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Herbs & Plants

Salix exigua

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Botanical Name ;Salix exigua
Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Species: S. exigua
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: S. argophylla, S. hindsiana, S. interior, S. linearifolia, S. luteosericea, S. malacophylla, S. nevadensis, S. parishiana

Common Names :Sandbar Willow, Narrowleaf Willow, or Coyote Willow

Habitat : Salix exigua is  native to most of North America except for the southeast and far north, occurring from Alaska east to New Brunswick, and south to northern Mexico

Description:
Salix exigua is a deciduous shrub reaching 4–7 m (13–23 ft) in height, spreading by basal shoots to form dense clonal colonies. The leaves are narrow lanceolate, 4–12 cm (1.6–4.7 in) long and 2–10 mm (0.079–0.39 in) broad, green, to grayish with silky white hairs at least when young; the margin is entire or with a few irregular, widely spaced small teeth. The flowers are produced in catkins in late spring, after the leaves appear. It is dioecious, with staminate and pistillate catkins on separate plants, the male catkins up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long, the female catkins up to 8 cm (3.1 in) long. The fruit is a cluster of capsules, each containing numerous minute seeds embedded in shiny white silk.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES……
There are two subspecies, which meet in the western Great Plains:

1.Salix exigua subsp. exigua. Western North America. Leaves grayish all summer with persistent silky hairs; seed capsules 3–6 mm (0.12–0.24 in) long.

2.Salix exigua subsp. interior (Rowlee) Cronq. (syn. S. interior Rowlee). Eastern and central North America. Leaves usually lose hairs and become green by summer, only rarely remaining pubescent; seed capsules 5–8 mm (0.20–0.31 in) long.

It is considered a threatened species in the eastern United States in Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

This willow had many uses for Native Americans; the branches were used as flexible poles and building materials, the smaller twigs were used to make baskets, the bark was made into cord and string, and the bark and leaves had several medicinal uses

Medicinal Uses:
The bark of Salix exigua has been used in the treatment of sore throats, coughs and certain fevers. A decoction of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of venereal diseases. The fresh bark of all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The leaves of Salix exigua are soaked in water, and the liquid is used as an emetic.

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/Salix_exigua
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=24398

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Herbs & Plants

Black Willow

Botanical Name ; Salix nigra

Family: Salicaceae
Genus: Salix
Species: S. nigra
Order: Malpighiales
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Name : Black Willow,
Another name occasionally used for Black Willow is “swamp willow”, not to be confused with Salix myrtilloides (Swamp Willow).

Habitat :Salix nigra is  native to eastern North America, from New Brunswick and southern Ontario west to Minnesota, and south to northern Florida and Texas.It is typically found along streams and in swamps.

Description;
It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, the largest North American species of willow, growing to 10-30 m tall, exceptionally up to 45 m, with a trunk 50–80 cm diameter. The bark is dark brown to blackish, becoming fissured in older trees frequently forking near the base. The shoots are slender, variable in color from green to brown, yellow or purplish; they are (like the related European Salix fragilis) brittle at the base, snapping evenly at the branch junction if bent sharply. The foliage buds are small, 2–4 mm long, with a single pointed reddish-brown bud scale. The leaves are alternate, long, thin, 5-15 cm long and 0.5-2 cm broad, usually somewhat falcate, dark, shiny green on both sides or with a lighter green underside, with a finely serrated margin, a short petiole and a pair of small stipules. It is dioecious, with small, greenish yellow to yellow flowers borne on catkins 2.5-7.5 cm long in early spring at the same time as the new leaves appear. The fruit is a 5 mm capsule which splits open when mature to release the numerous minute, down-covered seeds. The leaves turn a lemon yellow in the fall.

click to see the pictures…>…..(1)…...(2)…...(3).
Salix gooddingii (Goodding’s Willow) is sometimes included in S. nigra as a variety, as S. nigra var. vallicola Dudley; when included, this extends the species’ range to western North America. However, the two are usually treated as distinct species.

Medicinal Uses;
Black Willow roots are very bitter, and have been used as a substitute for quinine in the past.

Black willow is a safe natural source of aspirin-like chemicals which helps to explain its reputation in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis where there is much associated pain and inflammation.  It may be used as part of a wider treatment for any connective tissue inflammation anywhere in the body, but it is especially useful in rheumatoid arthritis.  It may also be used in fevers such as influenza.  The bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhea, ovarian pains and nocturnal emissions. The bark of this species is used interchangeably with S. alba. It is taken internally in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, diarrhea, dysentery, feverish illnesses, neuralgia and headache. The bark can be used as a poultice on cuts, wounds, sprains, bruises, swellings etc. The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic.
Other Uses: The Great Lakes Ojibwa used the young branches and twigs to make baskets and other parts were used to treat indigestion. The bark of the tree can also be used to make a bitter tea with similar chemical compounds to aspirin.

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/Salix_nigra
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=13167

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Herbs & Plants

Yellow Birch

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Botanical Name : Betula alleghaniensis
Family : Betulaceae
Genus :               Betula
Subgenus: Betulenta
Synonyms: Betula lutea – Michx.
Common Name : Yellow Birch
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales
Species: B. alleghaniensis

Habitat :Native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern Québec and Ontario, and the sud- east corner of Manitoba in Canada, west to Minnesota, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.  North-eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Virginia and Tennessee.  Usually found in moist well-drained soils in rich woodlands on lower slopes, it is also found in cool marshlands in the south of its range.

Description:

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching 20 m tall (exceptionally to 30 m) with a trunk up to 80 cm diameter. The bark is smooth, yellow-bronze, flaking in fine horizontal strips, and often with small black marks and scars. The twigs, when scraped, have a slight scent of oil of wintergreen, though not as strongly so as the related Sweet Birch. The leaves are alternate, ovate, 6-12 cm long and 4-9 cm broad, with a finely serrated margin. The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 3-6 cm long, the male catkins pendulous, the female catkins erect. The fruit, mature in fall, is composed of numerous tiny winged seeds packed between the catkin bracts.
CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES..
Leaves of Betula alleghaniensis are simple, alternate and doubly-toothed. The sap has the smell and taste of wintergreen. Mature trees of Betula alleghaniensis are unmistakeable by their papery, yellowish, often shiny bark, but seedlings and saplings can be more difficult to distinguish from other Betula species. As is the case with some other birches it tends to develop conspicuous spur branches (though not necessarily on sprouts and the fastest growing twigs).

Betula alleghaniensis is the provincial tree of Québec, where it is commonly called merisier, a name which in France is used for the wild cherry.

The name “yellow birch” reflects the color of the tree’s bark.

It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :

Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes wet soils[200]. Shade tolerant[200]. A slow-growing tree, it is relatively long-lived for a birch, with specimens 200 years old recorded. Plants often grow taller than the 12 metres mentioned above[229]. The trees are highly susceptible to forest fires, even when wet the bark is highly inflammable. The bruised foliage has a strong smell of wintergreen[200]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.


Edible Uses
:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Sap.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Sweetener; Tea.

Inner bark – cooked or dried and ground into a powder and used with cereals in making bread. Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply. Sap – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour. The sap is harvested in early spring, before the leaves unfurl, by tapping the trunk. It flows abundantly, but the sugar content is much lower than maple sap. A pleasant drink, it can also be concentrated into a syrup or fermented into a beer. An old English recipe for the beer is as follows:- “To every Gallon of Birch-water put a quart of Honey, well stirr’d together; then boil it almost an hour with a few Cloves, and a little Limon-peel, keeping it well scumm’d. When it is sufficiently boil’d, and become cold, add to it three or four Spoonfuls of good Ale to make it work…and when the Test begins to settle, bottle it up . . . it is gentle, and very harmless in operation within the body, and exceedingly sharpens the Appetite, being drunk ante pastum.”. A tea is made from the twigs and leaves. The dried leaves are used according to another report. An excellent flavour. The twigs and leaves have the flavour of wintergreen and can be used as condiments.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:
Cathartic; Emetic.

Yellow birch is little used medicinally, though a decoction of the bark has been used by the native North American Indians as a blood purifier, acting to cleanse the body by its emetic and cathartic properties. The bark is a source of ‘Oil of Wintergreen’. This does have medicinal properties, though it is mainly used as a flavouring in medicines[2.

Other Uses:
Containers; Fuel; Waterproofing; Wood.

The bark is waterproof and has been used by native peoples as the outer skin of canoes, as roofing material on dwellings and to make containers such as buckets, baskets and dishes. Wood – close-grained, very strong, hard, heavy. The wood is too dense to float. An important source of hardwood lumber, it is used for furniture, boxes, tubs of wheels, floors etc. It is also often used as a fuel.

The wood of Betula alleghaniensis is extensively used for flooring, cabinetry and toothpicks. Most wood sold as birch in North America is from this tree. Several species of Lepidoptera use the species as a food plant for their caterpillars. See List of Lepidoptera that feed on birches.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The bruised foliage has a strong smell of wintergreen.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Betula+alleghaniensis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_alleghaniensis
http://www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/herbarium/trees/betall01.htm

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Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier arborea

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Botanical Name :Amelanchier arborea
Family : Rosaceae
Genus Amelanchier
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. arborea

Synonyms:   Amelanchier canadensis – Wiegand. non (L.)Med.,Mespilus arborea – F.Michx.
Other Names : Downy Serviceberry, Juneberry, Shadbush, Servicetree, Sarvis-tree


Habitat
: Eastern N. AmericaNew Brunswick to Florida, west to Minnesota and Texas. ,Rich woods, thickets and slopes.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Description:
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.

Amelanchier arborea is generally 5-12 m tall. Occasionally, it can grow up to 20 m tall and reach into the overstory. The trunk can be up to 15 cm diameter (rarely to 40 cm diameter). The bark is smooth and gray

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The buds are slender with a pointed tip, and usually more than two scales visible. The leaves are ovate or elliptical, 4-8 cm (rarely 10 cm) long and 2.5-4 cm wide, with pointed tips and finely serrated margins. A characteristic useful for identification is that the young leaves emerge downy on the underside. The fall color is variable, from orange-yellow to pinkish or reddish.

It has perfect flowers (so the plant is monoecious) that are 15-25 mm diameter, with 5 petals, emerging during budbreak in early spring. The petals are white. Flowers are produced on pendulous racemes 3-5 cm long with 4-10 flowers on each raceme. The flowers are pollinated by bees. The fruit is a reddish-purple pome, resembling a small apple in shape. They ripen in summer and are very popular with birds.]

It also commonly hybridizes with other species of Amelanchier, and identification can be very difficult as a result.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil that is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. All members of this genus have edible fruits and, whilst this is dry and uninteresting in some species, in many others it is sweet and juicy. Many of the species have potential for use in the garden as edible ornamentals. The main draw-back to this genus is that birds adore the fruit and will often completely strip a tree before it is fully ripe. The plant becomes dwarfed when growing in sterile (poor and acid) ground. Hybridises with A. bartramiana, A. canadensis, A. humilis and A. laevis. Grafting onto seedlings of A. lamarckii or Sorbus aucuparia is sometimes practised in order to avoid the potential problem of hybridizing.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best harvested ‘green’, when the seed is fully formed but before the seed coat has hardened, and then sown immediately in pots outdoors or in a cold frame. If stored seed is obtained early enough in the autumn, it can be given 4 weeks warm stratification before being left out in the winter and it should then germinate in the spring. Otherwise seed can be very slow to germinate, perhaps taking 18 months or more. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a sheltered outdoor position, planting them out once they are 20cm or more tall. If there is sufficient seed it is best to sow it thinly in an outdoor seedbed. Grow the seedlings on for two years in the seedbed before planting them out into their permanent positions during the winter. Layering in spring – takes 18 months. Division of suckers in late winter. The suckers need to have been growing for 2 years before you dig them up, otherwise they will not have formed roots. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit has a few small seeds at the centre, some forms are dry and tasteless whilst others are sweet and juicy. The fruit ripens unevenly over a period of 2 – 3 weeks and is very attractive to birds, this makes harvesting them in quantity rather difficult. The fruit is borne in small clusters and is up to 10mm in diameter. It is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Anthelmintic; Astringent; Tonic; VD.
A compound infusion of the plant has been used as an anthelmintic, in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a spring tonic. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

Other Uses
Soil stabilization.
The trees have an extensive root system and can be planted on banks etc for erosion control. Wood – close-grained, hard, strong, tough and elastic. It is one of the heaviest woods in N. America, weighing 49lb per cubic foot. Too small for commercial interest, it is sometimes used for making handles.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Amelanchier+arborea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier_arborea
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/images/low/H290-0901020.jpg
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/a/amearb/amearb1.html

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Herbs & Plants

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum – L.)

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Botanical Name :Acer saccharinum – L.
Family : Aceraceae
Common name: silver maple
Synonyms: A. saccharinum var. laciniatum, A. saccharinum var. wieri, A. dasycarpum, Argentacer saccharinum
Genus :   Acer
Règne : sion Magnoliophyta
Classe : Magnoliopsida
Sous-classe :  Rosidae
Ordre : Sapindales
Habitat : Eastern N. America – New Brunswick to Florida, west to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Banks of rivers, usually in sandy soils. Trees are occasionally found in deep often submerged swamps.Woodland Garden; Canopy;

Description:
It is a perennial deciduous tree growing to 20 m (65 ft) tall and 60 cm (2 ft) diameter, usually with a short thick trunk. Bark gray and thin, becoming furrowed into long shaggy scaly ridges on older trunks and branches. Twigs long, light green to brown, glabrous, with small reddish blunt buds. Leaves opposite, long-petioled, blades 7.5-13 cm (3-5 in) long and usually about as wide, deeply 5-lobed with 5 main veins from base, doubly serrate, dull green and glabrous above, silvery white below, turning yellow in fall. Flowers crowded in clusters along twigs in late winter or early spring, usually greenish or yellow from reddish buds, about 6 mm (0.25 in) long. Fruits light brown paired samaras 4-6 cm (1.6-2.4 in) long maturing in late spring.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from February to March, and the seeds ripen from April to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.

Cultivation :-
Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil but does well in much wetter soils than most member of the genus. Succeeds in most soils including chalk . Another report says that this species is liable to become chlorotic as a result of iron deficiency when it is grown on alkaline soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moderately sunny position. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Fairly wind-tolerant. The wood is brittle and branches are liable to break off the tree in high winds. Trees can tolerate short periods of flooding, but are very susceptible to fire. A very ornamental and fast growing tree , but it is short-lived, seldom surviving longer than 125 – 140 years. The tree has invasive roots and these often interfere with sewer pipes and drainage tiles around houses. The silver maple is a bad companion plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.

 

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the spring in a cold frame. It usually germinates immediately and by the end of summer has formed a small tree with several pairs of leaves. Stored seed quickly loses its viability. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Leaves; Sap; Seed.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.
The sap contains sugar and can be used as a drink or be concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The yield is only half that of A. saccharum. It is said to be sweeter and whiter than A. saccharum. The sap can be harvested in the late winter, the flow is best on warm sunny days following a frost. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Self-sown seedlings, gathered in early spring, are eaten fresh or dried for later use. Seeds – cooked. The wings are removed and the seeds boiled then eaten hot. Good crops are produced nearly every year in the wild. The seed is about 12mm long and is produced in small clusters. Inner bark – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread.

Medicinal Uses:-
Antispasmodic; Astringent; Ophthalmic; Skin; VD.
An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of coughs, cramps and dysentery. The infusion is also applied externally to old, stubborn running sores. A compound infusion is used in the treatment of ‘female complaints’. The inner bark is boiled and used with water as a wash for sore eyes. An infusion is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea. An infusion of the root bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhea.

Other Uses
Dye; Preservative; Rust; Shelterbelt; Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them. A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings. The branches are rather brittle, however, and can break off even in minor storms. The stems are used in making baskets. The boiled inner bark yields a brown dye. Mixed with lead sulphate this produces a blue/black dye which can also be used as an ink. A black dye is obtained from the twigs and bark. The bark can be boiled, along with hemlock (Tsuga spp]) and swamp oak bark (Quercus bicolor) to make a wash to remove rust from iron and steel, and to prevent further rusting. Wood – rather brittle, close-grained, hard, strong, easily worked but not durable. It weighs 32lb per cubic metre. It has many uses such as veneer, cooperage, furniture, flooring and pulp.

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.

Resource:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Acer+saccharinum
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACSA2&photoID=acsa2_002_ahp.tif
http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/shrub/acsa2.htm

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