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Herbs & Plants

Allium atropurpureum

Botanical Name : Allium atropurpureum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. atropurpureum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common NamesOrnamental Onion

Habitat : Allium atropurpureum is native to E. Asia – N. India.(Hungary, the Balkans, and Turkey.). It grows on the shaded humus rich soils along rocky cliffs, 1900 metres to 2200 metres in the Himalayas.

Description:
Allium atropurpureum is a bulb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).It grows in clumps or bold drifts, for the most dramatic displays, and leave the seedheads standing throughout autumn and winter to add structural interest to the garden. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

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Allium atropurpureum is a fun drumstick allium, bearing a tightly packed ball of maroon-purple flowers on top of a tall, stout stem. It’s native to the Balkans, where it can be found growing in dry, open spaces.

Cultivation:
Allium atropurpureum prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[190]. Judging by its habit, this plant should also tolerate some shade. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of the country, it should tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. 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. The bulbs are 15 – 30mm wide. Leaves – raw or cooked. 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: It is widely grown as an ornamental for its rich, deep purple flowers. Allium atropurpureum makes an excellent cut flower. 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_atropurpureum#cite_note-mildred-1
http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/allium-atropurpureum/214.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+atropurpureum

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Herbs & Plants

Gentianella amarella

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Botanical Name : Gentianella amarella
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Gentianella
Species: G. amarella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms : Gentiana amarella. L.

Common Name :Felwort, Autumn dwarf gentian, Autumn gentian

Habitat : Gentianella amarella is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to France, Hungary and the Caucasus. It grows on basic pastures, usually amongst short grass, and dunes, often on lime-rich soil.
Description:
Gentianella amarella is a short biennial plant with elliptical to lanceolate leaves, growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are purplish bells between 12 and 22 mm long. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.

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Detail Characteristics:
*Flower color : blue to purple
:white
*Leaf type: the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
*Leaf arrangement: opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
*Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
*Flower symmetry: there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
*Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
:there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
*Fusion of sepals and petals: the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
*Stamen number: 5
*Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe

Cultivation:
Requires a damp humus-rich soil and should be planted in a situation approaching its native habitat. An aggregate species, individual plants may show unusual features and determinations should be based on small samples of the population.

Propagation: Seed – sow in situ as soon as it is ripe in the autumn

Medicinal Uses:
This species is one of several that can be used as a source of the medicinal gentian root. Gentian has a long history of use as a herbal bitter in the treatment of digestive disorders. It is especially useful in states of exhaustion from chronic disease and in all cases of debility, weakness of the digestive system and lack of appetite. It is one of the best strengtheners of the human system and is an excellent tonic to combine with a purgative in order to prevent its debilitating effects. The root is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, refrigerant and stomachic. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It is quite likely that the roots of plants that have not flowered are the richest in medicinal properties. The root is anodyne, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bitter tonic, cholagogue, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, pectoral, refrigerant, stomachic. A substitute for G. lutea. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are ‘Doubt’, ‘Depression’ and ‘Discouragement”

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/Gentianella_amarella
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Gentianella+amarella
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/gentianella/amarella/

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Herbs & Plants

Rumex aquaticus

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Botanical Name: Rumex aquaticus
Family: Polygonaceae
Subfamily: Polygonoideae
Tribes: Rumiceae
Species: Rumex aquaticus
Genus: Rumex
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym: Water Dock
Common Names: Red Dock, Western dock

Habitat : Rumex aquaticus is native to Europe, including Britain but absent from Italy and the Balkans, to N. Asia. It grows in shallow water at the margins of swamps. Fields, meadows and ditches.

Description:
Rumex aquaticus is a perennial plant. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, very stout; the leaves similar to those of the Yellow Dock, having also crisped edges, but being broader, 3 to 4 inches across. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

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It has properties very similar to those of the Yellow Dock. It is frequent in fields, meadows and ditches. Its rootstock is top-shaped, the outer surface blackish or dark brown, the bark porous and the pith composed of honeycomb-like cells, with a short zone of woody bundles separated by rays. It has an astringent and somewhat sweet taste, but no odour.
Cultivation: A plant of shallow water.
Propagation : Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. Division in spring.

Edible Uses: Leaves are cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this and all other Docks is dried in the same manner as the Yellow Dock.

The root is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, deobstruent, depurative, detergent, laxative and mildly tonic. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present. It is used internally in the treatment of piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases. Externally, it is applied to various skin diseases, ulcers etc. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis.

