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Herbs & Plants

Allium brevistylum

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

Common Name : Shortstyle Onion

Habitat :Allium brevistylum is native to the western United StatesRocky Mountains from Montana and Idaho to Utah and Colorado.
It grows on the swampy meadows and stream sides at medium to high elevations.

Description:
General: perennial herb with an onion- or garlic-like odor,
flowering stem 20-60 cm tall, flattened and narrowly winged
toward the top. Bulbs elongate, mostly less than 1 cm
thick, at the end of a thick rhizome.

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Leaves: 2 to several basal, plane, blunt-tipped, entire,
2-8 mm broad, much shorter than the stem, green at
flowering time, persistent at maturity.

Flowers: 7 to 15 in a flat-topped umbel-cluster, stalks
slender, about as long as the flowers at flowering time,
becoming longer, stout and curved in fruit. Tepals 6, 10-13
mm long, lanceolate, pointed, entire, pink, withering in fruit,
the midribs somewhat thickened. Bracts 2, united at base
and often along one side, ovate, pointed, 3- to 5-nerved.
Stamens about half the length of the tepals, the anthers
short-oblong, blunt, yellowish. Ovary crestless, the style
awl-shaped, rarely more than 3 mm long, stigma 3-cleft.
Flowering time: June-August.

Fruits: capsules broader than long, the valves heart-
shaped, distinctly notched. Seeds correspondingly short
and thick, dull black.

Bulb of Allium brevistylum is  growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
Cultivation:
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. This species tolerates much wetter soils than most members of the genus but it dislikes winters with alternating periods of damp and cold and no snow cover, so it is best given a damp though well-drained soil. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season.  The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Plants can be confused with A. validum. 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.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring 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 in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
The Bulb and leaves of short-styled onion are edible, raw or cooked. The plant has thick iris-like rhizomes. Indians used wild onions extensively. Their bulbs served as a staple and condiment to many different tribes. The crisp bulbs were gathered by Indians from Spring through early Fall. They were eaten raw and used as an ingredient in soups, stews and meat dishes. The bulbs also stored well for winter use The flowers can also be eaten raw, and used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
A few Indian tribes would crush the wild onion and apply it to bee and insect bites to reduce swelling and pain. Others used it to draw poison out of snakebites. A heavy syrup made from the juice of the wild onion was also used for coughs and other cold symptoms. A poultice of the ground root and stems, or an infusion of them, was used as a wash for carbuncles by the Cheyenne Indians. Onions in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavor) 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 has been 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.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_brevistylum
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=242101338
http://montana.plant-life.org/species/allium_brevi.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+brevistylum

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Kalmi (Ipomoea reptans)

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N Ipoa D1600.
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name:Ipomoea reptans
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Ipomoea subgenus
Genus:    Ipomoea
Species:    I. aquatica
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Solanales
Vernacular names: Kangkong, kangkung, water convolvulus, water spinach, swamp spinach, swamp morning glory (En). Kangkong, liseron d’eau, patate aquatique (Fr). Cancon, batata aquática (Po). Mriba wa ziwa (Sw).

In Bengal  it is called Kalmi

Habitat :Ipomoea aquatica is widespread as a swamp weed in all tropical and many subtropical lowland areas. It is a declared aquatic or terrestrial noxious weed in the south-eastern United States. It occurs in nearly all countries of tropical Africa, from Mauritania and Senegal, east to Eritrea and Somalia, and south to South Africa, and also in the Indian Ocean islands. It is a popular cultivated vegetable in South-East Asia and southern China, but is rare in India. It is known as a leafy vegetable in tropical America, where people of Asian origin cultivate it. It is grown on a small scale under protected cultivation in France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands for Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian clients. In tropical Africa it is reported as a collected wild vegetable in Benin, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. Asian cultivars are occasionally grown on a small scale for the Asian clientele near big cities. Kangkong can be found in market gardens, e.g. in Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

DESCRIPTION: Water spinach is an herbaceous trailing vine that dwells in muddy stream banks, freshwater ponds, and marshes. This perennial aquatic vine is confined to the tropics and subtropics zones because it is susceptible to frosts and does not grow well when temperatures are below 23.9 C. Water spinach can reproduce sexually by producing one to four seeds in fruiting capsules or vegetatively by stem fragmentation. It is a member of the “morning-glory” family.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..>….(01)...(1).....(2).…....(3).…..(4)....(5).
Flowers: Funnel shaped, solitary or in few flowered clusters at leaf axils, two inches wide, pink to white in color, and darker in the throat (rarely nearly white).

Leaves: Arrowhead shaped, alternate, one to six inches long, and one to three inches wide

Stems: Vine like, trailing, with milky sap and roots at the nodes; usually to 9 ft. long but can be much longer.

Fruit: An oval or spherical capsule, woody at maturity, 1 cm long, holding 1 to 4 grayish seeds.

History:
The first historical record of W ater spinach is of its cultivation as a vegetable during the Chin Dynasty around 300 A.D. Native to India and Southeast Asia, but widely cultivated and naturalized in Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Islands, and South America. This aquatic vine is rich in iron, making it an ancient remedy for anemia. So people emigrating from Asian regions understandably wanted to take this nutritious vegetable along for use in traditional recipes. It is unclear when this plant was introduced in the United States, but this invasive and aggressive plant poses a serious threat to waterways in the Southern United States. W ater spinach has been introduced repeatedly to Florida waters since 1973, despite its state and federal listing as a prohibited plant and noxious weed.

Uses:-
Young shoots and leaves of water spinach are collected for use as a leafy vegetable. Often the whole above-ground plant part of cultivated water spinach , including the tender hollow stems, is consumed. Water spinatch can be stir-fried, steamed, boiled for a few minutes or lightly fried in oil and eaten in various dishes. It is often mixed with hot peppers and garlic, and prepared with meat or fish. In Asia the leaves are sometimes separated from the stems, and the stems are cooked a bit longer. In Africa only the leaves of wild plants are consumed, the stems are removed. The roots are occasionally eaten. Wild kangkong is often collected as fodder for cattle and pigs.

In Indonesia, kangkong or water spinach  is traditionally given at dinner to young children to make them quiet and help them sleep well. In Asia it is used in traditional medicine. The sap is used as an emetic, purgative and sedative, and flower buds are applied to ringworm. In Sri Lanka kangkong is used to treat diabetes mellitus.

Properties:
The nutritional composition of raw kangkong per 100 g edible portion is: water 92.5 g, energy 80 kJ (19 kcal), protein 2.6 g, fat 0.2 g, carbohydrate 3.1 g, dietary fibre 2.1 g, Ca 77 mg, Mg 71 mg, P 39 mg, Fe 1.7 mg, Zn 0.2 mg, vitamin A 6300 IU, thiamin 0.03 mg, riboflavin 0.10 mg, niacin 0.90 mg, folate 57 ?g, ascorbic acid 55 mg (USDA, 2002). The nutritional value of leaf-blades is higher than that of petioles and stems; unfortunately, sources do not state whether stems and leaves or leaves only were analysed. Accumulation of heavy metals in kangkong has been reported for Asia because the plants often grow in polluted water.

Medicinal Uses:
Kangkong showed oral hypoglycaemic activity in tests with diabetic humans and rats; it was shown that an aqueous leaf extract can be as effective as tolbutamide in reducing blood glucose levels.

Health risk:
If harvested from contaminated areas, and eaten raw, I. aquatica may transmit Fasciolopsis buski, an intestinal fluke parasite of humans and pigs, causing fasciolopsiasis.

Study in animals;
Studies conducted with pregnant diabetes-induced rats have shown a blood sugar-lowering effect of Ipomoea aquatica by inhibiting the intestinal absorption of glucose.

