Tag Archives: Horticulture

Arbutus andrachne

Botanical Name: Arbutus andrachne
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Arbutus
Species: A. andrachne
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:Greek Strawberry Tree or Grecian StrawberryTree

Habitat: Arbutus andrachne is native to the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia. Evergreen scrub and rocky slopes on limestone, serpentine and igneous rocks in areas that are very dry in summer

Description:
Arbutus andrachne is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a slow rate. Arbutus andrachne can reach a height of about 12 meters. The smooth bark is exfoliating during the summer, leaving a layer with a pistachio green color, which changes gradually to a beautiful orange brown. The flowers bloom in Spring and are white or yellowish green. Its fruits ripen in Autumn. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter. 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: 
Requires a nutrient-rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position with shelter from cold drying winds, especially when young[200]. Requires a lime-free soil according to some reports[1, 134], but it thrives on a limy soil according to other reports[11, 182, 200]. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are hardy to about -15°c[184]. The flowers are sweetly scented[245]. Dislikes being transplanted, it should be placed in its final position whilst young, giving some protection in its first winter outdoors[11, 134]. Plants are very slow growing. Most plants cultivated under this name are in fact A. x andrachnoides ‘Serratula'[200].
Propagation :
Seed – best surface sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed should be soaked for 5 – 6 days in warm water and then surface sown in a shady position in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to become dry. 6 weeks cold stratification helps. The seed usually germinates well in 2 – 3 months at 20°c. Seedlings are prone to damp off, they are best transplanted to individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and should be kept well ventilated. Grow them on in a greenhouse for their first winter and then plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in late winter. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth, November/December in a frame. Poor percentage. Layering of young wood – can take 2 years

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Fruit – raw or cooked. A luscious, juicy texture with a sweet but insipid flavour. Many people do not like eating more than a few of the raw fruits. They make a good cooked fruit in preserves etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of this evergreen tree peels off annually and can be used as a decoction for sore throats as a gargle and the infusion can be used as a tisane for the same ailment. An infusion of the leaves may be used for a cold, and the berries themselves are said to aid digestion and improve the appetite.
This tree was described by Thomas Wright in his book, Early Travels in Palestine, published in 1845. He has this description of what is believed to be the Greek strawberry tree.

A remedy for eczema associated with gouty and rheumatic symptoms. Arthritis; especially larger joints. Urine rendered more clear. Lumbago. Symptoms shift from skin to joints. Vesical symptoms.

Arbutus Andrachne treatment for Relationship ailments: Arbutin; Ledum; Bryonia; Kalmia.

Arbutus Andrachne treatment for Dose ailments: Tincture, to third potency.

Other Uses :
Hedge; Hedge; Wood.

Plants can be grown as a hedge, they are tolerant of some trimming. Wood – hard, close-grained.

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.webhomeopath.com/homeopathy/homeopathic-remedies/homeopathy-remedy-Arbutus_Andrachne.html
http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.in/2012/06/greek-strawberry-tree-information-and.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arbutus+andrachne
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutus_andrachne

Mangoes are High on Health

The King of Fruits has several benefits, so indulge your senses this season in some mangoes.

Not only do they taste great, but mangoes are also loaded with several qualities that are excellent for your health. They are rich in powerful antioxidants that are known to neutralise free radicals that cause damage to cells and lead to health problems like heart disease, premature aging and cancer among other things. Here’s why you should consume them…...CLICK & SEE

– With its high iron content, mangoes are excellent for pregnant women and those who suffer from anaemia. But do consult with your doctor beforehand on how much is suitable.

– Constantly complaining about clogged pores? Place mango slices on your skin and then wash off after 10 minutes.

– If you suffer from indigestion problems, nothing will help you as much as a mango. They’re known to give relief from acidity and aid proper digestion since they contain digestive enzymes that help break down proteins.

– Rich in potassium, mangoes reduce high blood pressure. They also contain pectin, a soluble dietary fibre that is known to lower blood cholesterol levels.

– Trying to put on weight? Include mangoes in your diet. Since it is rich in calories as well as carbohydrates, it could be the perfect fruit to have.

– Some studies say that eating mangoes reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.

– In Chinese medicine, mangoes are considered sweet and sour with a cooling energy. They are useful for those suffering from anaemia, bleeding gums, cough, fever, nausea and even sea sickness.

– Studying for exams? This fruit is rich in glutamine acid— an important protein for concentration and memory. Instead of snacking on unhealthy chips and cookies, why not feast on slices of mangoes instead.

