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Lactuca capensis

Botanical Name: Lactuca capensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Lactuca

Habitat:Lactuca capensis is native to S. Africa. It grows on lower mountain slopes, Lion’s Head to Constantia.

Description:
Lactuca capensis is a perennial herb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in). The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

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Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a light sandy loam.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually quick, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. Division in spring.
Edible Uses: Young plant – cooked.

Medicinal Uses :
Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed

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/Lactuca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+capensis

Rhus copallina

Botanical Name : Rhus copallina
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species:R. copallinum
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names: Winged sumac, Shining sumac, Dwarf sumac or Flameleaf sumac

Habitat : Rhus copallina is native to Eastern N. America – Maine to Florida, west to Texas and Illinois. It is generally found in dry soils on hillsides, along the margins of woodlands and roads, and in abandoned fields.

Description:
Rhus copallina is a deciduous tree growing to 3.5–5.5 metres (11–18 ft) tall and an equal spread with a rounded crown. A 5-year-old sapling will stand about 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). The plant is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Oct to December.
The flowers are yellow. The fruit attracts birds with no significant litter problem, is persistent on the tree and showy. 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.
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The bark is thin and easily damaged from mechanical impact; branches droop as the tree grows, and will require pruning for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath the canopy; routinely grown with, or trainable to be grown with, multiple trunks. The tree wants to grow with several trunks but can be trained to grow with a single trunk. It has no thorns.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
The tree succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Tolerates poor soils. Established plants are drought resistant. A very hardy species, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to about -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant. It is quite fast-growing but short-lived in the wild. In the north of its range plants are dwarf, around 1.2 metres tall, but in the south they can be up to 7 metres tall. Some botanists divide this species into separate species, whilst others see it as a single species with geographical forms. R. copallina is usually a shrub and is found in moist soils in sun or shade. R. copallina lanceolata. Gray. is more tree-like and is found in drier soils. Transplants easily. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one 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. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Attracts butterflies, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. 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:

Fruit – raw or cooked. An agreeable acid flavour. The fruit is only 3 – 5mm long with very little flesh, but it is borne on dense panicles and is thus easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Enuresis; Galactogogue; Poultice; Salve.

A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of dysentery. An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of VD. A poultice of the root has been applied to sores and skin eruptions. A tea made from the bark has been drunk to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers. A decoction of the bark has been used as a wash for blisters and sunburn blisters. An infusion of the leaves has been used to cleanse and purify skin eruptions. The berries were chewed in the treatment of bed-wetting and mouth sores. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes bolow on toxicity.

Other Uses
Dye; Hedge; Hedge; Mordant; Oil; Resin; Soil stabilization; Tannin; Varnish; Wood.

The leaves are rich in tannin, so is the bark and the fruit. The leaves can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The leaves contain 10 – 25% tannin. Up to 35.8% has been obtained from some plants. 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. The plants extensive root system makes it useful for stabilizing soils. A black dye is obtained from the fruit. A resin, ‘copal resin’, is obtained from the sap of this plant. When dissolved in any volatile liquid, such as oil of turpentine, it makes a beautiful varnish. (Is this a mistaken entry? Perhaps it belongs with one of the toxic species). Wood – light, soft, coarse grained. It weighs 32lb per cubic foot. Sometimes used for small posts.

Shining sumac is often cultivated, where it is well-suited to natural and informal landscapes because it has underground runners which spread to provide dense, shrubby cover for birds and wildlife. This species is valued for ornamental planting because of its lustrous dark green foliage which turns a brilliant orange-red in fall. The fall color display is frequently enjoyed along interstate highways, as the plant readily colonizes these and other disturbed sites. The tiny, greenish-yellow flowers, borne in compact, terminal panicles, are followed by showy red clusters of berries which persist into the winter and attract wildlife.

Known Hazards : There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation Details’.
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/Rhus_copallinum
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+copallina

Spartina maritima

Botanical Name : Spartina maritima
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Poales
Family:    Poaceae
Genus:    Spartina
Species:S. maritima

Common Name:Small Cordgrass,gadadhar, ajvain, ajmod, phillaur

Habitat :Spartina maritima is native to the coasts of western and southern Europe and western Africa, from the Netherlands west across southern England to southern Ireland, and south along the Atlantic coast to Morocco and also on the Mediterranean Sea coasts. There is also a disjunct population on the Atlantic coasts of Namibia and South Africa.

Description:
Spartina maritima is a herbaceous perennial plant growing 20-70 cm tall, green in spring and summer, and turning light brown in autumn and winter. The leaves are slender, 10-40 cm long, and 0.5-1 cm broad at the base, tapering to a point. It produces flowers and seeds on all sides of the stalk. The flowers are greenish, turning brown by the winter,are small in size, and mostly in little spikes....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
The drugs obtained by this plants through their dried leaves and flowers head.It has been suggested that the drug should be collected in near the beginning of spring by the time at which the flower heads have not completely developed. Main use of this drug is for throwing out of squirms from stomach. “The drug is also useful in fevers” .. and as a refreshment.

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/Spartina_maritima
http://www.medicinal-plants.in/ajvain.php

Orchis mascula

Botanical Name : Orchis maculata, Orchis latifolia, Orchis mascula, Orchis Morio, Orchis militaris, Orchis saccifera, Orchis pyrimidalis, Orchis coriphora, Orchis conopea

Family: Orchidaceae
Genus:     Orchis
Species: O. mascula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Asparagales

Synonyms: Salep. Saloop. Sahlep. Satyrion. Levant Salep.

Common Names:Orchids, Early Purple Orchis

Habitat : The species is widespread across Europe, from Portugal to the Caucasus (Ireland, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Hungary,Czechia, Switzerland, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, most of Russia), in northwest Africa (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) and in the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) up to Iran.It grows in a variety of habitats, from meadows to mountain pastures and woods, in full sun or shady areas, from 0–2,500 metres (0–8,202 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Orchis mascula is a herbaceous plant with stems up to 50–60 centimetres (20–24 in) of height, green at the base and purple on the apex. The root system consists of two tubers, rounded or ellipsoid. The leaves, grouped at the base of the stem, are oblong-lanceolate, pale green, sometimes with brownish-purple speckles. The inflorescence is 7.5–12.5 centimetres (3–5 in) long and it is composed of 6 to 20 flowers gathered in dense cylindrical spikes. The flower size is about 2.5 centimetres (0.98 in) and the color varies from pink to violet. The lateral sepals are ovate-lanceolate and erect, the median one, together with the petals, is smaller and cover the gynostegium. The labellum is three-lobed and convex, with crenulated margins and the basal part clearer and dotted with purple-brown spots. The spur is cylindrical or clavate, horizontal or ascending. The gynostegium is short, with reddish-green anthers. It blooms from April to June.

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Cultivation:  In general they are not difficult to grow, but there are a few points to note.  Orchis mascula likes a lime rich soil.

Seeds should be surface sown in a greenhouse, preferably as soon as they are ripe, do not allow the compost to dry out. The seed depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus, which 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.

Another way to grow this plant is by division of the tubers. As the flowers fade it produces a new tuber. 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. 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  :
Edible Parts: Root.
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:
Constituents: The most important constituent is mucilage, amounting to 48 per cent. It also contains sugar 1 per cent), starch (2.7 per cent), nitrogenous substance (5 per cent), and when fresh a trace of volatile oil. It yields 2 per cent of ash, consisting chiefly of phosphates and chlorides of potassium and calcium.

(The constituents of Salep are subject to great variation, according to the season of collection. Raspail found the old tuber, collected in autumn, to be free from starch, while the young one was richly supplied with it.)

Astringent, Demulcent, Expectorant, Nutritive.

Salep is very nutritive, astringent, expectorant 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.

Orchis mascula is an aphrodisiac according to Culpepper “ … provoke lust exceedingly.”

It cures worms in children. It heals the ‘kings evil’  –   Scrofula (Scrophula or Struma) refers to a variety of skin diseases; in particular, a form of tuberculosis, affecting the lymph nodes of the neck.

It was held in great repute in herbal medicine, being largely employed as a strengthening and soothing properties   To allay irritation of the gastro-intestinal canal, it is used by shaking 1 part of powdered Salep with 10 parts of cold water, until it is uniformly diffused, when 90 parts of boiling water are added and the whole well agitated. It has thus been recommended as an article of diet for infants and invalids suffering from chronic diarrhoea and bilious fevers.

In the German Pharmacopoeia, a mucilage of Salep appears as an official preparation.

Salep is very nutritive and demulcent, for which properties it has been used from time immemorial.

It forms a diet of especial value to convalescents and children, being boiled with milk or water, flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot.  A decoction flavoured with sugar and spice, or wine, is an agreeable drink for invalids. Sassafras chips were sometimes added, or cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

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/Orchis_mascula
http://www.complete-herbal.com/details/orchis.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/orchid13.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Orchis+mascula

Laserpitum latifolia

Botanical Name:Laserpitum latifolia
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Laserpitium
Species: L. latifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonym: White Gentian.

Common Name :Bastard lovage,Broad-leaved sermountain

Vernacular Names :Deutsch: Breitblättriges Laserkraut · français: Laser à feuilles larges · lietuvi?: Pla?ialapis begalis · polski: Okrzyn szerokolistny · svenska: Spenört ·

Habitat: Laserpitum latifolia is widespread in most of Europe except Albania, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal. It has been introduced in Belgium.It grows in mountain dry forests, on grassy slopes, on the sunny edges of woods or in meadows. It prefers calcareous soils and a nutrient-rich substrate, at an altitude of 400–2,100 metres (1,300–6,900 ft) above sea level.

Description:
Laserpitum latifolia is an herbaceous perennial plant. It reaches on average 50–150 centimetres (20–59 in) of height. The inflorescence has a diameter of 10–15 centimetres (3.9–5.9 in). The stem is green-grayish, round, erect and lightly grooved, branched on the top. Leaves are quite large, biternate and petiolated, with a prominent central rib. Leaflets are ovate or heart-shaped and toothed. Size of leaves: 3-10 cm long, 2-6 cm wide. Flowers are white, clustered in unbrels of 25-40 rays. The diameter of umbels reach 20–30 centimetres (7.9–11.8 in). The flowering season is from May to August. Fruits are oblong and flattened, 5–10 mm 5–10 millimetres (0.20–0.39 in) long. CLICK & SEE
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Edible Uses: Condiment.

Root – used as a flavouring. It was used by the Romans with cumin in order to season preserved artichokes. A decoction of the seeds is used in beer.

Medicinal Uses:

Stomachic, tonic

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lovbas43.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laserpitium_latifolium
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Laserpitium_latifolium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Laserpitium+latifolium

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