Categories
Herbs & Plants

Arnica cordifolia

[amazon_link asins=’B004V3OWHO,B01FBP69AS,B004V3OVVQ,B073WJB3LF’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bceb0e97-dfc2-11e7-838f-d92340ee064a’]

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

Synonyms:
*Arnica cordifolia Hook. var. cordifolia
*Arnica cordifolia Hook. var. pumila (Rydb.) Maguire

Common Name: Heartleaf arnica

Habitat :Arnica cordifolia is native to western North America from Alaska to California to New Mexico, as far east as Ontario and Michigan. It is a plant of many habitat types, including coniferous forests and mountain meadows.
Description:
This is a rhizomatous perennial herb producing one or more erect stems reaching a maximum height near half a meter. It has two to four pairs of leaves on the stem, each on a long petiole. The leaves are heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped and finely toothed along the edges. The inflorescence bears one or more daisylike flower heads lined with white-haired phyllaries and sometimes studded with resin glands. The center of each head contains golden yellow disc florets and a fringe of bright golden ray florets approaching 3 centimeters in maximum length. Blooms: April – July

CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

The fruit is a hairy achene up to a centimeter long, not counting its off-white pappus. Seeds are dispersed on the wind. An individual plant can live twelve years, surviving periodic wildfire by resprouting from its long, slender rhizome afterward.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.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:
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:
The whole plant is antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine, sternutatory and vulnerary. When applied intravenously or orally it causes a rise in body temperature. All parts of the plant may be used, but the flowers are used in preference to the root. They have a discutient property and a tincture is used as an external application to swellings, sprains, bruises and wounds. A salve applied to cuts helps to keep down infections.

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

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_cordifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arnica+cordifolia
http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php?Genus=Arnica&Species=cordifolia

Advertisements
Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Gaura parviflora

[amazon_link asins=’B00ABNJQ10,B06X9KQSS6,B00EDKW3BW,B00QDFMTWI’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’6dd65524-468f-11e7-9d8e-a527a21f8cb4′]

Botanical Name: Gaura parviflora
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Gaura
Species: G. parviflora
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Myrtales
Synonyms: G. mollis James; velvetweed, velvety gaura, downy gaura, or smallflower gaura

Common Names: Velvetweed

Habitat : Gaura parviflora is native to the central United States and northern Mexico, from Nebraska and Wyoming south to Durango and Nuevo Leon. It grows on upland prairies, abandoned fields, vacant lots, areas along railroads, and barren waste areas. Open areas with a history of disturbance are preferred.
Description:
Gaura parviflora is an annual or biennial wildflower  plant  which  is 2-6′ tall and either unbranched or sparingly branched. The central stem is light green to reddish brown, terete (round in cross-section), and covered with fine hairs. Ascending alternate leaves occur along the lower to middle sections of the stem. Individual leaves are 2-5″ long and ¼-1″ across; they are narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate, sessile (or nearly so), and either entire (smooth) or sparsely denticulate with barely perceptible teeth. Leaf surfaces are light gray-green and either glabrous or sparsely to moderately covered with appressed fine hairs. Leaf venation is pinnate. The upper stem (or stems) terminates in a narrow spike of flowers about ½-2½’ long. Only a few flowers are in bloom at the same time, beginning at the bottom of the spike and ending at its apex. Each flower is about ¼” across, consisting of 4 spreading petals, 4 drooping sepals, an inferior ovary, 8 stamens, and a single style with an X-shaped stigma. The petals are white, pink, or magenta (often becoming more deeply colored with age); they are oblanceolate in shape. The sepals are light green to red and linear-lanceolate. The ovary is light green to red and narrowly cylindrical. The central stalk of the floral spike is light green to red and glabrous. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 2 months. The flowers open during the evening and close during the morning. However, on cloudy days, they may remain open later. Each flower lasts only 1-2 days. In the absence of cross-pollination, the flowers are self-fertile. They are replaced by ellipsoid seed capsules that become about 1/3″ (9 mm.) in length at maturity. Each capsule contains 2-4 seeds about 2-3 mm. in length that are lanceoloid and somewhat flattened. The root system consists of a stout taproot.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bees and moths. Both nectar and pollen are available as floral rewards. The foliage, flowers, and other parts of Small-Flowered Gaura and similar species are sometimes eaten by various insects, including the flea beetle Altica foliaceae, the aphid Macrosiphum pseudorosae, Hippiscus ocelote (Wrinkled Grasshopper), Melanoplus keeleri luridus (Keeler’s Grasshopper), and some moth caterpillars. These moth species include Proserpinus guarae (Proud Sphinx), Proserpinus juanita (Green-Banded Day Sphinx), and Schinia gaurae (Clouded Crimson). The foliage is palatable to goats and probably other mammalian herbivores.

