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Herbs & Plants

Cornus circinata

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Botanical Name : Cornus circinata
Family :Cornaceae – Dogwood family
Genus :Cornus L. – dogwood
Species: Cornus rugosa Lam. – roundleaf dogwood
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class :Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass :Rosidae
Order :Cornales

Synonym:Cornus rugosa, Swida rugosa.

Common Names :Green Osier,Round-leaf Dogwood,

Habitat :Cornus circinata  is said to grow in Eastern N. America – Quebec to Manitoba and south to Virginia and Illinois. It grows  on side of the road in dry rocky soil. Sun to part-shade. Good screen in summer.

Description:
Cornus circinata  is a rangy  deciduous Shrub, growing  6′ to 8′ tall and 6′ to 7 ‘ wide, with a coarse look. (It would probably look better if it is pruned  regularly.) No particular winter color to the branches, even on younger wood. Sometimes gets a burgundy cast to its leaves in autumn, but color is not reliable. Flowers are inconspicuous; light blue fruits on red stems are interesting in late summer but disappear fast.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil of good or moderate fertility, ranging from acid to shallow chalk. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in poorly drained soils. Succeeds in full sun or light shade. A very ornamental and free-flowering plant. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:  
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or in an outdoors seedbed if there is sufficient seed. The seed must be separated from the fruit flesh since this contains germination inhibitors. Stored seed should be cold stratified for 3 – 4 months and sown as early as possible in the year . Scarification may also help as may a period of warm stratification before the cold stratification. Germination, especially of stored seed, can be very slow, taking 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings of cold-frame sown seeds into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse, planting out in the spring after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe side shoots, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, taken with a heel if possible, autumn in a cold frame. High percentage. Layering of new growth in June/July. Takes 9 months

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is cathartic, febrifuge and tonic. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of kidney complaints and TB.
A homoeopathic tincture of the fresh bark is administered in ulcerated conditions of the ucous membranes and in liver complaints and jaundice.

Other Uses:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. But deer does not bother it, unlike the other dogwoods .

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/osierg15.html
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/31682/
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Cornus+rugosa
https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=CORU

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Herbs & Plants

Greater Knapweed

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Botanical Name :Centaurea Scabiosa
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:     Cynareae
Genus:     Centaurea
Species: C. scabiosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asterales

Synonyms: Hardhead. Ironhead. Hard Irons. Churls Head. Logger Head. Horse Knops. Matte Felon. Mat Fellon. Bottleweed. Bullweed. Cowede. Boltsede.

Common Name: Greater Knapweed. (This larger species of Knapweed was in olden times called ‘Matte Felon,’ from its use in curing felons or whitlows. As early as 1440 we find it called ‘Maude Felone,’ or ‘Boltsede.’)

Habitat: Frequent in the borders of fields and in waste places, being not uncommon in England, where it is abundant on chalk soil, but rare in Scotland.

Description:
Greater Knapweed  is a perennial plant, the rootstock becomes thick and woody in old plants. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, generally branched, very tough. The leaves, which are firm in texture, are very variable in the degree of division, but generally deeply cut into, the segments again deeply notched. The lower leaves are very large, often a foot or even more in length, making a striking looking rosette on the ground, from which the flowering stems arise. The whole plant is a dull green, sparingly hairy. It flowers in July and August. The flowers are terminal, somewhat similar to those of the Cornflower in general shape, though larger. All the florets are of the same colour, a rich purplish-crimson, the outer ray ones with the limb divided nearly to the base into narrow, strap-shaped segments. The flower-head is hard and solid, a mass of bracts lapping over each other like tiles, each having a central green portion and a black fringe-like edge. In some districts the plant is called from these almost round heads, ‘Hardhead,’ and the ordinary English name, Knapweed, is based on the same idea, Knap, being a form of Knop, or Knob.

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This species is very common and generally distributed in pastures, borders of fields and roadsides throughout Britain, and flowers from early June till well into September. Both species of Knapweed may readily be distinguished from Thistles by the absence of spines and prickles.

click to see the pictures

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils[200]. Does well in the summer meadow. An important nectar plant for bees and butterflies. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. This should be done at least once every three years in order to maintain the vigour of the plant. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Root, seeds.