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.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?20218
http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20o?search=Ipomoea+aquatica&guide=North_American_Invasives
http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Ipomoea%20aquatica_En.htm
.

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Categories
Dry Fruit

Pine Nuts

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Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus). About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting; in other pines the seeds are also edible, but are too small to be of value as a human food.

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Stone Pine cone with pine nuts – note two nuts under each cone scale

In Europe, pine nuts come from the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea), which has been cultivated for its nuts for over 6,000 years, and harvested from wild trees for far longer. The Swiss Pine (Pinus cembra) is also used to a very small extent.

In Asia, two species are widely harvested, Korean Pine (Pinus koraiensis) in northeast Asia (the most important species in international trade), and Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana) in the western Himalaya. Four other species, Siberian Pine (Pinus sibirica), Siberian Dwarf Pine (Pinus pumila), Chinese White Pine (Pinus armandii) and Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana), are also used to a lesser extent.

In North America, the main species are three of the pinyon pines, Colorado Pinyon (Pinus edulis), Single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla), and Mexican Pinyon (Pinus cembroides). The other eight pinyon species are used to a small extent, as are Gray Pine (Pinus sabineana), Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana) and Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana). In the United States, pine nuts are mainly harvested by Native American tribes; in many areas, they have exclusive rights to the harvest.

Pine nuts contain (depending on species) between 10  to 34% of protein, with Stone Pine having the highest content. They are also a source of dietary fibre. When first extracted from the pine cone, they are covered with a hard shell (seed coat), thin in some species, thick in others. The nutrition is stored in the large female gametophytic tissue that supports the developing embryo (sporophyte) in the centre. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense pine nuts are seeds; being a gymnosperm, they lack a carpel (fruit) outside.

The shell must be removed before the pine nut can be eaten. Unshelled pine nuts have a long shelf life if kept dry and refrigerated (at 5 to +2 °C); shelled nuts (and unshelled nuts in warm conditions) deteriorate rapidly, becoming rancid within a few weeks or even days in warm humid conditions. Pine nuts are commercially available in shelled form, but due to poor storage, these rarely have a good flavour and may be already rancid at the time of purchase.

Pine nuts have been eaten in Europe and Asia since the Paleolithic period. They are frequently added to meat, fish, and vegetable dishes. In Italian they are called pinoli or (rarely) pignoli (locally also pinoccoli or pinocchi; Pinocchio means ‘pine nut’) and are an essential component of Italian pesto sauce. The pignoli cookie, an Italian specialty confection, is made of almond flour formed into a dough similar to that of a macaroon and then topped with pine nuts. Pine nuts are also featured in the salade landaise of southwestern France. Pine nut coffee, known as piñón (Spanish for pine nut), is a specialty found in the southwest United States, especially New Mexico; it is typically a dark roast coffee and has a deep, nutty flavour. Pine nuts are also used in chocolates and desserts such as baklava.

Korean Pine pine nuts – unshelled, and shell, above; shelled, belowIn the United States, millions of hectares of productive pinyon pine woods have been destroyed due to conversion to grazing lands, and in China, destructive harvesting techniques (such as breaking off whole branches to harvest the cones) and the removal of trees for timber have led to losses in production capacity.
CLICK & SEE:    Korian Pine Nuts

Pine nuts can be pressed to extract pine nut oil, which is valued both for its mild, nutty flavour and its health benefits such as appetite suppression and antioxidant action. Pine nut oil also had economic importance in pre-revolution Russia

Pine nuts are excellent source of Iron,Manganese,Copper,Magnesium and high monosaturated fat, which keeps cardiovascular system healthy.It is also packed with Vitamins A,C & D. This makes it give a boost to the immune system. They contain almost three milligrams of iron in once-ounce serviing. Pine nuts are also higher in protein than most nuts & are good source of Thiamine,Potassium & Phosphorous. Pine nuts are best kept in refrigerator, in airtight containers.

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/Pine_nut
http://www.adfs.in/dryfruit/pinenut.htm