Tag Archives: Lepidoptera

Centranthus rubra

Botanical Name :Centranthus rubra
Family:    Caprifoliaceae
Genus:    Centranthus
Species:C. ruber
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Dipsacales

Synonyms: Pretty Betsy. Bouncing Bess. Delicate Bess. Drunken Sailor. Bovisand Soldier.

Common Names:  valerian or red valerian, Jupiter’s beard and spur valerian.

Habitat: Centranthus rubra is native to England, Scotland and the Mediterranean countries. It  usually grows on  rocky places at elevations below 200 m. It is often seen by roadsides or in urban wasteland. It can tolerate very alkaline soil conditions, and will grow freely in old walls despite the lime in their mortar.

Description:
Centranthus rubra is a perennial plant. It branches  very freely to enabling it to take a firm hold in the crevices in which it has once gained possession. The stems are stout, somewhat shrubby at the base, between 1 and 2 feet long, hollow and very smooth in texture. The leaves 2 to 4 inches long and pointed, opposite one another in pairs, are somewhat fleshy, their outlines generally quite entire.
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The plant flowers profusely, and though the individual flowers are small (no more than 2 cm), the inflorescences are large and showy. The flowers are small in rounded clusters each with 5 fused petals and a spur. They are purplish red and sometimes (about 10% of individuals) white and occasionally lavender in color. Flowering takes place in early summer. They have a strong and somewhat rank scent. They are pollinated by both bees and butterflies and the plant is noted for attracting insects. It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Angle Shades. Seeds have tufts similar to dandelions that allow wind dispersal, and as such can become self-seed and become invasive if not properly controlled.

Edible Uses;
Both leaves and roots can be eaten, the leaves either fresh in salads or lightly boiled, the roots boiled in soups. Opinions differ as to whether either make very good eating, however.

Medicinal Uses:
Although it is sometimes reported to have medicinal properties,perhaps there is no basis for this view, which is almost certainly due to confusion with true valerian, (Valeriana officinalis).

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/v/valred04.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centranthus_ruber

Hepatica acutiloba

 

Botanical Name ; Hepatica acutiloba
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Hepatica
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales

Common Names:Hepatica, Liverleaf or Liverwort

Habitat :Hepatica acutiloba is native to central and northern Europe, Asia and eastern North America. Some botanists include Hepatica within a wider interpretation of Anemone.Grows in Rich woods. Deciduous woods, often in calcareous soils, from sea level to 1200 metres

Description:
Hepatica acutiloba is a perennial plant  growing to 0.25m by 0.2m.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies).The flowers are pink, purple, blue, or white sepals and three green bracts appear singly on hairy stems from late winter to spring. The leaves are basal, leathery, and usually three-lobed, remaining over winter.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a deep light soil with leafmold. Grows well on limey woodland soils in half shade, though it also succeeds in deep shade and in full sun. Plants resent root disturbance and should be placed in their permanent positions as soon as possible. This species is closely related to H. americana. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation:
Seed – sow in a moist soil in a shady position. The stored seed requires stratification for about 3 weeks at 0 – 5°c. Germination takes 1 – 12 months at 10°c. It is probably worthwhile sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division just as the leafless plant comes into flower in late winter. Replant immediately into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
Hepatic; Laxative.

A tea made from the leaves is laxative. It is used in the treatment of fevers, liver ailments and poor digestion. At one time it became a cult medicine as a liver tonic and 200,000 kilos of dried Hepatica leaves were used in 1883 alone. Externally, the tea is applied as a wash to swollen breasts. The plant is harvested in late spring or early summer and is dried for later use.  It also has demulcent activity. The roots and leaves are used dried or fresh in a tea or syrup. Of little use.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Hepatica+acutiloba
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepatica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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Cardamine amara

Botanical Name ; Cardamine amara
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Cardamine
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Bitter Cress or Large Bittercress

Habitat ;Cardamine amara is native to  Most of Europe, including Britain, north to 64° N., east to the Balkans and W. Asia.
Grows  by springs, in fens and on streamsides, preferring a peaty soil. Often found in trickling water. Often the dominant ground flora in alder woods with moving damp water.

Description:
Cardamine amara is a  perennial herb  growing to 0.6m. The leaves can have different forms, going from minute to medium-sized. They can be pinnate or bipinnate. They are basal and cauline (growing on the upper part of the stem), with narrow tips. They are rosulate (forming a rosette). The blade margins can be entire, serrate or dentate. The stem internodes lack firmness.

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The radially symmetrical flowers grow in a racemose many-flowered inflorescence or in corymbs. The white, pink or purple flowers are minute to medium-sized. The petals are longer than the sepals. The fertile flowers are hermaphroditic.

The fruits are long, thin dehiscent pods with many (20-100) seeds. In some regions this plant is considered a nuisance; one author observes, “Weeding this little pest is decidedly unsatisfying, for when its fully ripe pods are touched, they split open and shoot out their seeds, thus spitefully sowing another crop.”

It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from May to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile.

Cultivation :Easily grown in most moist soils. Prefers a moist humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. An invasive plant spreading freely by self-sowing, it is best suited to the wild garden. A polymorphic species.

