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Herbs & Plants

Prunus brigantina

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Botanical Name : Prunus brigantina
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. brigantina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:
*Armeniaca brigantiaca (Vill.) Pers. 1806
*Prunus brigantiaca Vill. 1789
*Prunus chamaecerasus Jacq. 1786

Common Names: Briançon apricot, Marmot plum, and Alpine apricot

Habitat : Prunus brigantina is native to Europe – S.E. France. It grows on dry stony slopes in the Maritime and Cottian Alps.

Description:
Prunus brigantina is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in).
It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Three shrubs at Kew in September 1993 were about 1.5 metres tall and still had a few fruits on them, though there was evidence that they had carried a large crop. They fruited well again in 1994. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Oil; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. A yellow plum about 3cm in diameter with a single large seed. Scarcely edible according to one report, but we found it to have a pleasant mealy texture and a sweet flavour. We have found it bearing quite freely, even on young trees no more than 6 years old. An edible oil called ‘huille des marmottes’ is obtained from the seed. It is used as an olive oil substitute in France. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Dye; Oil.

The oil obtained from the seed is also used for lighting. It is aromatic. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit.
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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/Prunus_brigantina
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+brigantina

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Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Achillea coarctata

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Botanical Name : Achillea coarctata
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily:Asteroideae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Achillea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names: Yellow Yarrow

Habitat : Achillea coarctata is native to Southeastern Europe to the Ukraine on dry hillsides and sandy places. Rather too large for the average rock garden.
Description:
Achillea coarctata is a flowering plant. Basal leaves 15-30cm long, pinnatisect with pinnatifid lobes; stem leaves to 8cm and less dissected; all fern-like and silky white-downy. Flowerheads about 5mm in diameter, yellow, densely arranged in broad corymbs, summer.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Medicinal Uses:
Yarrow plants have astringent properties and act as a mild laxative.

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/Achillea
http://encyclopaedia.alpinegardensociety.net/plants/Achillea/coarctata

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

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Vicia americana

Botanical Name: Vicia americana
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily:Faboideae
Genus: Vicia
Species:V. americana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Lathyrus diffusus. Orobus diffusus

Common Names:American Vetch, Mat vetch, Purple vetch

Habitat : Vicia americana is native to N. America – Alaska to Ontario and New York, south to Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona.It grows on damp or gravelly slopes, thickets and meadows.
Description:
Vicia americana is a single-stemmed, climbing perennial forb that measurers up to 16 inches tall. It grows from both taproot and rhizome. The leaves are each made up of oblong leaflets and have tendrils for climbing. It bears showy pea-like flowers in shades of lavender and fuchsia. The fruit is a hairless pod about 3 centimeters long that contains usually two light brown peas.

The 8 to 16 leaflets are broadly elliptical to linear measuring 0.4 to 1.5 inches in length. The lower stipules are deeply lacerated, often appearing star-like (Isley 1998). The inflorescence is a raceme with up to 10 purple flowers approximately 0.5 to 1.5 inches long. Flowering occurs from May to August with the seeds maturing around one month after pollination (Voss, 1985; Wasser, 1982). The fruit is a 1 to 1.5 inch long pod bearing two to several pea-like seeds. There are approximately 33,000 seeds/lb (USDANRCS, 2015). American vetch has a moderate to deeply-branched taproot which reaches a maximum depth of 40 inches. The deep tap root allows for the plant to exhibit characteristics of severe drought tolerance.
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It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile. It can fix Nitrogen.
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 the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position if the soil is reliably moist throughout the growing season, otherwise it is best grown in semi-shade. A climbing plant, attaching itself to supports by means of tendrils. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation : Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in situ in spring or autumn.
Edible Uses: Young shoots – cooked. The tender seeds are eaten by the N. American Indians. Both the mature seeds and the immature seedpods can be used. The pod is about 3cm long and contains 4 – 7 seeds.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves have been rubbed in the hands and applied to spider bites. An infusion of the crushed leaves have been used as a bath for treating soreness. An infusion of the plant has been used as an eyewash. An infusion of the leaves has been used by women as a love medicine.

Other Uses : The stout roots have been used for tying

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/Vicia_americana
https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_viam.pdf
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vicia+americana

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Amelanchier bartramiana

Botanical Name : Amelanchier bartramiana
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Amelanchier
Species: A. bartramiana
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms : A. oligocarpa. Pyrus bartramiana.

