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Myrica nagi

Botanical Name: Myrica nagi
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. esculenta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales
Synonyms:
*Myrica integrifolia
*Myrica sapida
Common Name : Box Myrtle

Habitat : Myrica nagi is native to E. Asia – Himalayas. It grows on drier aspects to 1800 metres. Open, mixed forests on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 – 2500 metres.

Description:
Myrica nagi is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft 4in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. The leaves are long and either pale or rust- colored. The tree has many hairy branches. The flowers that bloom on them are few and far apart and quite small in size as well. The seeds of the plant own a wrinkled appearance.

The bark that grows on the tree Myrica Nagi is aromatic in nature and owing to it; the tree has been in use for its aromatic properties for ages.
The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. We are not sure how hardy this plant will be in Britain, it is unlikely to succeed outside the very mildest areas of the country. There is also some confusion between this species and M. rubra, it is possible that they are the same. The fruit is sold in local markets in the Himalayas. It ripens over a fairly long period, so is not suitable for commercial cultivation. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Many species in this genus have 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.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good[78]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. Sweet with a pleasant blend of acid, they are very pleasant eating. About 13mm in diameter. The fruit contains about 12.6% sugar, 1% protein, 0.4% ash. Low in vitamin C, about 4.1mg per 100ml. The fruit does not keep well, only lasting in good condition for 2 – 3 days after picking. Yields from mature trees can be as high as 25kg per year, but are more often around 15.5kg.
Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Antirheumatic; Antiseptic; Aromatic; Astringent; Carminative; Febrifuge; Ophthalmic;
Rubefacient; Stimulant.

The bark is antirheumatic, antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, ophthalmic and stimulant. It has proved useful in the treatment of fevers, asthma and coughs. The juice is applied to treat rheumatism. Mixed with ginger, it is used as a rubefacient in the treatment of choler. The juice of the bark is taken internally in the treatment of catarrh and headaches, and is applied externally to cuts and wounds. A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of fevers, asthma and diarrhoea. This decoction is boiled to form a gelatinous mass that is applied as a poultice on sprains. Combined with the bark of Quercus lanata, it is used as a decoction in the treatmnt of dysentery. The juice of the unripe fruit is used as an anthelmintic.
Other Uses:
Dye; Tannin; Wax; Wood.

A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather. They are slightly aromatic and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles. The wax is also used in making soaps. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. The plant is a source of tannin. (Probably the bark or the leaves.) The bark is said to contain 60 – 80% tannin. Wood – hard, close-grained. a good fuel. Used mainly for fuel, though it is sometimes used for making poles for construction.

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report for some members of this genus that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.

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/Myrica_esculenta

Myrica Nagi


http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+nagi

Solanum scabrum

Botanical Name: Solanum scabrum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
Species: S. scabrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms: S. intrusum. S. melanocerasum. All. S. scabrum.

Common Name: Garden Huckleberry

Habitat: The origin of the species is uncertain, although Linnaeus attributed it to Africa, but it also occurs in North America, and is naturalized in many countries. In Africa it is cultivated as a leaf vegetable and for dye from the berries. It grows in cultivated bed.

Description:
Solanum scabrum is an annual or short-lived perennial herb to 1 m tall, hairless or sparsely hairy. The leaves are usually ovate, 7–12 cm long and 5–8 cm wide, with petioles 1.5–7 cm long. The inflorescence is simple or sometimes branched with 9–12 flowers. The white corolla is stellate, 15–20 mm diam., and sometimes tinged purple and with yellow/green basal star. The berries are globular, 10–17 mm diam., purple-black. The seeds are 1.8–2.2 mm long, pale or stained purple.

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It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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:
Succeeds in most soils. Dislikes shade. Caterpillars and slugs are particularly fond of this plant and can totally destroy it. This is a cultivated form of S. nigrum, grown for its edible fruit. There is at least one named form. See notes about possible toxicity at the top of this page. There is some disagreement among taxonomists as to the correct name of this plant. It is also listed as S. melanocerasum. Grows well with clover. Does not grow well with wormwood or white mustard and, when these plants are growing Closely related to S. nigra, they increase its content of toxic alkaloids.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in situ. The seed can also be sown in a greenhouse during the spring if required since this will normally produce larger crops of fruit. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out in late spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Solanum scabrum is grown as an edible leaf crop in Africa. It is the most intensively cultivated species for leaf cropping within the Solanum nigrum complex, and as such has undergone genetic selection by farmers for leaf size and other characteristics.

