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Herbs & Plants

Rhododendron lutescens

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Botanical Name : Rhododendron lutescens
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Rhododendron
Species:R. lutescens
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Other names: Lutescens rhododendron

Habitat: Rhododendron lutescens is native to E. Asia – China in C. Sichuan. It grows on the hillsides, scrub, hedges and forest edges, 1750 – 3000 metres.
Thickets and wood margins fully exposed to the sun, 2000 – 2800 metres.
Description:
Rhododendron lutescens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 3 m (9ft). with leaves that are lanceolate, oblong-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 4–9 by 1.5–2.5 cm in size. Flowers are yellow. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to April. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by InsectsCLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Succeeds in a most humus-rich lime-free soils except those of a dry arid nature or those that are heavy or clayey. Prefers a peaty or well-drained sandy loam. Succeeds in sun or shade, the warmer the climate the more shade a plant requires. A pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is ideal, though this species has been shown to tolerate a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Somewhat heat and drought tolerant. Generally hardy to about -10°c, though some forms of this species are tender in Britain. Succeeds in a woodland though, because of its surface-rooting habit, it does not compete well with surface-rooting trees. Plants need to be kept well weeded, they dislike other plants growing over or into their root system, in particular they grow badly with ground cover plants, herbaceous plants and heathers. Plants form a root ball and are very tolerant of being transplanted, even when quite large, so long as the root ball is kept intact. A very ornamental plant. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn and given artificial light. Alternatively sow the seed in a lightly shaded part of the warm greenhouse in late winter or in a cold greenhouse in April. Surface-sow the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Pot up the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter. Layering in late July. Takes 15 – 24 months[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Difficult.

Medicinal Uses:  Not yet known.
Other Uses: Plants are being grown as a medium-sized hedge at Wisley, RHS gardens in Surrey
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhododendron+lutescens
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_lutescens
https://www.shootgardening.co.uk/plant/rhododendron-lutescens

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Sichuan pepper

Botanical Name ; Sichuan pepper
Family  :  Rutaceae
Subfamily: Rutoideae
Gender : Zanthoxylum
Species : Z. piperitum
Kingdom :Plantae
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta, Vascular plants
Superdivision :Spermatophyta, Seed plants
Division : Magnoliophyta,Flower plants
Class :Magnoliopsida, Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms:  Zanthoxylum piperitum,  Zanthoxylum acanthophyllum, Zanthoxylum argyi, Zanthoxylum podocarpum

Common Names:
English: Sichuan pepper, Szechwan pepper or Szechuan pepper, Japanese pepper
Spanish: pimienta de Sichuán, pimienta de Sechuán, Fagara, pimienta anís, pimienta marrón, pimienta china, pimienta de Japón, Sansho, pimentero japonés (arbusto, bonsai).
Catalan: pebre japonès, pebre de Japó, pebre de Szechuan.
French: Poivrier du Japon, poivre chinois.
Italian: Pepe di Sichuan.
German: Japanischer Pfeffer, Anispfeffer, Chinesischer Pfeffer, Szechuanpfeffer.
Japanese: san-shô, shichimi.

Habitat:Sichuan pepper is native to Asia (mainly Caina)It grows in sun or partial shade. It prefers moist soils or heavy clay soils, well drained. Frost resistant up to -15 ° C.

Description:
Sichuan pepper is a deciduous shrub that grows 2 feet high by about 1 meter wide.Stem with rough colored bark, branched and covered with spines.
The leaves are pinnate, with an odd number of leaflets oval opposite (5 to 19), alternate and dark green. In fall, the leaves becom yellow stained.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It flowers from April to June in the northern hemisphere. The Japanese pepper tree is a dioecious species, that’s to say, it has male plants and female plants. The variety to provide fruits must have both sexes.

The flowers are yellowish green, small and aromatic, fruity . They are formed on old wood, in the axils of the new branches.

The fruit is a capsule-sized sessile like peppercorns (3 to 5 mm in diameter), which grow in groups of 4 in the stem end, but only 1 or 2 fruits fail to develop.
CLICK & SEE
The capsules or fruit are reddish-brown.they have many bumps in the bark. They contain a liquid inside responsible for the characteristic pungent spiciness of this plant.

The interior has a black seed, shiny. It is customary that some fruits are empty inside.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in loamy soils in most positions, but prefers a good deep well-drained moisture retentive soil in full sun or semi-shade. A plant has been growing well for many years in deep woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical gardens, it was fruiting heavily in autumn 1996. Cultivated for its seed, which is used as a condiment in China. Flowers are formed on the old wood. The bruised leaves are strongly aromatic. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Inconspicuous flowers or blooms, Blooms appear periodically throughout the year.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Stored seed may requires up to 3 months cold stratification, though scarification may also help. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Germination should take place in late spring, though it might take another 12 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings, 3cm long, planted horizontally in pots in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers, removed in late winter and planted into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:
The plant (fruit) is used as a spice . Its leaves are also edible.

