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Herbs & Plants

Arum italicum

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Botanical Name : Arum italicum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Arum
Species: A. italicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : A. neglectum. A. modicense. A. numidicum.

Common Names : Cuckoo Pint, Italian arum and Italian lords-and-ladies

Habitat ; Arum italicum is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East) plus Great Britain, the Netherlands, Crimea, Caucasus, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. It is also naturalized in Argentina and in scattered locations in the United States. It grows on Stony ground near the sea, hedges and among old walls, often on calcareous soils.

Description:
Arum italicum is a perennial plant. It grows 30–46 cm (1–1.5 ft) high, with equal spread. It blooms in Spring with white flowers that turn to showy red fruit. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for traditional and woodland shade gardens. Some gardeners use this arum to underplant with hosta, as they produce foliage sequentially; when the hosta withers away, the arum replaces it, leaving the ground covered.Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which A. italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Arum italicum can be invasive in some areas.

Arum italicum may hybridize with Arum maculatum.

In 1778, Lamarck noticed that the inflorescence of this plant produces heat.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Succeeds in sun or dry shade, preferring a shady position and growing well in woodland conditions. A polymorphic species, the British form has been separated off by some botanists as A. neglectum. The leaves appear in the autumn, the plant staying green all winter. The inflorescence has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. This probably protects the flowers from damage by frost, or allows it to penetrate frozen ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c]. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.
Edible Uses:…Tuber – cooked and used as a vegetable. An arrowroot can be extracted from the dried root. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in ancient medicine, mixed with honey, to cure coughs. Currently used in homeopathy.

Known Hazards: The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

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/Arum_italicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arum+italicum

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Herbs & Plants

Vaccaria hispanica

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Botanical Name : Vaccaria hispanica
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Vaccaria
Species: V. hispanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : V. pyramidata. V. segetilis. V. vulgaris. Saponaria vaccaria. L.

Common Names : Cowherb, Cowcockle, Cow basil, Cow soapwort, and Prairie carnation,Bladder-soapwort (English), China cockle (English) , Cow cockle (English), Cowherb (English), Cow-soapwort ( English) , Ful al-arab( Arabic), Saponaire des vaches ( French), Kuhlkraut (German) , Akernejlika (Swedish), mai lan cai (Chinese)

Habitat : Vaccaria hispanica is native to Central and Southern Europe, North to Belgium. An introduced and not infrequent casual in Britain. It grows as a weed of cultivated fields.

Description:
Vaccaria hispanica is an annual plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera, self. The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
Physical  Characteristics:
Flower petal color : blue to purple, pink to red
Leaf type : the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement: opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry: there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals : both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number: 10
Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its seed which is often added to wild bird foods. By this means, the plant is often found as an introduced casual in Britain.

Propagation: Seed – sow April in situ.

Edible Uses: Condiment……….Leaves – used as a condiment. Seed – ground into a meal. Rich in starch. The seed contains 13.8 – 16.1% protein and 1.6 – 3.2% fat. The seed also contains saponins, see notes above on toxicity below.

Chemical Constituents:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
* 0 Calories per 100g
* Water : 0%
* Protein: 15g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
* Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
* Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Notes: The report does not make it clear whether this is a zero moisture basis.

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne; Antiphlogistic; Antipruritic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Galactogogue; Oxytoxic; Styptic; Vulnerary.

The seed is anodyne, discutient, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, styptic and vulnerary. They are used in Chinese medicine. This medicinal ingredient is known as Wang Bu Liu Xing. It is supposed to promote diuresis and milk secretion, activate blood circulation and relieve swelling.

A decoction of the seed is used to treat skin problems, breast tumors, menstrual problems, deficiency of lactation and sluggish labor. The seeds are also taken internally as a galactogogue. The flowers, leaves, roots and shoots also have the same properties. The sap of the plant is said to be febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type as well as coughs. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type. The plant is used externally to cure itch.

The medicinal seeds are round, reddish brown, and look like mustard seeds. They are bitter and contain saponin. The plant is used externally to cure itch. This herb is used for its astringent properties in a patent formula called Prostate Gland Pills, for swelling and inflammation of the prostate. The formula is quite effective, but during treatment the herb causes some men to temporarily lose the capacity to sustain erection, a side effect that disappears when the herb is withdrawn. In fact, this effect helps support the therapy, because men are supposed to refrain from sexual intercourse anyway during treatment for prostate problems.
Known Hazards :The seeds and other parts of the plant contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also broken down if thoroughly heated. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Vaccaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccaria+hispanica
https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?310852
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/vaccaria/hispanica/