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Carolina Allspice

Botanical Name : Carolina Allspice/Calycanthus floridus
Family: Calycanthaceae
Genus: Calycanthus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Laurales

Synonyms :  C. sterilis.

Common Names: Sweetshrub, Carolina allspice, Strawberry shrub, Pineapple shrub, Carolina Allspice, Eastern sweetshrub, Strawberry Bush, Sweetshrub, Carolina Allspice

Habitat : Calycanthus floridus is native to the moist woodlands of the southeastern United States. Its range extends from Virginia, south to Florida, and west to Mississippi. Sweetshrub is enjoyed as a landscape plant in Europe and deserves more attention from U.S. gardeners.

Description:
Calycanthus  is a genus of flowering plants in the family Calycanthaceae, endemic to North America. The genus includes two to four species depending on taxonomic interpretation; two are accepted by the Flora of North America.

They are beautiful deciduous shrubs slowly  growing to 2-4 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, 5-15 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The flowers are produced in early summer after the leaves, 4-7 cm broad, with numerous spirally-arranged narrow dark red tepals (resembling a small magnolia flower); they are strongly scented. The fruit is an elliptic dry capsule 5-7 cm long, containing numerous seeds.

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As the sweetshrub suckers vigorously the mounds increase in width to eventually form a thicket if not constrained. Sweetshrub has many common names, all alluding to the aromatic properties of its leaves, bark, twigs and roots. Best of all is the wonderfully fruity scent produced by the unusual flowers. Rusty red to brown, the 1-2 inch blossoms appear in quantities during the spring and intermittently thereafter throughout the summer. The leaves are oblong, 4 in (10.2 cm) long by 2 in (5.1 cm) wide, and are arranged oppositely along the length of the stems. They are rich deep green with lighter green underneath. Soft and fuzzy to the touch, they turn bright golden yellow in autumn….…CLICK  &   SEE

The bark has a strong camphor smell that is released when stems are scraped. The smell remains strong on twigs that have been stored several years in a dry environment. The scent of the flower has been compared to bubblegum. Calycanthus oil, distilled from the flowers, is an essential oil used in some quality perfumes

Species:
*Calycanthus floridus (Carolina sweetshrub), Pennsylvania and Ohio south to Mississippi and northern Florida
*Calycanthus floridus var. floridus (syn. C. mohrii), twigs pubescent (hairy)
*Calycanthus floridus var. glaucus (syn. C. fertilis), twigs glabrous (smooth)
*Calycanthus occidentalis (California sweetshrub), California (widespread), Washington (local, Seattle area).

Cultivation:
Sweetshrub is easy to grow in average soil, is easy to care for and is essentially pest-free!
Light: Thrives in medium shade to bright sun.
Moisture: Likes moist soils. Water when dry. This shrub can survive periods of drought if necessary.

Propagation:
Propagate by seeds, layers, and divisions. This shrub produces suckers in profusion. These can be easily dug and planted in a new location – at just about any time of the year provided the transplants are kept moist.
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Edible Uses:  The aromatic bark is dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon. Some caution is advised, see reports above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Cherokee tribes brewed the roots and bark as teas to soothe a variety of ills, and European settlers later drank similar teas to soothe jangled nerves.  The plant contains an alkaloid that has a powerfully depressant action on the heart. A fluid extract has been used as an antiperiodic.  A tea made from the root or bark has been used as a strong emetic and diuretic for kidney and bladder ailments. A cold tea has been used as eye drops in the treatment of failing eyesight.  An ooze from the bark has been used to treat children’s sores, whilst an infusion has been used to treat hives.

Other Uses:
The only member of the genus that has found its way into gardens is the oldest known, C. florida, which Mark Catesby noted in the woodlands of Piedmont Carolina; he described it, with its bark “as odoriferous as cinnamon” but did not name it. The planters of Carolina gathered it into their gardens, and Peter Collinson imported it into England from Charleston, South Carolina about 1756; he described it to Linnaeus. As the leathery maroon flowers are not very showy, the shrub is thought to be “of minor garden value today”, where scent is less valued than color, though it is an old-fashioned sentimental favorite in the American Southeast, where it is native.

Sweetshrub in natural areas and woodland gardens where it can sucker freely and assume its natural habit. Sweetshrub is also nice in planters near entryways and patios where it’s delicate fragrance can be enjoyed.

Known Hazards: Ruminants are reported to have a toxic reaction from grazing this plant. Calycanthus contains calycanthine, an alkaloid similar to strychnine, and it is toxic to humans and livestock

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_C.htm
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/plant.asp?code=B820
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calycanthus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calycanthus
http://www.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/cafl.html
http://www.floridata.com/ref/c/caly_flo.cfm#url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.floridata.com%2Fref%2Fc%2Fcaly_flo.cfm&size=small&count=false&id=I1_1310038771201&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.floridata.com&rpctoken=179027074&_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe

Try a Consultant to Name Your Baby

Actress Halle Berry‘s decision to call her daughter Nahla had some people perplexed, but baby experts said it mirrored a trend for unusual names which has helped create a new profession – baby name consultant……..CLICK & SEE

Many parents have moved away from giving their children family or unisex names and want their youngsters to have names that stand out from the crowd – but not in a bad way.

An online survey by specialist website babycenter.com found 15% of parents think the name you give a child plays a role in their success in life, so it is not a decision taken lightly – and this has made people seek outside help.

“It used to be more common to choose from family names or names from the bible, but today’s parents have so many more choices and many of them are overwhelmed,” said Linda Murray, editor-in-chief of babycenter.com.

“It can be very stressful. It’s the first big public parenting decision you make. People want extra help so consultants have cropped up in the last few years to provide this service, people who know about the origins of names.”

Berry has not explained why she and her model boyfriend Gabriel Aubry chose Nahla for their new-born daughter. Nahla was found to have a few meanings ranging from gift in Swahili to “drink of water” in Arabic.

Spiritual names and names with meanings have become popular with consultants charging anything from $25 to several hundred dollars to help couples find the right meaning for their child. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their daughter Shiloh, which means “peaceful one” in Hebrew, while Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes‘ daughter is Suri, which can mean “princess” or “red rose”.

Sources: The Times Of India

Chicory

Botanical: Cichorium intybus
Family:    Asteraceae
Tribe:    Cichorieae
Genus:    Cichorium
Species:C. intybus
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:   Asterales

Synonyms
Succory. Wild Succory. Hendibeh. Barbe de Capucin.

Common Names:Chicory , Blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor’s buttons, and wild endive.

Chicory is the common name given to the flowering plants in genus Cichorium of the family Asteraceae. There are two cultivated species, and four to six wild species.

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. Originating from Europe, it was naturalized in North America, where it has become a roadside weed. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive in the plant’s Mediterranean region of origin, although its use as a coffee additive is still very popular in the American South, particularly in New Orleans. It is a staple in Cajun-style red-eye gravy. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The plant is cultivated and used as endive under the common names radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, or witloof. It is grown in complete darkness to keep new leaves tender and pale.

 

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True endive (Cichorium endivia) is a species of chicory which is specially grown and used as a salad green. It has a slightly bitter taste and has been attributed with herbal properties. Curly endive and the broad-leafed escarole are true endives.

Cichorium is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Setaceous Hebrew Character and Turnip Moth.

Root chicory (Chicorium intybus var. sativum) has been in cultivation in Europe as a coffee substitute for a long time. Around 1970 it was found that the root contains up to 20% inulin. Since then, new strains have been created, giving root chicory an inulin content comparable to that of sugar beet (around 600 dt/ha). Inulin is mainly present in the plant family Asteraceae as a storage carbohydrate (for example Jerusalem artichoke, dahlia, etc.). It is used as a sweetener in the food industry (with a sweetening power 30% higher than that of sucrose). Inulin can be converted to fructose and glucose through hydrolysis.

Chicory, with sugar beet and rye was used as an ingredient of the East German Mischkaffee (mixed coffee), introduced during the ‘coffee crisis’ of 1976-9


Habitat:
Wild Chicory or Succory is not uncommon in many parts of England and Ireland, though by no means a common plant in Scotland. It is more common on gravel or chalk, especially on the downs of the south-east coast, and in places where the soil is of a light and sandy nature, when it is freely to be found on waste land, open borders of fields and by the roadside, and is easily recognized by its tough, twig-like stems, along which are ranged large, bright blue flowers about the size and shape of the Dandelion. Sir Jas. E. Smith, founder of the Linnean Society, says of the tough stems: ‘From the earliest period of my recollection, when I can just remember tugging ineffectually with all my infant strength at the tough stalks of the wild Succory, on the chalky hills about Norwich….


Description-:
–It is a perennial, with a tap root like the Dandelion. The stems are 2 to 3 feet high, the lateral branches numerous and spreading, given off at a very considerable angle from the central stem, so that the general effect of the plant, though spreading, is not rich and full, as the branches stretch out some distance in each direction and are but sparsely clothed with leaves of any considerable size. The general aspect of the plant is somewhat stiff and angular.
The lower leaves of the plant are large and spreading – thickly covered with hairs, something like the form of the Dandelion leaf, except that the numerous lateral segments or lobes are in general direction about at a right angle with the central stem, instead of pointing downwards, as in similar portions of the leaf of the Dandelion. The terminal lobe is larger and all the segments are coarsely toothed. The upper leaves are very much smaller and less divided, their bases clasping the stems.

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The flowerheads are numerous, placed in the axils of the stem-leaves, generally in clusters of two or three. When fully expanded, the blooms are rather large and of a delicate tint of blue: the colour is said to specially appeal to the humble bee. They are in blossom from July to September. However sunny the day, by the early afternoon every bloom is closed, its petal-rays drawing together. Linnaeus used the Chicory as one of the flowers in his floral Clock at Upsala, because of its regularity in opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 10 a.m. in that latitude. Here it closes about noon and opens between 6 and 7 in the morning.

Part Used Medicinally:–The root. When dried – in the same manner as Dandelion it is brownish, with tough, loose, reticulated white layers surrounding a radiate, woody column. It often occurs in commerce crowned with remains of the stem. It is inodorous and of a mucilaginous and bitter taste.

Constituents:—A special bitter principle, not named, inulin and sugar.

Medicinal Action and Uses—Chicory has properties similar to those of Dandelion, its action being tonic, laxative and diuretic.

Ethnomedical Uses:
C. Endiva root has been used ethnomedically to treat dyspepsia, loss of appetite, liver and gallbladder problems, and intestinal worms, Type II Diabetes, and as a laxative for children.

Chicory as a herbal treatment :
Chicory, especially the flower, was used as a treatment in Germany, and is recorded in many books as an ancient German treatment for everyday ailments. Howard (1987) mentions is use as, variously, a tonic and appetite stimulant, and as a treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises.

Ayurvedic Medicinal Uses:

Constipation: The herb is natural laxative and very beneficial in the treatment of chronic Constipation.

Eye disorders:
Chicory contains food elements which are constantly needed by the optic system. It is one of the reachest source of vitamin A which is very useful for eyes. The addition of Juices of celery , parsley and carrot with chicory juice makes it highly nourishing food for the optic nerves and the mascular system.It can bring amazing results in correcting eye problems.

Asthma: Juices of carrot, chicory and celery are most helpful in Asthma and Hay fever. Powder of dry chicory root mixed with honey is a very good expectorant in chronic bronchitis.

Menstruation: A diction of chicory seeds is useful in obstructed menstruation.

Liver Disorders: The flowers,seeds and roots of chicory are medicinally used in the treatment of liver disorders. A decoction of all these can be used with beneficial results in thr treatment of tepidity of liver, stoppage of bile, jaundice and enlargement of spleen. Regular use of chicory juice promotes the secretion of bile and is therefore very good medicine for both liver and gall bladder dysfunctions.

Urinary Disorders:
Chicory is the herbal tonic which increases the secrition and discharge of urine.It is also a stimulant and mild laxative.

Anaemia: It is also an effective blood tonic. Chicory in combination with parsely and celery, is very much beneficial in anaemia. The blanched chicory leaves can be used with salads . Its mature green leaves can also be used as cooked vegetable.

Precautions: Gallstone patients should always consult a physician before using chicory. In rare cases, touching the herbs tiger allergic skin reaction.

Chicory and coffy mixes, dried chicory leaves and the whole plant are available in health food stores and herbal stores.

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.

Help taken from :www.botanical.com, en.wikipedia.org and Miracles of Herbs