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Herbs & Plants

Malva meschata

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Botanical Name :Malva meschata
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. moschata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Names : Musk-mallow

Habitat :Malva meschata is native to Europe and southwestern Asia, from Spain north to the British Isles and Poland, and east to southern Russia and Turkey.It has been introduced to and become naturalised in several areas with temperate climates away from its native range, including Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America.It occurs on dry, but fertile soils at altitudes from sea level up to 1,500 m. Natural hybrids with the closely related Malva alcea are occasionally found.

Description:
Malva meschata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall, with hairy stems and foliage. The leaves are alternate, 2–8 cm long and 2–8 cm broad, palmately lobed with five to seven lobes; basal leaves on the lower stem are very shallowly lobed, those higher on the stems are deeply divided, with narrow, acuminate lobes. The flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils, each flower 3.2–5 cm diameter, with five bright pink petals with a truncated to notched apex; they have a distinctive musky odour. The fruit is a disc-shaped schizocarp 3–6 mm diameter, containing 10–16 seeds, the seeds individually enclosed in a mericarp covered in whitish hairs. It has a chromosome count of 2n=42.The flowers are usually pollinated by bees. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:   
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant. It is very variable in form, especially with regard to the degree of laciniation of the leaves. The crushed leaves have a musk-like smell. Plants are generally quite short-lived though they can self-sow freely when in a suitable position and usually more than maintain themselves. If the plant is pruned back to the main branches as it comes into flower, then it will produce a fresh flush of leaves in late summer for salad use. A good plant for the summer meadow. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.

Propagation:                                            
Seed – best sown in early spring in a cold frame. The seed germinates quickly and easily. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in their permanent positions in the early summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown outdoors in situ in the middle to late spring. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. 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. Cuttings of side shoots, July/August in a cold frame

Edible Uses:

Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour. The leaves are mucilaginous and fairly bland, we use them in bulk in summer salads. They make a very good perennial substitute for lettuce in a salad, producing fresh leaves from spring until the middle of summer, or until the autumn from spring germinating plants. Flowers – raw. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl, they have a very mild flavour. Seed – raw. Best used before it is fully mature, the seed has a pleasant nutty taste but it is rather small and fiddly to harvest.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior, to the common mallow (M. sylvestris) and the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) and are seldom used internally. The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Fibre.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for cordage, textiles and paper making.

It is often grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive scented flowers, produced for a long period through the summer. Several cultivars have been selected for variation on flower colour, including ‘Rosea’ with dark pink flowers. The form ‘Alba’ (white flowered) has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.

Known Hazards :When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are used inorganically), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

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=Malva+moschata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malva_moschata
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mallow07.html

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Herbs & Plants

Plantago lanceolata

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Botanical Name : Plantago lanceolata
Family:Plantaginaceae
Genus: Plantago
Species: P. lanceolata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names : Ribwort plantain, English plantain, Buckhorn plantain, Narrowleaf plantain, Ribleaf and lamb’s tongue.

Habitat : Plantago lanceolata is native to Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, northern and central Asia.It grows in Grassland, roadsides etc, a common weed of lawns and cultivated ground, on neutral and basic soils.

Description:
Plantago lanceolata is a rosette-forming perennial herb,growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in), with leafless, silky, hairy flower stems (10–40 cm/3.9–16 in). The basal leaves are lanceolate spreading or erect, scarcely toothed with 3-5 strong parallel veins narrowed to short petiole. Grouping leaf stalk deeply furrowed, ending in an oblong inflorescence of many small flowers each with a pointed bract.It is in flower from Apr to August, and the seeds ripen from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind, flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile. Each flower can produce up to two seeds. Flowers 4 mm (calyx green, corolla brownish), 4 bent back lobes with brown midribs, long white stamens. Found in British Isles, scarce on acidic soils (pH < 4.5). It is considered an invasive weed in North America. It is present and widespread in the Americas and Australia as an introduced species.

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It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender.  It is noted for attracting wildlife. bUT  IT IS onsidered to be an indicator of agriculture in pollen diagrams, P. lanceolata has been found in western Norway from the Early Neolithic onwards. Something that is considered to be an indicator of grazing in that area.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation:Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants also succeed in very poor land. An important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.

Propagation:Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. A sowing can be made outdoors in situ in mid to late spring if you have enough seeds.