Fruit – cooked.. Used in preserves, jams and pies. A pleasant musky taste. Only the fully ripe fruits should be used, the unripe fruits contain the toxin solanine. Often cooked with some baking soda first in order to remove any bitterness. The fruit contains about 2.5% protein, 0.6% fat, 5.6% carbohydrate, 1.2% ash. The fruit is up to 12mm in diameter. Young leaves and new shoots – raw or cooked as a potherb or added to soups.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiperiodic; Antiphlogistic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Narcotic; Purgative.

The whole plant is antiperiodic, antiphlogistic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, narcotic, purgative and sedative. It is harvested in the autumn when both flowers and fruit are upon the plant, and is dried for later use. Use with caution, see notes above on toxicity. The leaves, stems and roots are used in the treatment of cancerous sores, leucoderma and wounds. Extracts of the plant are analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator. The plant has been used in the manufacture of locally analgesic ointments and the juice of the fruit has been used as an analgesic for toothaches.

Other Uses:
Dye:
In Africa a stocky form of Solanum scabrum is cultivated as a dye crop using the ripe berries.

Known Hazards: There is a lot of disagreement over whether or not the leaves or fruit of this plant are poisonous. Views vary from relatively poisonous to perfectly safe to eat. The plant is cultivated as a food crop, both for its fruit and its leaves, in some parts of the world and it is probably true to say that toxicity can vary considerably according to where the plant is grown and the cultivar that is being grown. The unripe fruit contains the highest concentration of toxins
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_scabrum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Solanum+scabrum

Vanilla planiforlia

Botanical Name : Vanilla planiforlia
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Vanilloideae
Tribes: Vanilleae
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Vanilla
Species: Vanilla planifolia

Synonyms: Vanilla planifolia Jacks, Notylia planifolia

Common name: Vanilla
Habitat:Vanilla planiforlia is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows in the tropical forests.
Description:
Vanilla planifolia is a tropical vine, which can reach a length of over 30 m. It has thick, fleshy stems and greenish flowers that open early in the morning and are pollinated by bees. The flowers have only a slight scent, with no element of the vanilla flavour or aroma. Once pollinated, the ovaries swell and develop into fruits called ‘pods’ similar to long, thin runner beans over a period of four weeks. The pods contain thousands of tiny black seeds.
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Cultivation:
Chris Ryan of Kew’s Tropical Nursery has found that propagation of this orchid is relatively straightforward and is usually done from stem cuttings.

A piece of stem is taken, with a minimum of three sets of leaves. The cutting is placed on sphagnum moss and kept damp in a warm and humid environment until new growth starts from one of the nodes. The cuttings are then planted into hanging baskets, using a compost mix made of three parts bark chips, two parts pumice and one part charcoal. The compost is watered only when it dries out, but the aerial roots are misted once a day.

The plants are kept in a warm zone of the nursery, with a minimum winter temperature of 18?C, and shaded when necessary. When the plants become large they require some support due to their climbing habit. Flowering can be induced by tip-pruning established plants, which promotes flowering on lateral shoots.

Edible Uses:The tiny seeds, whole fruit, powder or fruit extract of vanilla are used as flavouring agents in food, particularly in confectionery and sweet foods, sometimes to reduce the amount of sugar necessary to sweeten food.

Medicinal Uses:
Vanilla is used medicinally as an aphrodisiac, as a stimulant, and to relieve fevers and gastric complaints, although there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in these cases. In the 16th and 17th centuries vanilla was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used as a stomach herb, a stimulant and aphrodisiac and an antidote to poisons. It was first included in European pharmacopoeias in the 18th century and was listed in the British and American ones for many years. It acts on the nervous system and used to be used to treat hysteria and high fevers.

