Tag Archives: Monarch (butterfly)

Rhus radicans

Botanical Name: Rhus radicans
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Toxicodendron/Rhus
Species: T. radicans
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: R. toxicodendron. non L., Toxicodendron radicans. (L.)Kuntze. T. vulgare.

Common Names:Poison Ivy,Eastern poison ivy

Habitat : Rhus radicans is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Florida, west to Texas. It grows in woods, on rocky slopes and in wooded swamps.
Description:
Rhus radicans is a deciduous Climber growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in) at a fast rate. The species has complex and variable forms. Some are woody vines that produce aerial roots and grow by straggling and climbing over other vegetation. Ground-forms usually spread by rhizomes and develop dense colonies with a few leaves crowded near the summit. Regardless of growth habit, poison ivy always has three leaflets per leaf, with leaflets: ovate to subrotund, varying to rhombic or elliptic, terminally acute to acuminate, basally cuneate; entire to irregularly serrate or crenate; glabrous or thinly pubescent, petiolule of the terminal leaflet longer than those of the lateral leaflets; panicles: axillary, 1 dm long, bearing greenish-yellow flowers that mature into grayish white fruits, 5-6 mm; fruits: mature August through November, conspicuous all winter; birds eat the ripe seeds with impunity.

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. 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 Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A fast-growing but short-lived species in the wild. It has brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. The plant has a semi-climbing habit and produces aerial roots, and occasionally reaches the size of a small tree. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring 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 their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses: Oil

Medicinal Uses:
Poison ivy has occasionally been used medicinally, though it is an extremely poisonous plant and great caution should be exercised. Any herbal use should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. This plant has been used in the past by physicians in the treatment of paralysis and liver disorders. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a tonic and rejuvenator. The whole or the broken leaves have been rubbed over the skin to treat boils and skin eruptions. The leaves have been rubbed on skin that has been affected by a poison ivy reaction.

Other Uses:
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. An excellent marking ink is obtained from this plant.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

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/Toxicodendron_radicans
http://research.vet.upenn.edu/poisonousplants/PoisonousPlantsofPA/Rhusradicans/tabid/5476/Default.aspx
http://research.vet.upenn.edu/poisonousplants/PoisonousPlantsofPA/Rhusradicans/tabid/5476/Default.aspx

Asclepius incarnata


Botanical Name:
Asclepius incarnata
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. incarnata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Swamp milkweed, Rose milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Swamp silkweed, and White Indian hemp

Habitat :Asclepius incarnata is native to North America.(N. America – Quebec to Manitoba and Wyoming, south to Texas and New Mexico.) It grows in damp to wet soils .(Swamps, wet thickets and shores) .Butterfly Weed

Description:
Asclepius incarnata is a herbaceous perennial upright plant. It is 100- to 150-centimeter (39- to 59-inches) tall plant, growing from thick, fleshy, white roots. Typically, its stems are branched and the clump forming plants emerge in late spring after most other plants have begun growth for the year. The oppositely arranged leaves are 7 to 15 centimeters (2.75 to 6 inches) long and are narrow and lance-shaped, with the ends tapering to a sharp point.

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The plants bloom in early to mid-summer, producing small, fragrant, pink to mauve (sometimes white) colored flowers in rounded umbels. The flower color may vary from darker shades of purple to soft, pinkish purple and a white flowering form exists as well. The flowers have five reflexed petals and an elevated central crown. After blooming, green seed pods, approximately 12 centimeters (4.5 inches) long, are produced that when ripe, split open. They then release light to dark brown, flat seeds that are attached to silver-white silky-hairs ideal for catching the wind. This natural mechanism for seed dispersal is similar to that used by other milkweed plants

It is cultivated as a garden plant for its flowers, which attract butterflies and other pollinators with nectar.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Massing. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil. Requires a moist soil and a sunny position, doing well by water. Succeeds on dry soils and on all soil types. Plants are hardy to at least -25°c. A very ornamental plant, the flowers are very attractive to butterflies. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring[K], though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.
Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Oil; Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Oil; Sweetener.

Unopened flower buds – cooked. Tasting somewhat like peas. They can also be dried and stored for later use. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, harvested when 3 – 4 cm long – cooked. A pea-like flavour, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup.
Medicinal Uses:

Anthelmintic; Carminative; Diuretic; Emetic; Laxative; Stomachic.

It is used primarily in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Its uses are very similar to those of Asclepias tuberosa.

A tea made from the roots is anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, emetic, strongly laxative and stomachic. The tea is said to remove tapeworms from the body in one hour. It has also been used in the treatment of asthma, rheumatism, syphilis, worms and as a heart tonic. An infusion of the roots is used as a strengthening bath for children and adults.

Other Uses:
Fibre; Latex; Oil; Pollution; Stuffing; Wax.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark. It is used in twine, cloth etc. It is easily harvested in late autumn, after the plants have died down, by simply pulling it off the dead stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, it is used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. It is very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and stems. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance
Known Hazards: Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals. The leaves and the stems might 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:
http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias_incarnata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asclepias+incarnata

Asclepias

Botanical Name :Asclepias
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Asclepiadeae
Subtribe: Asclepiadinae
Genus: Asclepias
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name:Milkweed

Habitat :Asclepias contains over 140 known species and most of the species  are native to America  but may be this one is a native of the West Indies, abounding especially in Nevis and St. Kitts.