Propagation: Seed – sow outdoors in situ in a shady position in April.

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.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves – raw. A hot cress-like flavour, nice in small quantities in a salad and available all year round in most years. A somewhat bitter flavour.

Medicinal Uses
Antiscorbutic; Diuretic; Stimulant.Used medicinally since early times as a stomachic

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/Cardamine
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Cardamine+amara
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://luirig.altervista.org/schedeit/ae/cardamine_amara.htm

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Rubus caesius

Botanical Name : Rubus caesius
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rubus
Subgenus: Rubus (formerly Eubatus)
Order: Rosales

Common Name: Dewberry, European dewberry

Habitat :Rubus caesius  is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, Siberia and W. Asia. It grows on  hedgerows, amongst shrubs and in rough dry meadowland, usually on basic soils.

Description:

Rubus caesius is a deciduous Shrub growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).  It is a small trailing (rather than upright or high-arching) brambles with berries reminiscent of the raspberry, but are usually purple to black instead of red.Sometimesit is considered  as a nuisance weed.
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Around March and April, the plants start to grow white flowers that develop into small green berries. The tiny green berries grow red and then a deep purple-blue as they ripen. When the berries are ripe, they are tender and difficult to pick in any quantity without squashing them. The plants do not have upright canes like some other Rubus species, but have stems that trail along the ground, putting forth new roots along the length of the stem. The stems are covered with fine spines or stickers. The berries are sweet and, for many, are worth the scratches and stains that come from picking them.

In the winter the leaves often remain on the stems, but may turn dark red. The leaves are sometimes eaten by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including peach blossom moths.

The European dewberry, Rubus caesius, grows more upright like other brambles, but is frequently restricted to coastal communities, especially sand dune systems. Its fruits are a deep, almost black, purple and are coated with a thin layer or ‘dew’ of waxy droplets. Thus, they appear sky-blue (caesius is Latin for pale blue). It is less sought after, because its fruits are small and retain a markedly tart taste even when fully ripe.

Cultivation :
Easily grown in a good well-drained loamy soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds on chalky soils. This species is a blackberry with biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Edible Uses:The leaves can be used for a tea, and the berries are sweet and edible.
Fruit –  is   eaten raw or cooked. Succulent but not very tasty. A delicious flavour, it is considered to be superior to blackcurrants though the fruit is rather small and consists of just a few drupes. The fruit can be used for making jellies, preserves etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is commonly used for a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. Combination of the roots is treatment for coughs and also fevers.

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/Dewberry
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

http://toptropicals.com/pics/garden/m1/Podarki7/Rubus_caesius67MikMak.jpg

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/ancient/wild-food-entry.php?term=Dewberry

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Silene vulgaris

Botanical Name :Silene vulgaris
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Subfamily: Caryophylloideae
Genus: Silene
Species: S. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonym(s): maidenstears

Common Names :Silene vulgaris, Silene cucubalus or Bladder Campion

Habitat :Silene vulgaris is native to Europe, where in some parts it is eaten, but is widespread in North America where it is considered a weed.Arable land, roadsides, grassy slopes etc, avoiding acid soils.

Description:
Silene vulgaris is a perennial herb, growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera, bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained moisture retentive light loamy soil in a sunny position[1, 200]. A good moth plant. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed, an outdoor sowing in situ can be made. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots and leaves – raw or cooked. The young leaves are sweet and very agreeable in salads. The cooked young shoots, harvested when about 5cm long, have a flavour similar to green peas but with a slight bitterness. This bitterness can be reduced by blanching the shoots as they appear from the ground. When pureed it is said to rival the best spinach purees. The leaves can also be finely chopped and added to salads. The leaves should be used before the plant starts to flower. Some caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity above.

In Spain, the young shoots and the leaves are used as food. The tender leaves may be eaten raw in salads. The older leaves are usually eaten boiled or fried, sauteed with garlic as well as in omelettes.

Formerly in La Mancha region of Spain, where Silene vulgaris leaves are valued as a green vegetable, there were people known as “collejeros” who picked these plants and sold them. Leaves are small and narrow, so it takes many plants to obtain a sizeable amount.

In La Mancha the Silene vulgaris leaves, locally known as “collejas”, were mainly used to prepare a dish called gazpacho viudo (widower gazpacho). The ingredients were flatbread known as tortas de gazpacho and a stew prepared with Silene vulgaris leaves. The reference to a widower originated in the fact that this dish was only eaten when meat was scarce and the leaves were emergency or lean-times food, a substitute for an essential ingredient. Other dishes prepared with these leaves in Spain include “potaje de garbanzos y collejas”, “huevos revueltos con collejas” and “arroz con collejas”.

In Crete it is called Agriopapoula  and the locals eat its leaves and tender shoots browned in olive oil

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is said to be emollient and is used in baths or as a fumigant. The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of ophthalmia.

Other Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it is most likely that the following use can be made of the plant:- The root is used as a soap substitute for washing clothes etc. The soap is obtained by simmering the root in hot water.

Known Hazards:
Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Silene%20vulgaris
http://www.cas.vanderbilt.edu/bioimages/species/sivu.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silene_vulgaris

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