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Herbs & Plants

Artemisia dracunculoides

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Botanical Name : Artemisia dracunculoides
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. dracunculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Achillea dracunculus Hort. ex Steud.
*Artemisia aromatica A.Nelson
*Artemisia cernua Nutt.
*Artemisia changaica Krasch.
*Artemisia dracunculoides Pursh
*Artemisia glauca Pall. ex Willd.
*Artemisia inodora Hook. & Arn.
*Artemisia inodora Willd.
*Artemisia nutans Pursh
*Artemisia nuttalliana Besser
*Artemisia redowskyi Ledeb.
*Draconia dracunculus (L.) Soják
*Dracunculus esculentus Garsault
*Oligosporus dracunculiformis (Krasch.) Poljakov
*Oligosporus dracunculus (L.) Poljakov
*Oligosporus glaucus (Pall. ex Willd.) Poljakov
*Artemisia dracunculina S.Watson

Common Names: Russian Tarragon, Tarragon, French Tarragon

Habitat : Artemisia dracunculoides is native to N. America. N. Europe. N. Asia – Siberia. It grows on prairies, plains and dry slopes.

Description:
Artemisia dracunculoides is a perennial herb, growing to 120–150 cm (47–59 in) tall, with slender branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2–8 cm (0.79–3.15 in) long and 2–10 mm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin.It is in flower in September. The flowers are produced in small capitulae 2–4 mm diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets. French tarragon, however, seldom produces any flowers (or seeds). Some tarragon plants produce seeds that are generally only sterile. Others produce viable seeds. The plant has rhizomatous roots and it readily reproduces from the rhizomes.

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Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Nomenclature is somewhat confused for this species. It is considered by some botanists to be a hardier form of A. dracunculus but with an inferior flavour, whilst some consider it to be part of A. glauca. It is very similar to A. dracunculus, but is more vigorous and hardier, Its leaves have a pungent and less pleasant flavour than that species. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features: Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions f required. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the shoots when 10 – 15cm long, pot them up in a greenhouse and plant out when well rooted. Very easy.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. The N. American Indians would bake the leaves between hot stones and then eat them with salt water. The leaves can also be eaten raw in salads but are inferior to A. dracunculus (Tarragon). The flavour is said to improve as the plant matures. Seed – raw or cooked. An oily texture. The seed is very small and fiddly to use.

Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and is particularly suitable for chicken, fish and egg dishes. Tarragon is the main flavoring component of Béarnaise sauce. Fresh, lightly bruised sprigs of tarragon are steeped in vinegar to produce tarragon vinegar.

Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink in the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and, by extension, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The drink, named Tarhun (Armenian pronunciation)  is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and colored bright green.

In Iran, tarragon is used as a side dish in sabzi khordan (fresh herbs), or in stews and in Persian style pickles, particularly ‘khiar shoor’.

In Slovenia, tarragon is used in a variation of the traditional nut roll sweet cake, called potica. In Hungary a popular kind of chicken soup is flavored with tarragon.

cis-Pellitorin, an isobutyramide eliciting a pungent taste, has been isolated from the tarragon plant.

Chemical Constituents:  A. dracunculus oil contained predominantly phenylpropanoids such as methyl chavicol (16.2%) and methyl eugenol (35.8%). Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis of the essential oil revealed the presence of trans-anethole (21.1%), alfa-trans-ocimene (20.6%), limonene (12.4%), alfa-pinene (5.1%), allo-ocimene (4.8%), methyl eugenol (2.2%), bita-pinene (0.8%), alfa-terpinolene (0.5%), bornyl acetate (0.5%) and bicyclogermacrene (0.5%) as the main components

Medicinal Uses:
Antiscorbutic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Hypnotic; Stomachic.

The herb is antiscorbutic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypnotic and stomachic. The fresh herb is eaten to promote the appetite.

Tarragon has an aromatic property reminiscent of anise, due to the presence of estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen in mice. The European Union investigation revealed that the danger of estragole is minimal even at 100–1,000 times the typical consumption seen in humans. Estragole concentration in fresh tarragon leaves is about 2900 mg/kg

Other Uses: ...Repellent….Both the growing and the dried plant repels insects. Landscape Uses:Container, Seashore.

Known Hazards : Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, skin contact with some members of this genus can cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions in some people.

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/Tarragon
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+dracunculoides

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Herbs & Plants

Brassica rapa

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Botanical Name : Brassica rapa
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species:B. rapa
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Turnip, Field mustard, Toria, Yellow sarson, Bird rape, Keblock, and Colza

Habitat : Cultivated in Europe for over 4000 years, probably native to central and southern Europe, now spread throughout world, including most parts of the tropics.

