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Vicia americana

Botanical Name: Vicia americana
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species:V. americana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Lathyrus diffusus. Orobus diffusus

Common Names:American Vetch, Mat vetch, Purple vetch

Habitat : Vicia americana is native to N. America – Alaska to Ontario and New York, south to Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona.It grows on damp or gravelly slopes, thickets and meadows.
Description:
Vicia americana is a single-stemmed, climbing perennial forb that measurers up to 16 inches tall. It grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. The fruit is a hairless pod about 3 centimeters long that contains usually two light brown peas.

The 8 to 16 leaflets are broadly elliptical to linear measuring 0.4 to 1.5 inches in length. The lower stipules are deeply lacerated, often appearing star-like (Isley 1998). The inflorescence is a raceme with up to 10 purple flowers approximately 0.5 to 1.5 inches long. Flowering occurs from May to August with the seeds maturing around one month after pollination (Voss, 1985; Wasser, 1982). The fruit is a 1 to 1.5 inch long pod bearing two to several pea-like seeds. There are approximately 33,000 seeds/lb (USDANRCS, 2015). American vetch has a moderate to deeply-branched taproot which reaches a maximum depth of 40 inches. The deep tap root allows for the plant to exhibit characteristics of severe drought tolerance.
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It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best grown in semi-shade. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation : Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. The tender seeds are eaten by the N. American Indians. Both the mature seeds and the immature seedpods can be used. The pod is about 3cm long and contains 4 – 7 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have been rubbed in the hands and applied to spider bites. An infusion of the crushed leaves have been used as a bath for treating soreness. An infusion of the plant has been used as an eyewash. An infusion of the leaves has been used by women as a love medicine.

Other Uses : The stout roots have been used for tying

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/Vicia_americana
https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_viam.pdf
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+americana

Aralia elata

Botanical Name: Aralia elata
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Aralia
Species:A. elata
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Dimorphanthus elatus.

Common Name : Japanese Angelica Tree, Angelica Tree (In Japan it is known as tara-no-ki, and in Korea as dureup namu.)

Habitat: Aralia elata is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thin woodland and thickets on rich well moistened slopes, 900 – 2000 metres in N. Hupeh.

Description:
Aralia elata is an upright deciduous small tree or shrub growing up to 10 m (33 ft) in height at a medium rate. The bark is rough and gray with prickles. The leaves are alternate, large, 60–120 cm long, and double pinnate. The flowers are produced in large umbels in late summer, each flower small and white. The fruit is a small black drupe…CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils.

It prefers deep loamy soils in partial shade, but will grow in poorer soils and in full sun. The plant is sometimes cultivated, often in a variegated form, for its exotic appearance.

Aralia elata is closely related to the American species Aralia spinosa, with which it is easily confused.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Prefers a good deep loam and a position in semi-shade but it also succeeds in a sunny position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown on poorer soils. Prefers an acid soil. Dormant plants are hardy to at least -15°. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A very ornamental species, there are a number of named varieties. It is usually a single stemmed shrub, spreading by means of suckers. This species is closely allied to A. chinensis. Special Features: Not North American native, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. They can also be blanched and used in salads.

In Japan, the shoots (taranome) are eaten in the spring. They are picked from the end of the branches and are fried in a tempura batter.

In Korean cuisine, its shoots called dureup are used for various dishes, such as dureup jeon, that is a variety of jeon (pancake-like dish) made by pan-frying the shoots covered with minced beef and batter.

Dureup namul, also called dureup muchim is a dish made by blanching dureup seasoned with chojang (chili pepper and vinegar sauce).

It is also common to eat Aralia elata as Dureup bugak, fried shoots of the plant coated with glutinous rice paste, usually served along with chal jeonbyeong, a kind of pancake made by pan-frying glutinous rice flour. …...CLICK & SEE : 
Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Cancer; Carminative.

The roots and stems are anodyne and carminative. All parts of the plant are used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthralgia, coughs, diabetes, jaundice, stomach ulcers and stomach cancers.

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/Aralia_elata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aralia+elata

Equisetum sylvaticum

Botanical Name : Equisetum sylvaticum
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. sylvaticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales

Common Name : Wood horsetail, Woodland horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum sylvaticum is native to temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia. It grows on damp woods on acid soils, moors etc.

These horsetails are commonly found in wet or swampy forest, open woodlands, and meadow areas. The plant is an indicator of boreal and cool-temperate climates, and very moist to wet, nitrogen-poor soils.
Description:
Equisetum sylvaticum is a perennial plant. It has erect, hollow stems that grow from 30 to 60 cm in length and from 1-4 mm thick. The branches themselves are compound and delicate, occurring in whorls and drooping downward. There are generally 12 or more branches per whorl. Fertile stems are at first tan-to-brown and unbranched, but later become like the sterile stems, which are more highly branched and green. All the stems have 10-18 spiny vertical ridges that contain silica spicules. The leaves are scales fused into sheaths that cover the stems and branches. These spiny leaves are larger and looser on the fertile stems.

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The fertile stems are shorter than the others; on these develop the cones that bear the spore casings. The leaves develop on the fertile stems and the stems lengthen; then the cones open to release their spores. The cones then drop off. This process takes a few weeks. All the stems may continue to grow until fall and generally die back over winter.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from Apr to May.

Reproduction:
This plant reproduces by spores, but its primary means of reproduction is done vegetatively by rhizomes. These rhizome systems are deep and extensive, as well as extremely long-lived. These creeping rhizomes occasionally produce tubers, and often outweigh the above-ground growth by 100 to 1.
Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground.

Propagation :
Spores – best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Edible Uses:
Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) – cooked. An asparagus substitute, though it is neither very palatable nor very nutritious. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Roots – cooked. A source of starch. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals. The plant is astringent, diuretic and styptic. The barren stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be dried and sometimes the ashes of the pant are use. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, internal bleeding. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing.
Other Uses:
Dye; Fungicide; Hair; Sandpaper; Scourer.
The stems can be used for scouring and polishing metal and as a fine sandpaper. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun. They can also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses. It also makes a good liquid feed. Used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem
Known Hazards: Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase. The plant also contains equisetic acid – see the notes on medicinal uses for more information

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/Equisetum_sylvaticum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+sylvaticum

Duchesnea indica

Botanical Name : Duchesnea indica
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Duchesnea
Species: D. indica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Duchesnea indica (sometimes called Potentilla indica), known commonly as mock strawberry, Gurbir, Indian strawberry or false strawberry

Habitat : Duchesnea indica is native to eastern and southern Asia, (E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. An occasional garden escape in Britain) but has been introduced to many other areas as an ornamental plant. It has been naturalized in many regions, including the southern United States, and is considered an invasive species in some regions. It is considered one of the most invasive plants on the island of Réunion. It grows in Shady places in woods, grassy slopes, ravines in low mountains, all over Japan.
Description:
Duchesnea indica is an evergreen Perennial plant growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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The leaves are trifoliate, roughly veined beneath, dark green, and often persisting through the winter, arising from short crowns. The plant spreads along creeping stolons, rooting and producing crowns at each node. The yellow flowers are produced in mid spring, then sporadically throughout the growing season. The aggregate accessory fruits are white or red, and entirely covered with red achenes, simple ovaries, each containing a single seed. They are edible, but they have very little flavor.

The fruit is similar to true strawberry, though this is apparently an independent evolution of a similar fruit type. It has yellow flowers, unlike the white or slightly pink flowers of true strawberries.

