Tag Archives: Eurasia

Gypsophila struthium

 

Botanical Name: Gypsophila struthium
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Gypsophila
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name: Egyptian  Soapwort,  Baby’s-breath

Habitat : Gypsophila struthium is native to Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Description:, 
Gypsophila struthium is a perennial herbaceous plant with a stem 1 to 2 feet in height.The leaves are variable in shape. The inflorescence is usually a cyme or a thyrse, branching intricately. Each small flower has a cup-like calyx of white-edged green sepals containing five petals in shades of white or pink. The fruit is a rounded or oval capsule opening at valves. It contains several brown or black seeds which are often shaped like a kidney or a snail shell.

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The root is generally in lengths of 4 to 6 inches, 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; colour a yellowish white, furrowed down its length externally with lighter places where the cortex has been rubbed. The section is of a radiate and concentric structure. Taste bitter, then acrid; odour slight; powder irritating to the nostrils. This variety is rarely used medicinally, the Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) being used as a substitute. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
Cultivation :
Requires a sunny position and a deep soil. Lime tolerant. Grows well in a dryish soil.
Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and, if growth is sufficient, plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and then plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. 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. Basal cuttings before the plant flowers. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. 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. Root cuttings.
Medicinal Uses:
Alterative; Diaphoretic; Purgative; Skin; Tonic.

Tonic, diaphoretic, alterative. A valuable remedy in the treatment of syphilitic, scrofulous and cutaneous diseases, also in jaundice, liver affections, rheumatism and gonorrhoea, the decoction is generally used. Saponin is produced from this plant. Although rarely used, this species can be employed in many of the same ways as soapwort, Saponaria officinalis. It is a valuable remedy, used as an external wash, for the treatment of many skin diseases.

Other Uses : The plant contains saponins. This may be used as soap substitute.

Known Hazards: Although no mention has been seen for this species, at least one member of this genus has a root that is rich in saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by heat so a long slow baking can destroy them. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Gypsophila
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/soroeg62.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gypsophila+struthium

Urtica urens

Botanical Name : Urtica urens
Family: Urticaceae
Genus:     Urtica
Species: U. urens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Rosales

Synonyms: Common Nettle. Stinging Nettle.
Common Names :Annual nettle, Dwarf nettle, Small nettle, Dog nettle or Burning nettle

Habitat : Urtica urens is native to Eurasia and it can be found in North America and New Zealand as an introduced species. It is not only to be found in distant Japan, but also in South Africa and Australia and in the Andes.

Description:
Urtica urens is an annual herb, growing to a height of 4 to 20 inches.Stem is ascending–erect, often branching, 4-edged, with stinging hairs.

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Flower: Staminate and pistillate flowers separate, but on the same plant, flowers very small. Staminate flower: tepals 4, with sepals, hairy, translucent. Stamens 4, filaments curled inwards as buds. Pistillate flower: tepals 4, with sepals, in different-sized pairs, hairy, larger tepals usually with one stinging hair each. A single carpel, stigma brush-like. Inflorescence catkin-like, 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in.) long, shorter than leaf-stalks.

Leaves: Opposite, stalked, stipulate. Blade elliptic–quite round, with wedge-shaped–blunt base, short-tipped, deeply serrated, both sides with few stinging hairs, light green. Blade approx. 1.5 times as long as broad, stalk approx. 2/3 length of blade.

Fruit: Elliptic–drop-shaped, flat, yellowish brown, achene protected by tepals.
Cultivation:    
Prefers a nitrogen-rich soil. The best fibre is produced when plants are grown on deep fertile soils. Dislikes shade.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame.

Edible Uses:   
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Drink;  Oil.

Young leaves – cooked and used as a potherb. A very nutritious food, high in vitamins and minerals, it makes an excellent spinach substitute and can also be added to soups and stews. Only use the young leaves and wear stout gloves when harvesting them to prevent getting stung. Although the fresh leaves have stinging hairs, thoroughly drying or cooking them destroys these hairs. Nettle beer is brewed from the young shoots.

Medicinal Uses:.

Parts  Used: The whole herb, collected in Mayand June, just before coming into flower, and dried in the usual manner prescribed for ‘bunched’ herbs.
Constituents: The analysis of the fresh Nettle shows the presence of formic acid, mucilage, mineral salts, ammonia, carbonic acid and water.

