Tag Archives: Natural History Museum

Equisetum telmateia

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

Synonyms : Equisetum maximum. auct.

Common Names : Great horsetail or Northern giant horsetail

Habitat : Equisetum telmateia is native to Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia, N.W. N. America. It grows on damp shady banks etc, to 350 metres.

Description:
Equisetum telmateia is a herbaceous perennial plant, with separate green photosynthetic sterile stems, and pale yellowish non-photosynthetic spore-bearing fertile stems. The sterile stems, produced in late spring and dying down in late autumn, are 30–150 cm (rarely to 240 cm) tall (the tallest species of horsetail outside of tropical regions) and 1 cm diameter, heavily branched, with whorls of 14–40 branches, these up to 20 cm long, 1–2 mm diameter and unbranched, emerging from the axils of a ring of bracts. The fertile stems are produced in early spring before the sterile shoots, growing to 15–45 cm tall with an apical spore-bearing strobilus 4–10 cm long and 1–2 cm broad, and no side branches; the spores disperse in mid spring, with the fertile stems dying immediately after spore release. It also spreads by means of rhizomes that have been observed to penetrate 4 meters into wet clay soil, spreading laterally in multiple layers. Occasional plants produce stems that are both fertile and photosynthetic. It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen in April.

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There are two subspecies:
*Equisetum telmateia subsp. telmateia. Great Horsetail. Europe, western Asia, northwest Africa. Main stem between branch whorls pale greenish white.

*Equisetum telmateia subsp. braunii (Milde) Hauke. Northern Giant Horsetail. Western North America, from southeastern Alaska and western British Columbia south to California. Main stem between branch whorls green.

CLICK & SEE : Equisetum telmateia  & Spore-bearing strobilus

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) – raw or cooked. The tough outer fibres are peeled off, or can be chewed and then discarded. The vegetative shoots, produced from late spring onwards, were occasionally cleaned of their leaves, sheathing and branches and then eaten by native North American Indians, but only when very young and tightly compacted. Root – cooked.

Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Diuretic; Poultice.

The plant is astringent and diuretic. A decoction has been used to treat ‘stoppage of urine’. A poultice of the rough leaves and stems is applied to cuts and sores.

Other Uses:
Basketry; Fungicide; Hair; Liquid feed; Polish; Sandpaper.

The stems are very rich in silica. They are 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. The black roots have been used for imbrication on coiled baskets.

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_telmateia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Equisetum+telmateia

Dactylorhiza maculata

Botanical Name: Dactylorhiza maculata
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Dactylorhiza
Species: D. maculata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Orchis maculata.

Common Names: Heath spotted-orchid or Moorland spotted orchid

Habitat : Dactylorhiza maculata is native to W. Europe in Britain and France, north through Germany ad Belgium to Scandanavia. It grows in moist acid peaty substrata throughout the British Isles.
Description:
Dactylorhiza maculata is a herbaceous perennial orchid plant.It reaches on average 15–45 centimetres (5.9–17.7 in) of height, with a maximum of 70 centimetres (28 in). These plants are bulbous geophytes, forming their buds in underground tubers or bulbs, organs that annually produce new stems, leaves and flowers. Furthermore these orchids are “terrestrial”, because unlike “epiphyte” species they do not live at the expense of other large plants.

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This orchid has an erect, glabrous and cylindrical stem, with a streaked surface. The leaves are oblong or oval-lanceolate, with dark ellipsoid-shaped “spots” on the surface (hence the species name). The leaves are amplexicaul and can be either radical (basal) or cauline.

The underground part of the stem has two webbed tubers each one more or less deeply divided into several lobes or tubercles (characteristic of the genus Dactylorhiza), the first one plays the important functions of supplying the stem, while the second one collects nutrient materials for the development of the plant that will form in the coming year.

