Tag Archives: Southwestern United States

Rhamnus californica

Botanical Name : Rhamnus californica/Frangula californica
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Rhamnus
Subgenus: Frangula
Species: R. californica—F. californica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: California coffeeberry, Coffeeberry, and California buckthorn

Habitat : Rhamnus californica is native to California, the Southwestern United States, and Baja California state in Mexico. It is an introduced species in Hawaii. The plant occurs in Oak woodland and chaparral habitats, numerous others in its range. Individual plants can live an estimated 100 to 200 years.

Description:
Rhamnus californica is a shrub 3–12 feet (0.91–3.66 m) tall. It is variable in form across subspecies. In favorable conditions the plant can develop into a small tree over 12 feet (3.7 m) tall.More commonly it is a shrub between 3–6 feet (0.91–1.83 m) tall.

The branches may have a reddish tinge and the new twigs are often red in color. The alternately arranged evergreen leaves are dark green above and paler on the undersides. The leaves have thin blades in moist habitat, and smaller, thicker blades in dry areas.

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The 1/8″ greenish flowers occur in clusters in the leaf axils, have 5 sepals, and 5 shorter petals.

It blooms in May and June.

The fruit is a juicy drupe which may be green, red, or black. It is just under a centimeter long and contains two seeds that resemble coffee beans.

Edible Uses:
The seeds inside the berries make an excellent, caffeine-free coffee substitute, superior to chicory and with overtones of mocha.

Although the plant itself looks much like a coffee plant, its berries, which are succulent, do not, but they can be made into jams and jellies.

Native Americans of the west coast of North America had several uses for the plant as food, and used parts of it as a traditional medicinal plant. Several tribes of the indigenous peoples of California ate the fruit fresh or dried.

Medicinal Uses:
The Ohlone people used the leaves to treat poison oak dermatitis. The Kumeyaay people had similar uses for its bark. The Kawaiisu used the fruit to treat wounds such as burns. The bark was widely used as a laxative by the indigenous peoples.
Names for the plant in the Konkow language of the Concow tribe include pä and pö.

Other Uses:
This plant is cultivated as an ornamental plant by plant nurseries, for planting in native plant, water conserving, and wildlife gardens; in large pots and containers; and in natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects. It is also used for erosion control, and is usually deer resistant. As a pollinator plant it is of special value to native butterflys and bees.

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/Rhamnus_californica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.parksconservancy.org/conservation/plants-animals/native-plant-information/california-coffeeberry.html

Ophioglossum vulgatum

Botanical Name : Ophioglossum vulgatum
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Genus: Ophioglossum
Species: O. vulgatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Psilotopsida
Order: Ophioglossales

Common Names: Adder’s-tongue, Southern adders-tongue or Adders-tongue fern

Habitat : Ophioglossum vulgatum is native to many regions with a wide scattered distribution: throughout temperate through tropical Africa; and throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere in Europe, northeastern North America, temperate Asia, and Eurasia. This small, hard-to-spot plant can occur singly in unimproved pastures, rock crevices and grassy path-sides, but also can occur in colonies of hundreds of plants in sand dunes.

Description:
Ophioglossum vulgatum grows from a rhizome base to 10-20 cm tall (rarely to 30 cm). It consists of a two-part frond, separated into a rounded diamond-shaped sheath and narrow spore-bearing spike. The spike has around 10-40 segments on each side.

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It reproduces by means of spores.

Propagation:
Spores – best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep them in humid conditions until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old. Division of underground rhizomes with care because the roots are brittle.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ophioglossum vulgatum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist free-draining soil.
Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The prothalli (a small plant formed when the spore germinates) of this species form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus in much the same way as orchid seedlings. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Plants can be hard to establish, they can be naturalized in a meadow or cultivated in the border where they should be left undisturbed.

