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Herbs & Plants

Sorbus aucuparia

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Botanical Name : Sorbus aucuparia
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Sorbus
Subgenus:Sorbus
Section:Sorbus
Species:S. aucuparia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Pyrus aucuparia

Common Names: Mountain-ash, European mountain ash, Amur mountain-ash, Quick beam, Quickbeam, Rowan or Rowan-berry

Habitat :Sorbus aucuparia is native to Europe, including Britain, south and east from Iceland to Spain, Macedonia and the Caucasus. It grows in the woods, scrub and mountain rocks, mainly on lighter soil, rare or absent on clays or soft limestones. It is found at higher elevations than any other native tree.

Description:

Sorbus aucuparia occurs as a deciduous tree or shrub that grows up to between 5 and 15 m in height. The crown is loose and roundish or irregularly shaped but wide and the plant often grows multiple trunks. A trunk is slender and cylindrical and reaches up to 40 cm in diameter, and the branches stick out and are slanted upwards.The bark of a young S. aucuparia is yellowish gray and gleaming and becomes gray-black with lengthwise cracks in advanced age; it descales in small flakes. Lenticels in the bark are elongated and colored a bright ocher. The plant does not often grow older than 80 years and is one of the shortest-lived trees in temperate climate. Wood of S. aucuparia has a wide reddish white sapwood and a light brown to reddish brown heartwood. It is diffuse-porous, flexible, elastic, and tough, but not durable, with a density of 600 to 700 kg/m3 in a dried state. The roots of S. aucuparia grow wide and deep, and the plant is capable of root sprouting and can regenerate after coppicing.

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The compound leaves are pinnate with 4 to 9 pairs of leaflets on either side of a terete central vein and with a terminal leaflet. There are paired leaf-like stipules at the base of the petiole. The leaves are up to 20 cm long, 8 to 12 cm wide, and arranged in an alternate leaf pattern on a branch., distinguishing them from those of ash, Fraxinus excelsior, which are opposite and without stipules. The leaflets are elongated-lanceolate in shape, 2 to 6 cm long, and 1 to 2.5 cm wide with a sharply serrated edge, and have short stems or sit close to the central vein except for the outermost leaflet. Leaflets are covered in gray-silvery hairs after sprouting but become mostly bare after they unfold. Their uppers side is dark green and their underside is a grayish green and felted. Young leaflets smell like marzipan when brayed. The leaflets are asymmetrical at the bottom. S. aucuparia foliage grows in May and turns yellow in autumn or a dark red in dry locations.

Buds of S. aucuparia are often longer than 1 cm and have flossy to felted hairs. These hairs, which disappear over time, cover dark brown to black bud scales. The terminal buds are oval and pointed and larger than axillary buds, which are narrow, oval and pointed, close to the twig, and often curved towards it.

S. aucuparia is monoecious. It reaches maturity at age 10 and carries ample fruit almost every year. The plant flowers from May to June (on occasion again in September) in many yellowish white corymbs that contain about 250 flowers. The corymbs are large, upright, and bulging. The flowers are between 8 and 10 mm in diameter and have five small, yellowish green, and triangular sepals that are covered in hairs or bare. The five round or oval petals are yellowish white and the flower has up to 25 stamens fused with the corolla to form a hypanthium and an ovary with two to five styles; the style is fused with the receptacle. Flowers of S. aucuparia have an unpleasant trimethylamine smell. Their nectar is high in fructose and glucose.

Its fruit are round pomes between 8 and 10 mm in diameter that ripen from August to October. The fruit are green before they ripen and then typically turn from orange or scarlet in color. The sepals persist as a black, five-pointed star on the ripe fruit. A corymb carries 80 to 100 pomes. A pome contains a star-shaped ovary with two to five locules each containing one or two flat, narrow, and pointed reddish seeds. The flesh of the fruit contains carotenoids, citric acid, malic acid, parasorbic acid, pectin, provitamin A, sorbitol, tannin, and vitamin C. The seeds contain glycoside....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
The plant succeeds in most reasonably good soils in an open sunny position. It grows well in heavy clay soils. Tolerates some shade, though it fruits better in a sunny position. Prefers a cool moist position and a lighter neutral to slightly acid soil. Dislikes shallow soils or drought. Succeeds on chalk or acid peats[98, 186]. A very wind firm tree tolerating very exposed and maritime positions. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Some named varieties have been developed for their improved fruits which are larger and sweeter than the type. Plants, and especially young seedlings, are quite fast growing. The fruit is very attractive to birds. 28 species of insects are associated with this tree. Responds well to coppicing. Plants are susceptible to fireblight. Special Features:Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed. Stored seed germinates better if given 2 weeks warm then 14 – 16 weeks cold stratification[98], so sow it as early in the year as possible. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Seedlings are very slow to put on top-growth for their first year or two, but they are busy building up a good root system. It is best to keep them in pots in a cold frame for their first winter and then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.