Other Uses: …Dye; Teeth…….Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant. The dried and powdered root has a cleansing and detergent affect on the teeth

Known Hazards : Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. 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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Rumex_aquaticus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+aquaticus

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Herbs & Plants

Ornithogalum umbellatum

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Botanical Name : Ornithogalum umbellatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Ornithogalum
Species: O. umbellatum

Synonyms: Bath Asparagus. Dove’s Dung. Star of Hungary. White Filde Onyon.

Common Names: Star-of-Bethlehem, grass lily, nap-at-noon, eleven-o’clock lady

Habitat : Ornithogalum umbellatum  is native throughout most of southern and central Europe, north-western Africa and south-western Asia.

Description:
Ornithogalum umbellatum is a perennial bulbous flowering plant with bulbs below ground; the bulb is 15–25 millimetres (0.6–1.0 in) long and 18–32 mm (0.7–1.3 in) in diameter. It has 6–10 leaves, linear with a white line on the upper surface, up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 8 mm (0.3 in) broad, and a scape of 10–30 cm (4–12 in). The flowers group in a corymbose raceme with 6–20 flowers, and are white with a green stripe outside.

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The leaves are long and narrow and darkgreen; the flowers, in bloom during April and May, are a brilliant white internally, but with the petals striped with green outside. They expand only in the sunshine.

Cultivation:
umbellatum requires considerable moisture during winter and spring, but can tolerate summer drought. It can be grown in a woodland garden as semi-shade is preferable. It is hardy to hardiness zone 5, and can become weedy. The plant is toxic.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow the seed thinly and leave the seedlings undisturbed in the pots for their first dormancy, but apply liquid feed at intervals, especially in their second year of growth. Divide the bulbs at the end of their second year of growth, putting 2 – 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for one more year and them plant them out into their permanent positions whilst they are dormant. The seed can also be sown in a cold frame in early spring. Division of offsets in September/October. The larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions. It is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on for a year before planting them out when dormant in late summer

Edible Uses:
The bulbs, in common with those of many Liliaceous plants, are edible and nutritious. They were in ancient times eaten, both raw and cooked, as Dioscorides related, and form a palatable and wholesome food when boiled.

Medicinal Uses:
Ornithogalum umbellatum  is used in some herbal remedies. A homeopathic remedy is made from the bulbs. It is useful in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies – the keywords for prescribing it are “After effect of shock, mental or physical”. It is also one of the five ingredients in the “Rescue remedy”.

Known hazards: Skin contact with the bulb can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. The bulb contains alkaloids and is poisonous. Another report says that the bulb is poisonous to grazing animals.

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.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/o/ornithogalum-umbellatum=star-of-bethlehem.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithogalum_umbellatum
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/starbe89.html

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Herbs & Plants

Roman Wormwood (Ambrosia artemesiifolia )

Botanical Name :Ambrosia artemesiifolia
Family : Compositae
Genus : Ambrosia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Species: A. artemisiifolia

Synonyms: Ambrosia absynthifolia (Michx., 1803), Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. subsp. diversifolia (Piper, 1837), Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. var. jamaicensis (Griseb. 1861), Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. var. octocornis (Kuntze, 1891), Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. var. quadricornis (Kuntze, 1891), Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. artemisiifolia, Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. elatior (Descourt., 1821), Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. elatior f. villosa (Fernald & Griscom, 1935), Ambrosia artemisiifolia var. paniculata (Michx.), Ambrosia diversifolia (Piper), Ambrosia elata (Salisbury, 1796), Ambrosia elatior L., Ambrosia elatior L. var. heterophylla (Muhlenburg ex Willedenow, 1913), Ambrosia glandulosa (Scheele, 1849), Ambrosia heterophylla (Muhlenburg ex Willdenow, 1803), Ambrosia longistylus (Nuttall, 1840), Ambrosia media (Rydberg, 1910), Ambrosia monophylla (Rydberg, 1922), Ambrosia paniculata (Michaux, 1803, Ambrosia simplicifolia (Raeuschel, 1797), Iva monophylla (Walter, 1788)

