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Fragaria virginiana

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Botanical Name : Fragaria virginiana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : Fragaria glauca(S. Wats.)Rydb.

Common Names: Virginia strawberry, Scarlet Strawberry, Wild strawberry, or Common strawberry

Habitats : Fragaria virginiana is native to Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to South Dakota, south to Florida and Oklahoma. It grows in fields, open slopes and woodland edges.

Description:
Fragaria virginiana is a herbaceous perennial plant is 4-7″ tall, consisting of several basal leaves and one or more inflorescences. The basal leaves are trifoliate. The leaflets are up to 2½” long and 1½” across; they are obovate or oval in shape and coarsely toothed along their middle to outer margins. The tips of leaflets are rounded, while their bottoms are either wedge-shaped or rounded. The upper leaflet surface is medium to dark green and glabrous. The lower leaflet surface is variably hairy; fine hairs are most likely to occur along the bases of central veins, but they may occur elsewhere along the lower surface. Leaflet venation is pinnate and conspicuous. The petiolules (basal stalklets) of leaflets are light green, hairy, and very short (about 1 mm. in length). The petioles of basal leaves are up to 6″ long; they are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. One or more umbel-like clusters of flowers are produced from long peduncles up to 5″ long. These peduncles are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. Each umbel-like cluster has about 4-6 flowers on pedicels up to ¾” long. These pedicels are light green to light reddish green, terete, and hairy. At the base of these pedicels, there are several bracts up to ¼” long that are light green to dark red, lanceolate in shape, and hairy.

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Individual flowers are about ½–¾” across when they are fully open; they can be pistillate, staminate, or perfect (staminate flowers are the least common). Each flower has 5 white petals, 5 green sepals, and 5 green sepal-like bracts. The petals are oval to orbicular in shape; they are longer than either the sepals or sepal-like bracts. The sepals are lanceolate in shape and hairy, while the sepal-like bracts are linear-lanceolate and hairy; both sepals and sepal-like bracts are joined together at the base of the flower. Each pistillate flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center that is greenish yellow or pale yellow. Each staminate flower has 20-35 stamens with pale yellow filaments and yellow anthers. Each perfect flower has a dome-shaped cluster of pistils at its center and a ring of surrounding stamens. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer, lasting about 3-4 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by fruits when growing conditions are favorable, otherwise they abort. These fruits are up to ½” long and across; they are globoid or globoid-ovoid in shape, becoming bright red at maturity. Small seeds are scattered across the surface of these fruits in sunken pits; the persistent sepals and sepal-like bracts are appressed to the upper surface of these fruits. The fleshy interior of these fruits has a sweet-tart flavor; they are edible. The root system consists of a shallow crown with fibrous roots. After the production of flowers and fruits, hairy above-ground stolons up to 2′ long may develop from the crown. When the tips of these stolons touch the ground, they often form plantlets that take root. In this manner, clonal colonies of plants often develop.
Cultivation:
Prefers a fertile, well-drained, moisture retentive soil in a sunny position. Tolerates semi-shade though fruit production will be reduced when plants grow in such a position. The plants appreciate a mulch of pine or spruce leaves. Along with F, chiloensis, this species is probably a parent of the cultivated strawberries. The cultivar ‘Little Scarlet‘ is a form of this species and this is still occasionally cultivated for its fruit in Britain.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit, leaves…..Fruit – raw, cooked or made into preserves. Sweet and succulent. Small but delicious. The fruit is up to 20mm in diameter. The dried leaves are a very pleasant tea substitute. Rich in vitamin C.
Medicinal Uses:

Antiseptic; Astringent; Emmenagogue; Galactogogue; Odontalgic; Poultice.

The whole plant is antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, galactogogue and odontalgic. It has been used to regulate the menstrual cycle. A tea made from the leaves has been used as a nerve tonic and is slightly astringent. A poultice made from the dried powdered leaves mixed with oil has been used to treat open sores. A tea made from the roots is diuretic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, irregular menses, gonorrhoea, stomach and lung ailments.

