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Herbs & Plants

Lamium Galeobdolon

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Botanical Name: Lamium Galeobdolon
Family:    Lamiaceae
Genus:    Lamium
Species:    L. galeobdolon
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Lamiales

Synonyms:  Yellow Archangel. Weazel Snout. Dummy Nettle.

Common Names: Yellow Archangel , Artillery plant, or Aluminium plant

Habitat: : Lamium Galeobdolon is a widespread wildflower in Europe, and has been introduced elsewhere as a garden plant. It  grows in woods and shady hedgerows, usually on heavier soils. Sometimes becoming locally dominant, especially after coppicing.

Description:
Yellow archangel is a large-leaved perennial plant with underground runners growing to a height of about 40 to 80 cm (16 to 31 in). The paired opposite leaves are stalked, broadly ovate with a cordate base and toothed margin. The underside of the leaves is often purplish. The flowers grow in whorls in a terminal spike. The calyx is five-lobed. The corolla is yellow, 15 to 25 mm (0.6 to 1.0 in) long, the petals fused with a long tube and two lips. The upper lip is hooded and the lower lip has three similar-sized lobes with the central one being triangular and often streaked with orange. There are two short stamens and two long ones. The carpels are fused and the fruit is a four-chambered schizocarp……....click & see the pictures

Cultivation:    
Landscape Uses:Ground cover, Massing, Woodland garden. A very easily grown plant, it tolerates most soils and conditions. It grows well in heavy clay soils, though it prefers a light calcareous soil. Dislikes dry soils. This species succeeds even in dense shade, growing well under trees. Once established, it can also succeed in drought conditions under the shade of trees, providing there is plenty of humus in the soil. There are at least four sub-species, L. galeobdolon montanum is the form generally found wild in Britain and it is a triploid. L. galeobdolon luteum and L. galeobdolon flavidum are both diploids. L. galeobdolon argentatum is the more rampant form, its clone ‘Variegatum’ is a commonly used ground cover plant for shady places. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. A very invasive plant, sending out long prostrate shoots that root at intervals along the stems. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Naturalizing.

Propagation:  
Seed – usually self sows freely and should not require human intervention. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. Division in spring. Succeeds at almost any time in the growing season. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring

Edible Uses:  Young leaves and shoots – cooked. Young flowering tips – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:
Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Styptic;  Vasoconstrictor.

The herb is antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, styptic and vasoconstrictor.The crushed leaves bound to open sores will cause rapid healing.

Other Uses:   A good ground cover plant, spreading rapidly by means of its rooting stems and succeeding even in dense shade. It is very vigorous, however, and can smother small plants. It does very well in woodlands.

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/Lamium_galeobdolon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Lamium+galeobdolon
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Vetiver Grass

Botanical Name :Chrysopogon zizanioides
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Chrysopogon
Species: C. zizanioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales
Synonyms: Vetiveria zizanioides, Phalaris, Anatherum zizanioides,Andropogon odoratus,Andropogon zizanioides.Phalaris zizanioides,Vetiveria zizanioides

Common Name : Vetiver Grass,khus(In western and northern India, it is popularly known as khus.)

Habitat :Vetiver Grass is  native to India.Though it originates in India, vetiver grass is widely cultivated in the tropical regions of the world. The world’s major producers include Haiti, India, Java, and Réunion.

Description:
Vetiver Grass  is a perennial evergreen grass of the Poaceae family.The grass has a gregarious habit and grows in bunches.
Vetiver grass can grow up to 1.5 metres high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. It has infrequent blooming time. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 2–4 m in depth.  Shoots growing from the underground crown make the plant frost- and fire-resistant, and allow it to survive heavy grazing pressure. The leaves can become up to 120–150 cm long and 0.8 cm wide. The panicles are 15–30 centimeters long and have whorled, 2.5–5.0 centimeters long branches. The spikelets are in pairs, and there are three stamens.

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

The plant stems are erect and stiff. They can persist deep water flow. Under clear water, the plant can survive up to two months.

The root system of vetiver is finely structured and very strong. It can grow 3–4 m deep within the first year. Vetiver has no stolons nor rhizomes. Because of all these characteristics, the vetiver plant is highly drought-tolerant and can help to protect soil against sheet erosion. In case of sediment deposition, new roots can grow out of buried nodes.

Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many morphological characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Cymbopogon nardus, C. winterianus), and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii).The most commonly used commercial genotypes of vetiver are sterile (do not produce fertile seeds), and because vetiver propagates itself by small offsets instead of underground stolons, these genotypes are noninvasive and can easily be controlled by cultivation of the soil at the boundary of the hedge. However, care must be taken, because fertile genotypes of vetiver have become invasive. Vegetatively propagated, almost all vetiver grown worldwide for perfumery, agriculture, and bioengineering has been shown by DNA fingerprinting to be essentially the same nonfertile cultigen (called ‘Sunshine’ in the United States, after the town of Sunshine, Louisiana).