Description:
Brassica rapa is a biennial herb with swollen tuberous white-fleshed taproot, lacking a neck; leaves light to medium green, hairy or bristly, stalked, lyrate-pinnatifid, 30–50 cm long, stem-leaves sometimes glaucous with clasping base; flowers bright yellow, sepals spreading: petals 6–10 mm long, those in anthesis close together and commonly overtopping the unopened buds; outer 2 stamens curved outwards at base and much shorter than inner stamens; fruit 4–6.5 cm long, with long tapering beak, on divaricate-ascending pedicels 3.2–6.5 cm long; seeds blackish or reddish-brown, 1.5–2 mm in diameter. Fl. and fr. second spring.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Turnip is basically a cool climate crop that is resistant to frost and mild freezes. The plants are very easily grown, provided they grow quickly when young and the soil is not allowed to dry out. They succeed in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil. Turnips grow best in deep, friable, highly fertile soil with pH 5.5 – 6.8. They are said to prefer a light sandy soil, especially when grown for an early crop in the spring, and dislike a heavy soil. They prefer cool moist growing conditions. Turnips tolerate an annual precipitation of 35 to 410cm, an annual average temperature range of 3.6 to 27.4°C and a pH in the range of 4.2 to 7.8. Temperatures below 10°C cause the plants to run to seed, even if they have not yet formed an edible root. The turnip is often cultivated, both in the garden and commercially, for its edible root. A fast growing plant, it can take less than ten weeks from sowing to harvesting. Its short growing season makes turnips very adaptable as a catch crop[269]. There are several named varieties and by careful selection and successional sowing it is possible to harvest roots all year round. The roots are fairly cold hardy and can be left in the ground during the winter, harvesting them as required. However, they can be troubled by slugs and other creatures so it is often better to harvest them in late autumn or early winter and store them in a cool but frost-free place. This species has long been cultivated as an edible plant and a large number of forms have been developed. Botanists have divided these forms into a number of groups, and these are detailed below. Separate entries in the database have been made for each group. B. rapa. The species was actually named for the cultivated garden turnip with its edible swollen tap root. This form is dealt with on this record. B. rapa campestris. This is the wild form of the species. It does not have a swollen root and is closest to the forms grown for their oil-rich seeds. B. rapa chinensis. Pak choi has long been cultivated in the Orient for its large tender edible leaves which are mainly produced in the summer and autumn. B. rapa dichotoma. Cultivated in the Orient mainly for its oil-rich seeds. B. rapa narinosa. Chinese savoy is another Oriental form. It is grown for its edible leaves. B. rapa nipposinica. Mizuna is a fast-growing cold-hardy form with tender edible leaves that can be produced all year round. B. rapa oleifera. The stubble turnip has a swollen edible root, though it is considered too coarse for human consumption and is grown mainly for fodder and as a green manure. It is also cultivated for its oil-rich seeds. B. rapa parachinensis. False pak choi is very similar to B. rapa chinensis with tender edible leaves, though it is considerably more cold-hardy. B. rapa pekinensis. Chinese cabbages are widely grown in the Orient. The large tender leaves often form a cabbage-like head. B. rapa perviridis. Spinach mustard is grown for its edible leaves. A very cold-hardy plant, and also able to withstand summer heat, it can provide a crop all year round. B. rapa trilocularis. Indian colza is mainly grown for its oil-rich seeds. Grows well with peas but dislikes growing with hedge mustard and knotweed. A good bee plant.
Propagation:
Seed – sow in situ from early spring to late summer. The first sowing can be made under cloches in late winter and will be ready for use in early summer. The latest sowings for winter use can be made in mid to late summer.
Edible Uses:.. Leaves; Root……
Leaves – raw or cooked. The cooked leaves make an acceptable vegetable, though they are coarser than the related cabbage. They are more often used as a spring greens, sowing the plants in the autumn and allowing them t overwinter. Young leaves can also be added in small quantities to salads, they have a slightly hot cabbage-like flavour and some people find them indigestible. A nutritional analysis is available. Root – raw or cooked. Often used as a cooked vegetable, the young roots can also be grated and eaten in salads, they have a slightly hot flavour like a mild radish. A nutritional analysis is available

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

*2300 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 30g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrate: 54g; Fibre: 7g; Ash: 12g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 1600mg; Phosphorus: 1000mg; Iron: 17mg;

*Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 4500mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 30mg; Riboflavin (B2): 2mg; Niacin: 8mg; B6: 0mg; C: 500mg;

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the leaves or stems is used in the treatment of cancer. The powdered seed is said to be a folk remedy for cancer. The crushed ripe seeds are used as a poultice on burns. Some caution should be exercised here since the seed of most brassicas is rubefacient. The root when boiled with lard is used for breast tumours. A salve derived from the flowers is said to help skin cancer.