It is the formic acid in the Nettle, with the phosphates and a trace of iron, which constitute it such a valuable food medicinally.

When the herb is collected for drying, it should be gathered only on a fine day, in the morning, when the sun has dried off the dew. Cut off just above the root, rejecting any stained or insect-eaten leaves, and tie in bunches, about six to ten in a bunch, spread out fanwise, so that the air can penetrate freely to all parts.

Hang the bunches over strings. If dried in the open, keep them in half-shade and bring indoors before there is any risk of damp from dew or rain. If dried indoors, hang up in a sunny room, and failing sun, in a well-ventilated room by artificial heat. Care must be taken that the window be left open by day so that there is a free current of air and the moisture-laden, warm air may escape. The bunches should be of uniform size and length, to facilitate packing when dry, and when quite dry and crisp must be packed away at once in airtight boxes or tins, otherwise moisture will be reabsorbed from the air.

The seeds and flowers are dried in the sun, or over a stove, on sheets of paper.

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used as a tonic and blood purifier. The whole plant is antiasthmatic, antidandruff, astringent, depurative, diuretic, galactogogue, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and a stimulating tonic. An infusion of the plant is very valuable in stemming internal bleeding, it is also used to treat anaemia, excessive menstruation, haemorrhoids, arthritis, rheumatism and skin complaints, especially eczema. Externally, the plant is used to treat arthritic pain, gout, sciatica, neuralgia, haemorrhoids, hair problems etc. For medicinal purposes, the plant is best harvested in May or June as it is coming into flower and dried for later use. This species merits further study for possible uses against kidney and urinary system ailments. The juice of the nettle can be used as an antidote to stings from the leaves and an infusion of the fresh leaves is healing and soothing as a lotion for burns. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh plant, gathered when in flower. A useful first-aid remedy, it is used in the treatment of ailments such as bites and stings, burns, hives and breast feeding problems.

The Nettle is still in demand by wholesale herbalists, who stock the dried and powdered herb, also the seeds. Homoeopathic chemists, in addition, employ the green herb for the preparation of a tincture.

Other Uses:
A strong flax-like fibre is obtained from the stems. Used for string and cloth, it also makes a good quality paper. It is harvested as the plant begins to die down in early autumn. An essential ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator, the leaves are also an excellent addition to the compost heap and they can be soaked for 7 – 21 days in water to make a very nutritious liquid feed for plants. This liquid feed is both insect repellent and a good foliar feed. The growing plant increases the essential oil content of other nearby plants, thus making them more resistant to insect pests. A hair wash is made from the infused leaves and this is used as a tonic and antidandruff treatment. A green dye is obtained from the leaves and stems. A yellow dye is obtained from the root. An oil extracted from the seeds is used as an illuminant in lamps.

Known Hazards:  The leaves of the plants have stinging hairs, causing irritation to the skin. This action is neutralized by heat so the cooked leaves are perfectly safe and nutritious. However, only young leaves should be used because older leaves develop gritty particles called cystoliths which act as an irritant to the kidneys.

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=Urtica+urens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html#lesmed
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/annual-nettle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_urens

Asplenium Adiantum nigrum

Botanical NameAsplenium Adiantum nigrum
Family: Aspleniaceae /  Polypodiaceae
Genus: Asplenium
Species: A. adiantum-nigrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales

Synonym: Black Maidenhair.

Common Name:Black spleenwort

Habitat : Asplenium Adiantum nigrum  is found mostly in Africa, Europe, and Eurasia, but is also native to a few locales in Mexico and the United States.It grows on Rocky woods, hedgebanks, shady walls and rocks

Description:
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).This spleenwort has thick, triangular leaf blades up to 10 centimeters long which are divided into several subdivided segments. It is borne on a reddish green petiole and the rachis is shiny and slightly hairy. The undersides of each leaf segment have one or more sori arranged in chains.
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Lowest pinnules of middle pinnae c 6-10 mm.  Lowest pinnae 2-6 cm

ID: Stalk blackish, rachis green except at base.  Midrib of pinna has characteristic winged appearance, see pic on left.  Lowest pinnae longest, overall shape narrow-triangular.

Other features: Leaves are rather leathery and glossy.  Sori are linear, on veins, covering much of the underside of the pinna.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Jun to October.

