Tag Archives: Mojave Desert

Robinia neomexicana

Botanical Name: Robinia neomexicana
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Robinieae
Genus: Robinia
Species: R. neomexicana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names: New Mexican locust, New Mexico, Southwest, Desert, Rusby’s locust, Locust Pink, or Rose locust

Habitat :Robinia neomexicana is native to South-western N. America – Texas to New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. It grows on mountain canyons and plains, generally in sunny positions in moist soils by streams, 1200 – 2500 metres.

Description:
Robinia neomexicana is a deciduous Tree growing to 2 m (6ft 7in) at a medium rate. It grows with bristly shoots. The leaves are 10–15 cm long, pinnate with 7–15 leaflets; they have a pair of sharp, reddish-brown thorns at the base. The flowers are showy and white or pink, produced in spring or early summer in dense racemes 5–10 cm long that hang from the branches near the ends. The fruits are brown bean-like pods with bristles like those on the shoots. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

In California, it is uncommon below 1500 m (5000 ft) in canyons in the Mojave Desert and its sky island pinyon-juniper habitats (Pinus monophylla and Juniperus californica). Farther east, it is typically found between 1200 and 2600 meters (4000 and 8500 feet) along streams, in the bottoms of valleys, and on the sides of canyons.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Specimen. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Succeeds in any soil, preferring one that is not too rich. Requires a well-drained soil, succeeding on dry barren sites. Plants are tolerant of drought and atmospheric pollution. The branches are brittle and very liable to wind damage. When plants are grown in rich soils they produce coarse and rank growth which is even more liable to wind damage. Plants can be coppiced. Any pruning should be done in late summer in order to reduce the risk of bleeding. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. 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. Special Features: North American native, Naturalizing, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 48 hours in warm water and sow the seed in late winter in a cold frame. A short stratification improves germination rates and time. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the following summer. The seed stores for over 10 years. Suckers taken during the dormant season
Edible Uses:
Flowers – raw or cooked. They can be used as a flavouring in cooked dishes. The flowers can be boiled, then dried and stored for later use. Seedpods – raw or cooked. They are gathered in the fall and eaten when fresh. The pods can also be cooked then dried and stored for later use. Seed – cooked. In New Mexico, Pueblo Native Americans traditionally ate the flowers uncooked.
Medicinal Uses :
Antirheumatic. An emetic, it is used to clear the stomach.

Other Uses:
Plants succeed in dry barren sites, their suckering habit making them suitable for stabilizing banks. Wood – tough, elastic and durable. Used for fence posts etc . Mule deer, cattle, and goats browse the plant foliage. Squirrels and quail eat the locust’s seeds

Known Hazards : The bark, root and seed are said to be poisonous
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/Robinia_neomexicana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Robinia+neomexicana

Artemisia nova

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

Synonyms: Seriphidium novum (A.Nelson)

Common Names: Black Sagebrush

Habitat : The native range of Artemisia nova is from the Mojave Desert mountains in southern California and in the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah, north to Oregon, Idaho and Montana, east to Wyoming and Colorado, and south to Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. It grows in forest, woodland, and grassland habitats.Dry plains and hills, 1500 – 2400 metres.

Description:
In general, Artemisia nova is a small, erect evergreen shrub producing upright stems branched off a central trunklike base. It is usually no taller than 20 to 30 centimeters but it has been known to exceed 70 centimeters in height.

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It is in leaf 12-Jan. The aromatic leaves are green, short, narrow, and sometimes toothed at the tip. This species can sometimes be distinguished from its similar-looking relatives by glandular hairs on its leaves.

The inflorescence bears clusters of flower heads lined with shiny, oily, yellow-green phyllaries with transparent tips. The fruit is a tiny achene up to a millimeter long.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. This species has some affinity for calcareous soils. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Unlike several closely related species, this plant does not layer or sprout from the stump if it is cut back. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse in a very free-draining soil, but make sure that the soil does not dry out. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 2 weeks in a warm greenhouse[164]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and headaches.

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/Artemisia_nova
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+nova

Larrea tridentata

Botanical Name: Larrea tridentata
Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Larrea
Species: L. tridentata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zygophyllales

Synonyms : L. divaricata. L. mexicana.

Common Name : Creosote Bush – Chaparral

Habitat : Larrea tridentata is a prominent species in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of western North America, and its range includes those and other regions in portions of
southeastern California, Arizona, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, New Mexico and Texas in the United States, and northern Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. The species grows as far
east as Zapata County, Texas, along the Rio Grande southeast of Laredo near the 99th meridian west. It grows in desert areas.

Description:
Larrea tridentata is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 metres (3.3 to 9.8 ft) tall, rarely 4 metres (13 ft). The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate    leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 millimetres (0.28 to 0.71 in) long and 4 to 8.5 millimetres (0.16 to 0.33 in) broad. The flowers are up to 25     millimetres (0.98 in) in diameter, with five yellow petals. Galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the   common name derives. In the regions where it grows its smell is often associated with the “smell of rain”.