Other Uses : The fruits are used as a tooth cleaner. They are held in the mouth, or rubbed over the teeth, to remove tartar.

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/Virginia_strawberry
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+virginiana
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/wld_strawberryx.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Menispermum Canadense

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Botanical Name : Menispermum Canadense
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Menispermum
Species: M. canadense
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms: Canadian Moonseed. CoTexas Sarsaparilla. Moonseed Sarsaparilla. Vine Maple.

Common Names :Canadian Moonseed, Common Moonseed, or Yellow Parilla

Habitat:  Menispermum Canadense  is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec and New England to Georgia, west to Arkansas and Oklahoma.  It grows on moist woods and hedges near streams. Deciduous woods and thickets, along streams, bluffs and rocky hillsides, fencerows, shade tolerant from sea level to 700 metres.

Description:
It is a woody deciduous climbing vine growing to 6 m tall. The leaves palmately lobed, 5–20 cm diameter with 3-7 shallow lobes, occasionally rounded and unlobed.  It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November The fruit are produced in 6–10 cm diameter clusters of purple-black berries, each berry is 1-1.5 cm in diameter. The seed inside the berry resembles a crescent moon, and is responsible for the common name. The fruit is ripe between September and October, the same general time frame in which wild grapes are ripe.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)The plant is not self-fertile.

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Both the leaves and fruit resemble that of the Fox Grape (Vitis labrusca); confusion can be dangerous as Moonseed fruit is poisonous, unlike the edible Fox Grape fruit.

The root is a rhizome, with a very long root of a fine yellow colour, and a round, striate stem, bright yellowgreen when young; leaves, roundish, cordate, peltate, three to seven angled, lobed. Flowers small, yellow, borne in profusion in axillary clusters. Drupes, round, black, with a bloom on them, one-seeded. Seed, crescent-shaped, compressed, the name Moonseed being derived from this lunate shape of the seed. The rhizome is wrinkled longitudinally and has a number of thin, brittle roots; fracture, tough, woody; internally reddish; a thick bark encloses a circle of porous, short, nearly square wood wedges and a large central pith. The root is the official part; it has a persistent bitter, acrid taste and is almost inodorous.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil that does not dry out excessively in summer, in sun or partial shade. Prefers a position in full sun[219]. This species is hardy to about -30°c, but, due to a lack of summer heat, the plants usually produce soft growth in mild maritime areas and this can be cut to the ground at temperatures around -5 to -10°c. The plants do not require pruning, but can benefit from being cut back to ground level every 2 – 3 years in order to keep them tidy. A vigorous and fast-growing climbing plant that twines around supports, it also spreads freely by underground suckers. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – sow late winter in a greenhouse. Two months cold stratification speeds up germination so it might be better to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood, autumn in a frame. Division of suckers in early sprin. The suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are established.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: The rhizome and roots.
Constituents: Berberine and a white amorphous alkaloid termed Menispermum, which has been used as a substitute for Sarsaparilla, some starch and resin.

Canada moonseed has occasionally been used in the past for its medicinal virtues, though it is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The roots are a bitter tonic, diuretic, laxative, nervine, purgative (in large doses), stomachic and tonic. A tea made from the root has been used in the treatment of indigestion, arthritis, bowel disorders and as a blood cleanser. The root is applied externally as a salve on chronic sores.

In small doses it is a tonic, diuretic, laxative and alterative. In larger doses it increases the appetite and action of the bowels; in full doses, it purges and causes vomiting. It is a superior laxative bitter; considered very useful in scrofula, cutaneous, rheumatic, syphilitic, mercurial and arthritic diseases; also for dyspepsia, chronic inflammation of the viscera and in general debility. Externally, the decoction has been applied as an embrocation in cutaneous and gouty affections.

Use with caution, see notes above on toxicity.

