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Prunus avium

Botanical Name : Prunus avium
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. avium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Cerasus nigra. C. sylvestris.

Common Names: Wild cherry, Sweet cherry, or Gean

Habitat : Prunus avium is native to Europe, Anatolia, Maghreb, and western Asia, from the British Isles south to Morocco and Tunisia, north to the Trondheimsfjord region in Norway and east to the Caucasus and northern Iran, with a small isolated population in the western Himalaya. The species is widely cultivated in other regions and has become naturalized in North America and Australia. It grows in better soils in hedgerows and woods, especially in beech woods.
Description:
Prunus avium is a deciduous tree growing to 15–32 m (49–105 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in diameter. Young trees show strong apical dominance with a straight trunk and symmetrical conical crown, becoming rounded to irregular on old trees. The bark is smooth purplish-brown with prominent horizontal grey-brown lenticels on young trees, becoming thick dark blackish-brown and fissured on old trees. The leaves are alternate, simple ovoid-acute, 7–14 cm (2.8–5.5 in) long and 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) broad, glabrous matt or sub-shiny green above, variably finely downy beneath, with a serrated margin and an acuminate tip, with a green or reddish petiole 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) long bearing two to five small red glands. The tip of each serrated edge of the leaves also bear small red glands. In autumn, the leaves turn orange, pink or red before falling. The flowers are produced in early spring at the same time as the new leaves, borne in corymbs of two to six together, each flower pendent on a 2–5 cm (0.79–1.97 in) peduncle, 2.5–3.5 cm (0.98–1.38 in) in diameter, with five pure white petals, yellowish stamens, and a superior ovary; they are hermaphroditic, and pollinated by bees. The ovary contains two ovules, only one of which becomes the seed. The fruit is a drupe 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) in diameter (larger in some cultivated selections), bright red to dark purple when mature in midsummer, edible, variably sweet to somewhat astringent and bitter to eat fresh. Each fruit contains a single hard-shelled stone 8–12 mm long, 7–10 mm wide and 6–8 mm thick, grooved along the flattest edge; the seed (kernel) inside the stone is 6–8 mm long.

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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Rounded.
The fruit are readily eaten by numerous kinds of birds and mammals, which digest the fruit flesh and disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some rodents, and a few birds (notably the hawfinch), also crack open the stones to eat the kernel inside. All parts of the plant except for the ripe fruit are slightly toxic, containing cyanogenic glycosides.

It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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.
Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Espalier. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. A very ornamental plant, it is fast growing on deep moist soils but is shallow rooting. Trees cast a light shade and are themselves intolerant of heavy shade. They produce quite a lot of suckers and can form thickets, especially if the main trunk is felled. This species is a parent of many cultivated forms of sweet cherries, especially the black fruited forms. Where space is at a premium, or at the limits of their climatic range, sweet cherries can be grown against a wall. Most cultivars will grow well against a sunny south or west facing wall though east or north facing walls are not very suitable. The main problems with growing this species against a wall are firstly that it is usually completely self-sterile and so there needs to be space for at least two different cultivars, secondly it is very vigorous and so is difficult to keep within bounds. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. An excellent tree for insects and the fruit is a good food source for birds. A bad companion for potatoes, making them more susceptible to potato blight, it also suppresses the growth of wheat. It also grows badly with plum trees, its roots giving out an antagonistic secretion. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features:Edible, Not North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame[200]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. It can be sweet or bitter but it is not acid. The fruit can be cooked in pies etc or used to make preserves. The fruit contains about 78% water, 8.5 – 14% sugars. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity. An edible gum is obtained by wounding the bark.
Medicinal Uses:

Antitussive; Astringent; Diuretic; Tonic.

The fruit stalks are astringent, diuretic and tonic. A decoction is used in the treatment of cystitis, oedema, bronchial complaints, looseness of the bowels and anaemia. An aromatic resin can be obtained by making small incisions in the trunk. This has been used as an inhalant in the treatment of persistent coughs. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Dye; Gum; Tannin; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The bark usually only contains small amounts of tannin, but this sometimes rises to 16%. Wood – firm, compact, satiny grain. Used for turnery, furniture, instruments.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
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/Prunus_avium
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+avium

Astragalus hoantchy

Botanical Name : Astragalus hoantchy
Family : Fabaceae
Subfamily : Faboideae
Tribe : Galegeae
United : Plantae
Division : magnoliophyta
Class : magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae
Order : Fabales
Synonyms: Astragalus hedinii Ulbrich, Astragalus membranaceus

Common Name: Wu La Te Huang Qi
Habitat :Astragalus hoantchy is native to East AsiaChina, Manchuria. It grows on gravel in steppes, edges of forests at elevations of 1500-2200 metres in Gansu, W Nei. Mongol, Ningxia and Qinghai Provinces.

