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Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier intermedia

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Botanical Name : Amelanchier intermedia
Family:Rosaceae
Genus: Amelanchier
Species:Amelanchier intermedia Spach
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering Plants
Class: Magnoliopsida
Sub Class:Rosidae
Order:Rosales

Common Name: Serviceberry

Habitat :Amelanchier intermedia is native to Eastern N. America – Vermont to North Carolina. It grows on swamps and moist soils.

Description:
Amelanchier intermedia is a  perennial deciduous Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft) by 4 m (13ft).The plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns.The bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth. The leaf blade is simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets) There is one leaf per node along the stem but the edge of the leaf blade has teeth. Leaf blade length is 25–60 mm and the width is 18–30 mm.There are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July.The fruit is fleshy. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an acid or neutral soil. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe. Considerable confusion has existed between this species and A. arborea, A. canadensis and A. laevis, see for the latest (1991) classification. Some botanists consider this species to be part of A. canadensis or A. lamarckii. A group of plants growing at Kew were about 5 years old in 1995. They were flowering well in early April, were about 2 metres tall and had lots of side branches. Their native range was given as western N. America, which conflicts with other reports. Older plants are being grown at Hilliers Arboretum in Hampshire, in early April 1999 they were 4 metres tall, suckering quite freely in a tight clump and flowering very freely. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Grafting onto seedlings of Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Edible fruit – raw or cooked. We have yet to see the fruit on this species, but if it is like the closely related A. lamarckii, then it will be sweet and succulent with a flavour of apples. The fruit can also be dried for later use and is up to 10mm in diameter. The fruit is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Uses: Not yet known.

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=Amelanchier+intermedia
http://www.newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=2778
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/amelanchier/intermedia/

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Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier basalticola

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Botanical Name : Amelanchier basalticola
Family: Rosaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribe: Maleae
Subtribe: Malinae
Genus: Amelanchier

Synonyms: A. alnifolia pumila. (Nutt.)Nels.

Habitat: Amelanchier basalticola is native to North-western N. America – Washington. It grows on open woods, canyons and hillsides, from near sea level to the sub-alpine zone.

Description:
Amelanchier basalticola is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft).
It  is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an acid or neutral soil. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe. There is much difference of opinion in the naming of members of this genus, with many botanists viewing this species as no more than a form of A. alnifolia. It hybridizes freely with other members of the genus. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are edible both raw or cooked. It is 9 – 12mm in diameter. The fruit is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Uses:   Not yet known.
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=Amelanchier+basalticola
http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=508694

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier

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Herbs & Plants

Aciphylla squarrosa

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Botanical Name : Aciphylla squarrosa
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Aciphylla
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Name: Speargrass,Taramea, Spaniard
Aciphylla squarrosa is known as “kurikuri” by Maori.

Habitat :Aciphylla squarrosa is native to New Zealand. It is found from sea-level to montane areas in North and South Islands to latitude 41° 30′ south.

Description:
Aciphylla squarrosa is an evergreen Perennial growing to 2.5 m (8ft) by 1.5 m (5ft). It is a large speargrass with stiff rigid leaves and a spiny flower stalk.It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to July.Flower colours are Green & Yellow. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile. The flower spikes occur in summer and grow up to 2m tall.
CLICK & SEE THI PICTURES

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a perfectly drained gritty soil in full sun. Easily grown in a moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Hardy to about -10°c according to one report whilst another says it is hardy to about -15°c. Dioecious but female plants have occasional male flowers. Male and female plants must normally be grown if seed is required. The flowers are sweetly scented.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be sown in a greenhouse in late winter or early spring. Germination can be very slow. 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 before planting them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Edible Uses: 
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.
Edible Uses: Gum; Gum.

Root – cooked. Aromatic. A very good taste. The resin is used as a chewing gum. Shoots and young stems. No further details.

Medicinal Uses: Not yet known.
Other Uses:.Gum; Gum…..The plant yields a semi-transparent resinous gum that is edible and also used in perfumery.

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.

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=Aciphylla+squarrosa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aciphylla
http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1471
http://findaplant.co.nz/2011/06/08/featured-plant-aciphylla-squarrosa/

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Herbs & Plants

Allium dregeanum

Botanical Name: Allium dregeanum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. dregeanum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Common Name : Wild Onion

Habitat :Allium dregeanum is native to South Africa. It grows on the dry stony slopes and flats, often along the sides of roads or in old cornfields, from Clanwilliam to Riversdale and Long Kloof.

Description:
Allium dregeanum is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or 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 could succeed outdoors at least in the milder parts of the country. This species is related to the wild leek of Europe (Allium ampeloprasum). The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Bulb – raw or cooked. Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a condiment. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses :...Repellent…The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
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/Allium_dregeanum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+dregeanum

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Herbs & Plants

Prunus mahaleb

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Botanical Name : Prunus mahaleb
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. mahaleb
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names :Prunus mahaleb, aka mahaleb cherry, aka St Lucie cherry

Habitat :Prunus mahaleb  is native in the Mediterranean region, Iran and parts of central Asia. It is adjudged to be native in northwestern Europe or at  least it is naturalized there.The tree occurs in thickets and open woodland on dry slopes; in central Europe at altitudes up to 1,700 m, and in highlands at  1,200-2,000 m in southern Europe. It has become naturalised in some temperate areas, including Europe north of its native range (north to Great Britain and  Sweden), and locally in Australia and the United States.

Description:
Prunus mahaleb is a deciduous tree or large shrub, growing to 2–10 m (rarely up to 12 m) tall with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter.The tree’s bark is  grey-brown, with conspicuous lenticels on young stems, and shallowly fissured on old trunks. The leaves are 1.5-5 cm long, 1-4 cm. wide, alternate, clustered at the end of alternately arranged twigs, ovate to cordate, pointed, have serrate edges, longitudinal venation and are glabrous and green. The petiole is  5-20 mm, and may or may not have two glands. The flowers are fragrant, pure white, small, 8-20 mm diameter, with an 8-15 mm pedicel; they are arranged 3-10  together on a 3-4 cm long raceme. The flower pollination is mainly by bees. The fruit is a small thin-fleshed cherry-like drupe 8–10 mm in diameter, green at  first, turning red then dark purple to black when mature, with a very bitter flavour; flowering is in mid spring with the fruit ripening in mid to late  summer……....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing best in a poor soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible 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. 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.

Edible Uses:
The fruit might be edible. The fruits of all members of this genus are more or less edible, may not be always of very good quality. However, if the fruit is bitter it should not be eaten in any quantity due to the presence of toxic compounds. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seeds are eaten  raw or cooked. The dried seed kernels are used as a flavouring in breads, sweet pastries, confectionery etc. They impart an intriguing flavour. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The seed is tonic. 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.

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 supplement, it is

always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_mahaleb
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+mahaleb