Known Hazards: Occasionally suspected of poisoning bovines, sheep, and pigs.

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/Brassica_rapa
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Brassica_rapa.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+rapa

 

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Kohl Rabi (Bengali Olkopi)

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Botanical Name : Brassica oleracea gongylodes
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Brassica
Species: B. oleracea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Brassica caulorapa. Pasq.

Common Names: Kohl Rabi , German turnip or Turnip cabbage
Bengali Name : Olkopi

Habitat: It is grown allover the world as vegitable. In tropical countries it grows in winter and in colder countries in summer.

Description:
Brassica oleracea gongylodes is an annual/biennial vegetable plant, growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate. It is a low, stout cultivar of cabbage. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked.
It is not frost tender.

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Kohlrabi has been created by artificial selection for lateral meristem growth (a swollen, nearly spherical shape); its origin in nature is the same as that of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts: they are all bred from, and are the same species as, the wild cabbage plant (Brassica oleracea).

The taste and texture of kohlrabi are similar to those of a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter, with a higher ratio of flesh to skin. The young stem in particular can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet.

Except for the Gigante cultivar, spring-grown kohlrabi much over 5 cm in size tend to be woody, as do full-grown kohlrabi much over perhaps 10 cm in size; the Gigante cultivar can achieve great size while remaining of good eating quality. The plant matures in 55–60 days after sowing. Approximate weight is 150 g and has good standing ability for up to 30 days after maturity.

There are several varieties commonly available, including White Vienna, Purple Vienna, Grand Duke, Gigante (also known as “Superschmelz”), Purple Danube, and White Danube. Coloration of the purple types is superficial: the edible parts are all pale yellow. The leafy greens can also be eaten.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[200]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil, though it is best not grown in an acid soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 7.5. Prefers some shade and plenty of moisture in the growing season. Established plants are drought tolerant but the best stems are formed when the plant does not go short of moisture. Succeeds in maritime gardens. Very winter hardy, kohl rabi withstands severe frosts and so can be left in the ground all winter in most areas and be harvested as required. The young growing plant, however, is sensitive to low temperatures and a week at 10°c will cause the plants to bolt. It grows best at a temperature between 18 and 25°c. Kohl rabi is often cultivated for its edible swollen stem which can be available almost all year round from successional sowings. There are several named varieties and stem colour can range from white to green and purple. Green forms are faster to mature and so more suitable for early sowings, the purple forms are hardier and later to mature, they are used mainly for winter crops. Very fast growing, the stems of some cultivars can be harvested 6 – 8 weeks after sowing. The plant is more tolerant of drought and high temperatures than turnips, which it resembles in flavour, and so it is often grown as a substitute for that species. Grows well with onions, beet and aromatic herbs which seem to reduce insect predations. Plants also grow well with cucumbers, the roots of each species occupying different levels in the soil. Grows badly with strawberries, runner beans and tomatoes.

Propagation :
Seed – sow April to August in situ. Earlier sowings can be made under cloches

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Stem.
Edible Uses:

Leaves – cooked. Used as a vegetable, though the quality is not as good as cabbage. The young leaves can also be added to salads, though some people find them difficult to digest. A nutritional analysis is available. Stem – raw or cooked. The plant produces a swollen stem just above ground level, and this is often used as a root vegetable. It has a mild cabbage flavour, when finely grated it makes a good addition to mixed salads and, when cooked, is an excellent vegetable. It is best eaten whilst fairly small and tender, between golf ball and tennis ball size. It becomes coarse with age. A nutritional analysis is available.

Kohlrabi stems are surrounded by two distinct fibrous layers that do not soften appreciably when cooked. These layers are generally peeled away prior to cooking or serving raw, with the result that the stems often provide a smaller amount of food than one might assume from their intact appearance.

The Kohlrabi root is frequently used raw in salad or slaws. It has a texture similar to that of a broccoli stem, but with a flavor that is sweeter and less vegetal.

Kohlrabi leaves are edible and can be used interchangeably with collard greens and kale.

Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and one of the most commonly cooked foods. It is prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice

Composition :
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)

•320 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 23.5g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 62.5g; Fibre: 13g; Ash: 10.5g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 430mg; Phosphorus: 450mg; Iron: 10.5mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 80mg; Potassium: 3100mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 15000mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.6mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.7mg; Niacin: 4.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 670mg;
Medicinal Uses:.…..Digestive: Tonic……..The leaf is digestive and tonic

Other Uses: Some varieties are grown as feed for cattle.

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/Kohlrabi
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Brassica+oleracea+gongylodes