 Other Uses:Cultivated in Britain as a hardy, deciduous, ornamental shrub. A closely allied species is indigenous to the temperate parts of Eastern Asia.

Known Hazards:  All parts of these plants are known to be poisonous. The principal toxin is the alkaloid dauricine. The fruit of Canada Moonseed are poisonous and can be fatal. While foraging for wild grapes one should examine the seeds of the fruit to make sure one is not eating moonseeds: moonseeds have a single crescent-shaped seed, while grapes have round seeds. Differences in taste should also be an indicator of whether or not a specimen is grape or Moonseed, moonseeds have a taste that is described as “rank”. Also, the moonseed vine lacks tendrils, whilst the vine of the wild grape has forked tendrils.

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/Menispermum_canadense
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/parill07.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Menispermum+canadense

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Herbs & Plants

Autumn hawkbit

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Botanical Name : Leontodon autumnalis
Family: Asteraceae
Genus:     Scorzoneroides
Species: S. autumnalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:    Asterales

Synonyms: Scorzoneroides autumnalis

Common Names :Autumn hawkbit,fall dandelion

Habitat : Leontodon autumnalis is native range in Eurasia (from Europe east to western Siberia), and introduced in North America.It grows on shores, rocky outcrops, roadsides, paths, wasteland, pastures, yards, lawns, fell tundra meadows, shores, snow-bed sites.

Description:
Leontodon autumnalis is a perennial plant,  growing to a height of 4 to 15 inches.  The stem  is  usually branched with many capitula  and the leafless  are  almost glabrous scape.
The flower is single flower-like capitula 1 to 1.2 in. broad, surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum flowers yellow (outermost edge usually slightly reddish), tongue-like, tip 5-toothed. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlapping in 2–3 rows, hairy–glabrous. Capitula solitary terminating branches, pedicels thickening towards top. Flower with weak, pansy-like, slightly pungent fragrance.Flowering time is July to September.

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The leaves are  basal rosette, stalked, stalks winged. Blade lanceolate, glabrous, pinnate (occasionally large-toothed), lobes long, narrow.
The fruit is almost glossy, yellowish cypsela, crowned with feathery hairs.The seeds are long and brown, attached to a parachute consisting of a single row of hairs.

(Leontodon is from Lion’s tooth which describes the shape of 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorzoneroides_autumnalis
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/autumn-hawkbit
https://www.growwilduk.com/know-your-wild-flowers

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Zanthoxylum

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Botanical Name :Zanthoxylum spp
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Toddalioideae
Genus: Zanthoxylum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common NamesPrickly Ash , Szechuan pepper, chuan jiao, Tooth Ache Tree, yellow wood

Habitat:Zanthoxylum is native to northern and central Illinois.It occurs in upland woodlands, bottomland woodlands, savannas, wooded ravines, thinly wooded bluffs, edges of shady seeps, stream banks in wooded areas, thickets, pastures, and fence rows. It probably benefits from occasional wildfires.

Description:
Zanthoxylum  is a shrub is 4-25′ tall, branching abundantly. The bark of trunk and larger branches is gray to brown and fairly smooth, although on old large shrubs it can become shallowly furrowed with a wrinkled appearance. Twigs are brown and glabrous, while young shoots are light green and nearly glabrous to pubescent. Pairs of stout prickles up to 1/3″ long are scattered along the branches, twigs and shoots; these spines are somewhat flattened and curved. Alternate compound leaves about 6-12″ long develop along the twigs and young shoots; they are odd-pinnate with 5-11 leaflets. Individual leaflets are 1½-3¼” long and ½-1½” across; they are lanceolate-oblong to ovate-oblong with margins that are smooth to crenulate (fine rounded teeth). The upper surface of mature leaflets is medium green, minutely glandular, and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green and short-pubescent to nearly glabrous; in the latter case, fine hairs are restricted to the major veins. Newly emerged leaflets are more hairy than mature leaflets. The lateral leaflets are sessile or nearly so, while the terminal leaflets have slender petiolules (basal stalklets) that are less than ½” long. The light green petioles (basal stalks) and rachises of the compound leaves are hairy while young, but become more glabrous with age; they have scattered small prickles along their undersides.