– Though they are traditionally not considered as aphrodisiacs, mangoes contain Vitamin E which helps boost one’s sex life. The vitamin works to regulate the body’s sex hormones.

If nothing else, eat a mango just because it won’t be in season forever.

Source : The Times Of India

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Goat’s Bread (Aruncus dioicus)

Botanical Name : Aruncus dioicus
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Aruncus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. dioicus

Synonyms: Aruncus sylvester – Kostel., Aruncus vulgaris – Raf.

Common Name : goat’s beard or bride’s feathers

Habitat :–  This plant can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and eastern and western North America.   Damp woods, shady places and by streams, usually in mountainous areas.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow; Bog Garden;

Description:
Perennial growing to 2m by 3m at a fast rate.  It is a herbaceous plant with alternate, pinnately compound leaves, mostly cauline, less than 60 cm, 2 to 3 pinnate; leaflets 3 to 5 cm, ovate, sharply serrate, more or less hairy ,on thin, stiff stems. The flowers are white, borne in summer.

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Tiny brown seed capsules dry and stay on females plants after flowering is finished. Goats beard has foliage similar to astilbe but with a shrub like growth habit.  Aruncus dioicus is an excellent specimen plant in the shade garden or use as a focal point in woodland settings.  Its wands of creamy white flowers are used as fresh cut flowers and dried flowers.  It is an imposing background plant, especially when displayed in an isolated groupings and is listed as deer resistant.  Fruits are more or less cylindric follicle, 3 to 5 mm.

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from June to August. 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 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 and very alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry moist or wet soil.

Cultivation :-
Succeeds in mst moist soils in sun or partial shade. Plants do well in moist to wet soils but will also tolerate fairly dry sites. Succeeds in acid or limey soils. Grows well on the woodland edge. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. This is a polymorphic species, especially the form that grows in Japan.  There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value, ‘Kneiffii’ is only half the size of the type species. Plants are fast-growing  and form very large clumps. The flowers are sweetly perfumed.  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. Sow stored seed in late winter or early spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall. They can be planted out into their permanent positions at any time of the year. Division in early spring or autumn. Very easy, the clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Budlings, stems and young leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antipyretic; Astringent; Birthing aid; Salve; Stings; Stomachic; VD.

The poulticed root is applied to bee stings. A tea made from the roots is used to allay bleeding after child birth, to reduce profuse urination and to treat stomach pains, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, fevers and internal bleeding. The tea is used externally to bathe swollen feet and rheumatic joints. A salve made from the root ashes is rubbed onto sores.

Other Uses:-
Ground cover.

Plants form a dense growth that is very effective at holding invasive plants at bay. They can be used as a tall ground cover for large areas.

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.

Known Hazards : Cyanogenic glycosides are found in 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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aruncus+dioicus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruncus_dioicus
http://www.easywildflowers.com/quality/sty.dip.htm
http://www.cwnp.org/photopgs/adoc/ardioicus.html

 

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Chockeberries

Botanical Name:Aronia
Family:Rosaceae
Subfamily: Maloideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales

Habitat: Native to eastern North America and most commonly found in wet woods and swamps.

Description; The chokeberries (Aronia) are two species of deciduous shrubs.The chokeberries are often mistakenly called chokecherries, which is the common name for Prunus virginiana. Further adding to the ambiguity, there is a cultivar of Prunus virginiana named ‘Melanocarpa’ easily confused with Aronia melanocarpa. In fact, the two plants are only distantly related within the Rosaceae.

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The two species are readily distinguished by their fruit color, from which the common names derive. The leaves are alternate, simple, and oblanceolate with crenate margins and pinnate venation; in autumn the leaves turn a bold red color.

Dark trichomes are present on the upper midrib surface. The flowers are small, with 5 petals and 5 sepals, and produced in corymbs of 10-25 together. Hypanthium is urn-shaped. The fruit is a small pome, with a very astringent, bitter flavor; it is eaten by birds (birds do not taste astringency and feed on them readily), which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. The name “chokeberry” comes from the astringency of the fruits which are inedible when raw.

Chokeberries are very high in antioxidant pigment compounds, like anthocyanins. They share this property with chokecherries, further contributing to confusion.

Aronia is closely related to Photinia, and has been included in that genus in some classifications (Robertson et al. 1991).

Red chokeberry,(http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/bl_chokeberry.htm)   Aronia arbutifolia, grows to 2-4 m tall, rarely up to 6 m. Leaves are 5-8 cm long and densely pubescent on the underside. The flowers are white or pale pink, 1 cm diameter, with glandular sepals. The fruit is red, 4-10 mm diameter, persisting into winter.