Unlike most species of ferns, the fronds of this species grow up straight and not curled inward, crozier fashi
Edible uses: Used as a vegetable. No more details are found.
Medicinal Uses:
The root and the leaves are antiseptic, detergent, emetic, haemostatic, styptic and vulnerary. An ointment made from the plant is considered to be a good remedy for wounds and is also used in the treatment of skin ulcers. The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a treatment for internal bleeding and bruising
Traditional European folk use of leaves and rhizomes as a poultice for wounds. This remedy was sometimes called the “Green Oil of Charity”. A tea made from the leaves was used as a traditional European folk remedy for internal bleeding and vomiting.

The fresh leaves make a most effective and comforting poultice for ulcers and tumors. The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a treatment for internal bleeding and bruising.

Known Hazards: Although no reports of toxicity is found for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase.

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/Ophioglossum_vulgatum
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm
http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Ophioglossum_vulgatum

Asclepies asperula

Botanical Name : Asclepies  asperula
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Genus: Asclepias
Species: A. asperula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Name :Antelope horns, green-flowered milkweed, and spider antelope horns.Spider milkweed,  Green-flowered milkweed, Spider antelope-horns,Inmortal

Habitat : Asclepies asperula is  native to the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico.Sandy or rocky calcareous soils.

Description:
It is a perennial plant growing to 0.6–2 m (1–2 feet) tall, with clustered greenish-yellow flowers with maroon highlights. It blooms from April through June, and favors moist, sandy or rocky soil.
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Asclepies  asperula is a clump-forming, 1-2 ft. perennial with an upright or sprawling habit. Stems are densely covered with minute hairs. The leaves are 4–8 inches long, narrow, and irregularly grouped. The long, thick, narrow leaves are often folded lengthwise. As the green seed pods grow in length and begin to curve, they resemble antelope horns. Its pale, greenish-yellow flowers, tinged maroon, are crowded in round, terminal clusters 3–4 inches across at the end of the flower stem and are intricately arranged. Inside the partially divided petals is a crown, out of which extend 5 white stamens with large, ball-like anthers, all symmetrically arranged.

Cultivation: Sandy or rocky calcareous soils.

Propagation: Seed – best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn or in late winter. We have also had good results from sowing the seed in the greenhouse in early spring, though stored seed might need 2 – 3 weeks cold stratification. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 18?C. As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out when they are in active growth in late spring or early summer and give them some protection from slugs until they are growing away strongly. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. Pot the divisions up and place them in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly, then plant them out in the summer, giving them some protection from slugs until they are established. Basal cuttings in late spring. Use shoots about 10cm long with as much of their white underground stem as possible. Pot them up individually and place them in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse until they are rooting and growing actively. If the plants grow sufficiently, they can be put into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in the greenhouse until the following spring and when they are in active growth plant them out into their permanent positions. Give them some protection from slugs until they are established.

Edible Uses:
The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species. Unopened flower buds – cooked. They taste somewhat like peas. They are used like broccoli. Flowers and young flower buds – cooked. Used as a flavouring and a thickener in soups etc. The flower clusters can be boiled down to make a sugary syrup. The flowers are harvested in the early morning with the dew still on them. When boiled up it makes a brown sugar. Young shoots – cooked. An asparagus substitute. They should be used when less than 20cm tall. A slightly bitter taste. Tips of older shoots are cooked like spinach. Young seed pods, 3 – 4 cm long, cooked. They are very appetizing. Best used when about 2 – 4cm long and before the seed floss forms, on older pods remove any seed floss before cooking them. If picked at the right time, the pods resemble okra. The sprouted seeds can be eaten. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The latex in the stems is made into a chewing gum. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields are higher on dry soils.



Medicinal Uses:
The plant is used as a snuff in the treatment of catarrh.Outside the Spanish and Indian herbal tradition of the New Maxico, Asclepies  asperula is virtually unknown.It is broncal dilator and stimulates lymph drainage from the lungs,consequently a medicine of asthma,pleurisy,bronchities,, and lung infections in general.. One-half teaspoonful of dried root is boiled and drunk every 3 to 4 hours as long as necessary. The root is mild and reliable cardiac tonic,particularly in congestive heart disorders.