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As the creosote bush grows older, its oldest branches eventually die and its crown splits into separate crowns. This normally happens when the plant is 30 to 90 years old. Eventually the old
crown dies and the new one becomes a clonal colony from the previous plant, composed of many separate stem crowns all from the same seed.

Cultivation:
Requires a moderately fertile moisture-retentive soil in full sun or light shade. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and –
10°c. The plant is resinous and aromatic.

Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. 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 new     growth in spring in a frame

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The flower buds are pickled in vinegar and used as a caper substitute. The stems and leaves are a tea substitute. The twigs are chewed to alleviate thirst. A resin is obtained from the leaves
and twigs, it delays or prevents oils and fats from becoming rancid.

Medicinal Uses:
Chaparal is used for treating such ailments as: tuberculosis, bowel complaints, stomach ulcers and bowel disorders, cancers, and colds and flu. It is found to be beneficial to the walls of
capillaries throughout the body, and so are good to take regularly in cases of capillary fragility. Chaparal contains N.D.G.A.. It is responsible for inhibiting several enzyme reactions, including
lipo oxyginase, which is responsible for some unhealthy inflammatory and immune-system responses. It has been shown to reduce inflammatory histamine responses in the lung, which is good    news for asthma sufferers. N.D.G.A. is one of the most highly anti-oxidant substances known to man. Several types of tumors, such as those in uterine fibroids and fibrosystic breast disease,   can be helped immensely by a concentrated extract of the plant. Chaparal can improve liver function, causing the liver metablolism to speed up, clearing toxins, and improving the livers’   ability to synthesize fatty acids into high density lipids (HDLs….the good quality cholesterol). The low density lipids levels (LDLs….the poor quality cholesterol) decrease. The strong anti-   oxident effects of Larrea t. appear to repair free radical damage caused by drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.

External uses of the herb include poultices placed on aching joints, and the tea or a fomentation (applied several times per day and left on the area) for such things as ringworm, skin
fungi, and athletes’ foot. Has also been used for reducing fibroids A study in the Journal of Dental Research showed chaparral mouthwash reduced cavities by 75%.

Lipoxygenase and 5-hydroxyeicosatatraenois acid are usually high in the synovial fluid of arthritis sufferers which means Chapparal’s ability to inhibit these can help here as well.
Larrea contains active flavonoids and ligans that, in addition to being anti-oxidants, act as antifungals, antibiotics, and antivirals. It is in this last capacity, as an antiviral that prompted
investigations into its ability to inhibit the spl promoter HIV and as an inhibitor of Herpes simplex-1 in cell cultures; as well as Kaposi’s sarcoma virus. Clinical evaluations consisted of
testimonies from close to 36 persons. Larrea was prepared as an extract in an aloe-based lotion and was effective in reversing symptoms in nearly all cases of HSV-1 and shingles within 12-24
hours and in greatly reducing the severity of sores from Kaposi’s sarcoma in people in full-blown AIDS. The lotion proved to work faster and to be more effective than acyclovir, the main drug   for herpes.

When applied to the skin as a tea, tincture, or salve, Chaparral slows down the rate of bacterial grown and kills it with its antimicrobial activity. Chaparral will also help dry skin,
brittle hair and nails and cracks in the hands or feet.

Known Hazards : Acute hepatitis associated with oral use. Contact dermatitis also reported. Not considered safe as a herbal remedy

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/Larrea_tridentata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Larrea+tridentata
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Frankenia grandifloria

Botanical: Frankenia grandifloria
Family: N.O. Frankeniaceae

Synonyms: Frankenia. Flux Herb.

Common Name: Yerba Reuma

Habitat:  Frankenia grandifloria is native to California, Nevada, Arizona and Northern Mexico.Heliotropium curassavicum,and alkaline places, from the coast to the desert. SAn Joaquin Valley, central coast, south coast, Channel Islands, eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, Nevada, Mexico, to South America.It grows in salt marshes in clay loam soil, with high salt content. in salt marshes, full sun, pink fls. no trees, low vegetation.
It tolerates seaside conditions, alkaline soil, salt, no drainage and seasonal flooding.

Description:
Frankenia grandifloria is a perennial, rhizomatous and small shrubby plant, with a prostrate, much-branched stem, about 6 inches long, growing in sandy places.It’s leaves are opposite, entire and glabrous to densely hairy, the lower ones obovate and the upper narrow, and axillary fascicles are often present.

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The solitary rose-purple flowers are about 3/8″ long and are sessile in the upper leaf axilsThe 5-cleft calyx is tubular with acute teeth, and the corolla contains five petals with 4-7, generally 5 or 6, stamens. There are normally three style branches.  The fruit is a linear capsule 3/16″ long with 1-20 brown seeds.    It blooms from June to October.  These four pictures were taken in Upper Newport Bay. It is salty to the taste, leaving an astringent aftertaste. It has somewhat fkeshy leaves ( no odour), small white to pink flowers, forms clumps, CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: The Herb.
Constituents: It contains about 6 per cent of tannin.

The herb is used as a remedy in catarrhal affections, especially of the nose and genitourinary tract.
When diluted with from two to five times its volume of water, it may be used as an injection or spray. It may also be taken internally.

