Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Acer saccharum nigrum

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Botanical Name: Acer saccharum nigrum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Species: A. nigrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: A. nigrum. Michx.f.

Common Name: Black Maple

Habitat : Acer saccharum nigrum is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Alabama, west to South Dakota and Arkansas. It grows on rich calcareous or alluvial woods. Found in a variety of soil types, near streams, rivers and in rich woodlands, usually below 750 metres but up to 1650 metres in the south of its range.

Acer saccharum nigrum is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft 0in) at a slow rate. Leaves are simple, opposite, often 4 inches or more long and fully as wide, from 3 to 5 shallow lobes with wide-spaced coarse teeth, dark green in color above, paler below; the clefts are rounded at the base. Leaf edge is smooth between the points. The leaf stalk (petiole) is typically greater in length than the leaf blade.


Twigs are slender, shining, and warmly brown, the color of maple sugar. The current year’s twig is identical to sugar maple, but the older sections of twigs often have a waxy coating that may peel in strips from the twig.

Winter buds are conical, sharp-pointed, and brown in color, the terminal buds much larger than the lateral buds.

Barks of young trees, dark gray in color, close, smooth, and firm, becoming furrowed into long irregular plates lifting along one edge.

It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)

Bloom Color: Green. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Rounded.
Fruit – maple keys (samaras), in short clusters, ripening in September. Samaras are paired with the seeds joining each other in a straight line, but the wings are separated by about 60 degrees.

Outstanding features – rounded cleft between lobes of leaves; leaf blade broad and lateral lobes often droop; sharp-pointed, brown buds; brown twig with waxy coating on older sections of the twig.

Landscape Uses:Specimen, Street tree. Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil but succeeds on most soils. Chlorosis can often develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Trees need full light and a lot of space. Plants are hardy to about -45°c when fully dormant. This species is not a great success in Britain, though it does better than once thought. It grows well in Cornwall. Slow growing when young. Plants produce prodigious root growth but very little top growth in first year from seed. Trees grow rapidly for their first 25 years in the wild, but then slow down and only occasionally surviving for more than 200 years. A very ornamental tree but a bad companion plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. This species is commercially exploited in America for its sap. Along with A. saccharum and the sub-species A. s. grandidentatum it is the major source of maple syrup. There are some named varieties. The sap can be tapped within 10 – 15 years from seed but it does not flow so well in areas with mild winters. Special Features:North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. A lot of the seed is non-viable, it is best to cut a few open to see if there is an embryo. An average of 95% germination can be achieved from viable seed. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking two years. The seed can be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Sap; Seed.

The sap contains reasonable quantities of sugar and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The sap can be harvested in late winter or early spring, the flow is best on a warm sunny day after a frost. Trees on southern slopes in sandy soils give the best yields. It is best to make a hole about 7cm deep and about 1.3 metres above the ground. Yields of 40 – 100 litres per tree can be obtained. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Seed – boiled then roasted. The seed is about 6mm long and is produced in small clusters. Inner bark – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread.

Medicinal Uses : A decoction of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

Other Uses:
Fuel; Preservative; Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[18, 20]. Wood – close grained, tough, hard, heavy. Used for furniture, ship building, etc. It is a good fuel.

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 (Spices)

Orobanche ludoviciana

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Botanical Name: Orobanche ludoviciana
Family: Orobanchaceae
Genus: Orobanche
Species:O. ludoviciana
Order: Lamiales

Common Name: Broom Rape, Louisiana broomrape, Manyflower broomrape, Prairie broom-rape

Habitat :Orobanche ludoviciana is native to North America – Illinois to South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona and California. It grows on sandy soils on the plains where it is parasitic on the roots of Ambrosia spp and other members of the Compositae. It is found below 1200 metres in California.
Orobanche ludoviciana is a perennial plant growing to 1.5 m (5ft) often without branches. Leaves are scales and numerous. The inflorescences are many-flowered spikes that occupy a half to a third of the shoot. Flowers sessile or with small up to 15mm pedicels for the lower flowers. Calyx subtended by 1 or 2 bracts, which are bilabiate. Corolla is 1.5-2.5 cm and often a violet-like color. 2n=24, 48, 72, 96. Inhabits sandy soil.

