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Herbs & Plants

Arum italicum

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Botanical Name : Arum italicum
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Areae
Genus: Arum
Species: A. italicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonyms : A. neglectum. A. modicense. A. numidicum.

Common Names : Cuckoo Pint, Italian arum and Italian lords-and-ladies

Habitat ; Arum italicum is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East) plus Great Britain, the Netherlands, Crimea, Caucasus, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores. It is also naturalized in Argentina and in scattered locations in the United States. It grows on Stony ground near the sea, hedges and among old walls, often on calcareous soils.

Description:
Arum italicum is a perennial plant. It grows 30–46 cm (1–1.5 ft) high, with equal spread. It blooms in Spring with white flowers that turn to showy red fruit. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for traditional and woodland shade gardens. Some gardeners use this arum to underplant with hosta, as they produce foliage sequentially; when the hosta withers away, the arum replaces it, leaving the ground covered.Numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use, of which A. italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratum’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Arum italicum can be invasive in some areas.

Arum italicum may hybridize with Arum maculatum.

In 1778, Lamarck noticed that the inflorescence of this plant produces heat.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a humus rich soil and abundant water in the growing season. Succeeds in sun or dry shade, preferring a shady position and growing well in woodland conditions. A polymorphic species, the British form has been separated off by some botanists as A. neglectum. The leaves appear in the autumn, the plant staying green all winter. The inflorescence has the remarkable ability to heat itself above the ambient air temperature to such a degree that it is quite noticeable to the touch. This probably protects the flowers from damage by frost, or allows it to penetrate frozen ground. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse or cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 6 months at 15°c]. Stored seed should be sown in the spring in a greenhouse and can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking a year or more. A period of cold stratification might help to speed up the process. Sow the seed thinly, and allow the seedlings to grow on without disturbance for their first year, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure that they do not become mineral deficient. When the plants are dormant in the autumn, divide up the small corms, planting 2 – 3 in each pot, and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year, planting out when dormant in the autumn. Division of the corms in summer after flowering. Larger corms can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up the smaller corms and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out.
Edible Uses:…Tuber – cooked and used as a vegetable. An arrowroot can be extracted from the dried root. The root must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
It was used in ancient medicine, mixed with honey, to cure coughs. Currently used in homeopathy.

Known Hazards: The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten, but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water.

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/Arum_italicum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arum+italicum

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Herbs & Plants

Vaccaria hispanica

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Botanical Name : Vaccaria hispanica
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Vaccaria
Species: V. hispanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms : V. pyramidata. V. segetilis. V. vulgaris. Saponaria vaccaria. L.

Common Names : Cowherb, Cowcockle, Cow basil, Cow soapwort, and Prairie carnation,Bladder-soapwort (English), China cockle (English) , Cow cockle (English), Cowherb (English), Cow-soapwort ( English) , Ful al-arab( Arabic), Saponaire des vaches ( French), Kuhlkraut (German) , Akernejlika (Swedish), mai lan cai (Chinese)

Habitat : Vaccaria hispanica is native to Central and Southern Europe, North to Belgium. An introduced and not infrequent casual in Britain. It grows as a weed of cultivated fields.

Description:
Vaccaria hispanica is an annual plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft). It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Lepidoptera, self. The plant is self-fertile.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES
Physical  Characteristics:
Flower petal color : blue to purple, pink to red
Leaf type : the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement: opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges: the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry: there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals: there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals : both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number: 10
Fruit type (general): the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its seed which is often added to wild bird foods. By this means, the plant is often found as an introduced casual in Britain.

Propagation: Seed – sow April in situ.

Edible Uses: Condiment……….Leaves – used as a condiment. Seed – ground into a meal. Rich in starch. The seed contains 13.8 – 16.1% protein and 1.6 – 3.2% fat. The seed also contains saponins, see notes above on toxicity below.

Chemical Constituents:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)
* 0 Calories per 100g
* Water : 0%
* Protein: 15g; Fat: 2.5g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0g;
* Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
* Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Notes: The report does not make it clear whether this is a zero moisture basis.