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.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/frankenia-grandiflora
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/y/yerreu06.html
http://www.calflora.net/bloomingplants/alkaliheath.html

Yucca brevifolia

Botanical Name : Yucca brevifolia
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Yucca
Species: Y. brevifolia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name :Joshua tree, yucca palm, tree yucca, and palm tree yucca

Habitat :Yucca brevifolia is native to southwestern North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 400 and 1,800 meters (1,300 and 5,900 ft) elevation.Grows on arid mesas and mountain slopes. It thrives in the open grasslands of Queen Valley and Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park. A dense Joshua tree forest also exists in Mojave National Preserve, in the area of Cima Dome.

Description:
Yucca brevifolia trees are fast growers for the desert; new seedlings may grow at an average rate of 7.6 cm (3.0 in) per year in their first ten years, then only grow about 3.8 cm (1.5 in) per year thereafter. The trunk of a Yucca brevifolia tree is made of thousands of small fibers and lacks annual growth rings, making it difficult to determine the tree’s age. This tree has a top-heavy branch system, but also has what has been described as a “deep and extensive” root system, with roots possibly reaching up to 11 m (36 ft) away. If it survives the rigors of the desert it can live for hundreds of years with some specimens surviving up to a thousand years. The tallest trees reach about 15 m (49 ft). New plants can grow from seed, but in some populations, new stems grow from underground rhizomes that spread out around the Joshua tree.

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The evergreen leaves are dark green, linear, bayonet-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 7–15 mm broad at the base, tapering to a sharp point; they are borne in a dense spiral arrangement at the apex of the stems. The leaf margins are white and serrate.

 

The flowers are produced in spring from February to late April, in panicles 30–55 cm tall and 30–38 cm broad, the individual flowers erect, 4–7 cm tall, with six creamy white to green tepals. The tepals are lanceolate and are fused to the middle. The fused pistils are 3 cm tall and the stigma cavity is surrounded by lobes. The semi-fleshy fruit that is produced is green-brown, elliptical, and contains many flat seeds. Yucca brevifolia trees usually do not branch until after they bloom (though branching may also occur if the growing tip is destroyed by the yucca-boring weevil), and they do not bloom every year. Like most desert plants, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom.

FruitOnce they bloom, the trees are pollinated by the yucca moth, which spreads pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower. The moth larvae feed on the seeds of the tree, but enough seeds are left behind to produce more trees. The Yucca brevifolia tree is also able to actively abort ovaries in which too many eggs have been laid.

Cultivation:  
Thrives in any soil but prefers a sandy loam and full exposure to the south. Plants are hardier when they are grown on poor sandy soils. Prefers a hot dry position, disliking heavy rain. Established plants are very drought resistant. The flowers of this species are malodorous. In the plants native environment, its flowers can only be pollinated by a certain species of moth. This moth cannot live in Britain and, if fruit and seed is required, hand pollination is necessary. This can be quite easily and successfully done using something like a small paint brush. Individual crowns are monocarpic, dying after flowering. However, the crown will usually produce a number of sideshoots before it dies and these will grow on to flower in later years. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits

Propagation :        
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water may reduce the germination time. It usually germinates within 1 – 12 months if kept at a temperature of 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving them some winter protection for at least their first winter outdoors – a simple pane of glass is usually sufficient. Seed is not produced in Britain unless the flowers are hand pollinated. Root cuttings in late winter or early spring. Lift in April/May and remove small buds from base of stem and rhizomes. Dip in dry wood ashes to stop any bleeding and plant in a sandy soil in pots in a greenhouse until established. Division of suckers in late spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the following spring.

Edible Uses:        
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Root;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Flowers – cooked. The flower buds, before opening, can be parboiled in salt water to remove the bitterness, drained and then cooked again and served like cauliflower[183]. The opened flowers are rich in sugar and can be roasted and eaten as candy. Fruit – cooked. The fruits can be roasted then formed into cakes and dried for later use. Root – raw, boiled or roasted. Seed. Gathered and eaten by the local Indians. No further details are given, but it is probably ground into a powder and mixed with cornmeal or other flours and used for making bread, cakes etc. Immature seedpod. No more details given.

Medicinal Uses:  
A good strong infusion of the roots was once a popular treatment for venereal diseases.

Other Uses:
Basketry;  Brush;  Dye;  Fibre;  Soap;  Weaving.

A fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making ropes, baskets, sandals, clothing and mats. The whole leaf can be woven into mats etc and it can also be used as a paint brush. The dark red core of the roots has been used as a pattern material in coiled baskets. The core is split into strands, soaked and worked in with the coiling so that the colour is always on the outside. Red and black dyes have been obtained from the roots. The roots are rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. It makes a good hair wash. Wood – light, soft, spongy, difficult to work. Sometimes cut into thin layers and used as wrapping material, or manufactured into boxes and other small articles.

Known Hazards:    The roots contain saponins. Whilst saponins are quite toxic to people, they are poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass straight through. They are also destroyed by prolonged heat, such as slow baking in an oven. Saponins are found in many common foods such as beans. 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_brevifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Yucca+brevifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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