Numerous flowers are clustered in a dense spike, the spike often making up to 2/3 of the plant height. Flowers are tubular, ½ to ¾ inch long, the lower ones may have up to a 1-inch stalk while upper ones are stalkless. Flowers are densely hairy with color ranging from a light pink to often deep purplish rose with yellow on the inside lower lip. The typical flower has a 2-lobed upper lip and 4-lobed lower though they can be split with 3 above and 3 below. Sepals are also tubular with five long lance-linear lobes, brownish in color and densely hairy. Each flower is attended by a broad oval bract tapered to a point as well as 1 or 2 smaller bractlets, all brownish colored and densely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple
Stems are usually simple or may be branched, often subterranean with many scale-like leaves.


The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)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 full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. It requires a well-drained soil and should succeed in sun or shade. A fully parasitic plant lacking in chlorophyll, it is entirely dependant upon its host plant for obtaining nutrient.

Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in a pot containing a host plant. The seed is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe if this is possible. It might also be possible to sow the seed in situ around a host plant.

Edible Uses:
Root – roasted. Stem. Base of young stems roasted.

Medicinal Uses: The chewed plant has been used as a dressing on wounds. A poultice of the stems has been used in the treatment of ulcerated sores

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 (Spices)

Ribes inebrians

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Botanical Name: Ribes inebrians
Family: Grossulariaceae
Genus: Ribes
Order: Saxifragales

Synonyms : R. cereum pedicellare. Brewer.&S.Wats. R. cereum inebrians.

Common Names: Whisky Currant

Habitat : Ribes inebrians is native to Western N. AmericaCalifornia to Idaho, Nebraska and New Mexico. It grows in dry slopes to 3700 metres in California.

Ribes inebrians is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft 7in). It is in flower in May. 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 moist soil. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :
Easily grown in a moisture retentive but well-drained loamy soil of at least moderate quality. Plants are quite tolerant of shade though do not fruit so well in such a position. Hardy to about -20°c. This species is closely related to R. cereum. Plants can harbour a stage of ‘white pine blister rust‘, so they should not be grown in the vicinity of pine trees. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 4 – 5 months cold stratification at between 0 to 9°c and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Under normal storage conditions the seed can remain viable for 17 years or more. 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, planting them out in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 – 15cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year’s growth, preferably with a heel of the previous year’s growth, November to February in a cold frame or sheltered bed outdoors

Edible Uses: Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit can also be dried for later use or made into preserves. One report says that although the fruit was eaten by the Hopi Indians, it could make you ill. Another report says that the fruit was highly relished. The fruit is about 5mm in diameter.  Leaves – cooked.
Medicinal Uses: A poultice of the plant has been applied to sores.

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

Allium carolinianum


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

Synonyms :
*Allium blandum.
*Allium aitchisonii Boiss.
*Allium obtusifolium Klotzsch
*Allium platyspathum var. falcatum Regel
*Allium platystylum Regel
*Allium polyphyllum Kar. & Kir.
*Allium polyphyllum var. nudicaule Regel
*Allium thomsonii Baker

Habitat: Allium carolinianum is native to central and southern Asia (Xinjiang, Xizang (Tibet), Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. It grows on the stony slopes, 3000 – 4500 metres. Gravelly or stony slopes at elevations of 3000 – 5000 metres in Xinjiang, N and W Xizang provinces of China.

Allium carolinianum is a bulb, growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).The plant produces egg-shaped bulbs up to 25 mm across. Scapes are round in cross-section, up to 60 cm tall.Leaves are narrow, flat, shorter than the scape. Umbel is round, with many white, red or purplish flowers. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.


