Herbs & Plants

Rhododendron chrysanthum

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Botanical Name : Rhododendron chrysanthum
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: Ericoideae
Tribe: Rhodoreae
Genus: Rhododendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Rosebay. Snow Rose. Rosage Alpenrose.
Part Used: Leaves.

Habitat: Rhododendron chrysanthum grows on the mountains of Siberia.

A small bush, stem 1 to 1 1/2 foot high, spreading, much branched, often concealed by moss, tips of shoots only being visible. Leaves alternate like laurel, ovate, somewhat acute, tapering to stalk, reticulated, rough above, paler and smoother underneath. Flowers large, showy, nodding, on clustered terminal, loose peduncles emerging from large downy scales. Corolla campanulate, five cleft, rounded segments, three upper largest and streaked with livid dots next the tube, lower unspotted. Stamens ten, unequal deflexed; anthers oblong, incumbent, without appendages, opening by two terminal pores, capsule ovate, rather angular,five-celled, five-valved, septicidal; seeds numerous, minute. The leaves should be gathered directly the capsules have ripened. They have a faint odour when first gathered and a bitter, acrid, astringent taste…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Constituents: The leaves contain a stimulant narcotic principle, which they yield to water or alcohol.
Medicinal Uses:   (In homoeopathic medicine a tincture of the fresh leaves is said to be curative of diarrhoea, amenorrhoea, chorea, affections of the eyes and ears, and neuralgia. – EDITOR.) Much used in Siberia as a remedy for rheumatism. Also useful in gout and syphilis.

click & see…> Homeopathic Remedy – Rhododendron Chrysanthum…... (1) …....(2) 

Herbs & Plants

Delphinium ajacis

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Botanical Name : Delphinium ajacis
Family :Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Consolida
Species: C. ajacis

Synonyms : Consolida ambigua, Consolida ajacis, Delphinium ambiguum, Doubtful knight’s spur

Common Name :Rocket Larkspur

Habitat : Delphinium ajacis  is  native to Eurasia. It is widespread in other areas, including much of North America, where it was an introduced species.

Delphinium ajacis is an occasional garden annual flowering plant  grows about 1 meter but gets little recline with age.
Leaves are alternate, petiolate below to sessile above, with 3-5 deeply divided lobes, typically pubescent. Ultimate divisions linear to linear-oblong, entire (ciliate-margined), to 2.5mm broad. Petioles to 9cm below.

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Flowers are Sepals deep blue-purple,(sometimes whitish to pinkish or mottled in cultivation), the most showy portion of the flower, spurred. Spur to -2cm long, dense pubescent. Petals 4, united, covering other floral organs(stamens and carpel), spurred. Stamens many, included. Filaments white, sparse pubescent, 5-6mm long, expanded at base. Anthers yellow, 1.1mm long. Ovary dense pubescent, 3-4mm long, conic.Flowering  time is July – August.

Fruit is a follicle to 2cm long, one per flower, variously pubescent. (All other native members of the genus have 3 follicles per flower).

Medicinal Uses:
Larkspur formerly had a reputation for its ability to consolidate and heal wounds, while the juice from the leaves is considered to be a remedy for piles and an infusion of the flowers and leaves has been used as a remedy for colicky children. However, the whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert.  Externally, it can be used as a parasiticide. A tincture of the seed is applied externally to kill lice in the hair.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Catalpa bignonioides

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Botanical Name : Catalpa bignonioides
Family: Bignoniaceae
Genus: Catalpa
Species: C. bignonioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms:  Bignonia catalpa – L., Catalpa syringaefolia – Sims.

Common Names:Southern Catalpa,Common Catalpa, Cigartree, and Indian Bean Tree

Habitat : Catalpa bignonioides is native to the southeastern United States in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Despite its southern origins, it has been able to grow almost anywhere in the United States and southernmost Canada, and has become widely naturalized outside its restricted native range.
It grows in rich moist soils by the sides of streams and rivers.

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 15-18 meters tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter with brown to gray bark, maturing into hard plates or ridges. The short thick trunk supports long and straggling branches which form a broad and irregular head. The roots are fibrous and branches are brittle. Its juices are watery and bitter.

click to see the pictures……>......(01).......(1).…….(2).…...(3)…...(4)...

The leaves are large and heart shaped, being 20-30 cm long and 15-20 cm broad. The bright green leaves appear late and as they are full grown before the flower clusters open, add much to the beauty of the blossoming tree. They secrete nectar, a most unusual characteristic for leaves, by means of groups of tiny glands in the axils of the primary veins.

The flowers are 2.5-4 cm across, trumpet shaped, white with yellow spots inside; they grow in panicles of 20-40. In the northern states of the USA, it is a late bloomer, putting forth great panicles of white flowers in June or early in July when the flowers of other trees have mostly faded. These cover the tree so thickly as almost to conceal the full grown leaves. The general effect of the flower cluster is a pure white, but the individual corolla is spotted with purple and gold, and some of these spots are arranged in lines along a ridge, so as to lead directly to the honey sweets within. A single flower when fully expanded is two inches long and an inch and a half wide. It is two-lipped and the lips are lobed, two lobes above and three below, as is not uncommon with such corollas. The flower is perfect, possessing both stamens and pistils; nevertheless, the law of elimination is at work and of the five stamens that we should expect to find, three have aborted, ceased to bear anthers and have become filaments simply. Then, too, the flowers refuse to be self-fertilized. Each flower has its own stamens and its own stigma but the lobes of the stigma remain closed until after the anthers have opened and discharged their pollen; after they have withered and become effete then the stigma opens and invites the wandering bee. The entire Pink family behave in this way.

The fruit is a long, thin bean like pod 20-40 cm long and 8-10 mm diameter; it often stays attached to tree during winter. The pod contains numerous flat light brown seeds with two papery wings.

It is closely related to the Northern Catalpa (C. speciosa), and can be distinguished by the flowering panicles, which bear a larger number of smaller flowers, and the slightly slenderer seed pods.

*Bark: Light brown tinged with red. Branchlets forking regularly by pairs, at first green, shaded with purple and slightly hairy, later gray or yellowish brown, finally reddish brown. Contains tannin.

*Wood: Light brown, sapwood nearly white; light, soft, coarse-grained and durable in contact with the soil.

*Winter buds: No terminal bud, uppermost bud is axillary. Minute, globular, deep in the bark. Outer scales fall when spring growth begins, inner scales enlarge with the growing shoot, become green, hairy and sometimes two inches long.

*Leaves: Opposite, or in threes, simple, six to ten inches long, four to five broad. Broadly ovate, cordate at base, entire, sometimes wavy, acute or acuminate. Feather-veined, midrib and primary veins prominent. Clusters of dark glands, which secrete nectar are found in the axils of the primary veins. They come out of the bud involute, purplish, when full grown are bright green, smooth above, pale green, and downy beneath. When bruised they give a disagreeable odor. They turn dark and fall after the first severe frost. Petioles stout, terete, long.

*Flowers: June, July. Perfect, white, borne in many-flowered thyrsoid panicles, eight to ten inches long. Pedicels slender, downy.

*Calyx: Globular and pointed in the bud; finally splitting into two, broadly ovate, entire lobes, green or light purple.

*Corolla: Campanulate, tube swollen, slightly oblique, two-lipped, five-lobed, the two lobes above smaller than the three below, imbricate in bud; limb spreading, undulate, when fully expanded is an inch and a half wide and nearly two inches long, white, marked on the inner surface with two rows of yellow blotches and in the throat on the lower lobes with purple spots.

*Stamens: Two, rarely four, inserted near the base of the corolla, introrse, slightly exserted; anthers oblong, two-celled, opening longitudinally; filaments flattened, thread-like. Sterile filaments three, inserted near base of corolla, often rudimentary.

*Pistil: Ovary superior, two-celled; style long, thread-like, with a two-lipped stigma. Ovules numerous.

*Fruit: Long slender capsule, nearly cylindrical, two-celled, partition at right angles to the valves. Six to twenty inches long, brown; hangs on the tree all winter, splitting before it falls. Seeds an inch long, one-fourth of an inch wide, silvery gray, winged on each side and ends of wings fringed


Prefers a good moist loamy soil and a sunny position that is not exposed. Tolerates heavy clay soils. Very resistant to atmospheric pollution[188]. Plants become chlorotic on shallow alkaline soils. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, probably more in continental climates, they grow best in areas with hot summers. Protect plants from late frosts when they are young. A very ornamental plant, it is fast-growing in the wild where it often flowers when only 6 – 8 years old. The sweetly-scented flowers are borne in forked panicles at the end of branches. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value. The trees transplant easily. The crushed foliage has an unpleasant smell. Another report says that the leaves are attractively scented when bruised. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Seed – best sown outdoors, or in a cold frame, as soon as it is ripe. Stratify stored seed for 3 weeks at 1°c and sow in spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Softwood cuttings, 10cm long, in a frame. They should be taken in late spring to early summer before the leaves are fully developed. Root cuttings in winter


Medicinal Uses:
Antidote; Antiseptic; Cardiac; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Sedative; Vermifuge.

A tea made from the bark has been used as an antiseptic, antidote to snake bites, laxative, sedative and vermifuge. As well as having a sedative effect, the plant also has a mild narcotic action, though it never causes a dazed condition. It has therefore been used with advantage in preparations with other herbs for the treatment of whooping cough in children, it is also used to treat asthma and spasmodic coughs in children. The bark has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria. The leaves are used as a poultice on wounds and abrasions. A tea made from the seeds is used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis and is applied externally to wounds. The pods are sedative and are thought to have cardioactive properties. Distilled water made from the pods, mixed with eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis) and rue (Ruta graveolens) is a valuable eye lotion in the treatment of trachoma and conjunctivitis.

Other Uses:
A fast-growing tree with an extensive root system, it has been planted on land that is subject to landslips or erosion in order to stabilize the soil. Wood – coarse and straight-grained, soft, not strong, moderately high in shock resistance, very durable in the soil. It weighs about 28lb per cubic foot. It is highly valued for posts and fencing rails, and is also used for interior finishes, cabinet work etc.

Scented Plants:
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a sweet perfume.
Leaves: Crushed
The crushed foliage has an unpleasant smell. Another report says that the bruised leaves have an attractive aroma.

Known Hazards: The roots are highly poisonous

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.


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Herbs & Plants

Carrion Flower

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Botanical Name :Smilax herbacea
Family :Smilacaceae – Catbrier family
Genus :Smilax L. – greenbrier
Species: Smilax herbacea L. – smooth carrionflower
Kingdom :Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class :Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales

Common Name :Carrion Flower

Habitat :According to official records, Smooth Carrion Flower is rare in Illinois. However, in neighboring states this vine has been found in many counties and it is regarded as more common. It is possible that some records of Smilax lasioneura (Common Carrion Flower) in Illinois are based on misidentifications and it was Smooth Carrion Flower that was observed. These two species are very similar in appearance and easily confused. Habitats of Smooth Carrion Flower include savannas, thickets, prairies, rocky upland woodlands, woodland openings, woodland borders, and fence rows. Occasional wildfires appear to be beneficial in managing populations of this species.

This climbing non-woody vine is a native perennial up to 8′ long that branches occasionally. The light green to purple stems are terete, slightly speckled, glabrous, and often glaucous. Alternate leaves up to 3½” long and 2½” across occur at intervals along each stem; they are ovate-oval to broadly ovate-lanceolate in shape, smooth along their margins, and parallel-veined. The upper surfaces of the leaves are medium green and glabrous, while their lower surfaces are pale green and hairless. There are no hairs along the raised veins on the leaf undersides. The petioles of the leaves are up to 1¾” long, light green, and hairless. At the base of most petioles, there is a pair of tendrils that can cling to adjacent vegetation or objects for support. At the base of each stem on the vine, there is an appressed to slightly spreading sheath that is usually bladeless.

Individual umbels of flowers are produced from the axils of the middle to upper leaves of each mature vine. Each umbel is connected to the stem by a long stout peduncle about 4-10″ long. The peduncles are 4-8 times longer than the petioles of adjacent leaves; they are similar in appearance to the stems. Individual umbels are about 1½–3″ across, consisting of 20-120 flowers on slender pedicels; when fully developed, they are globoid in shape. Like other species in this genus, Smooth Carrion Flower is dioecious; some vines produce only staminate (male) flowers, while other vines produce only pistillate (female) flowers. The green to yellowish green staminate flowers are individually about ¼” across, consisting of 6 lanceolate tepals and 6 stamens with white anthers. The green to yellowish green pistillate flowers are individually about ¼” across, consisting of 6 lanceolate tepals and a pistil with 3 flattened stigmata. The tepals of both kinds of flowers are often recurved. The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about 3 weeks. The flowers often have a carrion-like scent, but its presence and strength varies with the local ecotype. Staminate flowers wither away after blooming, while pistillate flowers are replaced by globoid fleshy berries. Individual berries are about ¼” across and contain about 3-5 seeds; they are dark blue and glaucous at maturity. At the end of the growing season, the entire vine dies down to the ground.

Cultivation: Smooth Carrion Flower prefers full or partial sun and more or less mesic conditions. It flourishes in different kinds of soil, including those that are rocky or loamy. In a shady situation, this vine may fail to produce flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Eating the fruit is said to be effective in treating hoarseness.  The parched and powdered leaves havebeen used as a dressing on burns. The wilted leaves have been used as a dressing on boils. The root is analgesic. A decoction has been used in the treatment of back pains, stomach complaints, lung disorders and kidney problems.

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.



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Herbs & Plants

Cynanchum stauntonii

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Botanical Name: Cynanchum stauntonii
Family:    Apocynaceae
Genus:    Cynanchum
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Gentianales
Common Chinese Name :Bai Qian

Habitat :
These species are found worldwide in the tropics and subtropics. Several species also grow in temperate regions along water edges where it is shady and damp. Sunny places in moist woodland, water-logged lands at low to moderate elevations.

Cynanchum stauntonii  is a perennial  climbing  herb,erect half-shrub, high 30 ~ 60cm. Stems cylindrical, with thin edges. 6-13cm,width of .03-0.5cmLeaves opposite, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, long 6 ~ 13cm, width of 0.3 ~ 0.5cm, ends acuminate, midrib apparent. Cymes axillary, 3 to 8 flowers; Calyx 5 parted; Corolla purple, radial, inner surface is pilose, lobes narrowly triangular; Vice corolla lobes peltate, apex slightly thicker and the inner volume; stamens 5, and co-generation core column pistil, anther 2 rooms; stigma convex, including the films in the anther.  Fruit solitary follicles. Flowering 5 to 8 months, the fruit of 9 to 10 months

Slender cylindrical roots, branching, slightly curved, long 4 ~ 15cm, diameter of 1.5 ~ 4mm; surface yellow-white or yellowish brown, for length of 1.5 ~ 4.5cm, the top of a residual stem; crisp, hollow cross section. Tufted slender curved section at the root, long up to 10cm, diameter of less than 1mm, there was hair to be like many branches, often twisting into the group. Gas micro, slightly sweet taste.

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 could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. It probably does not have any special cultivation requirements and will probably succeed in most soils in a sunny position.

Seed – sow spring in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Medicinal Uses:
The dried root, decocted with other herbs, is anodyne, antitussive and expectorant. A decoction of the root is used in the treatment of coughs and asthma. Decoctions of all parts are used as a febrifuge and for treating internal fever. The roots are used medicinally for pulmonary tuber-culosis, infantile malnutrition due to intestinal parasites, influenza, cough, and chronic bronchitis.

Known Hazards:  There are some reports of toxins in this genus

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.


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