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Herbs & Plants

Japanese dodder

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Botanical Name :Cuscuta japonica
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Cuscuta
Species: C. japonica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names:Japanese dodder,Dodder- Japanese

Habitat : Japanese dodder is native to Asia and several infestations in Texas, Florida, and South Carolina have recently been found.

Description:
Japanese dodder is an annual, parasitic vine that has recently been introduced into the United States. Japanese dodder is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed. The stems are fleshy, circular, pale yellow with red spots and striations, and much branched. Leaves are minute and scale-like. Flowers are abundant, pale yellow, and sessile. Japanese dodder parasitizes host plants by penetrating the vascular tissue of the host with structures called haustoria. Severe infestations can kill host plants.
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This plant  germinates in the spring near the soil surface. Flowers in late summer and fruits in early fall. A single plant can produce over 2,000 seeds, which remain viable for up to 20 years. Also reproduces via fragmentation and attachment to a new host. Grows very rapidly, up to 6 inches/day. As a parasitic vine that penetrates the vascular tissue of its host for water and nutrients, it reattaches to the host plant as it grows. Once established, its connection to the soil terminates.

Medicinal Uses:
Internally used for diarrhea, impotence, urinary frequency, vaginal discharge, and poor eyesight associated with liver and kidney energy weakness.  Also used for prostatis and neurological weakness.  It builds sperm, builds the blood, strengthens sinews and bones.  It also treats enuresis and seminal emission; constipation, backache and cold knees; and rheumatoid arthritis.  One of the safer and more affordable yang tonics.   The herb is reputed to confer longevity when used for prolonged periods, particularly in combination with Chinese yam.  The herb is nontoxic and can be used continuously for long-term periods except for the contraindication below.

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.texasinvasives.org/plant_database/detail.php?symbol=CUJA
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuscuta_japonica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Eight of the World’s Most Unusual Plants

“Weird” is a relative term. What seems weird to one person might seem normal to another. But there are some species of plants that most people would agree are a bit unusual.

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Take the Rafflesia arnoldii, for example. It develops the world’s largest bloom, which can grow over three feet across. The plant smells like rotting flesh, and has no leaves, stems, or roots. Instead, it lives as a parasite on the Tetrastigma (grape) vine, which grows only in undisturbed rainforests.

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Welwitschia mirabilis has only two leaves, which grow and grow until they resemble an alien life form. The stem gets thicker rather than higher, and the plant can grow to be twenty-four feet wide.

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Dracunculus vulgaris is another rotting flesh-scented plant, which projects a slender, black appendage from its flower.

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Amorphophallus (which literally means “shapeless penis”) has an enormous erect spadix, from which it gets its name.

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Wollemia nobilis has strange bark that looks like bubbles of chocolate, multiple trunks, and ferny-looking leaves growing in spirals. One of the truly astonishing characteristic of the Wollemia is that every plant growing in the wild has identical DNA.

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Hydnora africana has a putrid-smelling blossom that attracts herds of carrion beetles.

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Drakaea glyptodon has the color and smell of raw meat, and is pollinated by male wasps.

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Wolffia angusta has the world’s smallest flower; a dozen of these plants would easily fit on the head of a pin.

Whenever one is confronted with weird and wonderful species from the natural kingdom, whether plants or animals, one is reminded of how truly symbiotic and complex life here on earth really is. And, just how little we actually know about this interconnected dance.

Why do these strange plants exist? What is their purpose? No one knows, and yet, there they are – undoubtedly serving some “invisible” function that our limited human knowledge can’t decipher.

Scientists often want to believe that things can be broken down into tiny fragments in order to be “figured out.” But just one look at the pharmaceutical industry’s complete and utter failure at figuring out a single cure using this kind of narrow-minded thinking, and you realize that nature knows better than any man ever will.

Sources:Divine Caroline October 2007

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