Tag Archives: French Alps

Rhododendron ferrugineum

Botanical Name : Rhododendron ferrugineum
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species:R. ferrugineum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names: Alpenrose, Snow-rose, or Rusty-leaved alpenrose

Habitat :Rhododendron ferrugineum is native to Europe.It grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines on the mountain slopes in open woods or scrub, often dominant in the dwarf shrub zone.

Description:
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name. This is in contrast to Rhododendron hirsutum, which has no such brown colouring, has hairy edges to the leaves and grows over limestone. Where the two species co-occur (usually on soils of intermediate pH), the hybrid Rhododendron × intermedium may occur; as its name suggests, it is intermediate in form between the two parental species.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal. This species grows better in the midlands and north Britain, disliking the hotter conditions in the south. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult

Medicinal Uses:
The flowers, leaves and the galls are antirheumatic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is used in the treatment of certain forms of arthritis and rheumatism, but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting so should only be used with expert supervision. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in treating a variety of complaints involving flatulence.

Other Uses:
Plants can be grown as ground cover when spaced about 1 metre apart each way. Some substances in this plant have shown herbicidal activity, though more research needs to be carried out

Known Hazards: The leaves and the galls are poisonous. The pollen of many if not all species of rhododendrons is also probably toxic, being said to cause intoxication when eaten in large quantities.

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/Rhododendron_ferrugineum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhododendron+ferrugineum

Small-Leaved Knotweed

Botanical Name : Polygonum arenastrum – Bor.
Family :                Polygonaceae
Genus  : Polygonum
Synonyms: Polygonum calcatum Lindman, Polygonum aequale Lindin, Polygonum aviculare subsp. depressum (Meissner) Arcang., Polygonum aviculare subsp. aequale (Lindman) A. et. Gr., Polygonum aviculare subsp. calcatum (Lindman) Thell.
Common Names :  mat grass, oval-leaf knotweed, stone grass, wiregrass, and door weed, as well as many others.

Habitat :Throughout Europe, including Britain. Waste places and roadsides, common throughout Britain .

Description:
Small-Leaved Knotweed is an annual herb growing to 0.3m.with prostrate or ascending bluish-green slender, terete stems, not sharply angled, 1-12 dm. long; lvs. lanceolate to almost oblong, 5-20 mm. long, blue-green, scattered to approximate, not much reduced upward, joined with the ocreae and 1-nerved, mostly 2 or more in the axils, short pedicelled; branch-lvs. much smaller than stem lvs.; stipule-sheaths silvery, soon torn; fls. 1-5 in axillary clusters; calyx 2-3 mm. long, greenish with pinkish to purplish margins, persistent, divided almost to base; stamens 8, rarely 5; aks. dull or slightly shiny, 2-2.5 mm. long, somewhat roughened.
It is hardy to zone 5. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.


Cultivation :

Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade. Repays generous treatment, in good soils the plant will cover an area up to a metre in diameter. Prefers an acid soil. Dislikes shade. Knotweed is a common and invasive weed of cultivated ground. It is an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies.  It also produces an abundance of seeds and these are a favourite food for many species of birds. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The flowers have little or no scent or honey and are rarely visited by pollinating insects. Self-fertilization is the usual method of reproduction, though cross-fertilization by insects does sometimes occur. The plant also produces cleistogomous flowers – these never open and therefore are always self-fertilized. The plant is very variable according to habitat and is seen by most botanists as part of an aggregate species of 4 very variable species, viz. – P. aviculare. L.; P. boreale. (Lange.)Small.; P. rurivacum. Jord. ex Box.; and P. arenastrum. Bor.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses
Young leaves and plants – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb, they are very rich in zinc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to utilize, they can be used in all the ways that buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is used, either whole or dried and ground into a powder for use in pancakes, biscuits and piñole. The leaves are a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:

Knotweed is a safe and effective astringent and diuretic herb that is used mainly in the treatment of complaints such as dysentery and haemorrhoids. It is also taken in the treatment of pulmonary complaints because the silicic acid it contains strengthens connective tissue in the lungs. The whole plant is anthelmintic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, lithontripic and vulnerary. It was formerly widely used as an astringent both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, bleeding, piles and diarrhoea. Its diuretic properties make it useful in removing stones.  An alcohol-based preparation has been used with success to treat varicose veins of recent origin. The plant is harvested in the summer and early autumn and is dried for later use. The leaves are anthelmintic, diuretic and emollient. The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic and diuretic. The juice of the plant is weakly diuretic, expectorant and vasoconstrictor. Applied externally, it is an excellent remedy to stay bleeding of the nose and to treat sores. The seeds are emetic and purgative. Recent research has shown that the plant is a useful medicine for bacterial dysentery. Of 108 people with this disease, 104 recovered within 5 days when treated internally with a paste of knotweed.

Other Uses
Yields a blue dye that is not much inferior to indigo. The part used is not specified, but it is likely to be the leaves. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the whole plant. The roots contain tannins, but the quantity was not given.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) – whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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=Polygonum+arenastrum
http://botany.cz/cs/polygonum-arenastrum/
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Polygonum+arenastrum
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Polygonum_arenastrum

http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/Plants%20of%20Upper%20Newport%20Bay%20(Robert%20De%20Ruff)/Polygonaceae/Polygonum%20arenastrum.htm

Insomnia in kids may spell big trouble

 Does your child suffer from regular disturbed sleep? Beware, he or she could grow up to be depressed and suffer from various ‘co morbid anxiety disorders’.

According to a study published in the January 1 issue of journal SLEEP, sleep-disturbed children have been found to be more severely depressed and suffering from co morbid anxiety disorders compared with children without sleep disturbance.

The study, authored by Xianchen Liu and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, was conducted on 553 children with a depressive disorder in Hungary. Out of this study group, 72.7% had suffered from some kind of sleep disturbance, of which 53.5% had insomnia, 9% hypersomnia (prolonged night time sleep and daytime sleepiness) and 10.1% had both disturbances.

Researchers said depressed girls were more likely to have sleep disturbance than boys, but age had no significant effects. In an e-mail interview with TOI, Liu said the study also found that across sleep-disturbed children, those with both insomnia and hypersomnia had a longer history of illness, were more severely depressed and were more likely to have anhedonia (a key symptom of depression associated with lack of pleasure in everyday pleasurable activities), weight loss, psychomotor retardation and fatigue than those with either insomnia or hypersomnia.

Liu is an assistant professor of psychiatry and has been conducting sleep studies for more than 10 years with a focus on sleep in children and adolescents for 5 years and on sleep and depression and suicidality for about 3 years.

“We know that depression is associated with sleep problems. But what this study shows is that in depressed youths, not all sleep problems are the same. Insomnia is the most common problem, but having a combination of insomnia and sleepiness is double trouble. Youths having both of these had more severe depression than youths with just one sleep problem,” he stated.

The study, conducted in 23 mental health facilities in Hungary, also pointed out that 90% of depressed adults had sleep complaints and over two-third of depressed children had significant sleep onset problems. “The surprising finding of the study was the relationship between sleep disturbances and depressive symptoms. Insomniacs suffered from depressed mood, diurnal variation and agitation, hypersomnia caused weight loss and worthlessness,” Liu said.

Said Dr Anupam Sibal, paediatrician at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital,”Sleep deprivation leading to health complications is a common problem in adolescence. School children should get between 10-11 hours of sleep a night to achieve good health and optimum performance. We see the hours reduce to 8 in adolescence due to late night television and internet chatting. This impacts their health, attention span, reaction time, memory and motivation, ultimately affecting their academic performance.”

To ensure the most effective care, researchers in the study have advised parents of sleep-disturbed children to first consult a paediatrician, who may issue a referral to a sleep specialist for comprehensive testing and treatment.

Source:The Times Of India