The inflorescence is 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long and it is composed of flowers gathered in dense spikes. The flowers are placed in the axils of bracts membranous and lanceolate-shaped. Their colors vary from light pink to purple or white with darker streaks mainly on the labellum (sometimes at the margins of tepals). The flowers reaches on average 10–15 centimetres (3.9–5.9 in). The flowers are hermaphrodite and pollinated by insects, especially bumblebees. However the seeds germination is conditioned by the presence of specific fungi.
Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils, but it prefers a moist loam and lots of leaf mould. Requires a deep rich soil. Grows well in full sun or partial shade, doing well in a woodland garden. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid. This symbiotic relationship makes them very difficult to cultivate, though they will sometimes appear uninvited in a garden and will then thrive. Transplanting can damage the relationship and plants might also thrive for a few years and then disappear, suggesting that they might be short-lived perennials. Cultivated plants are very susceptible to the predation of slugs and snails. Plants can succeed in a lawn in various parts of the country. The lawn should not be mown early in the year before or immediately after flowering. Plant out bulbs whilst the plant is dormant, preferably in the autumn. Bulbs can also be transplanted with a large ball of soil around the roots when they are in leaf, they are impatient of root disturbance.
Propagation :
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division of the tubers as the flowers fade. This species produces a new tuber towards the end of its growing season. If this is removed from the plant as its flowers are fading, the shock to the plant can stimulate new tubers to be formed. The tuber should be treated as being dormant, whilst the remaining plant should be encouraged to continue in growth in order to give it time to produce new tubers. Division can also be carried out when the plant has a fully developed rosette of leaves but before it comes into flower. The entire new growth is removed from the old tuber from which it has arisen and is potted up, the cut being made towards the bottom of the stem but leaving one or two roots still attached to the old tuber. This can often be done without digging up the plant. The old tuber should develop one or two new growths, whilst the new rosette should continue in growth and flower normally
Edible Uses:.Root – cooked. It is a source of ‘salep‘, a fine white to yellowish-white powder that is obtained by drying the tuber and grinding it into a powder. Salep is a starch-like substance with a sweetish taste and a faint somewhat unpleasant smell. It is said to be very nutritious and is made into a drink or can be added to cereals and used in making bread etc. One ounce of salep is said to be enough to sustain a person for a day.
Medicinal Uses:

Demulcent; Nutritive.

Salep is very nutritive and demulcent. It has been used as a diet of special value for children and convalescents, being boiled with water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. Rich in mucilage, it forms a soothing and demulcent jelly that is used in the treatment of irritations of the gastro-intestinal canal. One part of salep to fifty parts of water is sufficient to make a jelly. The tuber, from which salep is prepared, should be harvested as the plant dies down after flowering and setting seed
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dactylorhiza_maculata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dactylorhiza+maculata

 

Goodyera repens

 

Botanical Name: Goodyera repens
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Goodyera
Species: G. repens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Satyrium repens. L.

Common Names: Creeping Lady’s Tresses, Lesser rattlesnake plantain, Creeping rattlesnake plantain, Dwarf rattlesnake plantain, Northern rattlesnake plantain

Habitats: Goodyera repens is a rare plant, but it is the most common orchid in Scandinavia. The species is widespread across much of Europe, Asia and North America including Russia, China, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, though never very common in any of these places. It grows in locally in pine woods, rarely under birch or on moist fixed dunes in northern Britain.

Description:
Goodyera repens is a perennial orchid plant, growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is a green underground creeper that sends out occasional skinny stems above the surface. During the summer, these stems bear flowers arranged in a spiral. These flowers twist themselves to face toward the sun. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Humble bees.The plant is not self-fertile.

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*Leaves are deciduous, mottled green and white, ½”-1″ long.
*Rhizomes are thick, fiberous.
*Flowers white to pale green and only 4mm-5 mm long; on a one-sided raceme, 1″-3½” long.
*Fruit a capsule, not quite ½” long.
Cultivation:
Requires a somewhat shady site and a well-drained compost of peat, leafmold and sand. Does well in the woodland garden. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil[200]. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move.