The roots and seeds are diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. The plant once had a very high reputation as an ingredient of the Medieval ‘salve’, an ointment applied to heal wounds and treat skin infections.

It is good for catarrh, taken in decoction, and is also made into ointment for outward application for wounds and bruises, sores, etc.

Culpepper tells us: ‘it is of special use for soreness of throat, swelling of the uvula and jaws, and very good to stay bleeding at the nose and mouth.’
Greater Knapweed has been used in traditional herbal healing as either a vulnerary or an emollient.

Other Uses:
This species is very valuable to bees. It is also a magnet for many species of butterfly. Among them is the Marbled White.

This is the only known foodplant for caterpillars of the Coleophoridae case-bearer moth Coleophora didymella....click to see

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/Centaurea_scabiosa
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/k/knagre06.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Centaurea+scabiosa

 

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Herbs & Plants

Prunus insititia

Botanical Name : Prunus insititia – L.
Family  Rosaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. domestica
Subspecies: P. domestica subsp. insititia

Synonyms:     Bully-bloom (for the flowers). Bullies, Bolas, Bullions and Wild Damson (for the fruit).
(French) Sibarelles.

Common Name :  Damson or damson plum,Prunus domestica subsp

Habitat:  Common in England in thickets, woods and hedges, though more rare in Scotland and probably not wild north of the Forth and Clyde. Common in South-East Europe and in Northern and Central Asia.

Description:
Prunus insititia is a tall shrub, sometimes developing into a small tree about 15 feet high. Resembles the Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa), but is less thorny and has straight, not crooked branches, covered by brown, not black bark, only a few of the old ones terminating in spines, the younger ones downy. It has also larger leaves than the Blackthorn, downy underneath, alternate, finely-toothed, on short, downy foot-stalks, and flowers, white like those of the Blackthorn, but larger, with broader petals, borne in less crowded clusters and not on the naked branches, but expanding just after the leaves have begun to unfold.

Click to see……..>…….(01)…...(1)..…….(2)……..…(3).……....(4).………..(5)

The globular, fleshy fruit, marked with a faint suture, has generally a black skin, covered with a thin bluish bloom, and is similar to the Sloe, but larger, often an inch across, and drooping from its weight, not erect as the Sloe. Occasionally yellow varieties are found.

Propagation:       
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:      
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. More acid than a plum but it is very acceptable raw when fully ripe, especially after being touched by frost. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Constituents:  The volatile oil expressed from the seeds contains benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid. These substances are also present in the young leaves and flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Febrifuge;  Purgative;  Styptic.

The bark of the root and branches is febrifuge and considerably styptic. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a mild purgative for children. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses  
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Shelterbelt.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Trees are fairly wind resistant and can be grown as a shelterbelt hedge.

Cultivation:   
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties. It has been derived in cultivation from the bullace, differing in having a sweeter fruit. Damsons can be grown successfully against a north facing wall. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+insititia
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bullac86.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damson

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Herbs & Plants

Aralia nudicaulis

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Botanical Name :Aralia nudicaulis
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species: A. nudicaulis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names: Wild Sarsaparilla, False sarsaparilla, Shot bush, Small Spikenard, Wild Liquorice, and Rabbit Root

Habitat : Aralia nudicaulis is native to northern and eastern North America. It grows in the moist, shady, rocky woods

Description:
Aralia nudicaulis  is an indigenous perennial  flowering plant which reaches a height of 30–60 cm (12–24 in) with creeping underground stems.In the spring the underground stems produce compound leaves that are large and finely toothed. Tiny white flowers, typically in three, globe-shaped clusters 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) wide, are produced on tall scapes that grow about the same height as the leaves. These bloom from May to July and develop into purple-black comestible berries. The leaves go dormant in summer before the fruits ripen. The berries taste a little spicy and sweet.

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The slender man of the plant grows straight up from the ground and divides into a whorl of 3 stems which branch up and out, each forming 3 to 7 (most often 5) pinnately compound leaflets; leaflets ovate, acute, serrate, green.  Technically, all the leaflets on one plant are considered to be one entire leaf, and the stems that connect the leaflets are called rachis; this arrangement is called doubly compound. In some cases some of the leaflets are further completely subdivided, forming a triply compound pattern.

It is found in shady rocky woods, very common in rich soil, rhizome horizontal, creeping several feet in length and more or less twisted; of a yellowish-brown colour externally and about 1/4 inch in diameter, has a fragrant odour and a warm, aromatic, sweetish taste.

Because it sometimes grows with groups of 3 leaflets, it can be mistaken for poison ivy; the way to tell the difference is that Wild Sarsaparilla lacks a woody base and has fine teeth along the edges of the leaves.

Cultivation:   
Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun.

Propagation:    
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
The rootstock is used as a flavouring, it is a substitute for sarsaparilla and is also used for making ‘root beer’. It is also used as an emergency food (usually mixed with oil), having a sweet spicy taste and a pleasant aromatic smell. A nutritious food, it was used by the Indians during wars or when they were hunting since it is very sustaining.

Young shoots – cooked as a potherb. A refreshing herbal tea is made from the root. Pleasantly flavoured. The roots are boiled in water until the water is reddish-brown.

A jelly is made from the fruit. The fruit is also used to make wine. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter

Medicinal Uses:
Wild sarsaparilla is a sweet pungent tonic herb that acts as an alterative. It had a wide range of traditional uses amongst the North American Indians and was at one time widely used as a substitute for the tropical medicinal herb sarsaparilla.

The root is alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and stimulant. The herb encourages sweating, is stimulating and detoxifying and so is used internally in the treatment of pulmonary diseases, asthma, rheumatism, stomach aches etc. Externally it is used as a poultice in treating rheumatism, sores, burns, itchy skin, ulcers and skin problems such as eczema. The root is collected in late summer and the autumn and dried for later use. A drink made from the pulverised roots is used as a cough treatment. A poultice made from the roots and/or the fruit is applied to sores, burns, itchy skin, ulcers, swellings etc.

A homeopathic remedy made from the roots is important in the treatment of cystitis.

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://practicalplants.org/wiki/Aralia_nudicaulis
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia+nudicaulis
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bambri09.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aralia_nudicaulis

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Herbs & Plants

Viburnum dilatatum

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Botanical Name :Viburnum dilatatum
Family :
Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family)/Adoxaceae
Genus:
Viburnum
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Dipsacales

Common Name :Linden Viburnum

Habitat : Native to  E. Asia – China, Japan. Grows in thickets in hills and at low elevations in mountains in Japan

Description:
A scruffy multi-stemmed deciduous shrub, upright to rounded, 8-10 ft. tall by 6-10 ft. across.
Leaves are opposite, dark green, shiny, with shallowly toothed margins, nearly round to straplike, 2-5 in. long by 1-2½ in. wide; usually covered in soft hairs; leaves drop relatively late in the fall.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Flowers are small creamy white  in numerous flattened clusters 3-5 in. wide; May to early June; fruits are bright red, flattened spheres, about 1/3 in. wide.

It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring. Plants are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed. A very ornamental and polymorphic species, there are some named varieties developed for the ornamental value of the fruit.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring – pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Fruit – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. The ovoid fruit is about 8mm long and contains a single large seed. Leaves – cooked

Medicinal Uses:
Anthelmintic; Astringent; Vulnerary.

A decoction of the leaves is astringent and vermifuge. It is used for washing and healing maggoty sores. The twigs are also vermifuge whilst the fruits are used as a vermifuge for children.

Other Uses:
Fibre.

A fibre obtained from the inner bark is used for making ropes

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Viburnum+dilatatum

Click to access Viburnum%20dilatatum_Invasive%20Plants%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf


http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/vidi.htm

http://aquiya.sakura.ne.jp/zukan/Viburnum_dilatatum.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viburnum

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