts were of low toxicity to brine shrimps. These results suggest that the seeds could be further investigated for use in the development of possible anti-MRSA drugs

Other Uses:
Charcoal; Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Ink; Insecticide; Parasiticide; Pioneer; Shelterbelt; Soil reclamation; Tannin; Teeth; Wood.

Tolerant of clipping and maritime exposure, the alder can be grown in a windbreak or a hedge. The trees are very quick to establish and will grow at a rate of 1 metre or more per year when young. This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen – whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established. Because they tolerate very poor soils and also produce nitrogen nodules on their roots, alders are suitable for use in land reclamation schemes. The plants can be used as a source of biomass. According to the phytomass files, annual productivity is estimated at 6 to 9 tonnes per hectare. The tree has yielded 11.8 tonnes per hectare per annum on pulverized fuel ash and annual productivity has been estimated at 8.66 tonnes per hectare, with 5.87 tonnes in wood, bark, and branches, 2.79 tonnes in foliage. Alder has been recommended for consideration for firewood plantations in Tropical highlands where unseasonable cold might destroy the red alder. The powdered bark has been used as an ingredient of toothpastes. Sticks of the bark have been chewed as tooth cleaners. An ink and a tawny-red dye are obtained from the bark. A green dye is obtained from the catkins. A pinkish-fawn dye is obtained from the fresh green wood. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark and young shoots. A cinnamon dye is obtained from the shoots if they are harvested in March. If they are dried and powdered then the colour will be a tawny shade. The bark and the fruits contain up to 20% tannin, but they also contain so much dyestuff (imparting a dark red shade) that this limits their usefulness. The leaves are also a good source of tannin. The leaves are clammy and, if spread in a room, are said to catch fleas and flies on their glutinous surface. Wood – very durable in water, elastic, soft, fairly light, easily worked, easily split. It is often used for situations where it has to remain underwater and is also used for furniture, pencils, bowls, woodcuts, clogs etc. It is much valued by cabinet makers. The wood also makes a good charcoal.

Known Hazards: Pollen from the common alder, along with that from birch and hazel, is one of the main sources of tree pollen allergy. As the pollen is often present in the atmosphere at the same time as that of birch, hazel, hornbeam and oak, and they have similar physicochemical properties, it is difficult to separate out their individual effects. In central Europe, these tree pollens are the second most common cause of allergic conditions after grass pollen.

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/Alnus_glutinosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+glutinosa

Kalmia angustifolia

Botanical  Name: Kalmia angustifolia
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Kalmia
Species:K. angustifolia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: K. angustifolium, K. intermedia

Common Name: Sheep Laurel

Habitat :Kalmia angustifolia is native to Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Hudson Bay, south to Georgia and Michigan. Nat in Britain. It grows on acidic bogs and swamps.

Description:
Kalmia angustifolia is an evergreen Shrub. The wild the plant may vary in height from 15–90 cm (6–35 in). The attractive small, deep crimson-pink flowers are produced in early summer. Each has five sepals, with a corolla of five fused petals, and ten stamens fused to the corolla. They are pollinated by bumble bees and solitary bees. Each mature capsule contains about 180 seeds.

CK & CLISEE THE PICTURES

New shoots arise from dormant buds on buried rhizomes. This process is stimulated by fire. The narrow evergreen leaves, pale on the underside, have a tendency to emerge from the stem in groups of three. A peculiarity of the plant is that clusters of leaves usually terminate the woody stem, for the flowers grow in whorls or in clusters below the stem apex.

Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, of which K. angustifolia f. rubra has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Requires an acid humus-rich soil, succeeding in part shade or in full sun in cooler areas. Prefers almost full sun. Dislikes dry soils, requiring cool, permanently moist conditions at the roots. Succeeds in open woodland or along the woodland edge. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A very ornamental and variable plant, there are many named varieties. The flowers are produced at the end of the previous years growth. Plants spread slowly by means of suckers. Pruning is not normally necessary, though if older plants become bare at the centre they can be cut back hard and will regrow from the base.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in late winter in a cool greenhouse in light shade. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. The seedlings are rather sensitive to damping off, so water them with care, keep them well-ventilated and perhaps apply a fungicide such as garlic as a preventative. Grow the young plants on in light shade and overwinter them in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed is dust-like and remains viable for many years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Very poor results unless the cuttings are taken from very young plants. Layering in August/September. Takes 18 months. The plants can also be dug up and replanted about 30cm deeper in the soil to cover up some of the branches. The plant can then be dug up about 12 months later when the branches will have formed roots and can be separated to make new plants.