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne; Antiphlogistic; Antipruritic; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Galactogogue; Oxytoxic; Styptic; Vulnerary.

The seed is anodyne, discutient, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, styptic and vulnerary. They are used in Chinese medicine. This medicinal ingredient is known as Wang Bu Liu Xing. It is supposed to promote diuresis and milk secretion, activate blood circulation and relieve swelling.

A decoction of the seed is used to treat skin problems, breast tumors, menstrual problems, deficiency of lactation and sluggish labor. The seeds are also taken internally as a galactogogue. The flowers, leaves, roots and shoots also have the same properties. The sap of the plant is said to be febrifuge and tonic. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type as well as coughs. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type. The plant is used externally to cure itch.

The medicinal seeds are round, reddish brown, and look like mustard seeds. They are bitter and contain saponin. The plant is used externally to cure itch. This herb is used for its astringent properties in a patent formula called Prostate Gland Pills, for swelling and inflammation of the prostate. The formula is quite effective, but during treatment the herb causes some men to temporarily lose the capacity to sustain erection, a side effect that disappears when the herb is withdrawn. In fact, this effect helps support the therapy, because men are supposed to refrain from sexual intercourse anyway during treatment for prostate problems.
Known Hazards :The seeds and other parts of the plant contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also broken down if thoroughly heated. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

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/Vaccaria
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Vaccaria+hispanica
https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?310852
https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/species/vaccaria/hispanica/

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Herbs & Plants

Cephalanthus occidentalis

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Botanical Name : Cephalanthus occidentalis
Family: Rubiaceae
Subfamily: Cinchonoideae
Tribe: Naucleeae
Genus: Cephalanthus
Species: C. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Button Bush, Common buttonbush, Button Willow, Honey Bells

Habitat :Cephalanthus occidentalis is native to Eastern N. America – Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Minnesota and California. It is a lowland species, growing along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, swamps and wet floodplains.

Description:
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a deciduous shrub or small tree that averages 1–3 m (3.3–9.8 ft) in height, but can reach 6 m (20 ft). The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, elliptic to ovate, 7–18 cm (2.8–7.1 in) long and 4–10 cm (1.6–3.9 in) broad, with a smooth edge and a short petiole. The flowers are arranged in a dense spherical inflorescence 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) in diameter on a short peduncle. Each flower has a fused white to pale yellow four-lobed corolla forming a long slender tube connecting to the sepals. The stigma protrudes slightly from the corolla. The fruit is a spherical cluster of achenes (nutlets)....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation:
Easily grown in moist, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Grows very well in wet soils, including flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary, but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants become unmanageable, however, they may be cut back near to the ground in early spring to revitalize.

Propagation :
Seed – It is  suggested  to sow  the seed as soon as it is ripe in an acid compost in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. 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. Cuttings of soft or semi-ripe wood, July in a frame. Layering.

Medicinal Uses:
Button bush was often employed medicinally by native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a range of ailments. It is little used in modern herbalism. A tea made from the bark is astringent, emetic, febrifuge and tonic. A strong decoction has been used to treat diarrhoea and dysentery, stomach complaints, haemorrhages etc. It has been used as a wash for eye inflammations. A decoction of either the roots or the fruits have been used as a laxative to treat constipation The leaves are astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and tonic. A tea has been used to check menstrual flow and to treat fevers, kidney stones, pleurisy etc. The plant has a folk reputation for relieving malaria. The inner bark has been chewed in the treatment of toothaches.

Other Uses:
Buttonbush is cultivated as an ornamental plant for a nectar source or ‘honey plant’ and for aesthetics in gardens and native plant landscapes, and is planted on slopes to help control erosion. Buttonbush is a suitable shrub for butterfly gardens. Wood – light, tough.