Asclepies  asperula is an effective manstrual stimulatent, either for tardiness or for stimulating a scanty, painful period.Half to one teaspoon , once or twice. It has been used as an antibactrial up to the sixth week of pregnancy, but is not very reliable as it may likely cause nuasea  than miscarriage. The tea drunk after childbirth or during labor will aid in shortening the utrine contractions afterwards and decrease the time necessary for vaginal discharge  or lochia. A small amount of root taken several times during the day stimulate to chargeover the clostrums to milk production. The plant is used as a snuff in the treatment of catarrh.

Other Uses:
The following reports refer to other members of this genus and are possibly also appropriate for this species. A good quality fibre is obtained from the bark, used in making twine, cloth, paper etc. It is of poor quality in wet seasons. It is easily harvested in late autumn after the plant has died down by simply pulling the fibres off the dried stems. The seed floss is used to stuff pillows etc or is mixed with other fibres to make cloth. It is a Kapok substitute, used in Life Jackets or as a stuffing material. Very water repellent, it can yield up to 550 kilos per hectare. The floss has also been used to mop up oil spills at sea. Candlewicks can be made from the seed floss. Rubber can be made from latex contained in the leaves and the stems. It is found mainly in the leaves and is destroyed by frost. Yields are higher on dry soils. Pods contain an oil and a wax which are of potential importance. The seed contains up to 20% of an edible semi-drying oil. It is also used in making liquid soap.

Monarch butterflies:
Like several other species of milkweed, A. asperula is a food for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Along with being a source of nutrition for monarchs, the plants also contain alkaloids that the monarchs retain, making them unpalatable and poisonous to predators. For the same reason, A. asperula can be poisonous to livestock and other animals, including humans.

Known Hazards:
Although no specific reports have been seen for this species, many, if not all, members of this genus contain toxic resinoids, alkaloids and cardiac glycosides. They are usually avoided by grazing animals. This species is said to be poisonous to livestock

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/Asclepias_asperula
http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=11625
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ASAS
http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/a/asclepias-asperula=antelope-horns.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Hyptis emoryi

 

Botanical Name : Hyptis emoryi
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Hyptis
Species: H. emoryi
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Name :Desert Lavender

Habitat :
It occurs mostly in areas with a water source; in the southwestern USA deserts it is commonly in the dry washes, intermixed with other species.

In the “Creosote Bush scrub” Yuma Desert-(western Sonoran Desert) of southwest Arizona, it is found with the palo verde, Bebbia, Encelia farinosa, desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), Lycium andersonii (wolfberry or Anderson thornbush), Psorothamnus spinosus (a type of smoke tree), and Acacia greggii, as some common associated species of the washes, elevation dependent.

In Arizona, found from central to southwestern Arizona of the Sonoran Desert; in northwest Arizona found in regions of the Mojave Desert. In southern California and Nevada, desert lavender is found in southern regions of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert of southeast California.

Description:
Desert lavender is a medium to tall cold tender perennial shrub found in the southwestern United States of Arizona, Nevada, California, and northwestern Mexico in Sonora and Baja California.

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It is a multi-stemmed shrub reaching 15–18 ft in optimum locations. It has violet-blue flowers up to 1 in, in leaf axils. The flowers are profuse along the main stem and side branches and is an aromatic attractor of the honeybee and other species. Leaves are oval and a whitish gray-green-(in deserts), serrated margins, hairy, and 2-3 in. It is found in dry washes, and on rocky slopes, up to 3000 ft (900 m). It is evergreen or cold deciduous, depending on location.