Common names
: ambroisie à feuille d’armoise (French-France), ambroisie annuelle (French-France), ambroisie élevée (French-France), ambrosia aux feuilles d’armoise (French-France), ambrosia con foglie di atremisia (Italian-Italy), ambrosia de hojas de ajenjo (Spanish), ambrozja bylicolistna (Poland), ambrozja bylicowata (Poland), annual ragweed (English), artemisia del pais (Spanish), Aufrechte Ambrosie (German-Germany), Aufrechtes Traubenkraut (German-Switzerland), bastard wormwood (English-United Kingdom), Beifußambrosie (German-Germany), Beifussblättriges Ambrosie (German-Germany), Beifussblättriges Traubenkraut (German-Germany), beiskambrosia (Norway), bitterweed (English), blackweed (English-Canada), bynke-ambrosie (Danish-Denmark), carrot-weed (English-Canada), common ragweed (English), hay-fever weed (English-Canada), hog-weed (English), Hohes Traubenkraut (German-Germany), kietine ambrozija (Lithuanian-Lithuania), low ragweed (English), malörstambrosia (Sweden), marunatuoksukki (Finland), parlagfu (Hungary), petite herbe à poux (French-Canada), pujulehine ambroosia (Estonia), ragweed (English), roman bitterweed (English-Canada), Roman wormwood (English), römischer Wermut (German-Germany), Shinners ragweed (English-South Korea), short ragweed (English), small ragweed (English), Stalin weed (English-Hungary), stammerweed (English-Canada), stickweed (English-Canada), vadkender (Hungary), vermellapu ambrozija (Latvian-Latvia), wild tansy (English-Canada)


Other Names :
Annual Ragweed, Bitterweed, Blackweed, Carrot Weed, Hay Fever Weed, Roman Wormwood, Stammerwort, Stickweed, Tassel Weed, Wild Tansy, and American Wormwood.

Habitat : N. America – British Columbia to Nova Scotia and Florida. it is invasive in some European countries and Japan, known as butakusa Locally established casual in Britain. Waste places in Western N. America. Found in dry soils, it can become a pernicious weed in cultivated soils.


Description:

Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a summer annual herbaceous plant that is erect, with many branches (AWCNI, undated) and can reach heights between 1-2 metres (NRW, 2007) with a grooved, reddish, hairy stem (Wittenberg, R. (ed.) 2005). The leaves are opposite, compound, and toothed (Wittenberg, R. (ed.) 2005) reaching lengths of 4-10cm long (VTWIG, undated). The tops of the leaves are green and hairy, with white hairs adpressed on the underside of the leaf (Wittenberg, R. (ed.) 2005). Male flowers are green, small, 4-5mm, with bractless flowers arranged in a terminal spike located in the upper portions of the plant (Wittenberg, R. (ed.) 2005), often drooping (AWCNI, undated). The female flowers are located in the axils of the upper leaves, sessile, and inconspicuous in either small clusters or singly (Wittenberg, R. (ed.) 2005). The fruit of the common ragweed is a woody achene, 3-4mm long and 1-2mm wide, with 4-7 spine-like projections, resembling a crown (VTWIG, undated). The leaves are bright green on both sides with whitish nerves. On older plants the lower leaves can be arranged opposite and the upper leaves can be alternately arranged on the stem (C. Bohren., pers.comm., 2007).

 

You may click to view the pictures

It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from August to October. 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. Common Ragweed emerges in the late spring and sets seed in later summer or fall.

Common ragweed is a very competitive weed and can produce yield losses in soybeans as high as 30%. Control with night tillage reduces emergence by around 45%. Small grains in rotation will also suppress common ragweed if they are overseeded with clover. Otherwise, the ragweed will grow and mature and produce seed in the small grain stubble. Several herbicides are effective against common ragweed, although resistant populations are known to exist

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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.

Cultivation :

We have very little information on this species but suggest growing it in a sunny position in a well-drained soil. It has been suggested for commercial cultivation. Some plants produce mainly sterile heads. The pollen from the flowers of this species is an important cause of hay-fever in N. America.

Propagation
Seed – we have no details for this species but suggest sowing the seed in situ in April.

Uses:
An essential oil of Ambrosia artemisiifolia acts as an antimicrobial, having antibacterial and antifungal compounds.

Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Oil.

An oil is obtained from the seed. It has been suggested for edible purposes because it contains little linolenic acid. The seed contains up to 19% oil, it has slightly better drying properties than soya bean oil.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses
Antidote; Astringent; Disinfectant; Emetic; Febrifuge; Women’s complaints.

The leaves are very astringent, emetic and febrifuge. They are applied externally to insect bites, rheumatic joints and various skin complaints, internally they are used as a tea in the treatment of fevers, pneumonia, nausea, intestinal cramps, diarrhoea and mucous discharges. Juice from the wilted leaves is disinfectant and is applied to infected toes. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of menstrual disorders and stroke. The pollen is harvested commercially and manufactured into pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of allergies to the plant.

Known Hazards : The pollen of this plant is a major cause of hayfever in N. America. Ingesting or touching the plant can cause allergic reactions in some people.

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?Ambrosia+artemesiifolia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrosia_artemisiifolia
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=1125&fr=1&sts=
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AMAR2&photoID=amar2_1v.jpg

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