Sichuan pepper’s unique aroma and flavour is not hot or pungent like black, white, or chili peppers. Instead, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth (caused by its 3% of hydroxy alpha sanshool) that sets the stage for hot spices. According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, they are not simply pungent; “they produce a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current (touching the terminals of a nine-volt battery to the tongue). Sanshools appear to act on several different kinds of nerve endings at once, induce sensitivity to touch and cold in nerves that are ordinarily nonsensitive, and so perhaps cause a kind of general neurological confusion.”

Recipes often suggest lightly toasting the tiny seed pods, then crushing them before adding them to food. Only the husks are used; the shiny black seeds are discarded or ignored as they have a very gritty sand-like texture. The spice is generally added at the last moment. Star anise and ginger are often used with it in spicy Sichuan cuisine. It has an alkaline pH and a numbing effect on the lips when eaten in larger doses. Ma la (Chinese: ??; pinyin: málà; literally “numbing and spicy”), common in Sichuan cooking, is a combination of Sichuan pepper and chili pepper, and it is a key ingredient in má là hot pot, the Sichuan version of the traditional Chinese dish. It is also a common flavouring in Sichuan baked goods such as sweetened cakes and biscuits.

Sichuan pepper is also available as an oil. In this form, it is best used in stir-fry noodle dishes without hot spices. The recipe may include ginger oil and brown sugar cooked with a base of noodles and vegetables, then rice vinegar and Sichuan pepper oil are added after cooking.

Hua jiao yan is a mixture of salt and Sichuan pepper, toasted and browned in a wok and served as a condiment to accompany chicken, duck, and pork dishes. The peppercorns can also be lightly fried to make a spicy oil with various uses.

In Indonesian Batak cuisine, andaliman (a relative of Sichuan pepper) is ground and mixed with chilies and seasonings into a green sambal tinombur or chili paste, to accompany grilled pork, carp, and other regional specialties. Arsik, a Batak dish from the Tapanuli region, uses andaliman as spice.

Sichuan pepper is one of the few spices important for Nepali (Gurkha), Tibetan and Bhutanese cookery of the Himalayas, because few spices can be grown there. One Himalayan specialty is the momo, a dumpling stuffed with vegetables, cottage cheese or minced yak meat, water buffalo meat, or pork and flavoured with Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger, and onion, served with tomato and Sichuan pepper-based gravy. Nepalese-style noodles are steamed and served dry, together with a fiery Sichuan pepper sauce.

In Korean cuisine, two species are used: Z. piperitum and Z. schinifolium.

Medicinal uses:
Native North Americans use the ground bark of Szechuan plant as a remedy for toothache.
Like in anise, these peppercorns too found application in traditional medicines as stomachic, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic. It is used in the treatment of gastralgia and dyspepsia due to cold with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, ascariasis and dermal diseases. It has a local anaesthetic action and is parasiticide against the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). The pericarp contains geraniol. In small doses this has a mild diuretic action, though large doses will inhibit the excretion of urine. There is a persistent increase in peristalsis at low concentration, but inhibition at high concentration. The leaves are carminative, stimulant and sudorific. The fruit is carminative, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The seed is antiphlogistic and diuretic. A decoction of the root is digestive and also used in the treatment of snakebites. The resin contained in the bark, and especially in that of the roots, is powerfully stimulant and tonic.

Other Uses: Landscape Uses:Border, Massing

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_pepper
http://www.botanical-online.com/english/pepper_zanthoxylum_piperitum.htm
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sichuan-peppercorns.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Zanthoxylum+simulans

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Musa basjoo

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Botanical Name :Musa basjoo
Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa
Species: M. basjoo
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:  Musa : japonica – Thiéb.&Ketel.

Common Name: Japanese Banana, Japanese Fibre Banana or Hardy Banana

Habitat :Musa basjoo  was previously thought to have originated from the Ryukyu islands of Japan, from where it was first described in cultivation, but is now known to have originated from southern China, where it is also widely cultivated, with wild populations found in Sichuan province.It grows well in Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Cultivated Beds.

Description:
Musa basjoo is a herbaceous perennial with trunk-like pseudostems growing to around 2–2.5 metres (6.6–8.2 ft), with a crown of mid-green leaves growing up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) long and 70 centimetres (28 in) wide when mature. The species produces male and female flowers on the same inflorescence which may extend for over 1 metre (3.3 ft). The banana fruit formed are yellow-green, around 5–10 centimetres (2.0–3.9 in) long and 2–3 centimetres (0.79–1.2 in) broad; they are inedible, with sparse white pulp and many black seeds.

CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Requires a rich soil and a sunny sheltered position. The large leaves are very easily torn by the wind. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain and even there will require protection in colder winters. It thrives and fruits in south-western Britain  where it survived the very severe winters of 1985 to 1987. Plants are herbaceous and die down after flowering, forming new shoots from the roots. Cultivated in Japan as a fibre plant

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates rapidly. Pre-soak stored seed for 72 hours in warm water, if it is still floating then it is not viable. Sow in a warm greenhouse in spring, planting one large seed in each pot. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 24 weeks at 22°c. Grow the plants on in the greenhouse for at least 3 years before trying them outdoors. The seed remains viable for 2 years. Removal of suckers as the plant comes into growth in spring.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Nectar.

The nectar of the flowers is sweet and drinkable.

Medicinal Uses:

Diuretic; Febrifuge; Sialagogue.

The roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sialagogue. A decoction is used in the treatment of beriberi, constipation, jaundice, dropsy, restlessness due to heat, leucorrhoea and croton bean poisoning. The leaves are diuretic.

In Chinese medicines, physicians use root stem, flower, leaves, rhizome of Musa basjoo for clearing heat-toxin, quenching thirst and disinhibiting urine.

Other Uses
Fibre.

A fibre is obtained from the leaf stems. Used for cloth, sails etc. The fibre can also be used for making paper The leaves are harvested in summer and are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then beaten in a ball mill for 4½ hours before being made into paper.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musa_basjoo
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Musa+basjoo
http://aquiya.sakura.ne.jp/zukan/Musa_basjoo.html

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Xu Duan

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Botanical Name : Dipsacus asper
Family:
Caprifoliaceae
Subfamily:
Dipsacoideae
Genus:
Dipsacus
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Dipsacales

Common Names: Xu Duan

Habitat :Xu Duan is  native to east Asia, it is grown in mountains in Japan and wild places and roadsides in China. In China, dipsacus is produced mainly in Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Yunan and Guizhou provinces.

Description:
Xu Duan is a perennial plant. It grows to about 1 m high. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Properties: Bitter, sweet and pungent in flavor, mildly warm in nature, it is related to the liver and kidney channels.

Tonifys the liver and kidney, promotes reunion of fractured bones and prevents abortion.

Being sweet and warm, it can strengthen yang and tonify the liver and kidney; owing to the pungent and warm nature, it can also promote blood circulation. As a tonic, it functions mildly and without sticky property in tonifying the kidney, preventing abortion, promoting blood circulation and curing trauma. Thus, it serves to treat syndromes of deficiency of chong and ren meridians, threatened abortion, traumatic ecchymoma and injury of muscles and bones.

The plant is used in the treatment of rheumatism. It also has a long history of folk use in the treatment of breast cancer.  The root is used to strengthen the bones and tendons and liver, stimulate blood circulation, treat weakness of the limbs, for arthritis and rheumatic complaints, and to prevent miscarriage.  Roots also used to treat lumbago, trauma as a result of a fall, rheumatic pain, excessive menstrual bleeding

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.imm.ac.cn/groups/fangws/publications/OL2006-TianXiaoyan.pdf
http://www.e2121.com/herb_db/viewherb.php3?viewid=588&setlang=
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipsacus

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Cyathula officinalis

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Botanical Name : Cyathula officinalis

Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Cyathula
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names; Cyathula root, Radix Cyathula, Ox Knee, Chinese: Chuan Niu Xi

Habitat :  Cyathula officinalis is  native to the China (Guizhou, Hebei, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang) and Nepal

Description:
Cyathula officinalis is a  perennial herb, 50-100 cm tall. Stem erect, slightly quadrangular, much branched or strigose. Petiole 0.5-1.5 cm, densely strigose; leaf blade elliptic or narrowly elliptic, rarely obovate, 3-10 × 1.5-5.5 cm, abaxially densely strigose, adaxially long strigose, base cuneate or broadly cuneate, margin entire, apex acuminate. Flower clusters in terminal spikes, light green, nearly white when dried, 1-1.5 cm in diam. Bracts shiny, 4-5 mm, apex pointed or hooked. Tepals of perfect flowers lanceolate, 3-5 mm, apex acute, inner 3 slightly narrow. Filaments densely hairy at base; pseudostaminodes rectangular, 0.3-0.4 mm, dentate-lobed at apex. Ovary cylindric or obovoid, 1.3-1.8 mm; style ca. 1.5 mm. Utricles light yellow, ellipsoid or obovoid, 2-3 × 1-2 mm. Seeds shiny, ellipsoid, 1.5-2 mm, smooth. Fl. Jun-Jul, fr. Aug-Sep.

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Medicinal Uses:
This is an alternate source material for the herb Niu Xi, for which the name means ox knee, the original material Achyranthes bidentata has nodes that are reminiscent of ox knees; comparatively, Chuan Niu Xi is thought to be better at transforming static blood, while Niu Xi is better at nourishing the liver and kidney).  Chinese root used to treat pain due to “wind-dampness” to clear atrophy and spasm of the lower extremities, much like the previous species.  Do not use during pregnancy

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/Cyathula_officinalis
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200006998
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm