Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Cleome serrulata

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Botanical Name : Cleome serrulata
Family: Cleomaceae
Genus: Cleome
Species: C. serrulata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms: Peritoma serrulata DC., Cleome integrifolia Torr. & Gray

Common Names: Rocky Mountain Beeplant, Tinking-clover, Bee spider-flower, Skunk weed, Navajo spinach, and Guaco

Habitat : Cleome serrulata is native to western N. America – Washington to Saskatchewan and south to California.It grows on waste land, plains and lower mountains, often on sandy soils.

Cleome serrulata is an annual plant growing to 10–150 cm (4–59 in) tall, with spirally arranged leaves. The leaves are trifoliate, diminutive teeth, and with three slender leaflets each 1–7 cm (0.5–3 in) long. The flowers are reddish-purple, pink, or white, with four petals and six long stamens. The fruit is a capsule 3–6 cm (1–2.5 in) long containing several seeds. Flowering lasts an extended period because it begins at the bottom of the stalk and works its way up. The onset of flowering and seed pods comes at the same time. Cell wall elasticity is higher in specimens that live in drier climates. The pollen is about 0.015 millimeters (0.00059 in) in length with three furrows which have one pore each.


Moisture, temperature, and time are critical in seed germination. Germination occurs during summer and plants can quickly grow to 1–2 meters (3.3–6.6 ft). Flowers are often covered with a variety of insects, especially bees. Elongated capsules contain the seeds, which are dark brown to black, curved, and have a wart-like appearance. After the seeds are dispersed, the plants begin decomposing.

The plant is called waa’ in the Navajo language, tumi in the Hopi language, and both a’pilalu and ado:we in the Zuni language.
Prefers a light fertile soil in a warm dry sunny position with plenty of room to spread. A frost tender plant, it can be grown as a summer annual in Britain. A very good bee plant, it is often planted by apiarists in America. This plant was probably cultivated by the N. American Indians. The Indians would allow the plant to produce seed when it was growing wild in the cornfields in order to ensure a supply the following year.

Seed – surface sow or only lightly cover the seed in spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 5 – 14 days at 25°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in late spring. Day time temperatures below 20°c depress germination but a night time fall to 20° is necessary.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seed; Seedpod.

Young shoots, leaves and flowers are cooked and used as potherbs. The plants were gathered and, after removing an alkaline taste, were eaten with cornmeal porridge. The plant smells like a skunk, but it was an important potherb for the native North American Indians and the early European settlers in America. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be dried and ground into a meal then used as a mush or mixed with flour to make bread etc. Seedpods – cooked. The hardened cakes of dyestuff (see note on the plants other uses) can be soaked in hot water and then eaten fried.

Medicinal Uses:
A poultice made of the crushed leaves has been used to reduce swellings. The flowers have been boiled with rusty iron and the liquid drunk as a treatment for anemia. An infusion of the plant is drunk in the treatment of fevers and stomach disorders. A poultice made from the pounded, soaked leaves has been applied to sore eyes. An infusion of the plant is drunk in the treatment of fevers and stomach disorders.

In traditional Native American and frontier medicine, an infusion of the plant is used to treat stomach troubles and fevers, and poultices made from it can be used on the eyes. As a dye, the plant can be boiled down until it is reduced to a thick, black syrup; this was used as a binder in pigments for painting black-on-white pottery at least as long ago as 900-1300AD by the Anasazi. The Navajo still use it to make yellow-green dye for their rugs and blankets.

Other Uses:   A black dye is obtained by boiling down the whole plant. It is used as a paint for decorating pottery. The young plants are harvested in mid-summer, boiled well in water, the woody parts of the plant are removed and the decoction is boiled again until it becomes thick and turns black. This thick liquid is then poured onto a board to dry in cakes and can be kept for an indefinite period. When needed it is soaked in hot water until the correct consistency for paint is achieved. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a body and shoe deodorant.

Plant paste is used with black mineral paint to color sticks of plume offerings to anthropic gods, and the whole plant except for the root is used in pottery decorations.

Birds do eat the seeds and the plant provides good cover for land reclamation and upland birds. The Tewa and other Southwestern United States tribes often included Cleome serrulata as a ‘fourth sister’ in the Three Sisters agriculture system because it attracts bees to help pollinate the beans and squash
Known Hazards: Nitrate poisoning can result if too much is consumed.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Impatiens capensis

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Botanical Name :Impatiens capensis
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. capensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Impatiens biflora – Walter, Impatiens fulva – Nutt

Common Names: Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not, or Orange Balsam  Jewelweed, Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens, Spotted Touch-me-not, Lady’s Eardrops, Lady’s Slipper.

Habitat :Impatiens capensis is native to  N. America – Newfoundland to Saskatchewan. Naturalized in Britain.
It grows  along the banks of rivers and canals, also in low-lying moist woodlands, avoiding acid soils.

Impatiens capensis is an Annual plant  growing to 1.2m at a fast rate.It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
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The flowers are orange with a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower. Plants may also produce non-showy cleistogamous flowers, which do not require cross-pollination. The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent, and have swollen or darkened nodes. The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name ‘touch-me-not’ comes from. The leaves appear to be silver or ‘jeweled’ when held underwater, which is possibly where the jewelweed name comes from. .

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

Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool shady site. Plants self-sow in areas where minimum winter temperatures go no lower than -15°c. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun.

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.


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

The succulent stems, whilst still young and tender, can be cut up and cooked like green beans. Young leaves and shoots – cooked. They contain calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate is usually destroyed by thorough cooking. Large quantities of the leaves are purgative. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidote; Poultice; Stings; Warts.
The juice from the broken stem is a well-known folk remedy for poison ivy rash. It also works on poison oak. Can be frozen into small ice cubes and used. Also relieves the pain of insect bites, nettle stings, burns, sprains, ringworm and various skin diseases. The juice is also made into an ointment for hemorrhoids, warts and corns. It used to be taken for jaundice and asthma.

Jewelweed was commonly used as a medicinal herb by a number of native North American Indian tribes, and has been widely used in domestic medicine.Along with other species of jewelweed it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose  Its main value lies in its external application for wounds and a range of skin complaints. However, it is little used in modern herbalism and is considered to be dangerous and ‘wholly questionable’ when used internally. The herb is antidote, cathartic, diuretic and emetic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, difficult urination, measles, stomach cramps, jaundice etc. The juice of the leaves is used externally in the treatment of piles, fungal dermatitis, nettle stings, poison ivy rash, burns etc. The sap is used to remove warts. A poultice of the leaves is applied to bruises, burns, cuts etc.

Herbal Baths are a great way to treat widespread rashes, and heat rashes in those hard to reach places that flare up in summer time. A soothing bath of chamomile and oatmeal is a luxurious way to start the healing process. A simple home remedy that most everyone has on hand is baking soda and vinegar. Just add about 2 cups of vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda to a tepid bath to and relax away the hurt. This simple bath also works well on sunburns. Baths with  tea bags of full of green or black tea will help dry the rashes and stop itching, all for pennies an a bath. For an especially bad rash you may want to use comfrey leaf in your bath or as a skin wash.

Other Uses:

Dye; Fungicide.

The fresh juice obtained from the plant is a fungicide. This juice can be concentrated by boiling it. A yellow dye has been made from the flowers. It can be made from the whole plant.

Known Hazards:Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

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


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