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Herbs & Plants

Marchantia polymorpha

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Botanical Name : Marchantia polymorpha
Family: Marchantiaceae
Genus: Marchantia
Species: M. polymorpha
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Marchantiophyta
Class: Marchantiopsida
Order: Marchantiales

Synonym : Marchantia aquatica

Common Names: Liverwort, Common liverwort or Umbrella liverwort

Habitat :Marchantia polymorpha is found worldwide from tropical to arctic climates. It grows on moist soil and rocks in damp habitats such as the banks of streams and pools, bogs, fens and dune slacks. It rapidly colonizes burnt ground after fires. It often grows in man-made habitats such as gardens, paths and greenhouses and can be a horticultural weed,  dense, fleshy mat that grows prostrate over the surface of container crops and/or nursery floors.

Description:
Marchantia polymorpha is a thallose liverwort which forms a rosette of flattened thalli with forked branches. The thalli grow up to 10 cm long with a width of up to 2 cm. It is usually green in colour but older plants can become brown or purplish. The upper surface has a pattern of hexagonal markings. The underside is covered by many root-like rhizoids which attach the plant to the soil. The plants produce umbrella-like reproductive structures known as gametophores. The gametophores of female plants consist of a stalk with star-like rays at the top. These contain archegonia, the organs which produce the ova. Male gametophores are topped by a flattened disc containing the antheridia which produce sperm.

Detail description:
Foliage: The leaf-like structure that covers the surface of the ground or container are called thalli (thallus in singular form). Liverworts are not vascular plants, but a more primitive life form similar to mosses. They do not have true leaves like most organisms we consider plants.
Flower: Liverworts do not have flowers (and thus do not produce seed), instead they archegoniophores and antheridiophores (female and male sex organs). Liverwort are unisexual, with male and female sex organs forming on different plants. Antheridiophores look like an umbrella while the female achegoniophores have finger-like projections.

Seed: Liverworts reproduce sexually by spores, not seed. Liverworts can also reproduce asexually by gemmae (see section on foliage above).
Roots: Marchantia do not have roots, they have rhizoids which are root-like structures that lack xylem and phloem.
Related species: Lunularia cruciata, which is another liverwort similar in appearance to Marchantia.

Special considerations: The term liverwort refers to a group of about 6,000 species. Only one, Marchantia polymorpha, is a weed problem in nurseries. Are we giving all liverworts a bad rap because of one species? It seems so.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

You may click to see more pictures 

Marchantia polymorpha can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction involves sperm from the male plant fertilizing ova from the female plants. A fertilized ovum develops into a small sporophyte plant which remains attached to the larger gametophyte plant. The sporophyte produces male and female spores which develop into free-living gametophyte plants.

Asexual reproduction can occur when older parts of the plant die and newer branches develop into separate plants. It can also occur by means of gemmae, balls of cells which are genetically identical to the parent and contained in cup-like structures on the upper surface of the plant. These are dispersed when rain splashes the cups and develop into new plants.

Medicinal Uses:
Cytotoxicity against the KB cells; antileukemic activity in several compounds from leafy liverworts. In China, to treat jaundice, hepatitis and as an extermal cure to reduce inflammation; in Himalayas for boils and abscesses; mixed with vegetable oils as ointments for boils, eczema, cuts, bites, wounds, burns

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/Marchantia_polymorpha
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/nursery-weeds/weedspeciespage/liverwort/liverwort_page.html

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Herbs & Plants

Betula Alnoides

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Botanical Name : Betula alnoides
Family : Betulaceae
Genus : Betula
Synonyms :         Betula acuminata – Wall.
Other names: Betula alnoides Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don,Indian birch, Bhujpatra
Vernacular name:
English: Indian birch

Habitat : E. Asia – Himalayas to S.W. China..Forests, ravines and streamsides, Himachel Pradesh to S.W. China, 1500 – 2700 metres . Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary;


Description:

A decidious Tree growing to 40m at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in September. 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.

click to see the pictures..>…...(01)....(1).....(2)….…(3).…....(4).….

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.