Cultivation: The preference is full sun, mesic to dry conditions, and almost any kind of soil that is well-drained. Resistance to hot dry weather is excellent, although some of the lower leaves may wither away. This wildflower is somewhat weedy.

Medicinal Uses:
Among the Zuni people, fresh or dried root would be chewed by medicine man before sucking snakebite and poultice applied to wound.
A poultice made of the crushed plant has been used to treat muscular pains and arthritis.
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/Gaura_parviflora
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/sf_gaura.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Vanilla planiforlia

[amazon_link asins=’B0002UN7PI,B0046EJ570,B00DUF2IUM,B016SIPJ76,B00BCQSEA4,B0000VLU0I,B00I6CV8FK,B003L259AU,B005MIWPGC’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ea1dab7c-468f-11e7-8858-3399a8b788d5′]

Botanical Name : Vanilla planiforlia
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Vanilloideae
Tribes: Vanilleae
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Vanilla
Species: Vanilla planifolia

Synonyms: Vanilla planifolia Jacks, Notylia planifolia

Common name: Vanilla
Habitat:Vanilla planiforlia is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows in the tropical forests.
Description:
Vanilla planifolia is a tropical vine, which can reach a length of over 30 m. It has thick, fleshy stems and greenish flowers that open early in the morning and are pollinated by bees. The flowers have only a slight scent, with no element of the vanilla flavour or aroma. Once pollinated, the ovaries swell and develop into fruits called ‘pods’ similar to long, thin runner beans over a period of four weeks. The pods contain thousands of tiny black seeds.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Cultivation:
Chris Ryan of Kew’s Tropical Nursery has found that propagation of this orchid is relatively straightforward and is usually done from stem cuttings.

A piece of stem is taken, with a minimum of three sets of leaves. The cutting is placed on sphagnum moss and kept damp in a warm and humid environment until new growth starts from one of the nodes. The cuttings are then planted into hanging baskets, using a compost mix made of three parts bark chips, two parts pumice and one part charcoal. The compost is watered only when it dries out, but the aerial roots are misted once a day.

The plants are kept in a warm zone of the nursery, with a minimum winter temperature of 18?C, and shaded when necessary. When the plants become large they require some support due to their climbing habit. Flowering can be induced by tip-pruning established plants, which promotes flowering on lateral shoots.

Edible Uses:The tiny seeds, whole fruit, powder or fruit extract of vanilla are used as flavouring agents in food, particularly in confectionery and sweet foods, sometimes to reduce the amount of sugar necessary to sweeten food.

Medicinal Uses:
Vanilla is used medicinally as an aphrodisiac, as a stimulant, and to relieve fevers and gastric complaints, although there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in these cases. In the 16th and 17th centuries vanilla was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used as a stomach herb, a stimulant and aphrodisiac and an antidote to poisons. It was first included in European pharmacopoeias in the 18th century and was listed in the British and American ones for many years. It acts on the nervous system and used to be used to treat hysteria and high fevers.

Research has shown that vanillin, the main flavour molecule in vanilla, does have antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Other Uses:
Vanilla is among the most important ingredients in perfumery.

Vanilla: Essence and aroma

The mature, unripe fruits have no flavour when they are harvested. The aroma and flavour of vanilla are released when the fruit is dried and cured by steaming and fermentation. The finest quality vanilla pods turn dark brown and accumulate a frosting of glucose and vanillin on the surface during fermentation.

Vanillin was first synthesised in 1874 from a compound extracted from pine bark, and then in 1891 from a different compound extracted from cloves, and is widely used as a synthetic substitute for natural vanilla. The ‘vanilla essence‘ commonly used today is synthesised from wood pulp as a by-product of paper-making and from coal-tar (toluene). However, the characteristic aroma and flavour of natural vanilla comprises a cocktail of over 200 different molecules.
Known Hazards: Vanilla may cause allergic responses when applied topically or taken internally. ‘Vanillism’ is a condition sometimes experienced by workers handling vanilla, the symptoms of which are headache, dermatitis and insomnia.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_planifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/vanilla-planifolia-vanilla

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Lactuca sativa longifolia

[amazon_link asins=’B00FT41XEE,B004ZSXKN2,B002Y2URM8,B01C0TCDLC,B01MRSEZKY,B017CJIN0K,B00KKXB8QW,B01ILPCG84,B00IJ1AIG8′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e52ca0cf-9dc3-11e7-986d-3f13c33a65f6′]

Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa longifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Lactuca
Species: L. sativa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe :Cichorieae

Common Name : Cos Lettuce, Romaine lettuce

Habitat: Of garden origin, probably derived from L. serriola. It is grown on cultivated bed.

