Tag Archives: Rocky Mountains

Allium geyeri

Botanical Name: Allium geyeri
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. geyeri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

*Allium dictyotum Greene
*Allium funiculosum A.Nelson
*Allium pikeanum Rydb.
*Allium fibrosum Rydb. 1897, illegitimate homonym not Regel 1887
*Allium arenicola Osterh. 1900, illegitimate homonym not Small 1900
*Allium rubrum Osterh.
*Allium sabulicola Osterh.
*Allium rydbergii J.F.Macbr.

Common Names: Geyer’s Onion, Bulbil onion

Habitat :Allium geyeri is native to Western N. America – Washington, Texas, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada. It grows on low meadows and by streams in the Rocky Mountains.
Allium geyeri is a bulb growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).Leaves are up to 2 feet long, thin, grass like – 3 to 5 leaves per stem. The plant produces a thick green stalk, which bears a few leaves only at the base, and terminates in a compact, spherical cluster of between 10 and 25 pale pink, urn-shaped flowers; these have six pointed tepals (pink to white in color), curved at the base and pointed at the tip, enclosing a style and several stamens topped by yellow anthers. Two or three thin papery bracts are found at the base of the umbel, but these wither away during flowering.It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May. Colour of the flower is mainly pink.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Plants are not hardy in the colder wetter conditions of N.W. Britain and are probably best grown in a bulb frame in most parts of the country. The sub-species A. geyeri tenerum forms bulbils in its flowering head. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed can also be sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division of the plants in summer as they die down. The divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions if required.
Edible Uses:
Bulb – raw or cooked. Used mainly as an onion-flavouring in soups etc, though they were also occasionally eaten raw. The bulbs are eaten by the Navajo Indians. The bulbs are up to 25mm long and 20mm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses:

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible

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.

Crataegus chrysocarpa

Botanical Name : Crataegus chrysocarpa
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Crataegus
Series: Rotundifoliae
Species:C. chrysocarpa
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Goldenberry hawthorn, Fireberry Hawthorn, Red haw, Piper’s hawthorn

Habitat :Crataegus chrysocarpa is native to North-eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Pennsylvania, west to the Rocky Mountains. It grows in the thickets and rocky ground along streams.

Crataegus chrysocarpa is a deciduous Tree growing to 6 m (19ft 8in). It is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Midges.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.


It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
A very easily grown plant, it prefers a well-drained moisture retentive loamy soil but is not at all fussy. Once established, it succeeds in excessively moist soils and also tolerates drought. It grows well on a chalk soil and also in heavy clay soils. A position in full sun is best when plants are being grown for their fruit, they also succeed in semi-shade though fruit yields and quality will be lower in such a position. Most members of this genus succeed in exposed positions, they also tolerate atmospheric pollution. Seedling trees take from 5 – 8 years before they start bearing fruit, though grafted trees will often flower heavily in their third year. A ten year old tree was seen at Kew Gardens in 2002. It was about 2.5 metres tall and was bearing a very good crop of fruit. The flowers have a foetid smell somewhat like decaying fish. This attracts midges which are the main means of fertilization. When freshly open, the flowers have more pleasant scent with balsamic undertones. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Seedlings should not be left in a seedbed for more than 2 years without being transplanted.
Seed – this is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, some of the seed will germinate in the spring, though most will probably take another year. Stored seed can be very slow and erratic to germinate, it should be warm stratified for 3 months at 15°c and then cold stratified for another 3 months at 4°c. It may still take another 18 months to germinate. Scarifying the seed before stratifying it might reduce this time. Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp may also speed up the germination process. Another possibility is to harvest the seed ‘green’ (as soon as the embryo has fully developed but before the seedcoat hardens) and sow it immediately in a cold frame. If timed well, it can germinate in the spring. If you are only growing small quantities of plants, it is best to pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in individual pots for their first year, planting them out in late spring into nursery beds or their final positions. When growing larger quantities, it might be best to sow them directly outdoors in a seedbed, but with protection from mice and other seed-eating creatures. Grow them on in the seedbed until large enough to plant out, but undercut the roots if they are to be left undisturbed for more than two years


Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. Used mainly as a famine food. A very pleasant flavour when ripe, with the added bonus of ripening in late summer before most other members of the genus. The fruit can be used in making pies, preserves, etc, and can also be dried for later use. It is about 1cm in diameter and borne in small clusters. There are up to five fairly large seeds in the centre of the fruit, these often stick together and so the effect is of eating a cherry-like fruit with a single seed. A tea can be made from the twigs. (This probably means the young shoots with leaves.)
Medicinal Uses:
Cardiotonic; Hypotensive; Laxative.

