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Herbs & Plants

Himalayan Fir (Abies spectabilis)

Botanical Name: Abies spectabilis – (D.Don.)Spach.
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species: A. spectabilis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Common names: East Himalayan fir (Vidakovic 1991).

Taxonomic notes:
Syn: Pinus spectabilis D. Don 1825; Pinus webbiana Wall ex D. Don in Lambert 1828; A. webbiana (Wall ex D. Don) Lindl. 1833; Picea webbiana (Wall ex D. Don) Loudon 1838 (Farjon 1998); A. chiloensis Hort.; A. chilrowensis Hort.; A. densa Griff. (Vidakovic 1991). Silba (1986) describes a variety densa, while Vidakovic (1991) describes a variety brevifolia.

“This species hybridizes freely with A. pindrow forming intermediate populations in the altitudinal middle zone of their common distribution” (Vidakovic 1991).

Sinónimos:
*Pinus spectabilis D.Don
*Pinus webbiana Wall. ex D.Don
*Picea webbiana Loudon ex D.Don
*Abies webbiana Wall. ex D.Don
*Abies chiloensis Hort.
*Abies chilrowensis Hort.
*Abies densa Griff.

Habitat :-Himalayan Fir   is native to E. Asia –  Himalayas from Afghanistan to Nepal.  Hindu Kush; Tibet; India: Karakoram & Kashmir Himalaya; Nepal (Farjon 1998); Sikkim and Bhutan at 2500-4000 m (Vidakovic 1991).   It grows in the forests in Nepal between 2700 – 3900 metres. Moist open areas.
It commonly occurs as a canopy dominant species in very wet forest, accompanied by species of Rhododendron including R. companuletum, R. lepedetum, and R. anthapogen, as well as Betula utilis .

Description:
An evergreen tree attaining in the E. Himalaya a height of 60 m. Crown broadly conical grows at a slow rate.
” Branches horizontally spreading. Bark dark gray, rough and scaly. Shoots red-brown, deeply grooved, pubescent in the grooves. Buds large, globose, resinous. Needles on the upper side of the shoot arranged in several ranks, leaving a V-shaped depression between them, 2-6 cm long, with emarginate apex; upper surface dark green and glossy, with 2 broad stomata bands beneath. Cones cylindrical, 14-20 cm long and about 7 cm thick, violet-purple when young, later brown; seed scales 1.5-2 cm wide; bract scales concealed” (Vidakovic 1991).

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
(See Wu and Raven 1999 ) for a more recent and detailed description.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.


Cultivation:

Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. This species is unsatisfactory in south-eastern Britain due to damage by late frosts, trees rarely live more than 40 years and have a poor thin crown. Trees grow far better in the milder and moister western side of the country. Young trees are very slow to establish because they are often damaged by late frosts, it is best to grow the young trees in high shade to get them through this time[1, 185]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position

Medicinal Action &  Uses:-

Antiperiodic; Astringent; Carminative; Expectorant; Stomachic; Tonic.

The leaves are astringent, carminative, expectorant, stomachic and tonic. The leaf juice used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis etc. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used to treat colds, rheumatism and nasal congestion. The leaf juice is antiperiodic.

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.

Other Uses:-
Essential; Fuel; Incense; Wood.

An essential oil is obtained from the plant, though the report does not give yields or uses. The dried leaves, mixed with other ingredients, are used in making incense. The wood is used for construction and thatching roofs. It is also used for fuel.

Scented Plants:-
Leaves: Crushed
The bruised leaves are aromatic.
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/database/plants.php?Abies+spectabilis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_spectabilis
http://www.conifers.org/pi/ab/spectabilis.htm
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_spectabilis

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Black Spruce

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Botanical Name: Abies mariana – Mill.
Family :Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Synonyms : Abies mariana – Mill.  Picea nigra – (Aiton.)Link.  Pinus nigra – Aiton
Common names:
•black spruce   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
•bog spruce   (Source: Trees US ) – English
•Schwarzfichte

Habitat :Northern  America – Alaska to Newfoundland and south to British Columbia and W. Virginia.   Cool slopes and bogs. Found on well-drained soils in the north of its range and swamps in the south.Found on a variety of soil types, it grows best in those that are moist and acidic.

Description : An evergreen Tree growing to 20m by 4m at a slow rate.

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It is hardy to zone 4. It is in leaf all year, and the seeds ripen from October to November. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

Cultivation:-
Likes abundant moisture at the roots, if grown in drier areas it must be given a deep moist soil. Tolerates poor peaty soils. Succeeds in wet cold and shallow soils but is not very wind-firm in shallow soils.   Prefers a pH between 4 to 6 and dislikes shallow chalky soils. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. . Resists wind exposure.  This tree is one of the most widespread and abundant species in N. America where it is extensively utilized as a timber tree. A short lived and slow growing tree both in the wild and in cultivation. New growth takes place from early May to the end of June and rarely exceeds 60 cm even when young and is less as the tree grows old. Trees have been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe   (this appears to contradict the previous statement that the tree is slow growing. The reason is probably that it is either planted in areas too harsh for most trees to grow or it is only slow growing in milder areas such as Britain[K]). A prolific seed-producer, usually beginning to bear cones at around 10 years of age. In some upland areas, especially over granitic or other base-poor soils, growth rate and health have been seriously affected by aluminium poisoning induced by acid rain. Closely related to P. rubens. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Lower branches often self-layer and form a ring of stems around the parent plant. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Propagation:-
Seed – stratification will probably improve germination so sow fresh seed in the autumn in a cold frame if possible. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A position in light shade is probably best. Seed should not be allowed to dry out and should be stored in a cool place[80]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, or be placed in an outdoor nursery bed for a year or so to increase in size. They might need protection from spring frosts. Cuttings of semi-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 8cm long, August in a frame. Protect from frost. Forms roots in the spring. Cuttings of mature terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, September/October in a cold frame. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, early summer in a frame. Slow but sure. Layering. Lower branches often layer naturally in the wild.

Cultivars:-
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Drink; Gum; Tea.

Young male catkins – raw or cooked. Used as a flavouring. Immature female cones – cooked. The central portion, when roasted, is sweet and syrupy. The cones are 1 – 4cm in diameter. Inner bark – cooked. It is usually harvested in the spring and can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread. An emergency food, it is only used when all else fails. Seed – raw. The seed is about 2 – 4mm long and is too small and fiddly to be worthwhile unless you are desperate. A refreshing tea, rich in vitamin C, can be made from the young shoot tips. A tea is also made from the needles and the bark. A gum obtained from the bark is collected in considerable quantities and used for chewing. Hardened blobs make an excellent chewing gum. It should be aged for 3 days or more before using it. The best gum is obtained from the southern side of the tree. Another report says that the gum, called ‘spruce gum‘, is a resinous exudation collected from the branches[183]. A source of ‘spruce oil’, used commercially for flavouring. The young twigs are boiled with molasses, sugar etc and then fermented to produce ‘Spruce beer’. The beer is ready to drink in a week and is considered to be a good source of minerals and vitamins.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses:

Antiinflammatory; Disinfectant; Kidney; Odontalgic; Poultice; Salve; Skin; Stomachic; Vulnerary.

A poultice of the inner bark has been applied to inflammations. A tea made from the inner bark is a folk remedy for kidney stones, stomach problems and rheumatism. An infusion of the roots and bark has been used in the treatment of stomach pains, trembling and fits. A resin from the trunk is used as a poultice and salve on sores to promote healing. The resin can be mixed with oil and used as a dressing on purulent wounds, bad burns, skin rashes, scabies and persistent scabs. The resin can be chewed as an aid to digestion. A decoction of the gum or leaves has been used in treating respiratory infections and kidney problems. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a bath or a rub in treating dry skin or sores. A decoction of the young twigs has been used in the treatment of coughs. A decoction of the cones has been drunk in the treatment of diarrhoea. A decoction has been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats. The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and toothaches.

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.

Other Uses:-
Dye; Pitch; String; Waterproofing; Wood.

A yellow-orange dye is obtained from the cones[106]. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this species and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes, to sew baskets etc. The pitch obtained from the trunk has been used as a sealing material on the hulls of canoes. Wood – light, soft, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Since it is a smaller tree than the other spruces, it is not an important lumber source for uses such as construction[. However, it is widely used for making boxes, crates etc, and is valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper, plus it is also used as a fuel.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has a strong scent of balsam or lemon balm.

Economic importance:
•Environmental: ornamental
•Materials: essential oils; wood   (fide AH 519; HerbSpices 2:190. 1987)
•Social: religious/secular   (also as Christmas tree fide AH 519)

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Picea+mariana
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?28305

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Siberian Fir

Botanical Name :Abies sibirica – Ledeb.
Family : Pinaceae
Synonyms:-.
#Pinus sibirica (Ledeb.) Turcz. non Du Tour
#Pinus picea Pall. non L.
#Abies pichta J. Forbes
#Picea pichta (J. Forbes) Loudon
#Pinus pichta Fisch. ex Endl.

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Species: A. sibirica
Genus: Abies

Habitat: N. Europe – Russia to E. Asia – China. Native to the taiga east of the Volga River and south of 67°40′ North latitude through Turkestan, northeast Xinjiang, Mongolia and Heilongjiang.  Forms extensive forests on cool wet mountainsides in N.E. Russia. Woodland Garden; Canopy;

Description:
An evergreen Tree growing to 30m.
It is hardy to zone 1 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.
Abies_sibirica.-1jpg..Abies_sibirica
Siberian Fir (Abies sibirica) is a coniferous evergreen tree. The tree lives in the cold boreal climate on moist soils in mountains or river basins at elevations of 1900-2400 m. It is very shade-tolerant, frost-resistant, and hardy, surviving temperatures down to ?50 °C. It rarely lives over 200 years due to the susceptibility to fungal decay in the wood.
abies_cone_
Siberian Fir grows 30-35 m tall with a trunk diameter of 0.5-1 m at breast height and a conical crown. The bark is grey-green to grey-brown and smooth with resin blisters typical of most firs. Shoots are yellow-grey, resinous, and slightly pubescent. The leaves are needle-like, 2-3 cm long and 1.5 mm broad on average. They are light green above with two grey-white stomatal bands underneath, and are directed upwards along the stem. They are soft, flattened, and strongly aromatic. The cones are cylindrical, 5-9.5 cm long and 2.5-3.5 cm broad, with small bracts hidden by the scales. They ripen from bluish to brown or dark brown in mid-autumn. The seeds, 7 mm long with a triangular wing 0.7-1.3 cm long, are released when the cone disintegrates after maturity.

There are two varieties:
*Abies sibirica var. sibirica. Described above.
*Abies sibirica var. semenovii (B. Fedtschenko) Farjon. Endemic in Kyrgyzstan. Branchlets noticeably ridged and grooved. Resin canals marginal. Cones yellow-brown, with broader bracts than those of var. sibirica.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:-
Prefers a good moist but not water-logged soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants are very shade tolerant, especially when young, but growth is slower in dense shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. Prefers slightly acid conditions down to a pH of about 5. Prefers growing on a north-facing slope. Cultivated for timber in N. Europe but although very hardy, this species does not thrive in Britain, preferring much harsher climates. It tolerates temperatures down to about -50°c but in the mild winters of Britain it is often excited into premature growth and is then very susceptible to damage by late frosts. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm in height. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Most if not all trees grown under this name in Britain are in fact A. sachalinensis.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow early February in a greenhouse or outdoors in March. Germination is often poor, usually taking about 6 – 8 weeks. Stratification is said to produce a more even germination so it is probably best to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. The seed remains viable for up to 5 years if it is well stored. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for at least their first winter in pots. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Alternatively, if you have sufficient seed, it is possible to sow in an outdoor seedbed. One report says that it is best to grow the seedlings on in the shade at a density of about 550 plants per square metre whilst another report says that they are best grown on in a sunny position

Medicinal Action & Uses :-
Antirheumatic; Expectorant; Stimulant.
An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used medicinally.

The essential oil obtained from the leaves is antirheumatic, expectorant and stimulant.Essential oils extracted from the leaves are used in aromatherapy and perfumes.

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.

Other Uses
Essential; Wood.
Wood – light, soft, not very durable. Used for construction, furniture and pulp.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The bruised leaves are aromatic.


Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Abies+sibirica
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_sibirica
http://www.conifers.org/pi/ab/sibirica.htm

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