Description:
Lactuca sativa longifolia is an annual/biennial plant growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE  PICTURES

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a light sandy loam. Succeeds in most well-drained, humus-rich soils but dislikes acid conditions. Plants strongly dislike dry conditions, quickly running to seed in such a situation. Early and late sowings are best in a sunny position, but summer crops are best given a position with some shade in order to slow down the plants tendency to go to seed and to prevent the leaves becoming bitter. The garden lettuce is widely cultivated in many parts of the world for its edible leaves and is probably the most commonly grown salad plant. This is the cos lettuce, a taller growing plant that has longer, thinner leaves and a more erect habit, it does not form a compact heart. There are many named varieties capable of providing fresh leaves throughout the year if winter protection is given in temperate areas. Lettuces are quite a problematic crop to grow. They require quite a lot of attention to protect them from pests such as slugs, aphids and birds. If the weather is hot and dry the plants tend to run very quickly to seed, developing a bitter flavour as they do so. In wet weather they are likely to develop fungal diseases. In addition, the seed needs to be sown at regular intervals of 2- 3 weeks during the growing season in order to provide a regular supply of leaves. Lettuces make a good companion plant for strawberries, carrots, radishes and onions. They also grow well with cucumbers, cabbages and beetroot.

Propagation:
Seed – sow a small quantity of seed in situ every 2 or 3 weeks from March (with protection in cooler areas) to June and make another sowing in August/September for a winter/spring crop. Only just cover the seed. Germination is usually rapid and good, thin the plants if necessary, these thinnings can be transplanted to produce a slightly later crop (but they will need to be well watered in dry weather). More certain winter crops can be obtained by sowing in a frame in September/October and again in January/February.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. A mild slightly sweet flavour with a crisp texture, lettuce is a very commonly used salad leaf and can also be cooked as a potherb or be added to soups etc. A nutritional analysis is available. Seed – sprouted and used in salads or sandwiches. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed is very small, extraction of the oil on any scale would not be very feasible.

Medicinal Uses :
The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air[4]. The sap contains ‘lactucarium‘, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc[238]. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. The cultivated lettuce does not contain as much lactucarium as the wild species, most being produced when the plant is in flower. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness[238] and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts. The seed is anodyne and galactogogue. Lettuce has acquired a folk reputation as an anaphrodisiac, anodyne, carminative, diuretic, emollient, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypnotic, narcotic, parasiticide and sedative.

Other Uses:
Parasiticide. No further details are given, but it is probably the sap of flowering plants that is used. The seed is said to be used to make hair grow on scar tissue.

Known Hazards : The mature plant is mildly 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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettuce
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+sativa+longifolia

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Rhus punjabensis

[amazon_link asins=’B005P0XMNW,B0006NXGNY,B001EPQ7K2,B00NB3ZMBA’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d136d1ab-53eb-11e7-958a-d7a00e936dda’]

Botanical Name:Rhus punjabensis
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. coriaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms :Rhus sinica.
Habitat :Rhus punjabensis is native to E. Asia – Himalayas and is distributed in NW India. It grows in moist situations in valleys and ravines. It grows in the thickets and forests at elevations of 460 – 3000 metres in Tibet and western China.

Description:
Rhus punjabensis sinica is a deciduous tree, 5-15 m tall; branchlets pubescent to minutely pubescent. Leaf blade imparipinnately compound; rachis narrowly winged or wingless distally; leaflets sessile or subsessile, 7-13; leaflet blade oblong-ovate or oblong, 5-12 × 2-4.5 cm, both sides glabrous to minutely pubescent along midrib or lower side pubescent, base rounded or subcordate, margin entire, apex acuminate or long acuminate, lateral veins ca. 20 pairs, prominent abaxially. Inflorescence 15-20 cm, densely minutely pubescent; floral subtending bracts 1-2 mm, subulate, minutely pubescent. Pedicel ca. 1 mm; flowers white. Calyx minutely pubescent, lobes narrowly triangular, ca. 1 mm, margins ciliate. Petals oblong, ca. 2 × 1 mm, minutely pubescent on both sides, margins ciliate, revolute at anthesis. Stamen filaments ca. 2 mm in male flowers, minutely pubescent proximally; anthers ovate; staminode filaments ca. 1 mm in female flowers. Disk purplish red. Ovary globose, ca. 1 mm in diam., white pubescent; male flower with sterile ovary. Drupe subglobose, ca. 4 mm in diam., purplish red at maturity, mixed pilose and glandular-pubescent.
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. 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 Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

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

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. This species is closely allied to R. potaninii. This is the form of R. punjabensis that is most commonly grown in Britain. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame. When they are 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 into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter
Edible Uses:   Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:   An excrescence produced on the leaf by an insect Melaphis chinensis or M. paitan is antiseptic, astringent and haemostatic. It is used in the treatment of persistent cough with blood, chronic diarrhoea, spontaneous sweating, night sweats, bloody stool, urorrhoea and bloody sputum. It is used applied externally to burns, bleeding due to traumatic injuries, haemorrhoids and ulcers in the mouth.

Other Uses:  An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant

Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated.

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/Rhus_coriaria
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200012710
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+punjabensis+sinica