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Herbs & Plants

Campanula trachelium

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Botanical Name ; Campanula trachelium
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
Species: C. trachelium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Common Name :Nettle-leaved Bellflower,bats-in-the-belfry

Habitat ;Campanula trachelium is a Eurasian blue wildflower native to Denmark and England and now naturalized in southeast Ireland. It is also found southward through Europe into Africa and is also found in North America and Germany.

Description:
Life cycle : perennial (Z4-9)
Flowers: violet-blue
Size :18″
Light full : sun-part shade
Cultural notes: well-drained soil, not too dry


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Typical bellflower, with blue flowers on an upright but fairly small plant, with dark green leaves. Close-up inspection shows that the flowers and stems are slightly hairy. The flowering plants from last year didn’t return this year (although last year’s seedlings did, and are blooming now) – so it seems to have a biennial habit at least in our climate.

Medicinal Uses:
For pains in the ear, the blossoms of bellflower were gathered, boiling in a covered pan and after steeping the liquid, used to wash the ears.  If one had pain in the stomach, the root of this plant was cooked and spirits added.  After steeping for three hours, a small drink helped ease the pain.  In the smaller villages of Poland, children suffering from consumption were bathed in this herb: if the child’s skin darkened after such a bath, it was a sign that he/she would live.  If it didn’t, the disease would take them.

The alternate name Throatwort is derived from an old belief that Nettle-leafed campanulas are a cure for sore throat, & the species name trachelium refers to this old belief. There never was an actual medical benefit from the plant, which had no observable effect on the throat. But in past centuries, belief in the occult Doctrine of Signatures was very deeply stamped on superstitioius “believers.”

Other folknames include Our Lady’s Bells because the color blue was identified with the Virgin Mary’s scarf, veil, or shawl; Coventry Bells because C. trachelium was especially common in fields around Coventry; & “Bats-in-the-Belfry” or in the singular “Bat-in-the-Belfry,” because the stamens inside the flower were like bats hanging in the bell of a church steeple. Web site reference: http://www.paghat.com/gardenhome.html

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.robsplants.com/plants/CampaTrach
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula_trachelium

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Herbs & Plants

Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)

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Botanical Name:Pulmonaria officinal
Family:  Boraginaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Genus: Pulmonaria
Species: P. officinalis

Synonyms :  P. maculosa.

Common Names: Lungwort,  Common lungwort,  Our Lady’s milk drops,  Jerusalem Sage, Jerusalem Cowslip (The plant is so called  lungwort  because the spotted leaves resemble lung tissue.)

Habitat:Pulmonaria officinal isis native to locations throughout Europe and the Caucasus.Habitats range from mountains and sub-alpine woodland to the banks of streams .

Description:
Pulmonaria officinalis is an evergreen perennial species of lungwort. It is a rhizomatous plant in the Borage family. In spring, it produces small bunches of pink flowers which turn to blue-purple. The plant has been cultivated for centuries as a medicinal herb, the ovate spotted leaves held to be representative of diseased lungs, following the Doctrine of Signatures.
This attractive plant is prized as a groundcover both for its striking, white-spotted green foliage and it’s pretty, tubular flowers that are pink when they first open, then fade to shades of blue and purple. It grows to a height of only 9 inches. This is a great choice for shady spots in zones 3-9 except in Florida and along the Gulf Coast.

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This is a genus of about 18 species, from Europe and Asia, of deciduous or evergreen, low-growing perennials with spreading rhizomes.

Pulmonarias are grown for their early flowers and attractively spotted leaves. They are good ground cover for a shady area and can be grown in woodland, the front of a shrub border or in a wild garden.

The leaves are simple, basal, ovate to elliptic or oblong, hairy and often spotted with white or silver.

The few stem leaves are smaller and stalkless. The leaves that develop after flowering have the best markings.

Flowers are borne in terminal cymes and may be pink, red, violet, purple, blue or white. They are funnel-shaped, 5-10mm (0.25 – 0.5in) across with five petals.

The leaves are simple, basal, ovate to elliptic or oblong, hairy and often spotted with white or silver.

The few stem leaves are smaller and stalkless. The leaves that develop after flowering have the best markings.

Flowers are borne in terminal cymes and may be pink, red, violet, purple, blue or white. They are funnel-shaped, 5-10mm (0.25 – 0.5in) across with five petals.

Cultivation:
Lungwort is a perennial herb which is propagated by root division in autumn or seed sown directly in spring. When dividing clumps, keep them well watered to encourage good root development before winter sets in. Plants requires a shady and reasonably moist environment and the soil should be rich in organic matter. Give it a little extra water during hot spells. In winter, cut back the flowering stems and mulch well. Divide clumps three or four years after planting. The soil can be acid or alkaline.

Grow in humus-rich, fertile, moist but not waterlogged soil in full or partial shade.

Remove old leaves after flowering and divide every three to five years.

Powdery mildew may be a problem in dry conditions and slugs and snails may damage new growth.

Propagation:
Sow seed in containers outdoors as soon as ripe. However, plants raised from seed of garden specimens often do not come true.Divide plants in autumn or after flowering or take root cuttings in mid-winter.

Harvesting
Harvest the whole plant in the middle of summer during the flowering period.

Medicinal Uses
Pulmonaria comes from the Latin pulmo, the lung. According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the plant was considered to be an effective remedy for diseases of the lung because the spotted leaves were supposed to resemble diseased lungs. However, the common name in some East European languages is derived from the word for honey, probably as an indication of the attraction of the flowers to bees.

For medicinal purposes, make an infusion or tincture of leaves that have been gathered during the flowering period.

*Lungwort is traditionally used bronchial complaints. But  there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of this plant.

*It has astringent properties and can be used to cleanse the digestive system, for diarreha, and for cystitis.

*It’s often used to strengthen the utereus during pregnancy and to facilitate childbirth.

*It makes a soothing gargle for hoarseness or sore throat.

*It helps to stop bleeding after passing kidney stones.
Other Uses: A tolerant and slow growing ground cover plant for open woodland and border edges. Plants should be spaced about 50cm apart each way.

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.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/lungwort.asp
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
http://www.rhs.org.uk/WhatsOn/Gardens/wisley/archive/wisleypom04apr.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonaria_officinalis

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