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Prunus arabica

Botanical Name: Prunus arabica
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribes: Amygdaleae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: P. subg. Amygdalus
Species: Prunus arabica

Synonyms: Amygdalus arabica Oliv.; A. spartioides Spach; Prunus spartioides (Spach) Schneid.

Common Name:

Habitat :Prunus arabica is native to W. Asia – Iran. It grows on the dry steppe and open oak woodland.

Description:
Prunus arabica an unarmed deciduous shrub of broom-like habit 3 to 6 ft high, with green, glabrous, angled branches, leafless in the hot season. Leaves linear-lanceolate, up to 15?8 in. long, 1?8 to 3?16 in. wide, shortly stalked. It is in flower in May.

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Flowers solitary, sessile, borne in spring, each from a bud with numerous brown imbricating scales, 1?2 to 3?4 in. wide, white or pinkish; receptacle partly concealed by the bud-scales, broad campanulate, glabrous or almost so. Ovary densely hairy. Fruits ovoid, slightly flattened, about 1 in. long; stone smooth.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Judging by its native habitat this plant should succeed in dry soils. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

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

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses:...Dye; Gum……A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A gum obtained from the plant is sold in local markets. It is probably obtained from the trunk and branches.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Prunus_arabica
http://www.beanstreesandshrubs.org/browse/prunus/prunus-arabica-oliv-meikle/
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+arabica

Artemisia lactiflora

Botanical Name : Artemisia lactiflora
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species:A. lactiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Artemisia kitadakensis ‘Guizhou
*Artemisia lactiflora purpurea

Common Name: White Mugwort

Habitat : Artemisia lactiflora is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on forest margins, shrublands, canyons, slopes, roadsides, river banks and thickets from low elevations to 3000 metres.

Description:
Artemisia lactiflora is a vigorous clump-forming herbaceous perennial herb, growing to 1.5 m (5ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.It has plumes of creamy-white flower heads appearing in Summer and Autumn above dark green leaves.

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It is in flower from Aug to October, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly acid loamy soil, preferring a sunny position and a moisture-retentive soil. Plants are tolerant of light shade. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Basal cuttings in late spring. Harvest the young shoots when about10 – 15cm long, pot up in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse or cold frame and plant them out when well rooted. Very easy.

Medicinal Uses:
White mugwort is a bitter aromatic tonic herb. The leaves and flowering stems are used internally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat menstrual and liver disorders.

Other Uses: Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Seashore, Woodland garden.

Known Hazards : The plant might be poisonous in large doses. Skin contact can cause dermatitis in some people.

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/Artemisia_lactiflora
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+lactiflora
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/100891/White-mugwort-Guizhou-Group/Details

Why Does Hair Keep Growing?

It is really intriguing that hair, although composed of dead cells, keep growing. The secret of its growth lies in the hidden part of hair that remains under the skin.

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Hair originates from a ring of dividing cells which later die out and contribute to its growth. At the base of the skin layer dermis? there are two distinct layers of skin, inner dermis and outer epidermis?  the se-ed of growth is sown as a cluster of dividing cells in a follicle (small sac-shaped cavity).

These cells divide continuously depending on the nutrients and oxygen supplied by the skin tissue and blood vessels that surround the dividing cells. In the follicle, nascent cells move upward through the centre. The innermost cells die and harden into hair while the rest also die, giving rise to a double-layered hair sheath. Every dead cell adds to the length of the hair.

Just before it sprouts through the skin, hair is bathed in oil from the sebaceous gland which secretes oily matter. Hair growth may be affected by factors like nutrition, temperature, hormonal imbalance and diseases. The popular notion that frequent haircuts help hair growth is, of course, wrong.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)