click to see the pictures……..>…(01).....(1)..…...(2)…….(3)..…..(4)..……...(5)

Prickly Ash is almost always dioecious, producing male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on separate shrubs. These flowers are arranged in small axillary clusters (cymes) along the branches of the preceding year. Individual male flowers are a little less than ¼” across, consisting of 4-5 erect petals and 4-5 stamens; there is no calyx. The petals of male flowers are yellowish green to orange and oblong in shape. Individual female flowers are about ¼” across, consisting of 4-5 erect petals and 2-5 separate pistils; there is no calyx. The petals of female flowers are also yellowish green to orange and oblong in shape. The ovaries of the pistils are glossy green and ovoid in shape; their elongated styles tend to converge at their tips. The blooming period occurs during mid- to late spring before the leaves develop. Afterwards, the female flowers are replaced by berry-like follicles (fruits that open along one-side) about 1/3″ long that are ovoid-globoid in shape with a pitted surface. As the follicles mature, they change from green to red to brown, eventually splitting open to expose shiny black seeds with oily surfaces. Each follicle contains 1-2 seeds. Both the crushed foliage and fruits are highly aromatic, somewhat resembling the fragrance of lemon peels. The root system produces underground runners, from which clonal offsets are produced. This shrub often forms clonal colonies of varying size.

Cultivation: The preference is full or partial sun and moist to dry-mesic conditions. Different types of soil are tolerated, including those that contain loam, clay-loam, and rocky material. This shrub can adapt to light shade, but it may fail to produce flowers and fruit. It has relatively few problems with pests and disease organisms

Medicinal uses:
Paresthesia is the mouth-numbing effect believed to be caused by hydroxyl-alpha-sanshool, an alkylamide found in Zanthoxylum spp.  Anyone who has bitten into a Sichuan pepper can attest to the unique sensation of mild electric shock or “pins and needles” in their mouth.  Researchers have likened this experience to that of “touching their tongue to the terminals of a 9-volt battery”, which is quite different from the burning pain of chilli peppers or the punch of fresh wasabi.

The numbing and analgesic effects of Zanthoxylum have been exploited for centuries as a natural remedy to alleviate acute and chronic pain.  In Nigeria, the roots are used as a chewing stick to give a warm and numbing effect.  This use is believed to be beneficial to the elderly and to those with sore gums and other oral disease conditions.  Zanthoxylum americanum is commonly known as toothache tree in North America and can be found in the eastern US as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada.

Zanthoxylum spp. have traditionally been administered for a variety of maladies in addition to oral diseases.  In India, the leaf is used against fever, dyspepsia and bronchitis.  In Manipur, India, the seed oil is applied against baldness and bark powder is used to treat toothache (Singh and Singh 2004).  In a 2008 report titled “Indigenous Vegetables of India with a Potential for Improving Livelihoods,” ML Chadha from the ARVDC Regional Center for South Asia reports that Z. hamiltonianum is used as both a vegetable and a remedy; dried, tender leaves are eaten as a vegetable and powdered fruits are consumed to increase the appetite.  The young stems are employed as a toothbrush in cases of toothache and bleeding gums, whereas the roots and bark are used to cure malaria.  Though generally eaten as a vegetable, the leaves of Z. rhetsa are also consumed to kill tapeworms and reduce infection (Chadha 2008).

Scientific studies are validating the traditional medical role of various Zanthoxylum products.  Research has demonstrated the potential of Z. rhetsa leaf extract as a de-worming remedy; it has been found to have a pronounced effect against larval eggs, comparable to a commercial drug (Yadav and Tangpu  2009).  Bark extract from Z. rhetsa has been shown to lessen abdominal contractions and diarrhoea in mice (Rahman 2002).  Other potential pharmaceutical applications include cancer treatment and anti-oxidant, anti-coagulant and anti-bacterial agents.