Medicinal Uses:
Sheep laurel is a very poisonous narcotic plant the leaves of which were at one time used by some native North American Indian tribes in order to commit suicide. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The leaves are usually used externally as a poultice and wash in herbal medicine and are a good remedy for many skin diseases, sprains and inflammation. They can also be applied as a poultice to the head to treat headaches. The singed, crushed leaves can be used as a snuff in the treatment of colds. Used internally, the leaves are analgesic, astringent and sedative and have a splendid effect in the treatment of active haemorrhages, headaches, diarrhoea and flux. This species is said to be the best for medicinal use in the genus. The plant should be used with great caution however, see the notes below on toxicity.

Known Hazards : The foliage is poisonous to animals. The whole plant is highly toxic.

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/Kalmia_angustifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Kalmia+angustifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

Cyclamen hederaefolium

Botanical Name: Cyclamen hederaefolium
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Cyclamen
Subgenus: Cyclamen
Series: Cyclamen
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonym: Sowbread.

Common Names: Ivy-leaved cyclamen

Habitat : Cyclamen hederaefolium is native to woodland, shrubland, and rocky areas in the Mediterranean region from southern France to western Turkey and on Mediterranean islands, and naturalized farther north in Europe and in the Pacific Northwest.

Description:
Cyclamen hederifolium is a tuberous perennial herb that blooms and sprouts leaves in autumn, grows through the winter, and goes dormant before summer, when the seed pods ripen and open……...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Tuber:
Dried tubers at market in Remscheid, Germany
The tuber is round-flattened and produces roots from the top and sides, leaving the base bare. In the florist’s cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum), roots come from the bottom, leaving the top and sides bare.

The tuber becomes larger with age; older specimens commonly become more than 25 cm (10 in) across. In other species, tubers do not grow as large; Cyclamen coum usually does not reach more than 6.5 cm (2.6 in) across.  Leaves and flowers grow from buds on top.

Leaves:
The leaves are variably shaped and colored. Depending on the specimen, leaf shape varies from heart-shaped to long and arrow-shaped, usually with 2-3 angled lobes on each side, resembling the juvenile leaves of ivy (Hedera). Leaf color varies from all-green to all-silver, but the most common is a Christmas tree or hastate pattern in silver or pewter and various shades of green.

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The leaf and flower stalks of Cyclamen hederifolium grow outwards and then up, forming an “elbow”. Plants in narrow pots often have a ring of leaves around the outside of the pot. In the closely related Cyclamen africanum, stalks grow up from the tuber without a bend near the base.

Flowers:
The flowers bloom from late summer to autumn and have 5 petals, usually pink, purple, or white with a streaky magenta V-shaped marking on the nose, but sometimes pure white with no markings.

The edges of the petals near the nose of the flower are curved outwards into strong auricles. These are not present in some other species, such as Cyclamen persicum. The flowers are occasionally fragrant. The shape of the flower varies from long and thin to short and squat.

Fruit:
After fertilization, the flower stem coils tightly, starting at the end, and rests above the tuber. Seeds are amber, held in a round pod, which opens by 5-10 flaps at maturity.

Cultivation:
Cyclamen hederifolium is usually listed as the hardiest species of cyclamen. In oceanic climates, it self-seeds abundantly and will crowd out less vigorous species such as Cyclamen coum if the two are planted together. In cold continental climates such as Calgary, Alberta, where Cyclamen purpurascens grows well, it may not survive. DavesGarden.com lists it as hardy to zone 5a (?20 °F or ?29 °C), although hardiness is dependent on presence of snow cover.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Part Used Medicine : The tuberous rootstock, used fresh, when the plant is in flower.

Constituents: Besides starch, gum and pectin, the tuber yields chemically cyclamin or arthanatin, having an action like saponin.

Medicinal Uses:
A homoeopathic tincture is made from the fresh root, which applied externally as a liniment over the bowels causes purging.

Old writers tell us that Sowbread baked and made into little flat cakes has the reputation of being ‘a good amorous medicine,’ causing the partaker to fall violently in love.