A decoction of the dried berries has been used as a mild laxative. A compound decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Although no other specific mention has been seen for this species, the fruits and flowers of many hawthorns are well-known in herbal folk medicine as a heart tonic and modern research has borne out this use. The fruits and flowers have a hypotensive effect as well as acting as a direct and mild heart tonic. They are especially indicated in the treatment of weak heart combined with high blood pressure. Prolonged use is necessary for it to be efficacious. It is normally used either as a tea or a tincture.

Other Uses:
Wood – heavy, hard, tough, close-grained. Useful for making tool handlesses , mallets and other small items.

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.

Solidago rigida

Botanical Name : Solidago rigida
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. rigida
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

*Aster rigidus (L.) Kuntze 1891 not L. 1753
*Oligoneuron grandiflorum (Raf.) Small
*Oligoneuron rigidum (L.) Small
*Solidago grandiflora Raf.
*Aster jacksonii Kuntze, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Leioligo corymbosa (Elliott) Raf., syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron corymbosum (Elliott) Small, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron jacksonii (Kuntze) Small, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Solidago corymbosa Elliott 1823 not Poir. 1817, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Solidago jacksonii (Kuntze) Fernald, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron bombycinum Lunell, syn of subsp. humilis
*Oligoneuron canescens Rydb., syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago bombycina (Lunell) Friesn., syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago bombycinum (Lunell) Friesner, syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago canescens (Rydb.) Friesner, syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago parvirigida Beaudry, syn of subsp. humilis

Common Names: Stiff Goldenrod, Flat Topped Goldenrod, Stiff Goldenrod

Habitat : Solidago rigida is native to the region between the Atlantic Coast and the Rockies, from Alberta east to Ontario, south as far as New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia. In New England, it grows today only in Connecticut, though there are historical records indicating that it formerly grew in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It grows on the dry or gravelly open woods, thickets and prairies.

Solidago rigida is a perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Flowers: A flat-topped cluster 2 to 5 inches across of 3/8-inch yellow flowers, each with 6 to 13 short petals (ray flowers) and a yellow center with up to 35 disk flowers. The rays are sometimes broad with rounded tips, sometimes more narrow with pointed tips.

Leaves and stem:
There are both basal leaves, and leaves alternating up the stem. All leaves are a grayish green color, generally oval in shape, rough from short bristly hairs, and mostly toothless but may have a few rounded, shallow teeth. The basal leaves are up to 5½ inches long and 1½ inches wide and stand generally erect on long stalks.

The alternating leaves are about 2 inches long, become progressively smaller as they go up the stem, may have wavy edges, are fairly stiff (hence the common name), tend to point upward, and clasp the stem. Stems are stout and rough from short bristly hairs.

Fruits: Fruit is a dry seed with a tuft of white or light brown hairs to carry them off in the wind.

Seed is softly angled, 2 to 2½ millimeters long, sometimes a bit hairy, with faint lines or ridges along its length and ripens from pale tan to brown. Much of the seed is eaten by insects before it ripens.

*Solidago rigida subsp. glabrata (E.L.Braun) S.B.Heard & Semple – southeastern + south-central USA
*Solidago rigida subsp. humilis (Porter) S.B.Heard & Semple – central + western Canada, central + western USA as far west as the Rocky Mountains
*Solidago rigida subsp. rigida – Ontario, central + eastern USA

Landscape Uses:Border. Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. The plant attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and blossoms are antiseptic, astringent and styptic. A valuable remedy in the treatment of all kinds of haemorrhages. The flowers have been ground into a lotion and used to treat bee stings. An oil obtained from the plant (is this an essential oil?) is diuretic. The root is cathartic and diuretic. A decoction of the root has been used as an enema. An infusion has been used to restore the flow of urine.

Other Uses::..…Dye; Latex……….A good quality rubber can be made from a latex that is obtained from the leaves[46, 61]. Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.
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.