Research has shown that vanillin, the main flavour molecule in vanilla, does have antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Other Uses:
Vanilla is among the most important ingredients in perfumery.

Vanilla: Essence and aroma

The mature, unripe fruits have no flavour when they are harvested. The aroma and flavour of vanilla are released when the fruit is dried and cured by steaming and fermentation. The finest quality vanilla pods turn dark brown and accumulate a frosting of glucose and vanillin on the surface during fermentation.

Vanillin was first synthesised in 1874 from a compound extracted from pine bark, and then in 1891 from a different compound extracted from cloves, and is widely used as a synthetic substitute for natural vanilla. The ‘vanilla essence‘ commonly used today is synthesised from wood pulp as a by-product of paper-making and from coal-tar (toluene). However, the characteristic aroma and flavour of natural vanilla comprises a cocktail of over 200 different molecules.
Known Hazards: Vanilla may cause allergic responses when applied topically or taken internally. ‘Vanillism’ is a condition sometimes experienced by workers handling vanilla, the symptoms of which are headache, dermatitis and insomnia.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_planifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/vanilla-planifolia-vanilla

Chinese Violet

Botanical Name: Asystasia gangetica
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Asystasia
Species: A. gangetica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:
*Asystasia parvula C.B.Clarke
*Asystasia querimbensis Klotzsch
*Asystasia pubescens Klotzsch
*Asystasia subhastata Klotzsch
*Asystasia quarterna Nees
*Asystasia scabrida Klotzsch
*Asystasia floribunda Klotzsch
*Asystasia coromandeliana Nees
*Justicia gangetica L.
*Asystasia acuminata Klotzsch
*Asystasia coromandeliana Nees var. micrantha Nees
*Asystasia multiflora Klotzsch
*Asystasia ansellioides C.B.Clarke var. lanceolata Fiori
*Asystasia podostachys Klotzsch

Common Names : Chinese Violet, Coromandel or Creeping Foxglove,Asystasia

Habitat :Chinese Violet is widespread throughout the Old World Tropics, and introduced into tropical Americas and Hawaii, where it has become naturalized. Both subspecies of this plant have been introduced to Australia where A. g. micrantha is on the National Environmental Alert List and must be reported when found. The original range of the subspecies is unclear, but it is likely that A. g. gangetica was limited to Asia, and A. g. micrantha was limited to Africa

Description:
This plant is a spreading herb or groundcover, reaching 2 feet in height or up to 3 feet  if supported. The stems root easily at the nodes. The leaves are simple and opposite. The fruit is an explosive capsule which starts out green in colour, but dries to brown after opening……

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Edible  Uses:
In some parts of Africa, the leaves are eaten as a vegetable.

Medicinal Uses;
Chinese Violet is  used as an herbal remedy in traditional African medicine. The leaves are used in many parts of Nigeria for the management of asthma, and scientific investigation has shown some basis for this use.

Other Uses;
Chinese Violet is used as an ornamental plant in several places.This is also an important plant for honeybees, butterflies and other insects. In southern Africa there are at least six species of butterfly that use A. g. micrantha as a larval foodplant; Junonia oenone, Junonia hierta, Junonia natalica, Junonia terea, Protogoniomorpha parhassus and Hypolimnas misippus. The vigorous growth of A. g. micrantha in tropical regions makes it a weed which can smother certain indigenous vegetation where it has been introduced.

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/Asystasia_gangetica

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Alocasia

Botanical Name :Alocasia
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Colocasieae
Genus: Alocasia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales
Syn. : Arum Indicum, Roxb. Sans, Alocasia macorhiza (Linn);  Alocasia odora Koch; Colocasia macrorhiza Schott

Common Name :Makanda, Giant taro, Mankachu, Great-leaved Caledium, Alavu, mankanda, Genasoo, Marambu, Alu, Merukanlilangu, Chara kanda,Elephant Ear,Giant Elephant Ear

.Bengali name :Kochu
Parts used: Stems, leave, rhizomes.

Habitat :Native to Java and Malaysia, people there use alocasia (Esculenta, Taro) as important sources of starch, such as poi in the Hawaiian food tradition. It grows most places having worm climate.Grows  very well in India, Balgladesh and Sreelankha.

