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Poison ivy

Botanical Name :  Rhus Toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus:     Toxicodendron
Species: T. radicans

Synonyms: Poison Oak, Poison Vine, Toxicodendron radicans and Rhus radicans

Common Names : Poison ivy, Eastern Poison Oak

Habitat :  Poison ivy  grows throughout much of North America, including the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and all U.S. states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the mountainous areas of Mexico up to around 1,500 m (4,900 ft) (caquistle or caxuistle is the Nahuatl term ). It is normally found in wooded areas, especially along edge areas where the tree line breaks and allows sunshine to filter through. It also grows in exposed rocky areas, open fields and disturbed areas.

It may grow as a forest understory plant, although it is only somewhat shade tolerant.  The plant is extremely common in suburban and exurban areas of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern United States. The similar species T. diversilobum (western poison oak) and T. rydbergii (western poison ivy) are found in western North America.

Rhus Toxicodendron or Toxicodendron radicans rarely grows at altitudes above 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although the altitude limit varies in different locations. The plants can grow as a shrub up to about 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, as a groundcover 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) high, or as a climbing vine on various supports. Older vines on substantial supports send out lateral branches that may be mistaken for tree limbs at first glance.

It grows in a wide variety of soil types, and soil pH from 6.0 (acidic) to 7.9 (moderately alkaline). It is not particularly sensitive to soil moisture, although it does not grow in desert or arid conditions. It can grow in areas subject to seasonal flooding or brackish water.

It is more common now than when Europeans first arrived in North America. The development of real estate adjacent to wild, undeveloped land has engendered “edge effects”, enabling poison ivy to form vast, lush colonies in these areas. It is listed as a noxious weed in the US states of Minnesota and Michigan and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Outside North America,Toxicodendron radicans is also found in the temperate parts of Asia, in Japan, Taiwan, the Russian islands of Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and in parts of China.

A study by researchers at the University of Georgia found that poison ivy is particularly sensitive to CO2 levels, greatly benefiting from higher CO2 in the atmosphere. Poison ivy’s growth and potency has already doubled since the 1960s, and it could double again once CO2 levels reach 560 ppm

Description:
There are numerous subspecies and/or varieties of T. radicans , which can be found growing in any of the following forms, all have woody stems:

* as a trailing vine that is 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) tall
* as a shrub up to 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) tall
* as a climbing vine that grows on trees or some other support
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The deciduous leaves of T. radicans are trifoliate with three almond-shaped leaflets. Leaf color ranges from light green (usually the younger leaves) to dark green (mature leaves), turning bright red in fall; though other sources say leaves are reddish when expanding, turn green through maturity, then back to red, orange, or yellow in the fall. The leaflets of mature leaves are somewhat shiny. The leaflets are 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long, rarely up to 30 cm (12 in). Each leaflet has a few or no teeth along its edge, and the leaf surface is smooth. Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine, and the plant has no thorns. Vines growing on the trunk of a tree become firmly attached through numerous aerial rootlets.[5] The vines develop adventitious roots, or the plant can spread from rhizomes or root crowns. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.

T. radicans spreads either vegetatively or sexually. It is dioecious; flowering occurs from May to July. The yellowish- or greenish-white flowers are typically inconspicuous and are located in clusters up to 8 cm (3.1 in) above the leaves. The berry-like fruit, a drupe, mature by August to November with a grayish-white colour. Fruits are a favorite winter food of some birds and other animals. Seeds are spread mainly by animals and remain viable after passing through the digestive tract.

Aids for identification:
The following four characteristics are sufficient to identify poison ivy in most situations: (a) clusters of three leaflets, (b) alternate leaf arrangement, (c) lack of thorns, and (d) each group of three leaflets grows on its own stem, which connects to the main vine.

The appearance of poison ivy can vary greatly between environments, and even within a single area. Identification by experienced people is often made difficult by leaf damage, the plant’s leafless condition during winter, and unusual growth forms due to environmental or genetic factors.

Various mnemonic rhymes describe the characteristic appearance of poison ivy:[8]

1.   “Leaflets three; let it be” is the best known and most useful cautionary rhyme. It applies to poison oak, as well as to poison ivy. Even though it is not always true.

2.   “Hairy vine, no friend of mine. ”

3.   “Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.

Cultivation : 
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Judging by the plants natural habitat, it should also succeed in poor acid soils and dry soils. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species is a small suckering shrub, it can spread freely in suitable conditions. There is some confusion over the correct name of this species. It is united with R. radicans (under that name) by some botanists whilst others split this species off into another genus, Toxicodendron, and unite it with R. radicans as Toxicodendron radicans. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally: The fresh leaves, from which a fluid extract is prepared.

Constituents: The activity of the drug was formerly ascribed to a fixed oil, Toxicodendrol, but has been attributed more recently to a yellow resin, to which the name Toxicodendrin is applied.

It is Irritant, rubefacient, stimulant, narcotic.

R. Toxicodendron was introduced into England first in 1640, but not used as a medicine till 1798, when Du Fressoy, a physician at Valenciennes, had brought to his notice a young man, who had been cured of a herpetic eruption on his wrist of six years’ standing on being accidentally poisoned by this plant. He thereupon commenced the use of the plant in the treatment of obstinate herpetic eruptions and in palsy, many cases yielding well to the drug. Since then it has rapidly gained a place in general practice, meeting with some success in the treatment of paralysis, acute rheumatism and articular stiffness, and in various forms of chronic and obstinate eruptive diseases.

It is not official in the British Pharmacopoeia, but was formerly official in the United States Pharmacopceia. It is in extensive use by homoeopathists for rheumatism, ringworm and other skin disorders, and is considered by them one of the most useful remedies in a great majority of cases of Nettlerash, especially if caused by some natural predisposition of constitution, in which the eruption is due to the use of some particular food.

The fluid extract, prepared from the fresh leaves, is mostly given in the form of a tincture, in doses of 5 to 30 drops. In small doses it is an excellent sedative to the nervous system, but must be given with care, as internally it may cause gastric intestinal irritation, drowsiness, stupor and delirium.

It has been recommended in cases of incontinence of urine. For this, the bark of the root of R. aromatica is also employed very successfully, an infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

The fluid extract of R. Toxicodendron can be used as a vesicant or blister producer, like cantharides, mezeron, and oil of Mustard.

The best preparation is a concentrated alcoholic tincture made from the green plant in the strength of 1 in 4. The dose of 25 per cent tincture is given in 1 to 5 drops three times a day. A solid extract is not used owing to the extreme volatility of the active principles of the crude drug.

Its milky juice is also used as an indelible ink for marking linen, and as an ingredient of liquid dressings or varnishes for finishing boots or shoes, though R. venenata is more extensively used for the latter purpose.

Other Uses :
Dye; Ink; Mordant; Oil; Parasiticide; Tannin; Varnish.
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The milky juice makes an excellent indelible marking ink for linen etc. It is also used as a varnish for boots and shoes.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

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/i/ivypoi17.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+toxicodendron

Iceland moss

Botanical Name : Cetraria islandica
Family: Parmeliaceae
Genus:     Cetraria
Species: C. islandica
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class:     Lecanoromycetes
Order:     Lecanorales

Synonyms: Cetraria. Iceland Lichen.

Common Name :  Iceland Moss, Island cetraria lichen, Oriental cetraria lichen

Other names: Iceland Lichen, Eryngo-leaved liverwort

Habitat:Iceland moss grows abundantly in the mountainous regions of northern countries, and it is specially characteristic of the lava slopes and plains of the west and north of Iceland. It is found on the mountains of north Wales, north England, Scotland and south-west Ireland. In North America its range extends through Arctic regions, from Alaska to Newfoundland, and south in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, and to the Appalachian Mountains of New England.A common plant in northern countries and in the mountainous part of warmer countries.
It grows on damp places, usually on rocks and the bark of trees, especially conifers.

Description:
Iceland Moss is a composite life form (lichen), symbiotic connection between algae and fungus. It has an appearance similar to moss. It is shrub-like plant, with crinkled, gray-green to dark brown forked branches. The upper side is darker; the underside is lighter, whitish. It grows up to 1, 2 meters in height.  The whole plant is tough and springy.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
There is no known information on the cultivation of this plant. It requires clean air and is very intolerant of atmospheric pollution so cannot be grown in towns. See the plants native habitat above for ideas on how it can be encouraged to grow. This species is a lichen, which is actually a symbiotic association of two different species, one an algae and the other a fungus. It is very slow-growing. This plant is often used in commercially produced disinfectants.

Propagation :
The only way of reproducing this plant is vegetatively. Almost any part of the plant can be used to produce a new plant, simply separate a portion and place it in its new hom.

Edible Uses:
A jelly is made by boiling the whole plant. It is nutritious and medicinal. Rather bitter, it requires leaching, which can be done by changing the cooking water once or twice during the cooking process. The dried and powdered plant can be mixed with wheat and used in making bread. It is very bitter and the process required to leach it is far too time-consuming and tedious to be countenanced

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used :Lichen

Constituents: It contains about 70 per cent of lichen starch and becomes blue on the addition of iodine. It also contains a little sugar, fumaric acid, oxalic acid, about 3 per cent of cetrarin and 1 per cent of licheno-stearic acid.

Demulcent, tonic, and nutritive when deprived of its bitter principle. Excellent in chronic pulmonary troubles, catarrh, digestive disturbances, dysentery, advanced tuberculosis. Decoction, B.P. 1885, 1 to 4 OZ. Ground, it can be mixed with chocolate or cocoa.

Iceland Moss is strongly antibiotic and expectorant. It soothes irritated tissues, especially mucous membranes and is often used in cough medications. It eases dry cough and helps in case of a sore throat. It has beneficial results in cases of tuberculosis and bronchitis. It also controls vomiting, has excellent effects in treatment of gastroenteritis, loss of appetite and food poisoning. Used externally, the plant is an excellent remedy for vaginal discharge, boils and wounds.

Iceland moss has been used since ancient times as a cough remedy and has also been used in European folk medicine as a cancer treatment. In present day herbalism it is highly prized for its strongly antibiotic and demulcent actions, being used especially to soothe the mucous membranes of the chest, to counter catarrh and calm dry and paroxysmal coughs – it is particularly helpful as a treatment for elderly people. Iceland moss has both a demulcent and a bitter tonic effect within the gut – a combination almost unique amongst medicinal herbs. The whole plant is strongly antibiotic, antiemetic, strongly demulcent, galactogogue, nutritive and tonic. It is excellent when used internally in the treatment of chronic pulmonary problems, catarrh, dysentery, chronic digestive disturbances (including irritable bowel syndrome and food poisoning) and advanced tuberculosis. Externally, it is used in the treatment of boils, vaginal discharges and impetigo. The plant can be harvested as required throughout the year, preferably during dry weather, and can also be dried for later use. Use with caution. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Cetraria islandica for cough & bronchitis, dyspepsia, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, loss of appetite.
Other Uses:
Disinfectant; Dye.

A powerful antibiotic can be obtained from the plant and this has become a fundamental ingredient in a wide range of commercially produced disinfectants. A brown dye is obtained from the plant.

Known Hazards: Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.   Indigestion and nausea with large doses. Rare liver damage. Herb bitterness possible in breast milk .

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.health-from-nature.net/Iceland_Moss.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mosice52.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland_moss

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cetraria+islandica

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Mountain avens

Botanical Name:Dryas octopetala
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Dryas
Species: D. octopetala
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common names: Mountain avens, white dryas, and white dryad

Habitat : Dryas octopetala has a widespread occurrence throughout mountainous areas where it is generally restricted to limestone outcrops. These include the entire Arctic, as well as the mountains of Scandinavia, Iceland, the Alps, Carpathian Mountains, Balkans, Caucasus and in isolated locations elsewhere. In Great Britain it occurs in the Pennines (northern England), at two locations in Snowdonia (north Wales), and more widely in the Scottish Highlands; in Ireland it occurs on The Burren and a few other sites. In North America it is found in Alaska, most frequently on previously glaciated terrain, reaching as far south as Colorado in the Rocky Mountains.

It is the official territorial flower of the Northwest Territories, and the national flower of Iceland.

Description:
The Mountain Avens  is a small plant, 2 to 3 inches high, distinguished from all other plants of the order Rosaceae by its oblong deeply-cut leaves, which are white with a woolly down beneath, and by its large, handsome, anemone-like, white flowers, which have eight petals. It blooms in the spring. It is not uncommon in the mountainous parts of the British Isles, especially on limestone.

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The stems are woody, tortuous, with short, horizontal rooting branches. The leaves are glabrous above, densely white-tomentose beneath. The flowers are produced on stalks 3–10 cm (1.2–3.9 in) long, and have eight creamy white petals – hence the specific epithet octopetala. The style is persistent on the fruit with white feathery hairs, functioning as a wind-dispersal agent. The feathery hairs of the seed head first appear twisted together and glossy before spreading out to an expanded ball which the wind quickly disperses.

It grows in dry localities where snow melts early, on gravel and rocky barrens, forming a distinct heath community on calcareous soils.

When cultivated, it likes a sunny spot, not too dry, and prefers a little lime in the soil. It is propagated by layers or seeds, layers being the easiest method.

Cultivation :
Easily grown in ordinary gardening soil, preferring a sunny position. Prefers limestone soils. Prefers a gritty well-drained peaty soil. A sub-shrub, producing annual stems from a woody base. A good plant for a rock garden, it succeeds on banks and on walls. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species D. octopetala hookeriana has been shown to produce nitrogen nodules on its roots due to a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, in the same way as peas and beans. It has been assumed here that the species type can also do this[K]. Some of the nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Established plants strongly resent root disturbance.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in pots a shady cold frame or sheltered place outdoors as soon as it is ripe[200]. Stored seed requires stratification and should be sown as soon as possible. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 12 months or more at 20°c[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division of self-layered shoots in early spring[1, 200]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in sharp sand in a frame

Medicinal Uses:
Antidiarrhoeal;  Astringent;  Digestive.

The entire plant, harvested just before or at flowering time is astringent and digestive[9]. An infusion is used as a stomach tonic, and also as a gargle for treating gingivitis and other disorders of the mouth and throat.

Other Uses:
The plant makes a good ground cover for spring bulbs, though it is not strongly weed suppressive. Slow-growing at first, it then forms a dense mat. Plants should be spaced about 30cm apart each way and they form a carpet, the branches rooting at intervals along the stems.

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/a/avens084.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dryas+octopetala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dryas_octopetala

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Asclepias syriaca

Botanical Name : Asclepias syriaca
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. syriaca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names:Common Milkweed, Butterfly flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia Silkweed

Habitat :Asclepias syriaca is native to most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the Prairies. It grows in sandy soils and appreciates lots of sunlight. It was one of the earliest North American species described in Cornut’s 1635 Canadensium plantarum historia. The specific name was reused by Linnaeus due to Cornut’s confusion with a species from Asia Minor.

It grows in thickets, roadsides, dry fields and waste places

Description:
Asclepias syriaca is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1–2 m tall from a rhizome. The stem and all parts of the plants produce a white latex when broken. The leaves are opposite, simple broad ovate-lanceolate, 7–25 cm long and 3–12 cm broad, usually with an undulate margin and a red-colored main vein. They have a very short petiole and a velvety underside.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES.
The flowers are grouped in several spherical umbels with numerous flowers in each umbel. The individual flowers are small, 1–2 cm diameter, perfumed, with five cornate hoods. The seeds are attached to long, white flossy hairs and encased in large follicles.

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects, lepidoptera.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any good soil. Prefers a well-drained light rich or peaty soil. Requires a moist peaty soil and a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. A very ornamental plant, though it can be invasive by means of its spreading root system. The flowers diffuse a delicious scent into the garden. This scent attracts bees, who obtain copious supplies of nectar from the plants, though unfortunately the plants do not always flower in Britain. The flower of many members of this genus can trap insects between its anther cells, the struggles of the insect in escaping ensure the pollination of the plant. This plant has a very wide range of uses and merits attention as a food, fibre and rubber crop. It was possibly cultivated at one time by the North American Indians for its many uses. It is considered by some to be the greatest underachiever among plants. Its potential appears great, yet until now it has never been continuously processed for commercial purposes. Many members of this genus seem to be particularly prone to damage by slugs. The young growth in spring is especially vulnerable, but older growth is also attacked and even well-established plants have been destroyed in wet years. Plants resent root disturbance and are best planted into their final positions whilst small.

Propagation:      
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18°c. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established.. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Edible Uses     
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Gum;  Oil;  Oil;  Sweetener.

Unopened flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. They are used like broccoli. Flowers and young flower buds – cooked. They have a mucilaginous texture and a pleasant flavour, they can be used as a flavouring and a thickener in soups etc. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. The flowers are harvested in the early morning with the dew still on them. When boiled up they make a brown sugar. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. They should be used when less than 20cm tall. A slightly bitter taste. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, 3 – 4 cm long, cooked. They are very appetizing. Best used when about 2 – 4cm long and before the seed floss forms, on older pods remove any seed floss before cooking them. If picked at the right time, the pods resemble okra. The sprouted seeds can be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The latex in the stems is a suitable replacement for chicle and can be made into a chewing gum. It is not really suitable for use in tyres. The latex is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields are higher on dry soils.

 
Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Contraceptive;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy;  Purgative;  Warts.

The root is anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and purgative. It has been used in the treatment of asthma, kidney stones, venereal disease etc. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. An infusion of the pounded roots has been used by the women of some native North American Indian tribes to promote temporary sterility. The leaves and/or the latex are used in folk remedies for treating cancer and tumours. The milky latex from the stems and leaves is used in the treatment of warts. The latex needs to be applied at least daily over a period of up to a few weeks to be effective. The stems can be cooked and applied as a poultice on rheumatic joints. One reported Mohawk antifertility concoction contained milkweed and jack-in-the-pulpit, both considered contraceptive. Dried and pulverized, a fistful of milkweed and three Arisaema rhizomes were infused in a pint of water for 20 minutes. The infusion was drunk, a cupful an hour, to induce temporary sterility. The rhizome is used in homeopathy as an antioedemic and emmenagogue in the treatment of dropsy and dysmenorrhoea.