Medicinal Uses:
Both the flowers and the leaves can be used to make a minty-tasting tea that is good for the stomach and throat.  It’s an anesthethic to the esophagus, thus extremely soothing to inflamed tissues. It is also a hemostatic, used by desert Indians to treat heavy menstruation and bleeding hemorrhoids as well as being given to women in childbirth.  Desert lavender is an excellent tea for hangovers and helps rid the mouth of the sour taste that comes with stomach flu.  Betulinic acid, with tumor-inhibitory properties, was identified from a chloroform extract by Sheth et al. (3). Tanowitz et al.  (4)  identified 34 constituents from the oil of a collection from San Diego Co., California, with 11.9% borneol as the most abundant constituent

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/Hyptis_emoryi
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

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Rumex hymenosepalus

Botanical Name :Rumex hymenosepalus
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rumex
Species: R. hymenosepalus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms :Rumex arizonicus Britton,Rumex salinus A.Nelson,Rumex hymenosepalus var. salinus (A. Nelson) Rech.,Rumex saxei Kellogg

Common Name : Canaigre dock,  Canaigre or Wild Rhubarb,

Habitat : Rumex hymenosepalus  is native to the United States and  it is found on sandy roadsides and fields at lower to middle elevations.It has been cultivated in the southwestern United States.  It grows in dry sandy places below 1500 metres in California

Description:
Rumex hymenosepalus is a perennial flowering plant with tall reddish colored stems .Rumex hymenosepalus grows very large basal leaves early in the spring.  The leaves are elliptic, thick, and wider than those of Rumex crispus.  The leaves can be wavy at the margin, but usually not as much as with Rumex crispus.A tall, stout flower stalk follows with tiny green/red/yellow flowers that are replaced by showy pink/red/brown seed pods.  Early leaves of this and related Rumex species are palatable as a potherb, giving rise to the “Wild Rhubarb” common name.  Leaves persist through the summer but toughen with age.  A number of species of Rumex are found in Canyon Country and were probably a common food for the Anasazi.
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The reproductive panicles are thickly packed  . Typically, Rumex hymenosepalus leaves are among the first early signs of spring in the lower parts of the Gila. The stems are reddish with an interior that is somewhat spongy with airspaces.
Cultivation : Succeeds in most soils but prefers a deep fertile moderately heavy soil that is humus-rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained and a position in full-sun or part shade. Judging by its native range, this plant should succeed in dry soils. Extensively cultivated for the tannin contained in its root.

Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ. Division in spring.

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

Young leaves – cooked as a pot-herb. They are usually cooked in several changes of water to remove the bitter-tasting tannin. Leaf stems – cooked. Crisp and tart, they are excellent when used in pies like rhubarb. They are often cooked with sugar, or can be baked and the central portion eaten. The stems, harvested before the flowers open, have been boiled to make a drink. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder, cooked with water to the consistency of a thick gravy and eaten as a mush. The powder can also be mixed with water, shaped into cakes and baked. Root. Eaten raw by children in early spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The use of cañaigre root in folk medicine has been as an astringent, prepared as a tea for diarrhea and as a garble for sore throat.  These uses are probably effective, owing to the plant’s high tannin content.  Herbalists have traditionally relied upon cañaigre as an astringent.  They used its large tuberous roots to make a tea for treating diarrhea and a gargle for easing sore throat.  One herbal suggests using the boiled root extract to stop bleeding from minor scrapes and cuts.  For sunburn, the root can be grated fresh on the burned skin, allowed to dry and a poultice of the inner pith of the cactus placed over or the juice rubbed in.  An infusion of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash for sores, ant bites and infected cuts.  The root has been chewed in the treatment of coughs and colds. The dried, powdered roots have been used as a dusting powder and dressing on burns and sores. A tea made from this plant is used to treat colds. The dried root combined with water is used as a mouthwash for pyorrhea and gum inflammations.  Sucking on a slice tightens the teeth.  The tea is used as a wash for acne and other moist or greasy skin problems.

Other Uses:
The roots are a good source of tannin, for use in leather tanning.  It is also a source of a mustard-colored dye.

Known Hazards : Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

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.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_hymenosepalus
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Brown%20Green%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/rumex%20hymenosepalus.htm
http://www.wnmu.edu/academic/nspages/gilaflora/rumex_hymenosepalus.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rumex+hymenosepalus

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