Edible Uses:

Young leaves – raw or cooked. They are rather bitter and very tedious to prepare, the fibrous strands are best removed prior to eating. The very young leaves are somewhat better and are less fibrous. Seed – cooked. Used like sago. The seed can be ground into a powder and added to flours when making bread, cakes or whatever.

Medicinal Uses:

Antibacterial;  Antidote;  AstringentDemulcent;  Expectorant;  Haemostatic;  Laxative;  Ophthalmic;  Poultice.

Ribwort plantain is a safe and effective treatment for bleeding, it quickly staunches blood flow and encourages the repair of damaged tissue. The leaves contain mucilage, tannin and silic acid. An extract of them has antibacterial properties. They have a bitter flavour and are astringent, demulcent, mildly expectorant, haemostatic and ophthalmic. Internally, they are used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including diarrhoea, gastritis, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhage, haemorrhoids, cystitis, bronchitis, catarrh, sinusitis, asthma and hay fever. They are used externally in treating skin inflammations, malignant ulcers, cuts, stings etc. The heated leaves are used as a wet dressing for wounds, swellings etc. The root is a remedy for the bite of rattlesnakes, it is used in equal portions with Marrubium vulgare. The seeds are used in the treatment of parasitic worms. Plantain seeds contain up to 30% mucilage which swells up in the gut, acting as a bulk laxative and soothing irritated membranes. Sometimes the seed husks are used without the seeds. A distilled water made from the plant makes an excellent eye lotion.

P. lanceolata is used frequently in tisanes and other herbal remedies. A tea from the leaves is used as a highly effective cough medicine

Other Uses : Dye;  Fibre;  Starch.

A good fibre is obtained from the leaves, it is said to be suitable for textiles. A mucilage from the seed coats is used as a fabric stiffener. It is obtained by macerating the seed in hot water. Gold and brown dyes are obtained from the whole plant.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantago_lanceolata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Plantago+lanceolata

 

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Herbs & Plants

Malva neglecta

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Botanical Name : Malva neglecta
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Malva
Species: M. neglecta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name:Common mallow,  Buttonweed, Cheeseplant, Cheeseweed, Dwarf mallow and Roundleaf mallow.

Habitat :  Malva neglecta is native to the following Palearctic Countries:

Macaronesia: Canary Islands
Northern Africa: Algeria, Morocco
Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia
Western Asia: Afghanistan, Cyprus, Sinai, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, Turkey
Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Soviet Middle Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Mongolia: Mongolia
China: Xinjiang
Indian Subcontinent: India, Pakistan
Northern Europe: Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom
Middle Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland
Southeastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sardinia, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania,
Southwestern Europe: France, Portugal, Spain

This weed grows on waste and cultivated ground, usually on dry soils, frequently in coastal habitats, on dry walls or as a weed of cultivated ground

Description:
Malva neglecta is an annual plant  growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

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 semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:    
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, though it prefers a reasonably well-drained and moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. It also succeeds in dry soils. At one time this plant was often cultivated for its edible leaves. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. Prone to infestation by rust fungus.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow early spring or autumn in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. The seed germinates in the autumn in the wild.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – raw or cooked. A mild pleasant flavour, they are said to be highly nutritious. They can be added in quantity to salads, and make an excellent lettuce substitute, they can also be cooked as greens. The leaves are mucilaginous, when cooked in soups etc they tend to thicken it in much the same way as okra (Abelmoschatus esculenta). Some people find this mucilaginous texture unpleasant, especially if the leaves are cooked[K]. Immature seeds – raw or cooked. A pleasant nutty flavour, they are nice as a nibble but too small for most people to want to collect in quantity. A decoction of the roots is used as an egg-white substitute for making meringue. The roots are brought to the boil in water and then simmered until the water becomes quite thick. This liquid can then be whisked in much the same way as egg whites. A tea can be made from the dried leaves

Medicinal Uses:
Antiinflammatory;  Antiphlogistic;  Astringent;  Demulcent;  Diuretic;  Emollient;  Expectorant;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Purgative;  Salve.

All parts of the plant are antiphlogistic, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative, salve. The leaves and flowers can be eaten as part of the diet, or a tea can be made from the leaves, flowers or roots. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). They are seldom used internally.

Mallow root is highly regarded by herbalists as an effective demulcent and emollient.  Both of these actions are attributed to the plant’s mucilaginous qualities.  Roundleaf mallow is used as a lotion or internal medication for an injury or swelling (Navajo). All parts of the plant are astringent, laxative, urine-inducing, and have agents that counteract inflammation, that soften and soothe the skin when applied locally, and that induce the removal (coughing up) of mucous secretions from the lungs. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.