A root decoction (either fresh or dried) strengthens the heart in a different way from digitalis, and without the foxglove derivative’s toxicity.  It also soothes the nerves and is listed as an emetic, anthelmintic (kills worms) and stomach tonic.  It helps relieve edema probably by strengthening the heart.  It’s also a diaphoretic and expectorant.  It’s used for coughs, colds, arthritis aggravated by the cold, threatened inflammation of the lungs, asthma, bronchitis, female disorders, diarrhea and gastric mucus.  The milky sap is used topically, fresh or dried, to reduce warts.

The root is emetic and cathartic in large doses.  In average doses it is considered diuretic, expectorant and diaphoretic.  It is said to produce temporary sterility if taken as a tea.
HOMEOPATHIC: Used for afflictions of the nerves and the urinary tract and for pressing

Other Uses:
Adhesive;  Fibre;  Gum;  Latex;  Oil;    Pollution;  Stuffing;  Wick.

A good quality fibre is obtained from the inner bark of the stems. It is long and quite strong, but brittle. It can be used in making twine, cloth, paper etc. The fibre is of poor quality in wet seasons. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. It is estimated that yields of 1,356 kilos per hectare could be obtained from wild plants. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare. The floss absorbs oil whilst repelling water and so has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss. In cultivation, only 1 – 3% of the flowers produce mature pods. It is estimated that yields of 1,368 kilos per hectare could be obtained from wild plants. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields of 197 kilos per hectare can be expected from wild plants, it is estimated that by selection these yields could be increased to 897 kilos. Yields are higher on dry soils. The latex can also be used as a glue for fixing precious stones into necklaces, earrings etc. The latex contains 0.1 – 1.5% caoutchouc, 16 – 17% dry matter, and 1.23% ash. It also contains the digitalis-like mixture of a- and b-asclepiadin, the antitumor b-sitosterol, and a- and b-amyrin and its acetate, dextrose and wax. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil. It is also used in making liquid soap.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals. The older leaves are poisonous if eaten in large quantities. The plant contains cardioactive compounds and is potentially toxic.

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/Asclepias_syriaca
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Asclepias+syriaca
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm
http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/b480/asclepias-syriaca.aspx

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Aster novae-angliae

Botanical Name :Aster novae-angliae
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Astereae
Genus: Symphyotrichum
Subgenus: Virgulus
Species: S. novae-angliae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names:New England Aster

Habitat :Aster novae-angliae is native to almost every area in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, but excluding the far north of Canada as well as some of the southern United States.

Description:
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae is an herbaceous perennial stiffly erect plant. It grows up to 120 cm with a stout, hairy stem and lance-shaped leaves with entire margins. The flower heads are showy with yellow disc florets at the center and ray florets that range from a deep purple or rose to rarely white. The New England aster inhabits a wide variety of habitats and soil types, though it does not tolerate strong shade.

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Flower/fruit: 1 to 2 inch bright lavender to purplish blue flower heads clustered at end of stems, with 40 to 50 narrow petals; yellow center; bracts are narrow, hairy and sticky; flower stalk has sticky hairs

Flower:  head 3/4″-1 1/2″ wide with 45-100 purple to rose rays, disk orange; inflorescence of a few to many heads in leafy, short clusters; blooms Aug.-Oct., our latest flowering aster

Fruit: dry seed with dense, fluffy pappus

Foliage: 1.5 to 5 inch lanceolate, crowded, toothless, heart-shaped leaves; basal lobes clasp the hairy stout stems

Flowering Season: Late summer into fall

Cultivation: Due to the attractive flowers, numerous cultivars have been developed. Furthermore, as a result of its increased usage in the garden, it has been introduced to many areas beyond its natural range, including Europe and several western US states.

Medicinal Uses:
A poultice of the root has been used in the treatment of pain, fevers and diarrhea. The ooze of the roots has been sniffed in the treatment of catarrh. A decoction of the whole plant has been used in the treatment of all kinds of fevers and in the treatment of weak skin. Aster novae-angliae is deployed in decoction internally, with a strong decoction externally, in many eruptive diseases of the skin; it removes also the poisonous state of the skin caused by Rhus or Shumach.

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/Symphyotrichum_novae-angliae
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/wildflowers/aster_novae-angliae.html
http://wisplants.uwsp.edu/scripts/detail.asp?SpCode=ASTNOV
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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