At the industrial level, Z. armatum has been shown to contain high amounts of linalool (Jain et al. 2001), a compound used commercially as a precursor to vitamin E production and also in soaps, detergents and insecticides.  Clearly, Zanthoxylum spp. have potential beyond traditional uses as spices and folk medicine.

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.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/prickly_ash.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanthoxylum
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail403.php
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs035/1102506082274/archive/1104323477745.html

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Pterospermum acerifolium

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Botanical name:Pterospermum acerifolium
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Pterospermum
Species: P. acerifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name : Karnikara tree. The classification Pterospermum is based on two Greek words, Pteron and Sperma, meaning “winged seed.” There is an array of common names for Pterospermum acerifolium, depending on the region where it is grown. It is commonly referred to as Kanak Champa, Muchakunda or Karnikar Tree within its native range. Other common names include Bayur Tree, Maple-Leafed Bayur Tree, and Dinner Plate Tree.

Habitat :Pterospermum acerifolium is an angiosperm indigenous to Southeast Asia, from India to Burma.It is most likely to grow naturally along forested stream banks.

Description:
It is a relatively a large tree, growing up to thirty meters tall. Mostly planted as an ornamental or shade tree, the leaves, flowers, and wood of Pterospermum acerifolium can serve a variety functions.

The leaves of the Pterospermum acerifolium are palmately ribbed and have stipules. The leaves grow in an alternate insertion arrangement. Leaf shape can range from oblong, broadly obovate to ovate. Leaf edges are commonly dentate (toothed) or irregularly lobed. Many leaves tend to droop downward, giving the tree the appearance that it is wilting, when in fact it could have a sufficient amount of water available. The top side of the leaves is a dark green color with a glabrescent texture. The leaves are rough and rubbery to limit the loss of moisture in a hot climate. The bottom side of the leaves range from a silver to rust color and are pubescent. The bark of the tree is grey in color and is considered to be fairly soft. Small twigs and new growth can sometimes seem feathery and are commonly more of a rusty-brown color. Leaves have a peltate blade base, meaning the insertion of the petiole is at the center of the leaf.

Click to see the pictures   :

The  tree produces large, white, finger shaped flowers in the spring. Flowers begin as one long bud, then separating into five more slender sepals as it matures. Each sepal can be up to seven inches long. The sepals of the flower curl outward and around the white and gold stamen located at the center. The flowers are nocturnal and exceptionally fragrant, suggesting they attract moths for pollination. Successfully pollinated flowers produce a fruit in the form of a hard capsule. The fruit has a very rough texture and is sometimes covered in brown hairs. Fruits can take a very long time to completely mature; up to an entire year. The capsule then splits open releasing a massive number of “winged seeds.” Because it takes such a long period to reproduce, it seems the Bayur tree can be outcompeted by other faster growing plants. It is not widely distributed or common in natural environments, but is popular plant in gardens and landscaping.

Other Uses:
As mentioned before, one of the common names for Pterospermum acerifolium is the Dinner Plate Tree. The utilization of the leaves is exactly what the name depicts. Mature leaves are very large, reaching a length and width of up to thirty five centimeters. They can be used as actual dinner plates or as packaging and storage by wrapping materials inside.
The leaves can also serve as a primitive method of re-enforcing roofs and preventing leaks.

The reddish wood of the Pterospermum acerifolium can be used for planking. Because the wood is soft, it is not considered to be very strong. However it is incredibly durable and somewhat flexible, making it perfect for planking and wooden boxes. The Bayur Tree even serves a cultural function. Local Hindu people employ the plant for religious purposes. it’s bark is also supposed to be used in case of scabies topical preparation in lipstics.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium?o=3986&qsrc=999

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