Medicinal Uses:
A cold infusion of the leaves has been used to improve the appetite and also in the treatment of colds and kidney problems. A poultice of the wilted leaves has been used to ‘draw out burns’. The infusion can be held in the mouth as a treatment for toothache. The root and the leaves have been used in the treatment of bladder problems. The roots and the leaves have been used in the treatment of stomach problems and female disorders. A poultice of the chewed leaves, and the swallowed juice, has been used in the treatment of snake bites. The plant ooze has been used as drops to treat sore eyes.

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.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Goodyera+repens
http://www.rook.org/earl/bwca/nature/herbs/goodyerarep.html
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/goorep/all.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodyera_repens

Habenaria intermedia

Botanical name: Habenaria intermedia
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
Subtribe: Orchidinae
Genus: Habenaria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Ochyrorchis intermedia, Kryptostoma intermedium
Common name: Intermediate Habenaria • Hindi: Vriddhi, Riddhi • Sanskrit: Vriddhi
Habitat:Habenaria intermedia is native to E. Asia – Himalayas . It is mostly found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to Nepal, at altitudes between 1500-2500 m.
Description:
Intermediate Habenaria is a very beautiful perennial orchid plant.It is 30-50 cm tall, with oblong, stalkless tuberoids. Stem is evenly leafy. Leaves are 3-5, ovate-oblong, acuminate, up to 8×4 cm, sheathing. Large flowers are borne in clusters of 1-4. Bracts are leaflike. Flowers are large, green and white. Sepals are green, the dorsal ovate-lanceolate, recurved, 20-24 x 9-10 mm, lateral-sepals falcately lanceshaped, spreading, 23-28 x 6-7 mm. Petals are white, crescent-shaped, recurved and adherent to dorsal sepal, minutely ciliolate on margins. Labellum pale or yellowish-green, 3-lobed from an undivided, white, up to 10 mm long base, mid-lobe linear-acumi¬nate, straight or slightly turned upwards, 20-30 x 2.5 mm; side lobes 25-30 mm long, somewhat diverging with c. 10, partly divided, fine, up to 20 mm long fringes on the outer margin. Spur green, 6 cm long, ± flexuous, somewhat widened towards apex and base. Not so rare, but one of the biggest flower in Habenarias. Flowering: July-August.>…CLICK  &  SEE THE PICTURES
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 could succeed outdoors at least in the milder parts of this country. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Even those species that grow in bogs tend to be in the drier areas of the bog with plenty of water 15cm or more below soil level. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant
Edible Uses: Roots – cooked. Boiled and eaten as a vegetable. Tender young leaves – cooked. Used as a vegetable
Medicinal uses: Intermediate Habenaria is used in Ayurvedic medicine

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.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habenaria
http://flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Intermediate%20Habenaria.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Habenaria+intermedia

Habenaria sparsiflora

Botanical Name: Habenaria sparsiflora
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Genus: Platanthera
Species: P. sparsiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms : Platanthera sparsiflora.
Common Names: Sparse-flowered bog orchid

Habitat : Habenaria sparsiflora is native to Western N. America – Washington to Arizona and California. Found mainly along the sides of streams or in boggy places in montane coniferous forests, 1200 – 3300 metres. Wet meadows, marshes, fens, stream banks, shores, seeping slopes; 0 – 3500 m.

Description:
Habenaria sparsiflora is a perennial orchid plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It produces a slender, erect flowering stem up to about half a meter tall. It is in flower from May to August. The longest leaves near the base of the stem are up to 15 centimeters long by 3 wide. The inflorescence has widely spaced twisted green flowers with petals up to a centimeter in length. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects…..CLICK  &  SEE THE  PICTURES
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 this country. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Even those species that grow in bogs tend to be in the drier areas of the bog with plenty of water 15cm or more below soil level. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, in the greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant until it is able to obtain nutrients from decaying material in the soil. It is best to use some of the soil that is growing around established plants in order to introduce the fungus, or to sow the seed around a plant of the same species and allow the seedlings to grow on until they are large enough to move. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant

Edible Uses: The plant has been used as food in times of food shortage.

Medicinal Uses: Not known.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platanthera_sparsiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Habenaria+sparsiflora