Edible Uses:
Fruit are eaten raw or cooked. The fruit is very acid and large quantities of the raw fruit can cause stomach upsets. It can be used to make delicious, if slightly acidulous, jams and preserves, the fruit can also be dried and used as a flour mixed with cereals. The fruit is about 7.5mm in diameter and is produced in quite large bunches making harvest easy. The leaves and flowers are used as a tea substitute. Young leaves are said to be a famine food but they contain a cyanogenic glycoside so you should be very hungry before even thinking of eating them. A coffee substitute. The report was referring to the fruit, it probably means the roasted seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark is astringent, it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a vaginal injection for leucorrhoea etc. The fruit is antiscorbutic and astringent. It is normally used as a jam or an infusion to treat diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. An infusion can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash to treat haemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which, in reaction with water, produce the extremely toxic prussic acid. In small quantities this acts as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in larger doses can cause respiratory failure and death. It is therefore best to remove the seeds when using the fruit medicinally or as a food. Both the flowers and the fruit are aperient, mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders.

Rowan berries are astringent and rather acidic. The juice has been used medicinally as a gargle for sore throats and laryngitis, and its astringency was useful in treating hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The fruit contains vitamin C and was formerly employed in the prevention of scurvy. The fruit is antiscorbutic and astringent. It is normally used as a jam or an infusion to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids. An infusion can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash to treat hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which, in reaction with water, produce the extremely toxic prussic acid. In small quantities this acts as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in larger doses can cause respiratory failure and death. It is therefore best to remove the seeds when using the fruit medicinally or as a food. Both the flowers and the fruit are aperient, mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders.

Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Specimen.
An oil is obtained from the seed. A cosmetic face-mask is made from the fruits and is used to combat wrinkled skin. A black dye is obtained from the young branches. All parts of the plant contain tannin and can be used as a black dye. Trees are very wind resistant and can be used in shelterbelt plantings. Wood – hard, fine grained, compact and elastic. It is highly recommended by wood turners and is also used to make hoops for barrels, cogs and furniture.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the raw fruit can cause vomiting, especially if people are not used to the fruit. Seeds probably contain hydrogen cyanide. this is the ingredient that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. Unless the seed is very bitter it should be perfectly safe in reasonable quantities. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Sorbus+aucuparia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbus_aucuparia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Fraxinus excelsior

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Botanical Name: Fraxinus excelsior
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Fraxinus
Species: F. excelsior
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Ash, or European ash or Common ash

Habitat : Fraxinus excelsior is native to most of Europe from Portugal to Russia, with the exception of northern Scandinavia and southern Iberia. It is also considered native in southwestern Asia from northern Turkey east to the Caucasus and Alborz mountains. The northernmost location is in the Trondheimsfjord region of Norway. The species is widely cultivated and reportedly naturalized in New Zealand and in scattered locales in the United States and Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ontario, Ohio, Kentucky and British Columbia). It grows in forming woods on calcareous soils in the wetter parts of Britain, also in oakwoods, scrub, hedges etc. It is also often found on acid soils.

Description:
Fraxinus excelsior is a large deciduous tree growing to 20–35 m (66–115 ft) (exceptionally to 46 m or 151 ft) tall with a trunk up to 2 m (6.6 ft) (exceptionally to 3.5 m or 11 ft) diameter, with a tall, domed crown. The bark is smooth and pale grey on young trees, becoming thick and vertically fissured on old trees. The shoots are stout, greenish-grey, with jet black buds (which distinguish it from most other ash species, which have grey or brown buds). The leaves are 20–35 cm (7.9–13.8 in) long, pinnate compound, with 7-13 leaflets, the leaflets 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long and 0.8–3 cm (0.31–1.18 in) broad, sessile on the leaf rachis, and with a serrated margin. The leaves are often among the last to open in spring, and the first to fall in autumn if an early frost strikes; they have no marked autumn colour, often falling dull green. The flowers open before the leaves, the female flowers being somewhat longer than the male flowers; they are dark purple, and without petals, and are wind-pollinated. Both male and female flowers can occur on the same tree, but it is more common to find all male and all female trees; a tree that is all male one year can produce female flowers the next, and similarly a female tree can become male. The fruit is a samara 2.5–4.5 cm (0.98–1.77 in) long and 5–8 mm (0.20–0.31 in) broad, often hanging in bunches through the winter; they are often called ‘ash keys’. If the fruit is gathered and planted when it is still green and not fully ripe, it will germinate straight away, however once the fruit is brown and fully ripe, it will not germinate until 18 months after sowing (i.e. not until two winters have passed)

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European Ash rarely exceeds 250 years of age. However, there are numerous specimens estimated between 200 and 250 years old and there are a few over 250. The largest is in Clapton Court, England and is 9 m (29.5 ft) in girth. There are several examples over 4.5 metres (14.8 ft) in Derbyshire alone.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pollard, Specimen. Prefers a deep loamy soil, even if it is on the heavy side. Most members of this genus are gross feeders and require a rich soil. Plants can succeed in very exposed positions, including maritime exposure, though they can become wind-shaped. Thrives in alkaline soils but not in shallow soils over chalk. Tolerates a pH as low as 4.5, but prefers a base-rich soil above 5.5. Trees are surprisingly tolerant of seasonally water-logged soils. Dislikes dryness at the roots, especially in late spring. Very intolerant of shade, young plants fail to develop properly in such a position and often die. Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A fast growing tree, it is sometimes cultivated for its valuable timber. Very tolerant of cutting, ash was also at one time frequently coppiced for its wood. However, modern use of plastics have reduced its economic values. There are many named varieties, selected for their ornamental value. Trees have a light canopy and cast little shade. A food plant for many insect species, there are 41 associated insect species. Trees can be male, female, monoecious or hermaphrodite, they can also change sex from year to year. Trees take 30 – 40 years to flower from seed. The flowers are produced on one-year old wood. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features: Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
The seed is best harvested green – as soon as it is fully developed but before it has fully dried on the tree – and can then be sown immediately in a cold frame. It usually germinates in the spring. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification and is best sown as soon as possible in a cold frame. Approximately 5% of stored seed will germinate in the first year, the remainder germinating in the second year. 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 into their permanent positions or a nursery bed in late spring or early summer of the following year. If you have sufficient seed then it is possible to sow it directly into an outdoor seedbed, preferably in the autumn. Grow the seedlings on in the seedbed for 2 years before transplanting either to their permanent positions or to nursery beds. Cuttings of mature wood, placed in a sheltered outdoor bed in the winter, sometimes strike.
Edible Uses : Immature seed – usually pickled by steeping in salt and vinegar, and then used as a condiment for other foods. The leaves are sometimes used as an adulterant for tea. A manna is obtained from the tree. No further details are available. An edible oil similar to sunflower (Helianthus annuus) oil is obtained from the seed.
Medicinal Uses:

The leaves are astringent, cathartic, diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, laxative and purgative. The have been used as a laxative, making a mild substitute for senna pods. The leaves should be gathered in June, well dried and stored in airtight containers. The bark is antiperiodic, astringent and a bitter tonic. Little used in modern herbalism, it is occasionally taken in the treatment of fevers. The seeds, including their wings, have been used as a carminative. They will store for 12 months if gathered when ripe.

Taken regularly, the ash is said to prevent the recurrence of bouts of malaria and is a substitute for quinine. It is also said to be excellent for treatment of arthritic conditions. The seeds, including their wings, have been used as a carminative.
Other Uses:
Dye; Fuel; Oil; Shelterbelt; String; Tannin; Wood.

A green dye is obtained from the leaves. The bark is a source of tannin. A tying material can be obtained from the wood (does this mean the bark?). Very tolerant of extreme exposure and relatively fast growing, though often windshaped in exposed positions, it can be grown as a shelterbelt tree. However, it is late coming into leaf and also one of the first trees to lose its leaves in the autumn and this makes it less suitable in a shelter belt. Wood – hard, light, flexible, strong, resilient. A very valuable wood, it is much used for tool handles, oars, furniture, posts etc. An excellent fuel, burning well even when green. There is some doubt over how well the green wood burns with several people claiming that it needs to be properly seasoned.

Mythology:
In the 13th century Edda and other writing relating to Norse mythology, a mythological ash tree called Yggdrasil serves as the center of the world. Though traditionally Yggdrasill was often seen as a giant ash tree, many scholars[citation needed] do now agree that in the past an error has been made in the interpretation of the ancient writings, and that the tree is most likely an European yew (Taxus baccata). This mistake would find its origin in an alternative word for the yew tree in the Old Norse, namely Needle Ash (barraskr). In addition, ancient sources, including the Eddas, write about a vetgrønster vida which means “evergreen tree”. An ash sheds its leaves in the winter, while yew trees retain their needles.

It is recorded that on the Isle of Bute in Scotland lovers used to eat leaves of an ash tree known at the “Dreamin’ Tree” that grew near the church of St Blane and the pleasant dreams they then experienced revealed their actual spouses and intended fates.
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/Fraxinus_excelsior
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fraxinus+excelsior