Known Hazards : The leaves contain glucosides and can be toxic in large doses. Symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, chronic spasms and muscular paralysis

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephalanthus_occidentalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cephalanthus+occidentalis
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=g830

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Herbs & Plants

Salvia clevelandii

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Botanical Name : Salvia clevelandii
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Salvia
Species: S. clevelandii
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names ; The fragrant sage, Blue sage, Jim sage and Cleveland sage, Fragrant sage, Chaparral Sage

Habitat :Salvia clevelandii is native to Southern California and northern Baja California, growing below 900 m (3,000 ft) elevation in California coastal sage and chaparral habitat. The plant was named in 1874 by Asa Gray, honoring plant collector Daniel Cleveland.

Description:
Salvia clevelandii is an evergreen perennial shrub that reaches 1 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.9 ft) in height and width. The fragrant, ashy green leaves are obovate and rugose, growing less than 2.5 cm (0.98 in) long. Flowers are on 30 cm (12 in) spikes, with numerous whorls of upright amethyst blooms opening in June–July. Bloom Color: Purple. Main Bloom Time: Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Irregular or sprawling…...CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Cultivation:
Salvia clevelandii is a popular California landscape plant, cultivated since the 1940s. Plants prefer dry summers, good drainage, and full sun, with a relatively short life span of five to ten years. They are hardy to ?7 °C (19 °F).

Cultivars and hybrids include:

*Winnifred Gilman’, a popular cultivar with intense violet-blue flowers.
*Betsy Clebsch’, a shorter cultivar with wide variation in flower color.
*Allen Chickering’, ‘Aromas’, ‘Pozo Blue’, ‘Santa Cruz Dark’, and ‘Whirly Blue’ are hybrids with similar appearance.
Salvia clevelandii is one of the parents of the hybrid Salvia ‘Celestial Blue’

Propagation :
Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse[200]. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. In areas where the plant is towards the limits of its hardiness, it is best to grow the plants on in a greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood succeed at almost any time in the growing season
Edible Uses: Condiment……The leaves have a pleasant flavour and fragrance, they are a good substitute for sage in cooking.

Medicinal Uses:  Not known

Other Uses:  . The gray-green leaves of Salvia clevelandii have intense fragrance. It is a great hummingbird plant. 

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_clevelandii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Salvia+clevelandii
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/606–salvia-clevelandii-winifred-gilman-cleveland-sage

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Herbs & Plants

Cyperus esculentus

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Botanical Name ; Cyperus esculentus
Family: Cyperaceae
Genus: Cyperus
Species: C. esculentus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Poales

Common Names ;Chufa, Chufa sedge, Nut grass, Yellow nutsedge, Tiger nut sedge, or Earth almond

Habitat :Cyperus esculentus is native to most of the Western Hemisphere as well as southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. It has become naturalized in many other regions, including Ukraine, China, Hawaii, Indochina, New Guinea, Java, New South Wales and various oceanic islands. It can be found wild, as a weed, or as a crop. There is evidence for its cultivation in Egypt since the sixth millennium BC, and for several centuries in Southern Europe. In Spain, C. esculentus is cultivated for its edible tubers, called earth almonds or tiger nuts, for the preparation of “horchata de chufa”, a sweet, milk-like beverage. However, in most other countries, C. esculentus is considered a weed.
Description:
Cyperus esculentus is an annual or perennial plant, growing to 90 cm (3 feet) tall, with solitary stems growing from a tuber. The plant is reproduced by seeds, creeping rhizomes, and tubers. The stems are triangular in section and bear slender leaves 3–10 mm (1/8 to 1/2 inches) wide. The spikelets of the plant are distinctive, with a cluster of flat, oval seeds surrounded by four hanging, leaf-like bracts positioned 90 degrees from each other. They are 5 to 30 mm (about 3/8 to 1 1/8 inches) long and linear to narrowly elliptic with pointed tips and 8 to 35 florets. The color varies from straw-colored to gold-brown. They can produce up to 2420 seeds per plant. The plant foliage is very tough and fibrous and is often mistaken for a grass. The roots are an extensive and complex system of fine, fibrous roots and scaly rhizomes with small, hard, spherical tubers and basal bulbs attached. The tubers are 0.3 – 1.9 cm (1/8 to 1/2 inches) in diameter and the colors vary between yellow, brown, and black. One plant can produce several hundred to several thousand tubers during a single growing season. With cool temperatures, the foliage, roots, rhizomes, and basal bulbs die, but the tubers survive and resprout the following spring when soil temperatures remain above 6 °C (42.8 °F). They can resprout up to several years later. When the tubers germinate, many rhizomes are initiated and end in a basal bulb near the soil surface. These basal bulbs initiate the stems and leaves above ground, and fibrous roots underground. C. esculentus is wind pollinated and requires cross pollination as it is self–incompatible.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist sandy loam. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The chufa, or tiger nut, is often cultivated for its edible tuber in warm temperate and tropical zones, there is a cultivated variety, var. sativus, that produces larger tubers. We have had lots of problems with growing this cultivated form. Once the tubers come into growth then they normally grow vigorously, but the difficulty is getting them to come into growth. We harvest the tubers in the autumn and store them in moist sand, replanting them in the spring. However, they rarely come into new growth until mid to late summer which gives them too short a growing season to produce much of a crop. We need to find a satisfactory way of storing the tubers and exciting them back into growth. In warmer climates this plant is a serious weed of cultivation. It is much hardier than was once imagined and is becoming a weed in N. America where it is found as far north as Alaska. The tubers are often formed a metre or more away from the plant, especially if it is growing in a heavy clay soil. The tubers are extremely attractive to mice and require protection from them in the winter.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in the spring and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 6 weeks at 18°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant them out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. This is more a matter of harvesting the tubers and replanting them. If this is done in the autumn, then it is best to store the tubers in a cool frost-free place overwinter and plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Oil; Oil.