Common Names: Mountain serviceberry, Mountain shadbush, Bartram‘s serviceberry, Mountain juneberry, Bartram juneberry, and the Oblongfruit serviceberry

Habitat :Amelanchier bartramiana is native to N. America – Labrador to Minnesota and south to Pennsylvania. It grows on the Peaty or boggy thickets, sphagnum bogs, bushy and mountain slopes to the sub-alpine zone.

Description:
Amelanchier bartramiana is a deciduous perennial Shrub or a tree growing to 3 m (9ft 10in). The leaves of Amelanchier bartramiana are either brown or green coloured, are egg-shaped and tapered at both ends with fine teeth almost to the base. It has 6–12 teeth while its lateral veins comes 10–16 pairs. Its petioles are 2–10 millimetres (0.079–0.394 in) long while its blades are ovate and elliptic. The flowers have five white petals, appearing singly or in clusters of up to four blossoms. The pomes are red, ripening to dark purple and are pear-shaped.

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The plant is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Cultivation:
Prefers a rich loamy soil in a sunny position or semi-shade but thrives in any soil, including chalk, so long as it is not too dry or water-logged. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are hardy to about -30°c. 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. This species hybridises with A. sanguinea, A. humilis, A. stolonifera, A. fernaldii and A. canadensis. 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:
The fruits are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The fruit contains a few small seeds at the centre, it is sweet but rather dry according to one report whilst others have found it to be sweet and juicy. The fruit can be added to pancakes or dried for later use. Fruits are oval or pear shaped unlike other members of this genus that have round fruits. They are 15mm long. The fruit is rich in iron and copper.

Medicinal Uses:
Not yet known.

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=Amelanchier+bartramiana
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelanchier_bartramiana

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Epifagus virginiana

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Botanical Name : Epifagus virginiana
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Epifagus
Species: E. americana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms : Epifagus americana

Common Names : Beech drops (or beech-drops, or beechdrops)

Habitat : Epifagus virginiana is Native to U.S. It is found in just a few southeast Missouri counties where Beech trees (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) occur.
Description:
Epifagus virginiana is a parasitic plant which grows and subsists on the roots of beech trees. Beechdrops lack both leaves and chlorophyll, they only have small pinkish flowers that are hard to distinguish from the rest of the plant. The flowers can be either cleistogamous (self-pollinating) or chasmogamous (cross-pollinating); while the latter are located near the tips of the stems, the former are located closer to the stems base. In the northern hemisphere it flowers between August and October.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

*Flower petal color: green to brown,pink to red,white
*Leaf type: the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
*Leaf arrangement: alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
*Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
*Flower symmetry: there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
*Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
*Fusion of sepals and petals: the petals or the sepals are fused into a cup or tube
Epifagus virginiana produces both cleistogamous and chasmogamous flowers. The chasmogamous flowers are located near the tips of the stems and the cleistogamous flowers are located near the middle and base of the stems. The cleistogamous flowers are pistillate and fertile. The chasmogamous flowers are typically sterile.
Medicinal Uses:
This species was used medicinally by natives for a variety of ailments. A tea made from the fresh plant was used for diarrhea, dysentery, mouth sores, and cold sores. Settlers thought the plant may be a treatment for cancer but tests proved negative. It has been used especially for asthma and is valuable in the treatment of obstinate ulcers of the mouth or stomach and diarrhea. A strong, cooled decoction was applied as an external application in skin disorders, ulcers, and erysipelas, and is said to arrest gangrene. It was called cancer root because of its folk use as a local application to cancerous ulcers. As for its internal application, its use is indicated for its astringent-healing properties. The decoction (one part to three pars warm water) has been employed as a quickly binding action in diarrhea. But more important, teas of the herb have been taken for bleeding internal ulcers with astonishingly lasting results. The roots and tops are powdered and sprinkled on the place to be treated. A tea may be made and used as a wash. A combination of beech drops and cherry bark can be used to treat hemorrhages of the bowels. This combination also makes an excellent gargle for ulcers of the mouth.

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/Epifagus_americana
http://www.missouriplants.com/Pinkalt/Epifagus_virginiana_page.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/epifagus/virginiana/