Red Chokeberry-aronia-arbutifolia

Black chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa, tends to be smaller, rarely exceeding 1 m tall, rarely 3 m, and spreads readily by root sprouts. The leaves are smaller, not more than 6 cm long, with terminal glands on leaf teeth and a glabrous underside. The flowers are white, 1.5 cm diameter, with glabrous sepals. The fruit is black, 6-9 mm diameter, not persisting into winter.

Black chokberry-aronia-melanocarpa

Click to see The Berries Gallery:
.The two species can hybridise, giving the Purple Chokeberry, Aronia x prunifolia. Leaves are moderately pubescent on the underside. Few to no glands are present on the sepal surface. The fruit is dark purple to black, 7-10 mm in diameter, not persisting into winter.

Uses:
The chokeberries are attractive ornamental plants for gardens. They are naturally understory and woodland edge plants, and grow well when planted under trees. Chokeberries are resistant to drought, insects, pollution, and disease. Several cultivars have been developed for garden planting, including A. arbutifolia ‘Brilliant’, selected for its striking fall leaf color, and A. melanocarpa ‘Viking’ and ‘Nero’, selected for larger fruit suitable for jam-making.Juice from these berries is astringent and not sweet, but high in vitamin C and antioxidants. The berries can be used to make wine or jam after cooking. Aronia is also used as a flavoring or colorant for beverages or yogurts.

The red chokeberry’s fruit is more palatable and can be eaten raw. It has a sweeter flavor than the black species and is used to make jam or pemmican.

Antioxidant qualities
Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) has attracted scientific interest due to its deep purple, almost black pigmentation that arises from dense contents of phenolic phytochemicals, especially anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content in chokeberries is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g (Wu et al. 2004, 2006). Both values are among the highest measured in plants to date.

The plant produces these pigments mainly in the skin of the berries to protect the pulp and seeds from constant exposure to ultraviolet radiation. By absorbing UV rays in the blue-purple spectrum, pigments filter intense sunlight and thereby have a role assuring regeneration of the species. Brightly colorful pigmentation also attracts birds and animals to consume the fruit and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Anthocyanins not only contribute toward chokeberry’s astringent property (that would deter pests and infections) but also give Aronia melanocarpa extraordinary antioxidant strength that combats oxidative stress in the fruit during photosynthesis.

A test tube measurement of antioxidant strength, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC, demonstrates chokeberry with one of the highest values yet recorded — 16,062 micromoles of Trolox Eq. per 100 g.

There is growing appreciation for consumers to increase their intake of antioxidant-rich plant foods from colorful sources like berries, tree or citrus fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Accordingly, a deep blue food source such as chokeberry yields anthocyanins in high concentrations per serving, indicating potential value as a functional food or nutraceutical.

Analysis of anthocyanins in chokeberries has identified the following individual chemicals (among hundreds known to exist in
the plant kingdom): cyanidin-3-galactoside, epicatechin, caffeic acid, quercetin, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, peonidin and malvidin. All these are members of the flavonoid category of antioxidant phenolics.
For reference to phenolics, flavonoids, anthocyanins and similar plant-derived antioxidants, Wikipedia has a list of phytochemicals and foods in which they are prominent.

Medicinal Uses:
Chokeberries’ rich antioxidant content may be beneficial as a dietary preventative for reducing the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. Among the models under evaluation where preliminary results show benefits of chokeberry anthocyanins are colorectal cancer (Lala et al. 2006), cardiovascular disease (Bell & Gochenaur 2006), chronic inflammation (Han et al. 2005), gastric mucosal disorders (peptic ulcer) (Valcheva-Kuzmanova et al. 2005), eye inflammation (uveitis) (Ohgami et al. 2005) and liver failure (Valcheva-Kuzmanova et al. 2004).

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/Aronia

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/savanna/plants/bl_chokeberry.htm

http://www.natures-health-foods.com/Aronia.html

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Elephant Yam (Bengali Ol)

Botanical name: Amorphophallus Campanulatus
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Thomsonieae
Genus: Amorphophallus
Species: A. paeoniifolius
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

 

Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe:
Thomsonieae
Genus:
Amorphophallus
Species:
A. paeoniifolius
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Alismatales

Synonyms: Amorphophallus campanulatus (Decne.)
Sanskrit name
: Soorana
English name:
Elephant Yam
Tamil name:
Pidikarunai kizhangu
Bengali Name: Ole,OOL  OR OL
Other Names:
Dragon Arum , Kembang Bangah , Saranah , Soeweg , Whitespot Giant Arum ,
Habitat: Loose leafy detritus in moist shady habitats.Common throughout the Luzon provinces and in Mindoro, in thickets and secondary forests, at low and medium altitudes in settled areas. India, Bangla Desh,Burma, Sri Lanka,Thailand, Philippines
Parts Used:
Corm, roots.