Cultivation :
Prefers a moist but well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are at their best in semi-shade, though they are not too fussy and can succeed in quite dense shade. They also grow well in a rock garden. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant but it can be invasive, spreading freely by means of runners. Plants are more or less evergreen, though they can be browned by severe frosts. Plants sometimes self-sow in British gardens.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 weeks or more at 15°c. A period of cold stratification may speed up germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division of runners in spring or late summer. Very easy, they can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses: …Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Fruit – raw. Dry and insipid. Certainly rather tasteless, but it is not dry. A flavour somewhat like a water melon according to some people, but this is possibly the product of a strained imagination.The fruit contains about 3.4% sugar, 1.5% protein, 1.6% ash. Vitamin C is 6.3mg per 100ml of juice. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter with the appearance and texture of a strawberry but very little flavour. A clump 2.5m² yields about 150g of fruit annually. Leaves – cooked
Medicinal Uses:
Anticoagulant; Antiphlogistic; Antiseptic; Depurative; Febrifuge; Poultice; Skin.

The whole plant is anticoagulant, antiseptic, depurative and febrifuge. It can be used in decoction or the fresh leaves can be crushed and applied externally as a poultice. It is used in the treatment of boils and abscesses, weeping eczema, ringworm, stomatitis, laryngitis, acute tonsillitis, snake and insect bites and traumatic injuries. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of swellings. An infusion of the flowers is used to activate the blood circulation. The fruit is used to cure skin diseases. A decoction of the plant is used as a poultice for abscesses, boils, burns etc.

Other Uses :
A good ground cover plant, spreading quickly by means of runners. It is rather bare in winter though and should not be grown with small plants since it will drown them out. A good cover for bulbous plants.

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/Mock_strawberry
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Duchesnea+indica

Betula pendula/Betula alba

Botanical Name :Betula pendula/Betula alba
Family: Betulaceae
Genus: Betula Subgenus: Betula.     Species: B. pendula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms:
Synonyms include Betula pendula var. carelica (Merckl.) Hämet-Ahti, B. pendula var. laciniata (Wahlenb.) Tidestr., B. pendula var. lapponica (Lindq.) Hämet-Ahti, B. aetnensis Raf., B. montana V.N.Vassil, B. talassica Poljakov, B. verrucosa Ehrh., B. verrucosa var. lapponica Lindq., and B. fontqueri Rothm. The rejected name Betula alba L. also applied in part to B. pendula, though also to B. pubescens. Silver Birch has also sometimes been called Weeping Birch or European Weeping Birch

Common Names  : Birch bark & leaf , White Birch, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch,Silver Birch, European white birch, Common Birch, Warty Birch

Habitat : Betula pendula (silver birch) is a widespread European birch, though in southern Europe it is only found at higher altitudes. Its range extends into southwest Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey and the Caucasus. The closely related Betula platyphylla in northern Asia and Betula szechuanica of central Asia are also treated as varieties of silver birch by some botanists, as B. pendula var. platyphylla and B. pendula va.r. szechuanica respectively

Description:
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, typically reaching 15–25 metres (49–82 ft) tall (exceptionally up to 39 metres (128 ft)), with a slender trunk usually under 40 centimetres (16 in) diameter, but exceptionally to 1 metre (3.3 ft) diameter, and a crown of arched branches with drooping branchlets. The bark is white, often with black diamond-shaped marks or larger patches, particularly at the base. The shoots are rough with small warts, and hairless, and the leaves 3–7 centimetres (1.2–2.8 in) long, triangular with a broad base and pointed tip, and coarsely double-toothed serrated margins. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, produced before the leaves in early spring, the small 1-2mm winged seeds ripening in late summer on pendulous, cylindrical catkins 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.6 in) long and 7 mm broad.