Tuber – raw, cooked or dried and ground into a powder. They are also used in confectionery. A delicious nut-like flavour but rather chewy and with a tough skin. They taste best when dried. They can be cooked in barley water to give them a sweet flavour and then be used as a dessert nut. A refreshing beverage is made by mixing the ground tubers with water, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and ice. The ground up tuber can also be made into a plant milk with water, wheat and sugar. An edible oil is obtained from the tuber. It is considered to be a superior oil that compares favourably with olive oil. The roasted tubers are a coffee substitute. The base of the plant can be used in salads. (This probably means the base of the leaf stems.)

Medicinal Uses:

Aphrodisiac; Carminative; Digestive; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Stimulant; Tonic.

Tiger nuts are regarded as a digestive tonic, having a heating and drying effect on the digestive system and alleviating flatulence. They also promote urine production and menstruation. The tubers are said to be aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic. In Ayurvedic medicine they are used in the treatment of flatulence, indigestion, colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, debility and excessive thirst.

As a source of oils, the tubers were used in pharmacy under the Latin name bulbuli thrasi beginning no later than the end of 18th century. In ayurvedic medicine tiger nuts are used in the treatment of flatulence, diarrhoea, dysentery, debility and indigestion. Tiger nut oil can be used in the cosmetic industry. As it is antidioxide (because of its high content in vitamin E) it helps slow down the ageing of the body cells. It favours the elasticity of the skin and reduces skin wrinkles.

Other Uses:
Oil; Oil; Weaving:

The tubers contain up to 30% of a non-drying oil, it is used in cooking and in making soap. It does not solidify at 0°c and stores well without going rancid. The leaves can be used for weaving hats and matting etc.

Use as fishing bait:
The boiled nuts are used in the UK as a bait for carp. The nuts have to be prepared in a prescribed manner to prevent harm to the fish. The nuts are soaked in water for 24 hours and then boiled for 20 minutes or longer until fully expanded. Some anglers then leave the boiled nuts to ferment for 24–48 hours, which can enhance their effectiveness. If the nuts are not properly prepared, however, they can be extremely toxic to the carp. This was originally thought to have been the cause of death of Benson, a very large and very famous carp. The 54-lb. fish was found floating dead in a fishing lake, with a bag of unprepared tiger nuts lying nearby, empty, on the shore. An examination of the fish by a taxidermist concluded tiger nut poisoning was not, in the end, the cause of 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/Cyperus_esculentus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cyperus+esculentus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm