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Malva parviflora

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

Common Names: Cheeseweed, Cheeseweed mallow, Egyptian mallow, Least mallow, Little mallow, Mallow, Marshmallow, Small-flowered mallow, Small-flowered marshmallow and Smallflower mallow

Habitat :Malva parviflora is native to Northern Africa, Europe and Asia and is widely naturalised elsewhere.  Grows in desert, Upland, Mountain, Riparian. It often grows in disturbed areas like vacant lots and drainage ditches, and in the desert, it can be found growing in mesquite bosques.

Description:
Malva parviflora is an annual, biennial or Perennial herbiculas plant, growing up to 40 inch.  The flowers emerge from the base of the leaf stalks. The individual flowers are 1/4 inch (6 mm) wide and have 5 petals that are similar in length to the green sepals. The flowers are followed by wrinkled, disk-like, fruits that are sectioned into lobes that look like slices from a wheel of cheese. The leaves are dark green and have 5 to 7 toothed, rounded lobes.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

The similar Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) has flowers with petals longer than the sepals.

Flower Color: White, Lavender pink, Lavender

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender.

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 can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires 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. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Plants are prone to infestation by rust fungus

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in situ. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb. A mild pleasant flavour, they make a very acceptable alternative to lettuce in salads. Immature seeds – raw or cooked. They are used to make a creamed vegetable soup that resembles pea soup. A few leaves are also added for colouring. The seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour, though they are too small for most people to want to collect in quantity.

Medicinal Uses:
Antidandruff; Demulcent; Emollient; Pectoral; Skin.

The whole plant is emollient and pectoral. It can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils. The seeds are demulcent. They are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

The bruised leaves have been rubbed on the skin to treat skin irritations.  A strained tea of the boiled leaves has been administered after childbirth to clean out the mother’s system.  As a headache remedy, the leaves or the whole plant have been mashed and placed on the forehead.  Powdered leaves have been blown into the throat to treat swollen glands.  The leaves have been used to induce perspiration and menstrual flow, reduce fever, and treat pneumonia. The whole plant can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils.  The seeds are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder.  A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

Other Uses
Dye; Hair; Oil.

The seed contains up to 18% of a fatty oil. No more details are given, though the oil is likely to be edible. Cream, yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the plant and the seed heads. A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to soften the hair.

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_parviflora
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Malva+parviflora

Malva parviflora – Cheeseweed Mallow

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Herbs & Plants

Erythrina herbacea (Coral Bean)

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Botanical Name :Erythrina herbacea
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Erythrina
Species: E. herbacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Erythrina arborea – Small.

Common Names :Coralbead, Coral Bean, Cherokee Bean, Red Cardinal or Cardinal Spear

Habitat :Erythrina herbacea is native to south-eastern N. AmericaNorth Carolina to Texas. It grows on  andy soils in hummocks, the coastal plain and pinelands.

Description:
Erythrina herbacea is a Perennial low shrub or small tree, reaching around 5 m (16 ft) in height in areas that do not kill it back by freezing; elsewhere it may only reach 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Stems are covered in curved spines. The leaves are yellowish-green, 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long and 6 cm (2.4 in) wide. The leaves are divided into three 2.5–8 cm (0.98–3.1 in) arrowhead-shaped leaflets. The bark is smooth and light gray. The tubular flowers are bright red and grow in long spikes, each flower being 4–6.5 cm (1.6–2.6 in) long; the tree blooms from April to July.It is hardy to zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. They are followed by 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) pods containing bright red seeds, from which the tree gets its name. Toxic alkaloids, including erysopine, erysothiopine, erysothiovine, erysovine, erythrinine, erythroresin, coralin, erythric acid, and hypaphorine, are found throughout the plant. These cause paralysis upon ingestion, much like curare.

click to see the pictures
Coral Bean grows best in sandy soils and has moderate salt tolerance. It can be found in open woods, forest clearings, hammocks, and disturbed areas.

