Tag Archives: Cover crop

Fagopyrum esculentum

Botanical Name ; Fagopyrum esculentum
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fagopyrum
Species: F. esculentum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : Fagopyrum sagittatum. Fagopyrum vulgare.

Common Name:Buckwheat

Habitat : Fagopyrum esculentum is native to Central Asia.  It occurs  occasional casual in Britain. It grows in waste ground as an escape from cultivation. Its original habitat is obscure.

Description:
Fagopyrum esculentum is an annual plant, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to 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 Bees, flies.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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It is a plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds, and also used as a cover crop. To distinguish it from a related species, Fagopyrum tataricum that is also cultivated as a grain in the Himalayas, and from the less commonly cultivated Fagopyrum acutatum, it is also known as Japanese buckwheat and silverhull buckwheat.

Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Because its seeds are eaten and rich in complex carbohydrates, it is referred to as a pseudocereal. The cultivation of buckwheat grain declined sharply in the 20th century with the adoption of nitrogen fertilizer that increased the productivity of other staples.

Cultivation:
A very easily grown plant, it prefers dry sandy soils but succeeds in most conditions including poor, heavy  or acid soils and even sub-soils. Prefers a cool moist climate, but it also succeeds in dry and arid regions. Buckwheat is frequently cultivated for its edible seed and leaves, it can produce a seed crop in 100 days from sowing and a crop of leaves in 8 weeks. There are some named varieties. The seed ripens irregularly over a period of several weeks so it is difficult to harvest. Plants have poor frost resistance but they are disease and insect resistant. They inhibit the growth of winter wheat. The flowers have a pleasant sweet honey scent and are extremely attractive to bees and hoverflies.

Propagation:
Seed – sow from the middle of spring to early summer in situ. The seed usually germinates in 5 days. The earlier sowings are for a seed or leaf crop whilst the later sowings are used mainly for leaf crops or green manure.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves;   Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked like spinach. Not that wonderful raw, they improve somewhat with cooking. The leaves are rich in rutin (see below for more details) and so are a very healthy addition to the diet. Seed – raw or cooked. A nutty flavour, though it has a somewhat gritty texture. The seed can be soaked overnight in warm water then sprouted for a few days and added to salads. It can also be ground into a powder and used as a cereal when it can be made into pancakes, noodles, breads etc or be used as a thickening agent in soups etc. Rich in vitamin B6. An excellent beer can be brewed from the grain.

Medicinal Uses:

Acrid; Astringent; Galactogogue; Vasodilator.

Buckwheat is a bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin. Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels, reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. It is best used in conjunction with vitamin C since this aids absorption. Often combined with lime flowers (Tilia species), it is a specific treatment for haemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested as the plant begins to flower and are dried for later use. They should be stored in the dark because the active ingredients rapidly degrade in the light. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb because it has been known to cause light-sensitive dermatitis. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease). A homeopathic remedy has been made from the leaves. It is used in the treatment of eczema and liver disorders.

Buckwheat is used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems. It is best taken as a tea or tablet, accompanied by vitamin C or lemon juice to aid absorption. Buckwheat is used particularly to treat fragile capillaries, but also helps strengthen varicose veins and heal chilblains. Often combined with linden flowers, buckwheat is a specific treatment for hemorrhage into the retina. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout, varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. A poultice made from the seeds has been used for restoring the flow of milk in nursing mothers. An infusion of the herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an acute infectious skin disease).

Other Uses:
Dye; Green manure; Soil reclamation…………..A very good green manure plant, it can be used to reclaim badly degraded soils and subsoils.  A blue dye is obtained from the stems. A brown dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards : This plant has caused photosensitivity in some people, only the dehusked grain is considered to be safe.

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/Buckwheat
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fagopyrum+esculentum

Mitella diphylla

Botanical Name : Mitella diphylla
Family: Saxifragaceae
Genus: Mitella
Species: M. diphylla
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales

Common Names :Coolwort,Two-leaf Miterwort,  Mitrewort

Habitat : Mitella diphylla is native to Eastern N. AmericaQuebec to Minnesota, North Carolina and Missouri.It grows in rich woodlands, meadows and swamps.

Description:
Mitella diphylla is an evergreen Perennial  and a spring blooming plant with lacy, white flowers produced on stems growing from 20 to 50 centimeters tall.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The seeds are produced in small green cups and when ripe are black and released by mid summer.
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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:
Succeeds in moist woodlands and in pockets in rock gardens. Requires a moist humus-rich soil. Self-sows when grown in a rich soil and usually spreads quickly by this means.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing it as soon as it is ripe or in early spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Medicinal Uses:
Febrifuge; Ophthalmic.

An infusion of the leaves is used to treat fevers. The infusion can also be used as eye drops for sore eyes.

Other Uses:
A good ground cover in moist woodland. Plants form a carpet and should be spaced about 45cm apart each way.This species is grown as an ornamental plant in shade gardens.

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?Mitella+diphylla
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitella_diphylla
Mitella diphylla

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Wild Indigo (Baptisia lactea)

Botanical Name : Baptisia lactea
Family :               Leguminosae
Genus : Baptisia
Synonyms : Baptisia alba macrophylla – (Larisey.)Isely., Baptisia leucanthaTorr.&A.Gray.

Habitat: Range South-eastern N. America .   Sandy pine woods, prairies and river banks.

Description:
It is a Perennial  upright bushy plant with attractive foliage. White blossoms are arranged in long erect plumes. Seed heads turn a deep indigo color providing winter interest.

Upright bushy plants with attractive foliage. White blossoms are arranged in long erect plumes. Seed heads turn a deep indigo color providing winter interest.

Height: 2-4′

Color: Flowers white with purple splotches

Flowering Time: June

Habitat: Moderate light. Mesic to moist soils.

Rate of Spread: Slow Propagation:

Seed: Collect Sept.-Oct. Clean seeds to avoid insect damage. 3-month stratification, scarification increases germination. Darker seeds germinate better than yellow seeds. Plant spring.

Vegetative: Division in fall, but difficult. Transplant seedlings at two years in spring.

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Miscellaneous: Formerly Baptisia leucantha
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower in May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Prefers a deep, well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun[188, 200]. Grows freely in a loamy soil[1]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Some modern works treat this species as a variety of B. alba, naming it Baptisia alba macrophylla. Somewhat shy flowering in British gardens. Plants have a very deep root system and dislike root disturbance, they should be left alone once they are established. 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:

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in warm water and then sown in a cold frame in late winter or early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer or following spring. Division in spring[188]. Larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whilst smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Cathartic; Emetic; Laxative.

Known Hazards : The plant is potentially toxic.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Baptisia+lactea
http://www.webresults.net/gardener/index.htm
http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/animals_plants/plants/ilgallery/ThePlants/BGenera/BapLac/BapLac.htmlhttp://www.stonesiloprairie.com/catalog/i74.html

http://www.inhs.illinois.edu/animals_plants/plants/ilgallery/ThePlants/BGenera/BapLac/BapLac.html

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