Tag Archives: November

Polypodiurn vulgare

Botanical Name :  Polypodiurn vulgare
Family: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Polypodium
Species: P. vulgare
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida /Pteridopsida (disputed)
Order: Polypodiales

Synonyms: Polypody of the Oak. Wall Fern. Brake Root. Rock Brake. Rock of Polypody. Oak Fern.

Common Name :common polypody

Habitat :The common polypody is very common in France, where it is found up to an altitude of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). It is also quite common in Scandinavia and Carpathian Mountains. It is present but less commonly found around the Mediterranean region.
It is an introduced species in New Zealand, that has begun to spread into the wild as an invasive species. It grows on Rocks, walls and trees, as well as on the ground, in a variety of habitats but especially in humid shady conditions.

Description:

Polypodium vulgare is an evergreen fern developing in isolation from along a horizontal rhizome. The fronds with triangular leaflets measure 10 to 50 centimetres.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf 12-Jan.

They are divided all the way back to the central stem in 10 to 18 pairs of segments or leaflets.

The leaflets become much shorter at the end of the frond. The leaflets are generally whole or slightly denticulated and somewhat wider at their base, where they often touch each other. They have an alternating arrangement, those on one side being slightly offset from those on the other side. The petioles have no scales.

The sori are found on the lower side of the fronds and range in colour from bright yellow to orange. They became dark grey at maturity.

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*Period of sporulation: July to September.
*Mode of dissemination: anemochory (wind dispersal).

P. vulgare is an allotetraploid species of hybrid origin, its parents being the diploids Polypodium appalachianum and Polypodium glycyrrhiza.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in most light soils. Prefers a soil of leaf mould and a cool but not too moist clay. Prefers a cool damp shady position. Thrives in dry shade. Established plants are drought tolerant. They grow well on drystone walls. Plants often grow as epiphytes. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. A rather variable plant, it is considered to be an aggregate species of several very similar species. Only the roots should be planted, the rhizome being fixed to the surface of the soil.

Propagation:                                            
Spores – best sown as soon as they are ripe, though they can also be sown in the spring. Sow them on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old and then only in a very well sheltered position. Division. This is best done in the spring but it succeeds at most times of the year

Edible Uses:     
Edible Parts: Root.

Root. Very sweet, it contains sugars, tannin and oils. It is used as a liquorice adulterant. The root has a unique, rather unpleasant odour and a sweet (cloying) flavour at first though it quickly becomes nauseating. The root contains 15.5% saccharose and 4.2% glucose.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally : The root, which is in perfection in October and November, though it may be collected until February. It is used both fresh and dried, and the leaves are also sometimes used.

Polypody stimulates bile secretion and is a gentle laxative. In European herbal medicine it is traditionally used as a treatment for hepatitis and jaundice and as a remedy for indigestion and loss of appetite. It should not be used externally since it can cause skin rashes. The root is alterative, anthelmintic, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, pectoral, purgative, tonic. It can be used either fresh or dried and is best harvested in October or November, though it can be collected until February. The leaves can also be used but are less active. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of pleurisy, hives, sore throats and stomach aches and as a mild laxative for children. It was also considered of value for lung ailments and liver diseases. The poulticed root is applied to inflammations. A tea or syrup of the whole plant is anthelmintic.

Other Uses:  
Insecticide;  Potash.
Plants can be grown as a ground cover in a shady position. They form a spreading carpet and are best spaced about 30cm apart each way. The ash of burnt leaves is rich in carbonate of potash

Known Hazards :  Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its 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.

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/f/ferns-08.html#lad
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Polypodium+vulgare
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polypodium_vulgare

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Holly

Botanical Name : Ilex aquifolium
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus:     Ilex
Species: I. aquifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Aquifoliales

Synonyms: Hulver Bush. Holm. Hulm. Holme Chase. Holy Tree. Christ’s Thorn.

Common Names :Holly, Common holly, English holly, European holly, or occasionally Christmas holly

Habitat: The Holly is a native of most of the central and southern parts of Europe. It grows very slowly: when planted among trees which are not more rapid in growth than itself, it is sometimes drawn up to a height of 50 feet, but more frequently its greatest height in this country is 30 to 40 feet, and it rarely exceeds 2 feet in diameter. In Italy and in the woods of France, especially in Brittany, it attains a much larger size than is common in these islands.

