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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Zanthoxylum simulans

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Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum simulans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Species: Z. simulans

Synonyms: Zanthoxylum bungeanum, Zanthoxylum bungei

Common Names: Szechuan Pepper, Chinese-pepper, Prickly Ash

Habitat:Zanthoxylum simulans is native to eastern China and Taiwan. It grows on virgin wilds, hillsides and open woods.

Description:

Zanthoxylum simulans is a deciduous Shrub growing to 4 m (13ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a medium rate. The leaves are 7-12.5 cm long, pinnate, with 7-11 leaflets, the leaflets 3–5 cm long and 1.5–2 cm broad. There are numerous short (3–6 mm) spines on both the stems and the leaf petioles, and large (several cm) knobs on the branches. The flowers are produced in slender cymes, each flower about 4–5 mm diameter. The 3–4 mm berry has a rough reddish brown shell that splits open to release the black seeds from inside.

It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. 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)The plant is not self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Massing. Easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. A plant has been growing well for many years in deep woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical gardens, it was fruiting heavily in autumn 1996. Cultivated for its seed, which is used as a condiment in China. Flowers are formed on the old wood. The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Inconspicuous flowers or blooms, Blooms appear periodically throughout the year.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions
Edible Uses:
The fruit is dried and used as a condiment. A pepper flavour, it is stronger and more pungent than black pepper. It can be used whole or ground into a powder and used as a table seasoning. A light roasting brings out more of the flavour. It is an ingredient of the famous Chinese ‘five spice’ mixture.
Medicinal Uses:
Astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue. The pericarp is anaesthetic, diuretic, parasiticide and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of gastralgia and dyspepsia due to cold with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases. It has a local anaesthetic action and is parasiticide against the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). The pericarp contains geraniol. In small doses this has a mild diuretic action, though large doses will inhibit the excretion of urine. There is a persistent increase in peristalsis at low concentration, but inhibition at high concentration.  The leaves are carminative, stimulant and sudorific. The fruit is carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The seed is antiphlogistic and diuretic. A decoction of the root is digestive and also used in the treatment of snakebites. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.

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.

Respources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum_simulans
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+simulans

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Alnus rugosa

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

Synonyms: A. incana rugosa. (Duroi.)Clausen

Common Names: Speckled Alder, Alnus incana, Grey alder

Habitat : Alnus rugosa is native to Northern and Eastern N. AmericaHudson’s Bay to Virginia. Naturalized in C. Europe It grows on wet sandy or gravelly soils, usually along streams and rivers, but also in ponds and swamps. It is only found in open sunny areas, being unable to compete in dense shade.
Description:
Alnus rugosa is a deciduous small to medium size tree 15–20 m (49–66 ft) tall with smooth grey bark even in old age, its life span being a maximum of 60 to 100 years. The leaves are matte green, ovoid, 5–11 cm (2.0–4.3 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) broad. The flowers are catkins, appearing early in spring before the leaves emerge, the male catkins pendulous and 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long, the female catkins 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long and one cm broad when mature in late autumn. The seeds are small, 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) long, and light brown with a narrow encircling wing. The grey alder has a shallow root system, and is marked not only by vigorous production of stump suckers, but also by root suckers, especially in the northern parts of its range. The wood resembles that of the black alder, but is somewhat paler and of little economic value.

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It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.It can fix Nitrogen.

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.

Cultivation:
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates very infertile sites. A fast-growing but short-lived tree. Closely related to A. incana and considered to be no more than a sub-species (A. incana rugosa) by some botanists. 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.

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. 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 planted 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 speckled alder was quite widely used medicinally by the native North American Indians who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is little used in modern herbalism. The bark is alterative, astringent, emetic, laxative, ophthalmic, stomachic and tonic. The bark contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The root bark was mixed with molasses and used in the treatment of toothache. A decoction of the inner bark was used as a wash for sore eyes. The outer bark is astringent and is applied as a poultice to bleeding wounds, it also reduces swellings.

Other Uses:
Dye; Pioneer; Soil stabilization; Wood.
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. The tree has an extensive root system and can be planted to control banks from erosion. A dark dye is obtained from the bark. Browns, through red to orange colours can be obtained from the bark. The wood is soft, weighing 29lb per cubic foot. The tree is too small to be of importance for lumber or fuel.
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_incana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Alnus+rugosa

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Herbs & Plants

Lavatera arborea

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Botanical Name: Lavatera arborea
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Lavatera
Species: L. arborea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names: Malva arborea, or, more recently as Malva eriocalyx, The tree mallow

Habitat:  Lavatera arborea is native to the coasts of western Europe and the Mediterranean region, from the British Isles south to Algeria and Libya, and east to Greece.It tolerates sea water to varying degrees, at up to 100% sea water in its natural habitat, excreting salt through glands on its leaves. This salt tolerance can be a competitive advantage over inland plant species in coastal areas. Its level of salinity tolerance is thought to be improved by soil with higher phosphate content, making guano enrichment particularly beneficial
Description:
Lavatera arborea is a shrubby annual, biennial or perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m (rarely 3 m) tall. The leaves are orbicular, 8–18 cm diameter, palmately lobed with five to nine lobes, and a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are 3–4 cm diameter, dark pink to purple and grow in fasciculate axillary clusters of two to seven. It grows mainly on exposed coastal locations, often on small islands, only rarely any distance inland….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Although long considered a species of Lavatera, genetic and morphological analysis by Martin Forbes Ray, reported in 1998, suggested it was better placed in the genus Malva, in which it was named Malva dendromorpha M.F.Ray. However the earlier name Malva arborea L. (Webb & Berthol.) was validly published and has priority over Malva dendromorpha.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil in sun or partial shade. Prefers a light well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun. A soil that is too rich encourages foliar growth at the expense of flowering. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are very fast-growing and often flower in their first year from seed. They flower so freely in their second year that they normally die afterwards, though they sometimes perennate. When well sited, this species usually self-sows freely. There are some named forms developed for their ornamental value.

Propagation:
Seed – sow late summer in situ[200]. The seed should germinate within 4 weeks.

Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked. A mild flavour, but the leaves are dry and hairy and not that agreeable in quantity on their own[K]. They can be used as part of a chopped mixed salad.
Medicineal Uses:
The leaves of the species are used in herbal medicine to treat sprains, by steeping them in hot water and applying the poultice to the affected area. It is theorised that lighthouse keepers may have spread the plant to some British islands for use as a poultice and to treat burns, an occupational hazard. Thought to have been used as an alternative to toilet paper. The seeds are edible and are known in Jersey as “petit pains”, or “little breads”.
Other Uses:
Tree mallow was considered a nutritive animal food in Britain in the 19th century, and is still sometimes used as animal fodder in Europe.

Lavatera arborea has long been cultivated in British gardens, as described in the 1835 self-published book British Phaenogamous Botany, which used the then-common name Sea Tree-mallow: “This species is frequently met with in gardens, where, if it is allowed to scatter its seeds, it will spring up for many successive years, and often attain a large size. The young plants will, as Sir J. E. Smith observes, now and then survive one or more mild Winters; but having once blossomed it perishes.”

While sometimes detrimental to seabird habitat, management of tree mallow (both planting and thinning) has been successfully employed to shelter nesting sites of the threatened roseate tern, which requires more coverage than common terns to impede predation.

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/Lavatera_arborea
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lavatera+arborea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html