Cultivation:
Requires a moderately fertile well-drained soil in a very sunny position[200]. Best if given the protection of an east, south or south-west facing wall. Becoming a tree in the south of its range, this species is shrubby or even herbaceous towards the limits of its northerly range. It is not very hardy outdoors in Britain though the rootstock can tolerate temperatures down to about -10°c provided the stem bases are thickly mulched with organic matter such as leaf litter or sawdust and covered with bracken. Alternatively, the roots can be lifted in the autumn and stored in a cool frost-free place, replanting in the spring. Plants take 3 – 4 years to flower from seed. 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 – pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow 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 at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer. Heeled cuttings of young growth in the spring in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.

Flowers – cooked. An acceptable vegetable when boiled. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young leaves – occasionally cooked and eaten[.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiemetic; Diuretic; Narcotic; Purgative; Tonic.

The plant is narcotic and purgative. A cold infusion of the root has been used to treat bowel pain in women. A decoction of the roots or berries has been used to treat nausea, constipation and blocked urination. A decoction of the ‘beans’ or inner bark has been used as a body rub and steam for numb, painful limbs and joints. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a general tonic.

Native American people had many medicinal uses for this plant, varying between nations and localities. Creek women used an infusion of the root for bowel pain; the Choctaw used a decoction of the leaves as a general tonic; the Seminole used an extract of the roots for digestive problems, and extracts of the seeds, or of the inner bark, as an external rub for rheumatic disorders.

Other Uses:
E. herbacea can be readily grown in gardens within its natural range. Although its use in gardens is not particularly common, it is popular among those who do grow it as a source of early season color, for its hardiness (USDA Zones 7-10), and because it attracts hummingbirds.

In Mexico, the seeds are used as a rat poison, while a fish poison is made from the bark and leaves

Known Hazards : The plant contains alkaloids that have powerful narcotic and purgative effects.  The seeds contain numerous toxic alkaloids, including erysodine and erysopine. They have an action similar to curare and have been used as a rat poison

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?Erythrina+herbacea:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrina_herbacea
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=15191

http://crackerboy.us/pics/flora/

http://www.quintamazatlan.com/birds/hummingbirds/hummingbirdplants.aspx

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Erysimum capitatum

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Botanical Name : Erysimum capitatum
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Erysimum
Species: E. capitatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Cheiranthus capitatus – Douglas,Erysimum asperum – (Nutt.)DC.

Common Names :Coastal Wallflower, Sanddune wallflower, western wallflower, or prairie rocket,    Contra Costa wallflower, San Luis Obispo wallflower, Pursh’

Habitat: Erysimum capitatum is native to Western N. AmericaBritish Columbia to Indiana, south to Texas and California. It is  found in many habitats from southern British Columbia to California at 750 – 3600 metres. Open dry flats and hillsides, from the lowest valleys to about 3,000 metres in the mountains

Description:
Erysimum capitatum is Biennial/Perennial growing to 0.6m.It is a mustard-like plant with thin, erect stems growing from a basal rosette and topped with dense bunches of variably colored flowers.It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Theys are most typically bright golden, yellow, tangerine-colored, but plants in some populations may have red, white or purple flowers. Each flower has four flat petals. Seed pods are nearly-parallel to the stem. Although quite variable in appearance, it is an attractive garden plant.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 6. There are several natural variants of this plant. Each is treated separately, with certain variants considered endangered species in some areas. For example Erysimum capitatum var angustatum, the Contra Costa wallflower, is an endangered plant in the state of California.

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

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position. Dislikes acid soils. Tolerates poor soils. Grows well on a sunny wall and is indeed longer lived in such a position. A polymorphic species, it is possibly a form of E. asperum.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in an outdoor seedbed. Germination usually takes place within 3 weeks. Plant the seedlings into their permanent positions when they are large enough to handle. If seed is in short supply, it can be sown in spring in pots 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.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Odontalgic; Poultice; Skin.

A preventative against sun burn, the plant was ground up then mixed with water and applied to the skin. It relieves the pain caused by overexposure to heat.  A poultice of the whole pounded plant has been applied to open fresh wounds and rheumatic joints. An infusion of the whole plant has been used as a wash on aching muscles.  The crushed leaves have been sniffed as a treatment for headaches.  A poultice of the warmed root has been applied to treat the pain of toothache.  An infusion of the crushed seed has been drunk and used externally in the treatment of stomach or bowel cramps. For chest pains or pneumonia, as a tea; or powdered, mixed with Osha and water and applied to the chest as a poultice.  It is sometimes used as a preventative in households where some members have coughs; for chills from exposure to cold weather; and at the onset of cold symptoms

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/Erysimum_capitatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Erysimum+capitatum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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Clerodendrum trichotomum

Botanical Name : Clerodendrum trichotomum
Family: Verbenaceae (or Lamiaceae)
Genus: Clerodendrum
Species: C. trichotomum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names: Harlequin glorybower,Chou Wu Tong

Habitat :Clerodendrum trichotomum is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thickets on mountain slopes, throughout most of China except Nei Mongol, below elevations of 2400 metres .

Description:
A decidious Tree growing to 6m by 3m.This large shrub offers a late-summer display of jasmine-like white flowers encased in red tepals and scent.The flowers  have white petals, held within a brown calyx. The fruits are bright blue drupes. Bright blue berries in autumn are accented by conspicuous bright, pinkish-red calyxes.The leaves are ovate, up to 12 cm long, soft and downy or hairy.

click to see the pictures…>…..(01)..(1).…....(2)..(3).……....(4).

It is hardy to zone 7.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Noteworthy characteristics: When crushed, the foliage smells like unsweetened peanut butter, thought it is often described as “fetid.

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

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a sunny position in ordinary garden soil but prefers a fertile humus-rich well-drained loam. The soil must not be allowed to dry out in the growing season. Requires a position sheltered from cold drying winds. Plants are generally hardy to about -15°c, they succeed outdoors at Kew though the branches are pithy and are apt to die back in winter. The sub-species C. trichotomum fargesii. (Dode.)Rehder. is somewhat hardier, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Plants produce the occasional sucker. The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed. Flowers are produced on the current seasons growth and are sweetly scented.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as possible in a greenhouse. Germination can be erratic but usually takes place within 20 – 60 days at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Root cuttings, 6 – 8cm long, December in a greenhouse. High percentage. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Very easy, they can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Young sprouts and leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic; Antipruritic; Antirheumatic; Hypotensive; Parasiticide; Sedative.

The leaves are mildly analgesic, antipruritic, hypotensive and sedative. They are used externally in the treatment of dermatitis and internally for the treatment of hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, numbness and paralysis. When used in a clinical trial of 171 people, the blood pressure of 81% of the people dropped significantly – this effect was reversed when the treatment was stopped. The plant is normally used in conjunction with Bidens bipinnata. When used with the herb Siegesbeckia pubescens it is anti-inflammatory. The roots and leaves are antirheumatic and hypotensive. A decoction is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. The pounded seed is used to kill lice.

Other Uses:

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves have a heavy unpleasant odour when crushed.

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/Clerodendrum_trichotomum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Clerodendrum+trichotomum
http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/clerodendrum-trichotonum-harlequin-glorybower.aspx

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Prunus spinosa

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Botanical Name : Prunus spinosa
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. spinosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Blackthorn or Sloe

Habitat : Prunus spinosa is  native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean, Siberia and Iran,  western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. It is also locally naturalised in New Zealand and eastern North America.

It grows in Hedgerows and woods, usually in sunny positions, on all soils except acid peats

The expression “sloe-eyed” for a person with dark eyes comes from the fruit, and is first attested in A. J. Wilson’s 1867 novel Vashti

Description:
Prunus spinosa is a deciduous large shrub or small tree growing to 5 m tall, with blackish bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. The leaves are oval, 2–4.5 cm long and 1.2–2 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are 1.5 cm diameter, with five creamy-white petals; they are produced shortly before the leaves in early spring, and are hermaphroditic and insect-pollinated. The fruit, called a “sloe”, is a drupe 10–12 millimetres (0.39–0.47 in) in diameter, black with a purple-blue waxy bloom, ripening in autumn, and harvested — traditionally, at least in the UK, in October or November after the first frosts. Sloes are thin-fleshed, with a very strongly astringent flavour when fresh.

click to see the pictures..>…...…(01)......(1).………(2)..…….…(3)..……..(4).……………..
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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 and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Prunus spinosa is frequently confused with the related P. cerasifera (cherry plum), particularly in early spring when the latter starts flowering somewhat earlier than P. spinosa. They can be distinguished by flower colour, creamy white in P. spinosa, pure white in P. cerasifera. They can also be distinguished in winter by the more shrubby habit with stiffer, wider-angled branches of P. spinosa; in summer by the relatively narrower leaves of P. spinosa, more than twice as long as broad; and in autumn by the colour of the fruit skin — purplish-black in P. spinosa and yellow or red in P. cerasifera.

Prunus spinosa has a tetraploid (2n=4x=32) set of chromosomes

Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in all soils except very acid peats. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Thrives on chalk according to another report. Plants are very resistant to maritime exposure. An important food plant for the caterpillars of several species of butterfly, especially the larvae of the brown and black hairstreak butterflies. A good bee plant. Plants are shallow-rooted and of a suckering habit, they can form dense impenetrable thickets which are ideal for nesting birds, especially nightingales. Flowers are often damaged by late frosts. Plants regenerate quickly after cutting or after fast moving forest fires, producing suckers from below ground level. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Seed.

Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Exceedingly astringent, it is normally cooked but once the fruit has been frosted it loses some of its astringency and some people find they can enjoy it raw. The fruit is more usually used in jellies, syrups, conserves etc and as a flavouring for sloe gin and other liqueurs. Some fruits that we ate in December were fairly pleasant raw[K]. In France the unripe fruit is pickled like an olive. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The dried fruits can be added to herbal teas. The flowers are edible and can be crystallised or sugared.

Medicinal Uses:

Aperient; Astringent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Laxative; Stomachic.

The flowers, bark, leaves and fruits are aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and stomachic. An infusion of the flowers is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially for children), bladder and kidney disorders, stomach weakness et. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

The syrup from sloes is an astringent medicine and used to stem nose-bleeding.  It is massaged into the gums causing firmness and so preventing the teeth from becoming loose.  And rubbed onto the teeth, it can remove tartar and improve their whiteness, giving them a sparkle.  An infusion of the leave in warm water and used as a mouthwash has much the same effect.  A tea from the flowers serves as a purgative.  It is also recommended for stomach complaints and to stimulate the urinary and intestinal processes.  It is also used to clean the skin and remove blemishes.  The stone-free fruit is used to make jam to aid the functions of the stomach and stop diarrhea.  The crushed fruit (with stones) is used as a base for vaginal rinses and to arrest brewing.  A decoction from the bark is used to reduce fever.   Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:
Cosmetic; Dye; Hedge; Ink; Pioneer; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a good source of tannin. It is used to make an ink. The juice of unripe fruits is used as a laundry mark, it is almost indelible. The pulped ripe fruit is used cosmetically in making astringent face-masks. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The bark, boiled in an alkali, produces a yellow dye. The sloe is very resistant to maritime exposure and also suckers freely. It can be used as a hedge in exposed maritime positions. The hedge is stock-proof if it is well maintained, though it is rather bare in the winter and, unless the hedge is rather wide, it is not a very good shelter at this time. Because of its suckering habit, the plant is a natural pioneer species, invading cultivated fields and creating conditions conducive to the regeneration of woodland. Wood – very hard. Used for turnery, the teeth of rakes etc. Suitable branches are used for making walking sticks and are highly valued for this purpose because of their twisted and interesting shapes.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. 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 supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Prunus+spinosa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_spinosa
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Prunus_spinosa_heavy_with_sloes.jpg
http://www.floralimages.co.uk/page.php?taxon=prunus_spinosa,8
http://www.types-of-flowers.org/blackthorn.html

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