Description:
Asclepias, the milkweeds, is a genus of herbaceous perennial, dicotyledonous plants.
This genus consists of herbaceous plants with a milky juice, which are for the most part natives of America. Several species are cultivated for the sake of their showy flowers. All of them are more or less poisonous. Asclepias curassavica is employed in the West Indies as an emetic, and goes by the name of Ipecacuanha: the drug known in medicine by that name is derived from quite a different plant and must not be confused with it. A. tuberosa, the Butterfly-weed, has mild purgative properties, and promotes perspiration and expectoration. A. syriaca, a plant misnamed, as it is a native of America and Canada, is frequently to be met with in gardens; its dull red flowers are very fragrant, and the young shoots are eaten as asparagus in Canada, where a sort of sugar is also prepared from the flowers, while the silk-like down of the seeds is employed to stuff pillows. Some of the species furnish excellent fibre, which is woven into muslins, and in certain parts of India is made into paper.

click to see the pictures of  some popular species :

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In Hindu mythology, Soma – the Indian Bacchus- and one of the most important of the Vedic gods, is a personification of the Soma plant, A. acida, from which an intoxicating milky juice is squeezed. All the 114 hymns of the ninth book of the Rig Veda are in his praise. The preparation of the Soma juice was a very sacred ceremony and the worship of the god is very old. The true home of the plant was fabled to be in heaven, Soma being drunk by gods as well as men, and it is under its influence that Indra is related to have created the universe and fixed the earth and sky in their place. In postVedic literature, Soma is a regular name for the moon, which is regarded as being drunk by the gods and so waning, till it is filled up again by the Sun. In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta, Soma is the king of plants; in both, it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.

The three species of Asclepias most used in medicine are the Calotropis procera, A. tuberosa (Pleurisy root) and A. Incarnata (Swamp Milkweed).

It is a very common roadside weed in the eastern and central states of North America, where it is called ‘Silkweed,’ from the silky down which surmounts the seed, being an inch or two in length, and which has been used for making hats and for stuffing beds and pillows. Attempts have been made to use it as a cotton substitute. Both in France and Russia it has had textile use. The fibres of the stem, prepared in the same manner as those of hemp and flax, furnish a very long, fine thread, of a glossy whiteness.

Constituents & Medicinal Action and Uses:  . : It has a very milky juice, which is used as a domestic application to warts. The juice has a faint smell and subacid taste and an acid reaction. It contains a crystalline substance of a resinous character, closely allied to lactucone and called Asclepione; also wax-like, fatty matter, caoutchouc, gum, sugar, salts of acetic acid and other salts.

Besides the above-named species, various other species of the genus have been used medicinally.

An indigenous North American species A. verticillata (Linn.), is used in the Southern States as a remedy in snake bites and the bites of venomous insects. Twelve fluid ounces of a saturated decoction are said to cause an anodyne and sudorific effect, followed by gentle sleep.

From A. vincetoxicum (Linn.), ‘TamePoison,’ besides the glucoside Asclepiadin said closely to resemble emetine in its physiological properties, the glucoside Vincetoxir has been isolated. The root of this species sometimes occurs in commercial Senega Root (Polygala Senega).

An infusion of its root was formerly recommended in dropsical cases and disorders peculiar to women, as well as for promoting perspiration in fevers, measles and other eruptive complaints, but is now much less used.

A. curas-savica (Blood-weed and Redhead) is also called in the West Indies ‘Bastard Ipecacuanha.’

Both root and expressed juice are emetic, the former in the dose of 20 to 40 grains, the latter in that of a fluid ounce.

  The plant is used medicinally in the United States for the anodyne properties of its root and its rhizome and root have been employed successfully, like those of A. tuberosa, both in powder and infusion, in cases of asthma and typhus fever attended with catarrh, producing expectoration and relieving cough and pain. It has also been used in scrofula with great success.

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/Asclepias
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/ascle072.html

Asclepias tuberosa

Botanical Name :Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. tuberosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Butterfly Weed, Canada Root, Chigger Flower, Chiggerflower, Fluxroot, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Posy, Orange Milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Pleurisy Root, Silky Swallow-wort, Tuber Root, Yellow Milkweed, White-root, and Windroot, and also Butterfly Love.

Habitat :Asclepias tuberosa is native to N. America – S. Ontario and New York to Minnesota, south to Florida and Colorado.
It grows on dry open sandy and gravelly soils and grassy places by the sides of roads.

Description:
It is a perennial plant growing to 0.3–1 metre (10 in–3 ft 3 in) tall, with clustered orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. The leaves are spirally arranged, lanceolate, 5–12 cm long and 2–3 cm broad…...CLICK & SEE 

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects, lepidoptera.It is hardy to zone 3.