Description:
Astragalus hoantchy is a perennial herb growing up to 100 cm tall or more; hairs short and a few long, appressed to spreading, white, in inflorescence also dark brown. Stem 4-8 mm thick, erect, loosely to rather densely covered with ± spreading rigid hairs 0.8-2(-2.5) mm. Leaves 10-24 cm, subsessile; stipules 6-11 mm, often spreading or re­flexed, with long, spreading, white or white and blackish hairs; rachis sparsely to loosely white hairy; leaflets in 7-11 pairs, widely elliptic, 7-26 × 4-20 mm, glabrous or abaxially sparsely to loosely white hairy, apex truncate to retuse, with a minute but distinct cusp. Racemes 1.5-6 cm, rather densely 10-17-flow­ered, elongating in fruit to 8-10 cm; peduncle at anthesis 8-12 cm, elongating up to 20 cm with age, glabrous or with hairs 1-3 mm; bracts soon falling, 4-10 mm, ciliate. Bracteoles 0.5-6 mm. Calyx 11-13 mm, at base with dark brownish hairs, in upper part nearly glabrous; teeth unequal, 2-3.5 mm. Petals purplish, pink, or violet; standard ovate or elliptic, 19-26 × 11-14 mm, apex emarginate; wings 19-26 mm; keel 17-23 mm. Stigma covered with white hairs up to 1 mm. Legumes with a stipe 10-14 mm, narrowly ellipsoid, 4.5-6.4 cm, 0.8-1.4 cm high and wide, keeled ventrally, grooved dorsally, with a beak 3-5 mm, incompletely to completely 2-locular; valves thin, gla­brous.

It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.It can fix Nitrogen.

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Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Cultivation:
This species used to be cultivated for its edible shoots in China. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a dry well-drained soil in a sunny position. Plants are intolerant of root disturbance and are best planted in their final positions whilst still small. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. Many members of this genus can be difficult to grow, this may be due partly to a lack of their specific bacterial associations in the soil.

Propagation: 
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification may help stored seed to germinate. Stored seed, and perhaps also fresh seed, should be pre-soaked for 24 hours in hot water before sowing – but make sure that you do not cook the seed. Any seed that does not swell should be carefully pricked with a needle, taking care not to damage the embryo, and re-soaked for a further 24 hours. Germination can be slow and erratic but is usually within 4 – 9 weeks or more at 13°c if the seed is treated or sown fresh. As soon as it is large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Edible Uses: Young shoots are said to eaten. A sweetish taste.
Medicinal Uses:
The root is diuretic, pectoral and tonic

Known Hazards:: Many members of this genus contain toxic glycosides. All species with edible seedpods can be distinguished by their fleshy round or oval seedpod that looks somewhat like a greengage. A number of species can also accumulate toxic levels of selenium when grown in soils that are relatively rich in that element.

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/Astragalus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Astragalus+hoantchy
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242306537

Liatris punctata

Botanical Name : Liatris punctata
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Liatris
Species: L. punctata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms : Laciniaria punctata. (Hook.)Kuntze

Common Names ; Snakeroot, Dotted blazing star, Mexican blazing star, Nebraska blazing star

Habitat : Liatris punctata occurs in Alberta east to Manitoba in Canada, and in most of the central United States, its distribution extending into Mexico. There are three varieties, with var. punctata in western areas, var. nebraskana more common to the east, and var. mexicana in Oklahoma and Texas. It grows in dry prairies and plains.

Description:
Liatris punctata is a perennial herb produces one or more erect stems up to 80 centimetres (2.6 feet) tall. They grow from a thick taproot which may extend 5 m (16 ft) deep in the ground. It also has rhizomes. The inflorescence is a spike of several flower heads. The heads contain several flowers which are usually purple, but sometimes white. The fruit is an achene tipped with a long pappus. The plant reproduces sexually by seed and vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome. This species is long-lived, with specimens estimated to be over 35 years old
It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife....CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES 

Cultivation :
Grows well in a moderately good light soil. Tolerates poor soils. Plants are prone to rot overwinter in wet soils. A good bee plant. Rodents are very fond of the tubers so the plants may require some protection.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in autumn in a greenhouse. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in the year in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow the plants on in the greenhouse for their first year. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Division in spring[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings taken in spring as growth commences. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: …….Root – raw or cooked. A sweet flavour when harvested in the spring and baked. Eating the root is said to improve the appetite.

Medicinal Uses:
Antipruritic; Diuretic; Poultice; Stomachic.

An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of stomach aches, bloody urine and women’s bladder complaints. The root has been chewed and the juice swallowed in the treatment of swollen testes. A decoction of the roots is used as a wash for itching skin complaints. A poultice of the boiled roots is applied to swelling.

Other Uses:
This plant is palatable to livestock and wild ungulates such as elk, white-tailed deer, and pronghorn. Its nectar is favored by lepidopterans, such as the rare butterfly Pawnee montane skipper (Hesperia leonardus montana), which is known to occur wherever the plant does. This plant species is considered good for revegetating prairie habitat. It is also used as an ornamental 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.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Liatris+punctata
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liatris_punctata