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It is distinguished from the related downy birch (B. pubescens, the other common European birch) in having hairless, warty shoots (hairy and without warts in downy birch), more triangular leaves with double serration on the margins (more ovoid and with single serrations in downy birch), and whiter bark often with scattered black fissures (greyer, less fissured, in downy birch). It is also distinguished cytologically, silver birch being diploid (with two sets of chromosomes), whereas downy birch is tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes). Hybrids between the two are known, but are very rare, and being triploid, are sterile. The two have differences in habitat requirements, with silver birch found mainly on dry, sandy soils, and Downy Birch more common on wet, poorly drained sites such as clay soils and peat bogs. Silver birch also demands slightly more summer warmth than does Downy birch, which is significant in the cooler parts of Europe. Many North American texts treat the two species as conspecific (and cause confusion by combining the downy birch’s alternative vernacular name ‘white birch’, with the scientific name B. pendula of the other species), but they are regarded as distinct species throughout Europe.

It commonly grows with the mycorrhizal fungus Amanita muscaria in a mutualistic relationship. This applies particularly to acidic or nutrient poor soils. Other mycorrhizal associates include Leccinum scabrum and Cantharellus cibarius. Old trees are often killed by the decay fungus Piptoporus betulinus, and the branches often have witch’s brooms caused by the fungus Taphrina betulina

Cultivation:
Successful birch cultivation requires a climate cool enough for at least the occasional winter snowfall. As they are shallow rooted they may require water during dry periods. They grow best in full sun planted in deep, well-drained soil

 Parts Used: Bark, leaves

Constituents:  buds: volatile oil which includes the camphor-like betulin. young leaves: rich in saponins; also a flavonoid derivative, hyperoside resin, tannins, sesquiterpenes, betuloventic acid, vitamin c. bark: betulinol and a glycoside

Medicinal Uses:
* Cancer Prevention * Eczema * Kidney * Pain Relief
Properties: * Analgesic * Anti-inflammatory * AntiCancer * Aromatic * Astringent * Depurative * Febrifuge * Vermifuge
Parts Used: Bark, leaves

Birch is a natural pain reliever containing salicylate, the compound found in aspirin. Salicylate relieves the inflammation and pain associated with  osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and generalized muscle pain. Salicylate deters the body’s production of certain prostaglandins that are linked to inflammation, pain, and fever among other things. An other reason birch calms arthritis and gout is it’s cleansing diuretic action that eliminates toxins and excess water. Sweet birch can have good results against cellulite.

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions of birch bark support it’s traditional uses in skin disorders such as eczema. Traditional healers have long considered the leaves of the white and silver birch effective for skin rashes and hair loss. The essential oil of birch is astringent and is mainly employed for its curative effects in skin affections, especially eczema. 2The American species Betula lenta, (Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch) oil is almost identical with Wintergreen oil, but is not as toxic. Still, the methyl salicylate it contains can have harmful effects if used unwisely, and it is not for general use in aromatherapy and never to be taken internally. Birch bark and leaf in whole herb form have a much lower toxicity.

Birch bark and leaf is also used as an antibacterial diuretic in the treatment of urinary tract infections and cystitis. To increase the effect (and reduce burning) add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to the infusion.

Betulin and betulinic acid, both present in birch bark display some anticancer and anti-tumor properties, 4  though neither is touted as a stand alone cure for cancer these constituents add another reason to employ birch in healing remedies and help to validate its history of use from ancient times until today.

Other Uses:
Silver birch is often planted in parks and gardens, grown for its white bark and gracefully drooping shoots, sometimes even in warmer-than-optimum places such as Los Angeles and Sydney. In Scandinavia and other regions of northern Europe, it is grown for forest products such as lumber and pulp, as well as for aesthetic purposes and ecosystem services. It is sometimes used as a pioneer and nurse tree elsewhere. It is naturalised and locally invasive in parts of Canada. Birch brushwood is used for racecourse jumps, and the sap contains around 1% sugars and can be drunk or be brewed into a “wine”. Historically, the bark was used for tanning. Silver birch wood can make excellent timber for carving kitchen utensils such as wooden spoons and spatulas: its very mild, sweet flavour does not contaminate food, and it has an attractive pale colour. Bark can be heated and the resin collected; the resin is an excellent water proof glue and firestarter.

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/Betula_pendula
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail181.php