Veratrum californicum

Botanical Name: Veratrum californicum
Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Veratrum
Species: V. californicum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names: California corn lily, white or California false hellebore

Habitat : Veratrum californicum is native to mountain meadows at 3500 to 11,000 ft elevation in southwestern North America, the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains, and as far north as Washington State and as far south as Durango. It grows in swamps, creek bottoms, moist woodlands and meadows, from lowland to the sub-alpine zone.

Veratrum californicum is a perennial plant. It grows 1 to 2 meters tall, with an erect, unbranched, heavily leafy stem resembling a cornstalk. It prefers quite moist soil, and can cover large areas in dense stands near streams or in wet meadows. It is in flower from Aug to September. Many inch-wide flowers cluster along the often-branched top of the stout stem; they have 6 white tepals, a green center, 6 stamens, and a 3-branched pistil (see image below). The buds are tight green spheres. The heavily veined, bright green leaves can be more than a foot long. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera....CLICK & SEE

Veratrum californicum displays mast seeding; populations bloom and seed little in most years, but in occasional years bloom and seed heavily in synchrony.

The plant has become a local Fourth of July parade tradition in Crested Butte, Colorado, where it locally referred to as “skunk cabbage.”

*Veratrum californicum var. californicum – from Washington to Durango..…..CLICK & SEE 

*Veratrum californicum var. caudatum (A.Heller) C.L.Hitchc. – Idaho, Washington, Oregon, N California….CLICK & SEE 

Requires a deep fertile moisture retentive humus-rich soil. Succeeds in full sun if the soil does not dry out but prefers a position in semi-shade. Dislikes dry soils. Grows best in a cool woodland garden or a north facing border. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Plants are long-lived and can be left in the same position for years without attention.

Unless stored in damp sand at around 4°c the seed has a short viability. Where possible it is best to sow the seed in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed needs to be stratified but can be very slow to germinate. Germination can be erratic even for seed sown when it was fresh, it usually takes place within 3 – 12 months at 15°c but can be much longer. The plant produces just one seedleaf in its first year, this forms an over-wintering bulb. It takes up to 10 years for the plant to reach maturity. Sow the seed thinly so there is no need to thin or transplant them, and grow the seedlings on undisturbed in the pot for their first two years of growth. Apply a liquid feed at intervals through the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. At the end of the second year plant out the dormant plants into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for a further year or two before planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in March/April or in October. Establish the plants in pots in a shaded frame before planting them out. Division is best carried out in the autumn because the plants come into growth very early in the spring. Root cuttings, 6mm long with a bud, rooted in a sandy soil in a cold frame.

Medicinal Uses:

Although a very poisonous plant, California false hellebore was often employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it mainly as an external application to treat wounds etc. It also had quite a reputation as a contraceptive. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. Any use of this plant, especially internal use, should be carried out with great care and preferably only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. The root is analgesic, disinfectant and febrifuge. A decoction has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. The roots have been grated then chewed and the juice swallowed as a treatment for colds. A poultice of the mashed raw root has been used as a treatment for rheumatism, boils, sores, cuts, swellings and burns. The dried and ground up root has been used as a dressing on bruises and sores. A poultice of the chewed root has been applied to rattlesnake bites to draw out the poison. The powdered root has been rubbed on the face to allay the pain of toothache. A decoction of the root has been taken orally by both men and women as a contraceptive. A dose of one teaspoon of this decoction three times a day for three weeks is said to ensure permanent sterility in women.

Use as prime material for medical drugs:
Cyclopamine extracted from V. californicum is being used in anti-cancer experimental drugs. One derivative of it, compound name IPI-926, is currently undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of various types of cancer, including hard-to-treat hematologic malignancies, chondrosarcoma, and pancreatic cancer. IPI-926 is the only compound in development/testing that is not fully synthetic
Other Uses:…....Disinfectant; Insecticide…….The dried and powdered root is used as an insecticide and a parasiticide. It is also effective against caterpillars and mammals so great caution is advised

Known Hazards:... All parts of the plant are highly poisonous. The flowers are poisonous to insects, including bees.
Teratogenic effects:
It is a source of jervine and cyclopamine, teratogens which can cause prolonged gestation associated with birth defects such as holoprosencephaly and cyclopia in animals such as sheep, horses, and other mammals that graze upon it. These substances inhibit the hedgehog signaling pathway.

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.