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Vicia americana

Botanical Name: Vicia americana
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species:V. americana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Lathyrus diffusus. Orobus diffusus

Common Names:American Vetch, Mat vetch, Purple vetch

Habitat : Vicia americana is native to N. America – Alaska to Ontario and New York, south to Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona.It grows on damp or gravelly slopes, thickets and meadows.
Description:
Vicia americana is a single-stemmed, climbing perennial forb that measurers up to 16 inches tall. It grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. The fruit is a hairless pod about 3 centimeters long that contains usually two light brown peas.

The 8 to 16 leaflets are broadly elliptical to linear measuring 0.4 to 1.5 inches in length. The lower stipules are deeply lacerated, often appearing star-like (Isley 1998). The inflorescence is a raceme with up to 10 purple flowers approximately 0.5 to 1.5 inches long. Flowering occurs from May to August with the seeds maturing around one month after pollination (Voss, 1985; Wasser, 1982). The fruit is a 1 to 1.5 inch long pod bearing two to several pea-like seeds. There are approximately 33,000 seeds/lb (USDANRCS, 2015). American vetch has a moderate to deeply-branched taproot which reaches a maximum depth of 40 inches. The deep tap root allows for the plant to exhibit characteristics of severe drought tolerance.
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It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen.
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 many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best grown in semi-shade. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils. 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.

Propagation : Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. The tender seeds are eaten by the N. American Indians. Both the mature seeds and the immature seedpods can be used. The pod is about 3cm long and contains 4 – 7 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have been rubbed in the hands and applied to spider bites. An infusion of the crushed leaves have been used as a bath for treating soreness. An infusion of the plant has been used as an eyewash. An infusion of the leaves has been used by women as a love medicine.

Other Uses : The stout roots have been used for tying

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/Vicia_americana
https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_viam.pdf
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+americana

Crataegus acclivis

Botanical Name : Crataegus acclivis
Family: Rosaceae
Division:Magnoliophyta – Flowering Plants
Class:Magnoliopsida
Sub Class:Rosidae
Order:Rosales
Genus :Crataegus
Species: Crataegus coccinea L. var. coccinea

Common Name:Scarlet hawthorn

Habitat : Crataegus acclivis is native to North-eastern N. America – New York to the borders of southern Canada. It grows in banks of streams and steep gorges.
Description:
Crataegus acclivis is a deciduous Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 7 m (23ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

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It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution. Plants are hardy to at least -18°c. We have very little specific information on this plant, and it is regarded as no more than a form of C. pedicellata by most botanists. However, a tree seen at Kew in early September 1997 had a good crop of almost ripe fruit. This fruit was more elongated than C. pedicellata and was also ripe about 4 weeks before that species. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted.
Propagation:
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years.

Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit ripens in early September, it is about 18mm long with a pleasantly sweet juicy flesh and makes an excellent dessert fruit. The fruit contains up to 5 seeds in the centre, these usually stick together and so the effect is like eating a cherry with its single large seed.

Medicinal Uses:
Cardiac; Hypotensive.

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture

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:
http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2671
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crataegus+acclivis

Allium canadense

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

Common Names; Canada onion, Canadian garlic, Wild garlic, Meadow garlic and Wild onion, Fraser meadow garlic, Hyacinth meadow garlic

Habitat : Allium canadense is native to N. America – New Brunswick to Minnesota, south to Florida and Colorado. It grows on the sandy soils in low woods, thickets and meadows.

Description:
Allium canadense has an edible bulb covered with a dense skin of brown fibers and tastes like an onion. The plant also has strong, onion-like odor. Crow garlic (Allium vineale) is similar, but it has a strong garlic taste

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The narrow, grass-like leaves originate near the base of the stem, which is topped by a dome-like cluster of star-shaped, pink or white flowers. These flowers may be partially or entirely replaced by bulblets. When present, the flowers are hermaphroditic (both male and female organs) and are pollinated by American bees (not honeybees) and other insects. It typically flowers in the spring and early summer, from May to June.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

Varieties:
The bulblet-producing form is classified as A. canadense var. canadense. It was once thought that the tree onion could be related to this plant, but it is now known that the cultivated tree onion is a hybrid between the common onion (A. cepa) and Welsh onion (A. fistulosum), classified as A. × proliferum.

Five varieties of the species are widely recognized:

*Allium canadense var. canadense – most pedicels replaced by bulbils rarely producing fruits or seeds, most of the range of the species
*Allium canadense var. ecristatum Ownbey tepals deep pink and rather thick, coastal plain of Texas
*Allium canadense var. fraseri Ownbey – flowers white, Great Plains from Texas to Kansas
*Allium canadense var. hyacinthoides (Bush) Ownbey – tepals pink, thin, flowers fragrant, northern Texas and southern Oklahoma
*Allium canadense var. lavandulare (Bates) Ownbey & Aase – flowers lavender, not fragrant, northern Arkansas to South Dakota
*Allium canadense var. mobilense (Regel) Ownbey – flowers lilac, pedicels thread-like, southeastern US
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. A moisture loving plant according to another report. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Bulbs grow to a good size under cultivation. Some forms of this species produce many bulbils and are considered to be a pernicious weed in some areas of America, there is some risk that they could spread aggressively in Britain. A. canadense mobilense. (Reg.)F.M.Ownb. is a form that does not produce bulbils and is much better behaved. 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. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Bulbils planted in situ when ripe.

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

Bulb – raw or cooked. It can be used as a vegetable, or as a flavouring in soups and stews, and can also be pickled[2]. The bulb is up to 30mm in diameter, it is crisp, mild and with a pleasant flavour. Used as a leek substitute according to one report, it is a garlic substitute according to others. Leaves – raw or cooked. A delicious mild flavour, they are available from early spring until the autumn. They make a very acceptable salad and can also be used as a greens or as a flavouring in cooked foods. Flowers – raw. A little bit stronger flavour than the leaves, especially as the seeds begin to form, they can be used as a flavouring and garnish on salads. Some forms of this species produce bulbils. These top-setting bulbils make a fine onion flavoured pickle. They are said to have a superior flavour to other pickled onions.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiasthmatic; Carminative; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stimulant.

The plant is antiasthmatic, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. A tincture is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup. Although no other 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. The plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to protect them from insect bites and the bites of scorpions, lizards etc

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

This plant can cause gastroenteritis in young children who ingest parts of this plant. Chronic ingestion of the bulbs reduces iodine uptake by the thyroid gland, which can lead to problems. No specific treatment is suggested other than to prevent dehydration (Lampe and McCann 1985). Livestock have also been poisoned by ingesting wild onions, and some have died (Pipal 1918). Horses have developed hemolytic anemia from ingesting wild onion leaves (Scoggan 1989)

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_canadense
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+canadense

Asclepias curassavica

Botanical Name; Asclepias curassavica
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. curassavica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Tropical milkweed, Cancerillo

Other Common Names; Bloodflower or Blood flower, Cotton bush, Hierba de la cucaracha, Mexican butterfly weed, redhead, Scarlet milkweed, and Wild ipecacuanha

Habitat: Asclepias curassavica is native to the American tropics.

Asclepias curassavica is described by NatureServe as a “widespread species, ranging from southern North America through Central America and into South America.”

It is an introduced species in the US states of California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as the US unincorporated territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

It has been introduced and naturalized in the Chinese provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, and Zhejiang, as well as in Taiwan.

It is considered an exotic plant, but not a weed, at the Meteor Downs South Project near Rolleston, Queensland, Australia.
Description:
Asclepias curassavica is an evergreen perennial subshrub that grow up to 1 m (3.3 ft) tall and have pale gray stems. The leaves are arranged oppositely on the stems and are lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate shaped ending in acuminate or acute tips. Like other members of the genus, the sap is milky. The flowers are in cymes with 10-20 flowers each. They have purple or red corollas and corona lobes that are yellow or orange. Flowering occurs nearly year round. Its blossoms are are red and orange, less than an inch across, and appear in clusters at the top of 2 to 4 ft. stalks. The 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) long, fusiform shaped fruits are called follicles. The follicles contain tan to brown seeds that are ovate in shape and 6–7 mm (0.24–0.28 in) long. The flat seeds have silky hairs that allow the seeds to float on air currents when the pod-like follicles dehisce (split open…..…CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation & Propagation: : Asclepias curassavica require a sunny spot in moist, fertile soil. Blood-flower is not as drought tolerant as other species of milkweeds. Keep the plants uniformly moist, but not saturated. Pinch the tops of the plants to induce a bushy habit and provide more flowering branches. Once a week fertilize with a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 diluted to half the strength recommended on the label.

Asclepias curassavica produces a robust plant when started from seed. It can be propagated from cuttings of green stem cut underwater and treated with rooting hormone. The stems are then placed in vermiculite or in potting soil kept continuously moist.

Constituents: Asclepias curassavica contains several cardiac glycosides which include asclepin, calotropin, uzarin and their free genins, calactin, coroglucigenin and uzarigenin. It also contains oleanolic acid, ß- sitosterol, and glycosides of asclepin.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is used medicinally in the tropics for the anodyne properties of its roots. It has also been used in scrofula with great success. Used as a remedy for cancers, warts and similar growths. Extract of the root is used in  traditional medicine as an emetic and laxative. Other uses employed are against warts, fever, vomiting and as an expectorant. Root extracts of cancerillo are widely used in South America an emetic (induces vomiting) and laxative. The leaves and flowers of the plant are considered toxic and reports of smaller grazing animals dying from consumption of the leaves have been reported. In the Suriname rainforest, an extract of the root is used an emetic, expectorant, and laxative and employed for warts, fever, and to induce vomiting. A decoction of the entire plant is used as an abortifacient. The roots are commonly known as “pleurisy root” and used as an expectorant for pneumonia and pleurisy and other lung problems. In Jamaica, a poultice of the root is used to treat ringworm and to stop bleeding. The Caribs considered the root to be good medicine to reduce fevers, and in Africa it has been used for intestinal troubles with children.

In Western Canada and the USA, the milky sap of the stems have been used to treat warts and skin parasites, and the roots are prepared in decoctions for constipation, venereal disease, kidney stones, asthma, and cancer. In the 1880’s, Native Americans used the plant as a contraceptive and snakebite remedy. In Ayurvedic herbal medicine systems the plant is considered diaphoretic, anthelmintic, purgative, and emetic; it is employed in India for stomach tumors, piles, gonorrhea, intestinal parasites, fever, and warts.

Other Uses: Asclepias curassavica is excellent in butterfly gardens or as a cut flower….CLICK & SEE

Known Hazards: However, when the stems or leaves are broken, a poisonous milky sap exudes which can cause eye injury.

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/Asclepias_curassavica
http://www.plantoftheweek.org/week019.shtml
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Thaumatococcus daniellii

Botanical Name: Thaumatococcus daniellii
Family:    Marantaceae
Genus:    Thaumatococcus
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:  Phrynium daniellii

Common names: Miracle fruit (but the unrelated species Synsepalum dulcificum is better known by that name) and miracle berry, Katamfe or Katempfe, Yoruba soft cane, and African serendipity berry.

Habitat: Thaumatococcus daniellii  is  native to the rainforests of western Africa from Sierra Leone to Zaire. It is also an introduced species in Australia and Singapore.

Description:
Thaumatococcus daniellii is a rhizomatous, perennial herb, up to 3-3.5 m high.  It  has large, papery leaves up to 46 centimeters long and 40 cm wide, arise singly from each node of the rhizome. Inflorescences are single or simply branched spikes’ and emerge from the lowest node.  It bears pale purple flowers and a soft fruit containing a few shiny black seeds. In its native range,the fruit is fleshy, trigonal in shape and matures to a dark red/brown colour when fully ripe. At maturity each fruit contains three black, extremely hard seeds. The seeds are enveloped by a sticky thin, pale yellow basal aril, which contains the sweetening protein, thaumatin.
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Varieties:
Thaumatococcus daniellii var. daniellii – western + central Africa from Sierra Leone to Zaire
Thaumatococcus daniellii var. puberulifolius Dhetchuvi & Diafouka – central Africa (Zaire, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Central African Republic)

Edible Uses:
Fruit: The most popular use of T. daniellii is as sweetener. The aril contains a non-toxic, intensely sweet protein named thaumatin, which is at least 3000 times as sweet as sucrose. In West Africa, the aril is traditionally used for sweetening bread, over-fermented palm-wine and sour food. When the seeds are chewed, for up to an hour afterwards they cause sour materials eaten or drunk to taste very sweet. Since the mid-1990s, thaumatin is used as sweetener and flavour enhancer by the food and confectionary industry. Substituting synthetic sweeteners, it is used as a non-caloric natural sweetener. Thaumatin is not a carbohydrate thus it is an ideal sweetener for diabetics.

The seeds of T. daniellii also produce a jelly that swells to 10 times its own weight and hence provides a substitute for agar.

Medicinal Uses:
Thaumatococcus  daniellii is also used in traditional medicinal uses in the Ivory Coast and Congo. The fruit is used as a laxative and the seed as an emetic and for pulmonary problems.
In traditional medicinal use the leaf sap is used as antidote against venoms, stings and bites. Leaf and root sap are used as sedative and for treating insanity.

Other Uses:
In West Africa, T. daniellii is mostly cultivated for the leaves. The lamina of the leaves is used for wrapping foods. The petiole is used to weave mats and as tools and building materials. The entire leaf is also used for roofing.
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaumatococcus_daniellii