Studies on the antiinflammatory activity of Betula alnoides bark:-
The antiinflammatory activity of Betula alnoides extract was evaluated in acute and subacute inflammation models. The extract was also evaluated for antiinflammatory activity in sheep RBC induced sensitivity and in membrane stabilization models. Except for the sheep RBC induced sensitivity model, the extract showed significant antiinflammatory activity.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Inner bark.

Inner bark – can be dried, then ground into a powder and added to flour for use in making bread, cakes etc . Inner bark is generally only seen as a famine food, used when other forms of starch are not available or are in short supply

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:-

Antidote.

The plant has been used as an antidote in the treatment of snake bites. A decoction of the bark is used to treat dislocated bones.

The antiinflammatory activity of Betula alnoides extract was evaluated in acute and subacute inflammation models. The extract was also evaluated for antiinflammatory activity in sheep RBC induced sensitivity and in membrane stabilization models. Except for the sheep RBC induced sensitivity model, the extract showed significant antiinflammatory activity.

Other Uses
Paper; Wood.

The thin layer of outer bark is used as a paper. The juice of the bark is used for decorating wood. Wood – moderately hard, close grained, strong, durable. Used for minor construction.

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+alnoides
http://www.heilpflanzen-welt.de/science/2002/12410550.htm
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Betula_alnoides
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/99019647/abstract

http://vaniindia.org.whbus12.onlyfordemo.com/herbal/plantdir.asp

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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

Alaska Wild Rhubarb

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Botanical Name:Polygonum alaskanum
Family :       Polygonaceae
Genus :       Polygonum

Synonyms: Aconogonon alaskanum – (Small.)Soják.
Common Names in English: Alaska Wild Rhubarb

Habitat: Northwestern N. America – Alaska to Yukon and eastern Russia.     Sub-alpine to alpine meadows, talis slopes and ridges. Montane slopes above treeline, steep hillsides, steep cut banks or sandy loam of rivers; 100-1300 metres .

Description:

Perennial growing to 1.8m.
It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
click to see the picture
Herbs, shrubs , or small trees , sometimes monoecious or dioecious. Stems erect , prostrate , twining , or scandent , often with swollen nodes, striate , grooved , or prickly. Leaves simple , alternate, rarely opposite or whorled , petiolate or subsessile ; stipules often united to a sheath (ocrea) . Inflorescence terminal or axillary , spicate , racemose, paniculate , or capitate. Pedicel occasionally articulate . Flowers small, actinomorphic , bisexual , rarely unisexual . Perianth 3-6-merous, in 1 or 2 series, herbaceous, often enlarged in fruit or inner tepals enlarged, with wings, tubercles , or spines. Stamens usually (3-) 6-9, rarely more; filaments free or united at base ; anthers 2-loculed, opening lengthwise; disk annular (often lobed ) . Ovary superior, 1-loculed; styles 2 or 3, rarely 4, free or connate at lower part. Fruit a trigonous , biconvex , or biconcave achene; seed with straight or curved embryo and copious endosperm.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. 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:

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it is hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It is quite possibly no more than a synonym for P. alpinum[257]. Although very closely related to P. alpinum, it is distinct[270]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1] but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil in sun or part shade[200]. Repays generous treatment[1]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233].

Propagation
:-
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Stem.

Edible Uses
: Drink.
Leaves – raw or cooked. They have an acid flavour and can be used as a sorrel substitute. The chopped leaves and stems have been added to a thick pudding of flour and sugar then eaten. Leaf stems – raw or cooked. An acid flavour, they can be cut into sections and used like rhubarb (Rheum spp). The juice from the plant has been sweetened and used as a refreshing drink. Seed – raw or cooked. It is rather small and fiddly to utilize.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses:-
Astringent; Pectoral.
The whole plant is astringent. The raw roots and stem bases have been chewed as a treatment for coughs and colds.

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?Polygonum+alaskanum
http://public.fotki.com/bottomdollar/wildflowers_of_east/papaveraceae_–/polygonaceae_buckwh/p_alaskanum3.html
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/P/Polygonum_alpinum/

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