Description:
Holly is an evergreen tree growing to 10–25 m tall with a woody stem as large as 40–80 cm, rarely 1 m or more, in diameter The leaves are 5–12 cm long and 2–6 cm broad; they are evergreen, lasting about five years, and are dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the underside, oval, leathery, shiny, and about 5 to 9 cm long. In the young and in the lower limbs of mature trees, the leaves have three to five sharp spines on each side, pointing alternately upward and downward, while leaves of the upper branches in mature trees lack spines.
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The flowers are white, four-lobed, and pollinated by bees. Holly is dioecious, meaning that there are male plants and female plants. The sex cannot be determined until the plants begin flowering, usually between 4 and 12 years of age. In male specimens, the flowers are yellowish and appear in axillary groups. In the female, flowers are isolated or in groups of three and are small and white or slightly pink, and consist of four petals and four sepals partially fused at the base.

The fruit is a red drupe, about 6–10 mm in diameter, a bright red or bright yellow, which matures around October or November; at this time they are very bitter due to the ilicin content and so are rarely eaten until late winter after frost has made them softer and more palatable. They are eaten by rodents, birds and larger herbivores. Each fruit contains 3 to 4 seeds which do not germinate until the second or third spring. The fruit only appears on female plants, which require male plants nearby to fertilise them.

It has been stated by M. J. Pierre, that the young stems are gathered in Morbihan by the peasants, and made use of as a cattle-food from the end of November until April, with great success. The stems are dried, and having been bruised are given as food to cows three times daily. They are found to be very wholesome and productive of good milk, and the butter made from it is excellent.

It is also well known to rabbit-breeders that a Holly-stick placed in a hutch for the rabbits to gnaw, will act as a tonic, and restore their appetite.

The wood of Holly is hard, compact and of a remarkable even substance throughout. Except towards the centre of very old trees, it is beautifully white, and being susceptible of a very high polish, is much prized for ornamental ware, being extensively used for inlaying, as in the so-called Tunbridge ware. The evenness of its grain makes it very valuable to the turner. When freshly cut, it is of a slightly greenish hue, but soon becomes perfectly white, and its hardness makes it superior to any other white wood. As it is very retentive of its sap and warps in consequence, it requires to be well dried and seasoned before being used. It is often stained blue, green, red or black; when of the latter colour, its principal use is as a substitute for ebony, as in the handles of metal teapots. Mathematical instruments are made of it, also the blocks for calico printing, and it has been employed in wood engraving as a substitute for boxwood, to which, however, it is inferior. The wood of the silver-striped variety is said to be whiter than that of the common kind.

A straight Holly-stick is much prized for the stocks of light driving whips, also for walking-sticks.

The common Holly is the badge of the Drummonds.

Edible Uses:
“The leaves of Holly have been employed in the Black Forest as a substitute for tea”

Cultivation:
The Holly will grow in almost any soil, provided it is not too wet, but attains the largest size in rich, sandy or gravelly loam, where there is good drainage, and a moderate amount of moisture at the roots, for in very dry localities it is usually stunted in its growth, but it will live in almost any earth not saturated with stagnant water. The most favourable situation seems to be a thin scattered wood of Oaks, in the intervals of which it grows up at once. It is rarely injured by even the most severe winters.

Holly is raised from seeds, which do not germinate until the second year, hence the berries are generally buried in a heap of earth for a year previously to being sown. The young plants are transplanted when about a foot or 18 inches high, autumn being the best time for the process. If intended for a hedge, the soil around should be previously well trenched and moderately manured if necessary. Holly exhausts the soil around it to a greater extent than most deciduous trees. At least two years will be needed to recover the check given by transplanting. Although always a slow grower, Holly grows more quickly after the first four or five years.

The cultivated varieties of Holly are very numerous: of these one is distinguished by the unusual colour of its berries, which are yellow. Other forms are characterized by the variegated foliage, or by the presence of a larger or smaller number of prickles than ordinary.

In winter the garden and shrubbery are much indebted to the more showy varieties for the double contrast afforded by their leaves and berries. They are propagated by grafting on four- or five-year-old plants of the common sort and by cuttings.

The best time to cut down Holly is early in the spring, before the sap rises. A sloping cut is preferable to a straight one, as moisture is thus prevented from remaining on the cut portion, and as an additional precaution the wound should be covered with a coating of tar. The side growths should be left, as they will help to draw up the sap.

Medicinal Uses:

-Parts Used: Leaves, berries, bark.
Holly is rarely used medicinally, but is diuretic, relieves fevers, and has a laxative action.Ilex aquifolium also contains saponins, theobromine (a xanthine), ilicin, caffeine, caffeic acid, and a yellow pigment, ilexanthin.

Holly leaves were formerly used as a diaphoretic and an infusion of them was given in catarrh, pleurisy and smallpox. They have also been used in intermittent fevers and rheumatism for their febrifugal and tonic properties, and powdered, or taken in infusion or decoction, have been employed with success where Cinchona has failed, their virtue being said to depend on a bitter principle, an alkaloid named Ilicin. The juice of the fresh leaves has been employed with advantage in jaundice.

The berries possess totally different qualities to the leaves, being violently emetic and purgative, a very few occasioning excessive vomiting soon after they are swallowed, though thrushes and blackbirds eat them with impunity. They have been employed in dropsy; also, in powder, as an astringent to check bleeding.

Other uses:
Many hundreds of hybrids and cultivars have been developed for garden use, among them the very popular “Highclere holly”, Ilex × altaclerensis (I. aquifolium × I. perado) and the “blue holly”, Ilex × meserveae (I. aquifolium × I. rugosa). Hollies are often used for hedges; the spiny leaves make them difficult to penetrate, and they take well to pruning and shaping.

Between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, before the introduction of turnips, Ilex aquifolium was cultivated for use as winter fodder for cattle and sheep. Less spiny varieties of holly were preferred, and in practice the leaves growing near the top of the tree have far fewer spines making them more suitable for fodder.

Ilex aquifolium was once among the traditional woods for Great Highland bagpipes before tastes turned to imported dense tropical woods such as cocuswood, ebony, and African blackwood.

Known Hazards:
Holly berries contain alkaloids, caffeine, and theobromine and are generally regarded as toxic to humans, though their poisonous properties are overstated and fatalities almost unknown. Accidental consumption may occur by children or pets attracted to the bright red berries. The berries are emetic. This is described as being due to the drug ilicin, though caffeine and theobromine found throughout the plant are much more toxic, generally, to dogs and cats

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/h/holly-28.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_aquifolium

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Rampion bellflower

Botanical Name : Campanula rapunculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Campanulaceae
Genus: Campanula
Species: C. rapunculus
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Campanula elatior Hoffmanns. & Link
*Campanula lusitanica f. bracteosa (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. racemoso-paniculata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica f. verruculosa (Hoffmanns. & Link) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica var. cymoso-spicata (Willk.) Cout.
*Campanula lusitanica auct.
*Campanula verruculosa Hoffmanns. & Link

Common Names : Rampion bellflower, rampion, or rover bellflower

Habitat :Rampion bellflower is found wild in England, on gravelly roadsides and hedgebanks and in open pastures, from Stafford southwards, but it is uncertain whether it should be held as a true native in the localities in southern England, where it is now established.  This species prefers limestone soils and grows in dry meadows, cultivated beds, forests of oaks and pine trees, along roadsides and lane, at an altitude of 0–1,500 metres (0–4,900 ft) above sea level.

This plantis present in western Asia, northern Africa and in most of Europe, except Iceland, Ireland and Norway. It has been introduced in Denmark, southern Sweden and Great Britain

Description:
Rampion bellflower is a biennial (but can be made perennial) herbaceous plant reaches on average 40–80 centimetres (16–31 in) of height, with a maximum of 100 centimetres (39 in) . The stem is erect, lightly hairy, branched on the top. The basal leaves are petiolated, ovate, slightly toothed and arranged in a rosette, while the upper leaves are sessile and narrow lanceolate. The hermaphrodite flowers are clustered in a racemose inflorescence, with a bell-shaped, light blue or violet corolla, about two centimeters long. They are arranged along the stem in a fairly narrow one-sided facing cluster. The flowering period extends from May through September. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule in the form of inverted cone with many seeds. The thick root looks like a small turnip and it is edible.

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The leaves are variable, 1 to 3 inches long, the radical leaves oblong or ovate, on long stalks and slightly crenate, the stem-leaves narrow and mostly entire, or obscurely toothed. The flowers, which bloom in July and August, are about 3/4 inch long, reddish purple, blue or white, on short peduncles, forming long, simple or slightly branched panicles. The corolla is divided to about the middle into five lanceolate segments. The capsule is short and erect, opening in small lateral clefts, close under the narrow linear segments of the calyx.

Drayton names it among the vegetables and pot-herbs of the kitchen garden, in his poem Polyolbion, and there is a reference to it in the slang of Falstaff, showing how generally it was in cultivation in this country in Shakespeare’s time.

There is an Italian tradition that the possession of a rampion excites quarrels among children. The plant figures in one of Grimm’s tales, the heroine, Rapunzel, being named after it, and the whole plot is woven around the theft of rampions from a magician’s garden. In an old Calabrian tale, a maiden, uprooting a rampion in a field, discovers a staircase that leads to a palace far down in the depths of the earth.

Cultivation:
Rampion is easily cultivated and will flourish in ordinary good soil, though a moist, sandy soil suits it best.

Seeds should be sown in shallow drills, a foot apart, in May, and thinned out to 5 or 6 inches in the rows. The young plants should be moderately watered at first.

If grown for culinary use, it must not be allowed to flower, and the roots should be earthed up several inches on each side in order to blanch them. They are fit for use in November, and should be lifted then and stored in a frost-proof place.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
Gerard tells us: ‘Some affirme that the decoction of the roots are good for all inflammation of the mouth and almonds of the throte and other diseases happening in the mouth and throte, as the other Throte warts.’

An old writer states that the distilled water of the whole plant is excellent for the complexion and ‘maketh the face very splendent.’

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/r/rampio03.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanula_rapunculus

Black Spruce

Botanical Name: Abies mariana – Mill.
Family :Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Synonyms : Abies mariana – Mill.  Picea nigra – (Aiton.)Link.  Pinus nigra – Aiton
Common names:
•black spruce   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
•bog spruce   (Source: Trees US ) – English
•Schwarzfichte

Habitat :Northern  America – Alaska to Newfoundland and south to British Columbia and W. Virginia.   Cool slopes and bogs. Found on well-drained soils in the north of its range and swamps in the south.Found on a variety of soil types, it grows best in those that are moist and acidic.

Description : An evergreen Tree growing to 20m by 4m at a slow rate.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from October to November. 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.

Cultivation:-
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils.   Prefers a pH between 4 to 6 and dislikes shallow chalky soils. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. . Resists wind exposure.  This tree is one of the most widespread and abundant species in N. America where it is extensively utilized as a timber tree. A short lived and slow growing tree both in the wild and in cultivation. New growth takes place from early May to the end of June and rarely exceeds 60 cm even when young and is less as the tree grows old. Trees have been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe   (this appears to contradict the previous statement that the tree is slow growing. The reason is probably that it is either planted in areas too harsh for most trees to grow or it is only slow growing in milder areas such as Britain[K]). A prolific seed-producer, usually beginning to bear cones at around 10 years of age. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Closely related to P. rubens. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Lower branches often self-layer and form a ring of stems around the parent plant. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Propagation:-
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure. Layering. Lower branches often layer naturally in the wild.

Cultivars:-
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Drink; Gum; Tea.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are 1 – 4cm in diameter. Inner bark – cooked. It is usually harvested in the spring and can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. A tea is also made from the needles and the bark. A gum obtained from the bark is collected in considerable quantities and used for chewing. Hardened blobs make an excellent chewing gum. It should be aged for 3 days or more before using it. The best gum is obtained from the southern side of the tree. Another report says that the gum, called ‘spruce gum‘, is a resinous exudation collected from the branches[183]. A source of ‘spruce oil’, used commercially for flavouring. The young twigs are boiled with molasses, sugar etc and then fermented to produce ‘Spruce beer’. The beer is ready to drink in a week and is considered to be a good source of minerals and vitamins.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:

Antiinflammatory; Disinfectant; Kidney; Odontalgic; Poultice; Salve; Skin; Stomachic; Vulnerary.

A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to inflammations. A tea made from the inner bark is a folk remedy for kidney stones, stomach problems and rheumatism. An infusion of the roots and bark has been used in the treatment of stomach pains, trembling and fits. A resin from the trunk is used as a poultice and salve on sores to promote healing. The resin can be mixed with oil and used as a dressing on purulent wounds, bad burns, skin rashes, scabies and persistent scabs. The resin can be chewed as an aid to digestion. A decoction of the gum or leaves has been used in treating respiratory infections and kidney problems. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a bath or a rub in treating dry skin or sores. A decoction of the young twigs has been used in the treatment of coughs. A decoction of the cones has been drunk in the treatment of diarrhoea. A decoction has been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats. The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and toothaches.

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.

Other Uses:-
Dye; Pitch; String; Waterproofing; Wood.

A yellow-orange dye is obtained from the cones[106]. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this species and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes, to sew baskets etc. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used as a sealing material on the hulls of canoes. Wood – light, soft, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Since it is a smaller tree than the other spruces, it is not an important lumber source for uses such as construction[. However, it is widely used for making boxes, crates etc, and is valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper, plus it is also used as a fuel.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Economic importance:
•Environmental: ornamental
•Materials: essential oils; wood   (fide AH 519; HerbSpices 2:190. 1987)
•Social: religious/secular   (also as Christmas tree fide AH 519)

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?Picea+mariana
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?28305

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