Easily grown from seed, succeeding in a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. 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.

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:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulbs are usually in pairs and are up to 25mm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) 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:…Repellent…..The juice of the plant is 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.


Herbs & Plants

Solidago rigida

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Botanical Name : Solidago rigida
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
Species: S. rigida
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

*Aster rigidus (L.) Kuntze 1891 not L. 1753
*Oligoneuron grandiflorum (Raf.) Small
*Oligoneuron rigidum (L.) Small
*Solidago grandiflora Raf.
*Aster jacksonii Kuntze, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Leioligo corymbosa (Elliott) Raf., syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron corymbosum (Elliott) Small, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron jacksonii (Kuntze) Small, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Solidago corymbosa Elliott 1823 not Poir. 1817, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Solidago jacksonii (Kuntze) Fernald, syn of subsp. glabrata
*Oligoneuron bombycinum Lunell, syn of subsp. humilis
*Oligoneuron canescens Rydb., syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago bombycina (Lunell) Friesn., syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago bombycinum (Lunell) Friesner, syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago canescens (Rydb.) Friesner, syn of subsp. humilis
*Solidago parvirigida Beaudry, syn of subsp. humilis

Common Names: Stiff Goldenrod, Flat Topped Goldenrod, Stiff Goldenrod

Habitat : Solidago rigida is native to the region between the Atlantic Coast and the Rockies, from Alberta east to Ontario, south as far as New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia. In New England, it grows today only in Connecticut, though there are historical records indicating that it formerly grew in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It grows on the dry or gravelly open woods, thickets and prairies.

Solidago rigida is a perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Flowers: A flat-topped cluster 2 to 5 inches across of 3/8-inch yellow flowers, each with 6 to 13 short petals (ray flowers) and a yellow center with up to 35 disk flowers. The rays are sometimes broad with rounded tips, sometimes more narrow with pointed tips.

Leaves and stem:
There are both basal leaves, and leaves alternating up the stem. All leaves are a grayish green color, generally oval in shape, rough from short bristly hairs, and mostly toothless but may have a few rounded, shallow teeth. The basal leaves are up to 5½ inches long and 1½ inches wide and stand generally erect on long stalks.

The alternating leaves are about 2 inches long, become progressively smaller as they go up the stem, may have wavy edges, are fairly stiff (hence the common name), tend to point upward, and clasp the stem. Stems are stout and rough from short bristly hairs.

Fruits: Fruit is a dry seed with a tuft of white or light brown hairs to carry them off in the wind.

Seed is softly angled, 2 to 2½ millimeters long, sometimes a bit hairy, with faint lines or ridges along its length and ripens from pale tan to brown. Much of the seed is eaten by insects before it ripens.

*Solidago rigida subsp. glabrata (E.L.Braun) S.B.Heard & Semple – southeastern + south-central USA
*Solidago rigida subsp. humilis (Porter) S.B.Heard & Semple – central + western Canada, central + western USA as far west as the Rocky Mountains
*Solidago rigida subsp. rigida – Ontario, central + eastern USA

Landscape Uses:Border. Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture retentive soil in sun or semi-shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils. A rather greedy plant, it is apt to impoverish the soil. The plant attracts various beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies to the garden, these insects will help to control insect pests in the garden. Special Features: Attractive foliage, North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

Propagation :
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to become dry. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and blossoms are antiseptic, astringent and styptic. A valuable remedy in the treatment of all kinds of haemorrhages. The flowers have been ground into a lotion and used to treat bee stings. An oil obtained from the plant (is this an essential oil?) is diuretic. The root is cathartic and diuretic. A decoction of the root has been used as an enema. An infusion has been used to restore the flow of urine.

Other Uses::..…Dye; Latex……….A good quality rubber can be made from a latex that is obtained from the leaves[46, 61]. Mustard, orange and brown dyes can be obtained from the whole plant.
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.