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Herbs & Plants

Arnica diversifolia

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Botanical Name : Arnica diversifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Arnica
Species: A. ovata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Arnica diversifolia Greene
*Arnica latifolia var. viscidula

Common Names: Rayless arnica

Other Names: Sticky leaf arnica,Arnica ovata

Habitat ; Arnica diversifolia is native to western Canada (Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia), and the western United States (Alaska, Washin[amazon_link asins=’B01L07E8S6,B004OXCGFG,B00YETQ39K’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f1bf0a85-15c1-11e7-9fe7-7f593837763f’]gton, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado). It grows on rocky places from moderate to high elevations in mountains

Description:
Arnica diversifolia is a perennial herb growing 6–24 inches. Erect. Stems 1 to several, unbranched, with sticky gland-bearing hairs. Leaves triangular, irregularly toothed; 3–4 pairs along stem, with largest pair 1–3 in. long and in the middle. Lower leaves on petioles; upper leaves sessile. Flower heads 1–5 in cluster, 8–13 ray flowers less than 1 in. long in head. Flower heads are yellow, with both ray florets and disc florets.
Flowering Time: All Summer

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic, insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

 Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. This is a convenient name for a complex of apparent hybrids involving A. mollis or A. amplexicaulis with A. cordifolia or A. latifolia. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a moist, well-drained humus rich soil, preferably lime-free. Prefers a mixture of sand, loam and peat.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and make sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring

Medicinal Uses:
Antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine, sternutatory, vulnerary.

Other Uses : This plant is used as a hair conditioner. No further details are found.

Known Hazards: The whole plant is toxic and should only be used for external applications to unbroken skin[

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/Arnica_ovata
http://www.pnwflowers.com/flower/arnica-diversifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arnica+diversifolia

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Picea engelmannii

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Botanical Name: Picea engelmannii
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. engelmannii
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common Names : Engelmann spruce, White spruce, Mountain spruce, Silver spruce

Habitat :Picea engelmannii is native to Western N. America – Alberta and British Columbia to Arizona and New Mexico. It grows on montane regions to the tree-line, especially by swamps. Often found on poor thin rocky soils, though the best specimens are growing in deep well-drained clay-loam soils.

Description:
Picea engelmannii is a medium-sized to large evergreen tree growing to 25 metres (82 ft) – 40 metres (130 ft) tall, exceptionally to 65 metres (213 ft) tall, and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft). The bark is thin and scaly, flaking off in small circular plates 5–10 cm across. The crown is narrow conic in young trees, becoming cylindric in older trees. The shoots are buff-brown to orange-brown, usually densely pubescent, and with prominent pulvini. The leaves are needle-like, 15–30 mm long, rhombic in cross-section, glaucous blue-green above with several thin lines of stomata, and blue-white below with two broad bands of stomata.

The cones are pendulous, slender cylindrical, 4–8 cm long and 1.5 cm broad when closed, opening to 3 cm broad. They have thin, flexible scales 15–20 mm long, with a wavy margin. They are reddish to dark purple, maturing pale brown 4–7 months after pollination. The seeds are black, 2–3 mm long, with a slender, 5–8 mm long pale brown wing.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Cultivation:
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Resists wind exposure to some degree. Plants have a shallow root system and are easily wind-blown. Often planted for its timber in N. Europe. Trees are of moderate growth after a slow start, older trees often averaging over 40cm a year. Trees grow better and faster in the north of Britain than in the south. This is not an easy tree to grow in Britain, it prefers a continental climate and, although the dormant tree is very cold hardy, the new growth in spring is very susceptible to damage by late frosts in this country. Quite long-lived in its native range, with specimens 500 – 600 years old. Seed production commences around the age of 20 – 25 years, with excellent crops every 2 – 6 years. Closely related to P. glauca, this species also hybridizes with P sitchensis in the south of its range. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. The crushed foliage is often said to be foetid but after the first sniff the scent is sweet and like menthol or camphor. Plants are susceptible to damage by the green spruce aphid.
Propagation:
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best[78]. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure.

Edible Uses:
Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are about 5cm long. Inner bark – dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips.
Medicinal Uses:
An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of respiratory complaints, TB etc. A decoction of the leaves and gum has been used in the treatment of cancer. It was said that if this treatment did not work then nothing would work. The decoction was also used in the treatment of coughs. The ashes of the twigs, mixed with oil, have been used as an ointment or salve on damaged skin. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used in the treatment of eczema.

Other Uses
Basketry; Charcoal; Fibre; Fuel; Tannin; Wood.

The bark is a source of tannin. The branches and the roots have been shredded, pounded and used to make cord and rope. (It is probably the bark that was used.) The bark has been used to make baskets and various small utensils. Wood – close-grained, light, soft, not strong. It is used for lumber, construction, fuel and charcoal. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper

Engelmann spruce is of economic importance for its wood, harvested for paper-making and general construction. Wood from slow-grown trees at high altitude has a specialised use in making musical instruments such as acoustic guitars, harps, violins, and pianos. It is also used to a small extent as a Christmas tree.
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/Picea_engelmannii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+engelmannii

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Herbs & Plants

Amphicarpaea bracteata

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Botanical Name : Amphicarpaea bracteata
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Amphicarpaea
Species: A. bracteata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms :  A. monoica. (L.)Ell. Falcata comosa. (L.)Kuntze.

Common Name :Hog-peanut,  American hogpeanut

Habitat :Amphicarpaea bracteata is native to Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to Florida, west to Manitoba and Louisiana.Grows in   Cool damp woodlands

Description:
Amphicarpaea bracteata is a perennial climber growing to 1.5 m (5ft).Leaves have three leaflets and are held alternately on twining stems.Flowers are pink to white and bloom from late summer to autumn. The flowers are either open for cross-pollination or closed and self-pollinating. The closed flowers may be above or below ground.

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Seeds from open flowers are held in a flat pod, pointed at both ends, that dries when mature and twists to release the seeds. Seeds from closed flowers are held in round pods with a single seed each. The roots and seeds are edible.   The seeds from underground flowers give it the name peanut.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It can fix Nitrogen.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in full shade (deep woodland)or semi-shade (light woodland).It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:  
Requires a moist humus-rich soil in a shady position. The young shoots in spring can be damaged by late frosts. The hog peanut has occasionally been cultivated for its edible seed which has been used as a peanut substitute. Yields at present, however, are rather low. Two types of blossom are produced by the plant – those produced from the leaf axils mostly abort but a few seeds are produced. Solitary, inconspicuous cleistogamous flowers are produced on thread-like stems near the root and, after flowering, the developing seedpods bury themselves into the soil in a manner similar to peanuts. 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 then sow in spring in a semi-shaded position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within a few weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Division. We have been unable to divide this plant because it only makes a small taproot. However, many of the seeds are produced under the ground and these can be harvested like tubers and potted up to make more plants.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed – raw or cooked. Two types of seed are produced – flowers produced near the ground produce a pod that buries itself just below soil level. These pods contain a single seed are up to 15mm in diameter which can be used as a peanut substitute. They can be harvested throughout the winter and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are sweet and delicious raw with a taste that is more like shelled garden beans than peanuts. Yields are rather low, and it can be a fiddle finding the seeds, but they do make a very pleasant and nutritious snack. Other flowers higher up the plant produce seed pods that do not bury themselves. The seeds in these pods are much smaller and are usually cooked before being eaten. They can be used in all the same ways as lentils and are a good source of protein. The overall crop of these seeds is rather low and they are also fiddly to harvest. Root – cooked. The root is peeled, boiled and then eaten. Fleshy and nutritious according to one report, whilst another says that the root is too small to be of much importance in the diet. Our plants have only produced small and stringy roots.

Medicinal Uses  
An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Externally, the root has been applied to bites from rattlesnakes. A poultice of the pulverized leaves has been applied with any salve to swellings.

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=Amphicarpaea+bracteata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphicarpaea_bracteata
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=AMPBRA

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