Description:
The plant had three leaves, with one that was smaller and yellowing. The other two healthy and sturdier ones are rather pretty and the leaflets that emerge from each petiole may lead those who are unfamiliar with the plant to think that it is a papaya plant instead. The petioles are also beautifully mottled. The whole plant looks quite ornamental in a strange way.

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· A perennial growing to 0.75m. It is hardy to zone 10. The scented flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Flies. We rate it 2 out of 5 for usefulness.The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. stemless herb.Corm is globose, up to 30 cm in diameter.The leaf stalk develops from the corm, usually about 1 meter high.Leaves are solitary, blades up to 1 meter in diameter, trisected with dichotomous segments. Spathe is sessile, campanulate, purplish up to 30 cm in diameter.The spadix (a spike of flowers contained in the spathe) sulcate and depressed, up to 15 cms long, are malodorous when flowering.

Flowers: When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated.

Cultivation details:
Requires shade and a rich soil in its native habitats, but it probably requires a position with at least moderate sun in Britain.Cultivated for its edible tuber in Asia, plants are not winter hardy outdoors in Britain but are sometimes grown outdoors in this country as part of a sub-tropical bedding display.

The tuber is harvested in the autumn after top growth has been cut back by frost and it must be kept quite dry and frost-free over winter. It is then potted up in a warm greenhouse in spring ready to be planted out after the last expected frosts. The tubers are planted 15cm deep. It is unclear from the reports that we have seen whether or not this root can be divided, it is quite possible that seed is the only means of increase[K].

The plant has one enormous leaf and one spadix annually. It requires hand pollination in Britain. When ripe for pollination, the flowers have a foetid smell to attract carrion flies and midges. This smell disappears once the flower has been pollinated.
Propagation
Seed – best sown in a pot in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe and the pot sealed in a plastic bag to retain moisture. It usually germinates in 1 – 8 months at 24°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least a couple of years. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away strongly.

Chemical constituents and nutritional value:Corm is 74% moisture; 0.73% ash; 5.1% protein; 18% carbohydrate providing about 1,000 calories per kilo; comparable in food value to kalabasa, superior to singkamas.Petioles of young unexpanded leaves are edible when thoroughly cooked.

Medicinal Uses: Corms are Carminative; Expectorant; Restorative; Caustic, Stomachic and Tonic. Roots are emmenagogue.Poultices of corm are antirheumatic. Also used for hemorrhoids.Roots are used for boils and hemorrhoids. Tubers are also used for hemorrhoids.

The Root is dried and used in the treatment of piles and dysentery. The fresh root acts as an acrid stimulant and expectorant, it is much used in India in the treatment of acute rheumatism. Some caution is advised.

Click to see more medicinal uses of Elephant Yam ( Amorphophallus Campanulatus)

Edible Uses: Leaves; Root, Rhizome – cooked. Acrid raw, it must be thoroughly boiled or baked. A very large root, it can be up to 25cm in diameter. Caution is advised, see notes above on probable toxicity.
Leaves and petioles – they must be thoroughly cooked. Caution is advised, see notes above on possible toxicity.

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• Leaves and roots.
• Rhizomes preferably cooked, acrid when raw. May cause perioral burning and itching.
Folkloric
· Poultices of corm are antirheumatic. Also used for hemorrhoids.
· Roots are used for boils and hemorrhoids.
· Tubers are also used for hemorrhoids.
• In India, tuberous roots are used for treatment of piles, abdominal pains, tumors, spleen enlargement, asthma and rheumatism. source

Studies
• Antibacterial / Cytotoxic: Amblyone, a triterpenoid isolated from A campanulatus showed to have good antibacterial activity and moderate cytotoxic activity.
Hepatoprotective: Study on the hepatoprotective activity of AC corm on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective: Study on ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Amorphophallus campanulatus showed antioxidant activity. Results showed potent hepatoprotective action against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic damage. The possible mechanism of antioxidant activity may be due to the free radical scavenging potential from the flavonoids in the extracts.
• Analgesic: Study on the methanol extract of A campanulatus tuber showed significant analgesic activity.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a family where most of the members contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

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://gardeningwithwilson.com/2008/06/05/elephant-foot-yam-the-singapore-botanic-gardens/
http://stuartxchange.org/Pungapung.html
http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Amorphophallus+paeoniifolius

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Pungapung.html