The fresh tubers bruised and formed into a cataplasm make a stimulating application to indolent ulcers.

An ointment called ‘ointment of arthainta’ was made from the fresh tubers for expelling worms, and was rubbed on the umbilicus of children and on the abdomen of adults to cause emesis and upon the region over the bladder to increase urinary discharge.

Other Uses: Although the roots are favourite food of swine, their juice is stated to be poisonous to fish.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclamen_hederifolium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/cycya133.html

Spartium junceum

Botanical Name: Spartium junceum
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Genisteae
Genus: Spartium
Species: S. junceum
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Name:Spanish broom or weaver’s broom

Habitat :Spartium junceum is  native to the Mediterranean in southern Europe, southwest Asia and northwest Africa, where it is found in sunny sites, usually on dry, sandy soils.

Description:
Spartium junceum is a vigorous, deciduous shrub growing to 2–4 m (7–13 ft) tall, rarely 5 m (16 ft), with main stems up to 5 cm (2 in) thick, rarely 10 cm (4 in). It has thick, somewhat succulent grey-green rush-like shoots with very sparse small deciduous leaves 1 to 3 cm long and up to 4 mm broad. The leaves are of little importance to the plant, with much of the photosynthesis occurring in the green shoots (a water-conserving strategy in its dry climate). The leaves fall away early.  In late spring and summer shoots are covered in profuse fragrant yellow pea-like flowers 1 to 2 cm across. In late summer, the legumes (seed pods) mature black and reach 8–10 cm (3–4 in) long. They burst open, often with an audible crack, spreading seed from the parent plant………...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:  Border, Massing, Specimen. Succeeds in any well-drained but not too fertile soil in a sunny position. Prefers a lime free soil according to one report whilst another says that it thrives on alkaline and poor sandy soils. Very wind resistant, tolerating maritime exposure. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and thrives on hot dry banks. A very ornamental plant, it is hardy to between -10 and -18°c when in a suitable position. The flowers have a fragrance that has been likened to oranges. Plants can become leggy if grown in a sheltered position or too rich a soil, but they can be pruned almost to the ground and will resprout from the base. They can also be trimmed in early spring in order to keep them more compact. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance, they are best grown in pots and planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small. Plants often self-sow in Britain. Rabbits love eating this plant when it is young. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Special Features: Not North American native, Naturalizing, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:             
Seed – pre-soak 24 hours in hot water and sow February/March in a greenhouse. It usually germinates well and quickly. The seed can also be autumn sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If sufficient growth is made, it is possible to plant out in the summer, otherwise overwinter them in a cold frame and plant out in late spring of the following year.

Medicinal Uses:
The Spanish Broom in its medicinal properties closely resembles the common Broom, but is from five to six times more active. The symptoms produced by overdoses are vomiting and purging, with renal irritation. The seeds have been used to a considerable extent in dropsy, in the form of a tincture. The flowers yield a yellow dye.
The dried flowers of Spanish Broom are readily differentiated, those of the true Broom having a small bell-shaped calyx with two unequal lobes, the upper of which is bi-dentate and the lower minutely tridentate, while in Spartium junceum, the calyx is deeply cleft to the base on one side only.

By macerating the twigs a good fibre is obtained, which is made into thread in Languedoc, and its cord and a coarse sort of cloth in Dalmatia.

The name Spartium is from the Greek word denoting ‘cardage,’ in allusion to the use of the plant.

Coronilla scorpioides (Koch) has been used medicinally as substitute for Broom.

Coronilla is the herbage of various species of the genus of that name, natives of Europe and some naturalized in North America.

The drug, at least that from Coronilla scorpioides (Koch), contains the glucoside Coronillin, a yellow powder. The action and uses of the drug are very similar to those of Broom.

The leaflets are said to produce a dye like indigo by proper fermentation, and are also reported as a laxative.

Other Uses:
The plant is used as an ornamental plant in gardens and in landscape plantings. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit. The plant is also used as a flavoring, and for its essential oil, known as genet absolute. Its fibers have been used for cloth and it produces a yellow dye.

A fibre from the stems is a hemp substitute. It is used to make thread, cordage and coarse fabrics. It is also used for stuffing pillows etc and for making paper. The smaller stems are used in basket making. The branches are often made into brooms. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers, it is used in perfumery.

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/Spartium
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/brospa73.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Spartium+junceum