Cultivation:  
Requires a partly shaded site with preferably less than 3 hours sunshine daily. Plants can be grown in old brick walls. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Spores – best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Germinates in spring. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 – 3 months at 15°c. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse. Keep them humid until they are well established. When they are at least 15cm tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is bitter, diuretic, laxative and ophthalmic. It is taken internally to treat diseases of the spleen, jaundice and ophthalmia. It is said to produce sterility in women. A decoction or syrup made from the fronds is emmenagogue, expectorant and pectoral. It is used to relieve troublesome coughs.

Other Uses:  
Hair………A decoction of the herb is a good hair wash.

 Known Hazards: Although there is no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase.

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=Asplenium+adiantum-nigrum
http://www.plant-identification.co.uk/skye/aspleniaceae/asplenium-adiantum-nigrum.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asplenium_adiantum-nigrum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/ferns-08.html#lad

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Leontodon hispidus

Botanical Name :Leontodon hispidus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cichorieae
Genus:    Leontodon
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Common Names :  Hawkbits, Bristly Hawkbit

Habitat : Although originally only native to Eurasia and North Africa, some species have since become established in other countries, including the United States and New Zealand.It grows on meadows, roadside verges etc, usually on calcareous soils and avoiding shade

Description:
Leontodon hispidus is a perennial plant growing to a height of 4 to 16 in. Stem is leafless, unbranched with a single capitulum, usually densely covered with star-shaped hairs (sometimes almost or completely glabrous). The leaves are basal rosette. Blades are narrowly elliptic, pinnately lobed–large-toothed, lobes wide.

The  flowers are 0.8 to 1.6 in. wide, single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum’s ray-florets bright yellow (outermost red-streaked), tongue-like, 5-toothed at tip. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping, hairy, green. Capitula solitary, terminating scape. Scape thickening only slightly at most. Buds are nodding.Flowering time is June–July.The fruit is achene, crowned by a pappus of yellowish-white feathery hairs.

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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation:           
An easily grown and tolerant plant, it prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil and does well on clay. A good bee and butterfly plant[108, 200], it grows well in the spring meadow.

Propagation:     
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in situ, only just covering the seed. Very fast germination. The seed can also be sown in the spring. If you are short of seed it can be sown in a pot in the cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer.

Edible Uses :  
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. Neither the taste nor the texture are by any means wonderful, but the leaves are acceptable raw, particularly since they can be available in the late winter. The roasted root is a coffee substitute

Medicinal Uses:
The herb is diuretic. An infusion is used in the treatment of kidney complaints and as a remedy for dropsy and jaundice.

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/Leontodon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Leontodon+hispidus
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/rough-hawkbit
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hawrou05.html

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Autumn hawkbit

Botanical Name : Leontodon autumnalis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus:     Scorzoneroides
Species: S. autumnalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonyms: Scorzoneroides autumnalis

Common Names :Autumn hawkbit,fall dandelion

Habitat : Leontodon autumnalis is native range in Eurasia (from Europe east to western Siberia), and introduced in North America.It grows on shores, rocky outcrops, roadsides, paths, wasteland, pastures, yards, lawns, fell tundra meadows, shores, snow-bed sites.

Description:
Leontodon autumnalis is a perennial plant,  growing to a height of 4 to 15 inches.  The stem  is  usually branched with many capitula  and the leafless  are  almost glabrous scape.
The flower is single flower-like capitula 1 to 1.2 in. broad, surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum flowers yellow (outermost edge usually slightly reddish), tongue-like, tip 5-toothed. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping in 2–3 rows, hairy–glabrous. Capitula solitary terminating branches, pedicels thickening towards top. Flower with weak, pansy-like, slightly pungent fragrance.Flowering time is July to September.

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The leaves are  basal rosette, stalked, stalks winged. Blade lanceolate, glabrous, pinnate (occasionally large-toothed), lobes long, narrow.
The fruit is almost glossy, yellowish cypsela, crowned with feathery hairs.The seeds are long and brown, attached to a parachute consisting of a single row of hairs.

(Leontodon is from Lion’s tooth which describes the shape of the leaves.)

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/Scorzoneroides_autumnalis
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/autumn-hawkbit
https://www.growwilduk.com/know-your-wild-flowers

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