Other Uses  :
Dye;  Teeth.

Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. The root is used as a toothbrush

Known Hazards :  When grown on nitrogen rich soils (and particularly when these are inorganic), the plant tends to concentrate high levels of nitrates in its leaves. The leaves are perfectly wholesome at all other times.

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/Malva_neglecta
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Malva+neglecta
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Canna indica

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Botanical Name : Canna indica – L.
Family: Cannaceae
Genus: Canna
Species: C. indica
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms :Canna annaei André.,Canna aurantiaca Roscoe.,Canna barbadica Bouché

Common Name : saka siri, Indian shot, canna, bandera, chancle, coyol, or platanillo, Kardal in Marathi, Sanskrit : vankelee, sarvajaya

Bengali Name:  Kalaboti ful or Kala ful

Habitats :  Original habitat is obscure, but it is found by the coast and in temperate valleys of the Andes.  They grow in  S. America. W. Indies. Locally naturalized in the warmest parts of S. Europe.

Description:
Perennial, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs).
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The seeds are small, globular, black pellets, hard and heavy enough to sink in water.[4] They resemble shotgun pellets giving rise to the plant’s common name of Indian Shot. They are widely used for jewellery. The seeds are also used as the mobile elements of the kayamb, a musical instrument from Réunion, as well as the hosho, a gourd rattle from Zimbabwe, where the seeds are known as “hota” seeds.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a deep rich well-drained soil in a sunny position. The plant has large leaves and dislikes windy conditions since this can tear the leaves to shreds. This species is probably hardy in the mildest areas of Britain but even then it should be given a good mulch if left in the ground overwinter. Plants have survived temperatures down to about -5°c overwinter with us. This species is often grown as a summer bedding plant in Britain, especially in sub-tropical bedding schemes. In colder areas of the country the tubers can be harvested in late autumn after the top growth has been killed back by frost and stored over winter. They should be kept in a cool but frost-free place covered in moist soil or leaves[1]. Plants are cultivated for their edible root in the Tropics. Slugs love the young growth in spring and can cause serious damage to plants.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and sow February/March in a warm greenhouse at 20°c. Plant the seeds 2 – 5cm deep in individual pots. Scarifying the seed can speed germination, especially if the seed has not swollen after being soaked. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 9 weeks. Grow the plants on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of the root clump as the plant comes into growth in the spring. Each portion must have at least one growing point. Pot up the divisions and grow them on in the greenhouse until they are well established and then plant them out in the summer. Root cuttings.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Root.

Root – cooked. The source of ‘canna starch’, used as an arrowroot. The arrowroot is obtained by rasping the root to a pulp, then washing and straining to get rid of the fibres. The very young tubers are eaten cooked, they are sweet but fibrousy. Roots contain about 25% starch[61]. There is one report that this plant has an edible fruit but this is somewhat dubious, the fruit is a dry capsule containing the very hard seeds.

Medicinal Uses
Demulcent;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  VD;  Women’s complaints.
The plant is used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A decoction of the root with fermented rice is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea and amenorrhoea. The plant is also considered to be demulcent, diaphoretic and diuretic[218].

Other Uses
Dye;  Fibre;  Insecticide;  Paper.

The plant yields a fibre – from the stem.  – it is a jute substitute. A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making paper. The leaves are harvested in late summer after the plant has flowered, they are scraped to remove the outer skin and are then soaked in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 24 hours with lye and then beaten in a blender. They make a light tan brown paper. A purple dye is obtained from the seed. Smoke from the burning leaves is said to be insecticidal.

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=Canna%20indica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canna_indica

 

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Herbs & Plants

Astragalus multiceps

Botanical Name : Astragalus multiceps
Family : Leguminosae
Genus : Astragalus
Synonyms : Astragalus bicuspis – Fisch.
Common Name :Kandiara


Habitat
:E. Asia – W. Himalayas, to 3,500 metres in Garhwal, Kumaon and Simla.   Found at elevations of 1300 – 3300 metres in Tibet

Description:
Shrub growing to 0.45m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). It can fix Nitrogen.

CLICK & SEE

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. 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. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers.

The calyx of the flower is eaten and has a sweetish flavour.

Medicinal Uses
Demulcent; Emollient.

The seeds are demulcent and emollient. They are used in the treatment of colic and leprosy.


Known Hazards :
Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.

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://server9.web-mania.com/users/pfafardea/database/plants.php?Astragalus+multiceps
http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp

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