Identification:
The plant looks similar to the Lanceolate Milkweed (Asclepias lanceolata), but is uniquely identified by the larger number of flowers, and the hairy stems that are not milky when broken. It is most commonly found in fields with dry soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained light, rich or peaty soil. Prefers a sandy soil and a sunny position. Prefers a slightly acid soil. Prefers a dry soil. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. Another report says that this species is only suited to the warmer areas of Britain. A very ornamental plant, but it is not easy to establish or to keep in British gardens. Resents root disturbance, plants should be pot-grown from seed and planted out in their permanent positions when young. Plants are particularly at risk from slugs, however, and some protection will probably be required until the plants are established and also in the spring when the new shoots come into growth. The flower can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Root;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Sweetener.

Whilst most parts of this plant have been used as food, some caution is advised since large doses can cause diarrhoea and vomiting – see the notes above on toxicity. Flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. The tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods – cooked. Harvested when 3 – 4 cm long and before the seed floss begins to form, they are very appetizing. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. In hot weather the flowers produce so much nectar that it crystallises out into small lumps which can be eaten like sweets, they are delicious. Root – cooked. A nutty flavour. Some reports say that it is poisonous. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The seed is very small, however, and commercial usage would not be very viable.

Medicinal Uses:

Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Cathartic;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  ExpectorantPoultice;  Tonic;  Vasodilator.

Pleurisy root is a bitter, nutty-flavoured tonic herb that increases perspiration, relieves spasms and acts as an expectorant. It was much used by the North American Indians and acquired a reputation as a heal-all amongst the earlier white settlers. Its main use in present day herbalism is for relieving the pain and inflammation of pleurisy. The root is antispasmodic, carminative, mildly cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, tonic and vasodilator. The root was very popular as a medicinal herb for the treatment of a range of lung diseases, it was considered especially useful as an expectorant. It has never been scientifically examined and warrants further investigation. It has also been used internally with great advantage in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, rheumatism etc. Use with caution, This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women. See also the notes above on toxicity. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried. A poultice of the dried, powdered roots is used in the treatment of swellings, bruises, wounds, ulcers, lameness etc.

Although it has fallen into disuse, butterfly weed was a well-recognized remedy for all sorts of lung ailments, including bronchitis, consumption, typhoid fever, and pleurisy.  It is a lung tonic that relieves congestion, inflammation, and difficult breathing by increasing fluidity of mucus in the lungs and bronchial tubes.  It promotes the coughing up of phlegm, reduces inflammation and helps reduce fevers by stimulating perspiration.  A warm tea of butterfly weed relieves digestive disturbances, diarrhea and dysentery.  The settlers learned of its use from the Native Americans, who chewed the raw root to alleviate lung problems.  They also put the powdered roots on wounds to stop bleeding and pounded fresh roots into a poultice to place on bruises, rheumatism, inflammation, and lameness in the legs.  It has also been used to treat certain uterine problems and estrogenlike components have been reported.

Other Uses:
It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted

Fibre;  Latex;  Oil;  Pollution;  Stuffing.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark and is used in making twine, cloth etc. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a kapok substitute, used in life jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. The plant is a potential source of latex, used for making rubber. This species is the only member of the genus that does not have latex in its sap. The seedpods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. Candle wicks are made from the seed floss. The seed contains up to 21% of a semi-drying oil.

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/Asclepias_tuberosa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Asclepias+tuberosa
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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Asclepias physocarpa

 

Botanical Name: Asclepias physocarpa
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. physocarpa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name:Balloonplant, Balloon cotton-bush or Swan plant or South African Milkweed

Habitat : Asclepias physocarpa is native to southeast Africa, but it has been widely naturalized.

Description:
Asclepias physocarpa is an undershrub perennial herb, that can grow to over six feet. The plant blooms in warm months. It grows on roadside banks, at elevations of 2800 to 5000 feet above sea level. The plant prefers moderate moisture, as well as sandy and well-drained soil and full sun.

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The flowers are small, with white hoods and about 1 cm across. The capsule is a pale green, and in shape an inflated sphere. It is covered with rough hairs. It reaches three inches in diameter. The leaves are light green, linear to lanceolate and 3 to 4 inches long, 1.2 cm broad. The seeds have silky tufts.

This plant will readily hybridize with Asclepias fruticosa creating intermediate forms

Medicinal Uses:
Asclepias physocarpa is used for intestinal troubles in children or as a remedy for colds.  The powdered leaves were dried for snuff.

Other Usees:
Asclepias physocarpa plant  is often used as an ornamental plant. The name “balloonplant” is an allusion to the swelling bladder-like pods which are full of seeds.

The plant is a food source for the caterpillars of Danaus butterflies, and is a specific Monarch butterfly food and habitat plant. It is also popular in traditional medicine to cure various ailments.

All of the milkweeds are named for a milky sap in the plant’s stem and leaves. After the Monarch caterpillar has metamorphosed into a butterfly, the alkaloids from the sap they ingested from the plant are retained in the butterfly, making it unpalatable to predators

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepias_physocarpa

Flor-borboleta – Asclepias physocarpa

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