Edible Uses:
Vetiver grass  is  used as a flavoring agent, usually through khus syrup. Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass(vetiver grass). It has a woodsy taste and a scent prominent to khus.

click to see

click to see:Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil in a clear glass vial

The syrup is used to flavor milkshakes and yogurt drinks like lassi, but can also be used in ice creams, mixed beverages like Shirley Temples and as a dessert topping. Khus syrup does not need to be refrigerated, although khus flavored products may need to be.

Medicinal Uses:
Vetiver grass has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Africa.Old Tamil literature mentions the use of vetiver for medical purposes.

Other Uses:
Vetiver grass is grown for many different purposes. The plant helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion, but it can also protect fields against pests and weeds. Vetiver has favourable qualities for animal feed. From the roots, oil is extracted and used for cosmetics and aromatherapy. Due to its fibrous properties, the plant can also be used for handicrafts, ropes and more.

click to see

Soil and water conservation:
Several aspects of vetiver make it an excellent erosion control plant in warmer climates. Unlike most grasses, it does not form a horizontal mat of roots; rather, the roots grow almost exclusively downward, 2–4 m, which is deeper than some tree roots. This makes vetiver an excellent stabilizing hedge for stream banks, terraces, and rice paddies, and protects soil from sheet erosion. The roots bind to the soil, therefore it can not dislodge. Vetiver has also been used to stabilize railway cuttings/embankments in geologically challenging situations in an attempt to prevent mudslides and rockfalls, the Konkan railway in Western India being an example. The plant also penetrates and loosens compacted soils.

Runoff mitigation and water conservation:
The close-growing culms also help to block the runoff of surface water. It slows water’s flow velocity and thus increases the amount absorbed by the soil (infiltration). It can withstand a flow velocity up to 5 metres per second (16 ft/s).

Vetiver mulch increases water infiltration and reduces evaporation, thus protects soil moisture under hot and dry conditions. The mulch also protects against splash erosion.

Crop protection:
Vetiver can be used for crop protection. It attracts pests, such as the stem borer (Chilo partellus), which lay their eggs preferably on vetiver. Due to the hairy architecture of vetiver, the larvae can not move on the leaves, fall to the ground and die.

As a mulch, vetiver is used for weed control in coffee, cocoa and tea plantations. It builds a barrier in the form of a thick mat. When the mulch breaks down, soil organic matter is built up and additional nutrients for crops become available.

Animal feed:
The leaves of vetiver are a useful byproduct to feed cattle, goats, sheep and horses. The nutritional content depends on season, growth stage and soil fertility. Under most climates, nutritional values and yields are best if vetiver is cut every 1–3 months.

In-house uses;
In the Indian Subcontinent, khus (vetiver roots) is often used to replace the straw or wood shaving pads in evaporative coolers. When cool water runs for months over wood shavings in evaporative cooler padding, they tend to accumulate algae, bacteria and other microorganisms. This causes the cooler to emit a fishy or seaweed smell into the house. Vetiver root padding counteracts this smell. A cheaper alternative is to add vetiver cooler perfume or even pure khus attar to the tank. Another advantage is that they do not catch fire as easily as dry wood shavings.

Mats made by weaving vetiver roots and binding them with ropes or cords are used in India to cool rooms in a house during summer. The mats are typically hung in a doorway and kept moist by spraying with water periodically; they cool the passing air, as well as emitting a refreshing aroma.[citation needed]

In the hot summer months in India, sometimes a muslin sachet of vetiver roots is tossed into the earthen pot that keeps a household’s drinking water cool. Like a bouquet garni, the bundle lends distinctive flavor and aroma to the water. Khus-scented syrups are also sold.

Fuel cleaning:
A recent study found the plant is capable of growing in fuel-contaminated soil. In addition, the study discovered the plant is also able to clean the soil, so in the end, it is almost fuel-free.

Vetiver grass is used as roof thatch (it lasts longer than other materials), mud brick-making for housing construction (such bricks have lower thermal conductivity), strings and ropes and ornamentals (for the light purple flowers).

Garlands made of vettiver grass is used to adorn The dancing god nataraja in the Hindu temples.

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/Chrysopogon_zizanioides
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=3690
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/83630/

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Herbs & Plants

Wild Indigo (Baptisia lactea)

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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.

CLICK & SEE

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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Herbs & Plants

Dwarf Indigobush (Amorpha nana )

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Botanical Name: Amorpha nana
Family : Leguminosae /Fabaceae
Genus :   Amorpha
Kingdom: Plantae
Division:
Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: A. nana
Synonyms :  Amorpha microphylla – Pursh.
Common Names :Fragrant false indigo,Dwarf indigo, Dwarf indigobush, Dwarf false indigo, Fragrant indigo-bush, Fragrant false indigo, Dwarf wild indigo

Habitat : Western N. America – Minnesota to the Rocky Mountains.   Dry prairies in S. Manitoba