Description:
Alocasia is a genus of about 70 species .These rhizomatous or bulbous perennials occur in tropical humid climates of southeast Asia and a few other places. They are grown as ornamentals for their large heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped leaves, sometimes called African Masks or Elephant’s Ears. These plants are variable in size, height, shape, and leaf color.
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The underground stems of Alocasia Indica constitute a valu-able and important vegetable of native dietary. The stems sometimes grow to an immense size, from six to eight feet in length and can be preserved for a considerable time. Hence they are of great importance in jail dietary when fresh vegetables become scarce in the bazar or jail garden. They thrive best in shade under the eaves of huts or buildings and beside fences.
..

The stem (a corm) is edible, but contains raphid or raphide crystals of oxalic acid that can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx resulting in difficult breathing, and sharp throat pain. The lower parts contain more of the poison. Prolonged boiling before serving or processing may reduce the risks but acidic fruit such as tamarind will dissolve them.

Constituents and properties:-
*Rhizomes contain phytosterols, alkaloids, glucose and fructose.
*Root tuber contains neurotoxin, sapotoxin.

Medicinal Uses:
Medicinally manaka is said to be useful in anasarca, in which disease it is used in the following manner. Take of the powdered meal of Alocasia Indica eight tolas, powdered rice sixteen tolas, water and milk, forty-eight tol?s each, boil them together till the water is evaporated. This preparation called Menamanda, is given as diet.1 No other article is allowed in addition to it except milk. A ghrita is also ordered to be made with a decoction and paste of menaka but it is not in vogue.

Folkloric
• Leaves and corms used for furuncles, impetigo and snake bites
• Ground petioles in near-decayed state are placed in cloth and heated in coals, used for toothaches.
• Decoction of rhizomes used for abdominal pains and vomiting.
• Acrid juice used for stings of giant nettles (Laportea).
• In Java, chopped roots and leaves applied to painful joints.
• In India, rhizomes are rubefacient; employed as external stimulant and for fevers.

Other Uses:
As Houseplants
Hybrids, such as the Amazon Lily or the African Mask (Alocasia x amazonica) are grown as popular ornamentals. Alocasia are distinctly exotic and tropical plants that are increasingly becoming popular in American and European homes as houseplants. They are typically grown as pot plants but a better way is to grow the plants permanently in the controlled conditions of a greenhouse. They do not do well in the dark and need good lighting if inside the house. They should be cared for as any other tropical plant with weekly cleaning of the leaves and frequent fine water misting without leaving the plants wet.

Unfortunately, they rarely survive cold winters, or the dryness of artificial heating, but an attempt to slowly acclimatize plants from the summer garden to the house can help . Once inside the watering period must be reduced and the plants should be protected from spider mites or red spider attack. Alternatively, let younger plants die back to the corm from when the temperature reaches 19 degrees and with some luck this could lead to a rebirth in spring.

Studies
• Antifungal / Anti-HIV1 Reverse Transcriptase: Alocasin, an anti-fungal protein was isolated from the rhizome of Alocasia macrorrhiza. and showed antifungal activity against Botrytis cineria. Alocasin also reduced the activity of HIV1 reverse transcriptase.
• Neurotoxicity / Sapotoxin: A case report of poisoning due to the raw root tuber of Chinese medicinal plant, A macrorrhiza, presenting with severe pain and numbness periorally, with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Root tuber is known to contain the neurotoxin, sapotoxin.
Anti-Tumor: In a study of the antitumor effect of water extract of Alocasia macrorrhiza, the inhibitory rate was 29.38% against S180 in mice and 51.72% against transplantable human gastroadenitis in nude mice.

Known Possible Hazards :
• Stinging Raphides: Stems, corms, leaves and petioles contain stinging raphides (calcium oxalate crystals) that are destroyed by boiling and roasting.
• Neurotoxicity: Case report possiblty caused by tuber root neurotoxin, sapotoxin.

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.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/alocasia
http://mgonline.com/articles/alocasia.aspx
http://www.aroid.org/gallery/kozminski/Alocasia/
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp
http://www.stuartxchange.org/Biga.html

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