Description :
Dwarf wild indigo is a smooth, much-branched decidious perennial from a woody rootcrown. Plants are usually about 12-18 inches tall. Leaves are found on the upper half of the plant and are about two inches long. Each leaf is comprised of 8-15 pairs of small, oval leaflets arranged along a midrib. Leaves alternate, compound (odd-pinnate) to 5-8 cm long, 25-31 leaflets, each 7-11 mm long and 2-4 mm wide, narrow to broadly oblong, tip rounded, emarginate or mucronate (sharp pointed).  Flowers perfect, small, purplish, one petal, in terminal spike-like clusters (racemes), 3.5-4.5 cm long.  Fruit a small reddish-brown pod, 4-5 mm long, one seed.Several dozen violet-to-purple flowers are crowded into spikes about one half inch wide that form in the upper branches. The tiny pods (legumes) are smooth and glandular.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Look for dwarf wild indigo during late June in native prairie on gentle slopes at middle or low elevations. Plants are usually more abundant where grazing is light or moderate.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :
Prefers a light well-drained sandy soil in sun or light shade. Fairly wind-resistant. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25c. Plants resent root disturbance, they should be planted out into their final positions whilst small. Plants are said to be immune to insect pests. Flowers are produced on the current season’s growth. 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 – presoak for 12 hours in warm water and sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 2 months at 20°c. When 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 in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame. High percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth, autumn, in a sheltered position outdoors. Takes 12 months. Suckers in spring just before new growth begins. Layering in spring .

Medicinal Uses:
Expectorant.
The plant has been used as a snuff in the treatment of catarrh.

Other Uses
Insecticide; Soil stabilization.

The resinous pustules on some species yield the insecticide ‘amorpha’. The plant has a strong spreading root system and this makes it useful for controlling soil erosion.

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?Amorpha+nana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorpha_nana
http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/amnana.htm
http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/plants/wildflwr/species/amornana.htm
http://www.keiriosity.com/gallery/main.php/v/plants/Fabaceae/Amorpha_nana/Amorpha_nana04.jpg.html

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Herbs & Plants

Greasewood

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Botanical Name :Adenostoma fasciculatum
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Adenostoma
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. fasciculatum

Common name: Greasewood, Chamise.

Habitat: South-western N. America – California to Mexico. . Poor depleted soils and dry hot slopes in the Chaparrel in Mexico. Dense thickets among the coastal hills of California.

Description :
An evergreen Shrub .It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

It is an evergreen shrub growing three to four m tall, with dry-looking stick-like branches. The leaves are small, 4–10 mm long  and one mm broad with a pointed apex, and sprout in clusters from the branches. These clusters are known as fascicles, and give the species its Latin name. The leaves are shiny with flammable oils, especially in warmer weather. The branches terminate in bunches of white tubular flowers five mm diameter, with five petals and long stamens. The fruit is a dry achene.
click to see the pictures..>.....(01)......(1).…..(2)....(3)..…..(4).……(5)
The oily leaves give rise to the common name greasewood; however, the species Sarcobatus vermiculatus is more appropriately called by that name.

There are two varieties which differ from each other in minor characters; they are not accepted as distinct by all authors:

A. f. var. fasciculatum. Leaves 5-10 mm, apex sharp; shoots hairless.
A. f. var. obtusifolium. Leaves 4-6 mm, apex blunt; shoots slightly hairy.

It is very drought tolerant and adaptable, with the ability to grow in nutrient-poor, barren soil and on dry, rocky outcrops. It can be found in serpentine soils, which are generally inhospitable to most plants, as well as in slate, sand, clay, and gravel soils. Chaparral habitats are known for their fierce periodical wildfires, and like other chaparral flora, chamise dries out, burns, and recovers quickly to thrive once again. It is a plant that controls erosion well, sprouting from ground level in low basal crowns that remain after fires, preventing the bare soil from being washed away.

Chamise grows in dense, monotypic stands that cover the dry hills of coastal California. These thickets of chamise are sometimes called chamissal. The species also gives its name to a specific chaparral (i.e. Adenostoma fasciculatum chaparral) dominated by A. fasciculatum, according to C.Michael Hogan. In this chaparral type toyon may also be a co-dominant

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 acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation :-
Requires a sheltered sunny position in a well-drained soil and protection from cold winds. Plants are not very hardy in Britain and do not withstand exposure to prolonged winter frosts though they succeed outdoors in the milder areas of the country In colder areas they are best grown against a south or south-west facing wall. The leaves are resinous and catch fire easily. They have a pleasant aroma.

Propagation:-
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow the plants on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse or cold frame, planting them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings could be tried in August of half-ripe wood, preferably with a heel, in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Actions & Uses :-
Antirheumatic; Disinfectant.
A decoction of the leaves and branches has been applied externally in the treatment of rheumatism and as a wash for infected, sore or swollen parts of the body.

Other Uses:-
Adhesive; Basketry; Fuel; Lighting; Soil stabilization.
The wood has been used in basketry. A gum from the plant has been used as a glue. Plants have an extensive spreading root system that helps to bind the soil together. They are planted on slopes and other fragile soils for the prevention of soil erosion. Large roots burn well and have been used for firewood. Branches have been tied together then burnt for use as a torch.

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves are resinous and have a pleasant aroma.

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/database/plants.php?Adenostoma+fasciculatum
http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/adenostoma-fasciculatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenostoma_fasciculatum

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