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Herbs & Plants

Potentilla glandulosa

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Botanical Name: Potentilla glandulosa
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Genus: Drymocallis
Species: D. glandulosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Potentilla glandulosa Lindl.

Common Names: Gland Cinquefoil, Sticky cinquefoil, Arizona cinquefoil, Ashland cinquefoil, Ewan’s cinquefoil, Hans

Habitat : Potentilla glandulosa is native to western North America from southwestern Canada through the far western United States and California, into Baja California. It grows on Rocky hillsides, Black Hills on Sioux quartzite in eastern South Dakota. It is widespread and can be found in many types of habitats.

Description:
Potentilla glandulosa is a perennial herb. It is generally erect in form but it may be small and tuftlike, measuring just a few centimeters high, or tall and slender, approaching 1 metre (3.3 ft) in height. It may or may not have rhizomes. It is usually coated in hairs, many of which are glandular, giving the plant a sticky texture. The leaves are each divided into several leaflets, with one long terminal leaflet and a few smaller ones widely spaced on each side.

The inflorescence is a cyme of 2 to 30 flowers which are variable in color and size. Each has usually five petals up to a centimeter long which may be white to pale yellow to gold. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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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:
Easily grown in a well-drained loam, preferring a position in full sun but tolerating shade. Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates a slightly acid soil. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – sow early spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Edible Uses: Tea.
A tea-like beverage is made by boiling the leaves or the whole plant in water.
Medicinal Uses:

Astringent; Stimulant; Tonic.

All parts of the plant are astringent. An infusion has been drunk, and a poultice of the plant applied externally in the treatment of swollen parts. An infusion of the plant has been used as a stimulant and tonic.

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/Drymocallis_glandulosa
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Potentilla+glandulosa

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Herbs & Plants

Iris japonica

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Botanical Name: Iris japonica
Family: Iridaceae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Section: Lophiris
Species: I. japonica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:

* Evansia chinensis (Curtis) Salisb.
* Evansia fimbriata (Vent.) Decne.
* Evansia japonica (Thunb.) Klatt
* Iris chinensis Curtis
* Iris fimbriata Vent.
* Iris japonica f. japonica (none known)
* Iris japonica f. pallescens P.L.Chiu & Y.T.Zhao
* Iris squalens Thunb. [Illegitimate]
* Moraea fimbriata (Vent.) Loisel.
* Xiphion fimbriatum (Vent.) Alef.
Common Names: Fringed iris, Shaga or Butterfly flow

Habitat : Iris japonica is a native of China and Japan. It grows on woodland hills, grassy and rocky slopes and among rocks by streams.

Description:
Iris japonica is a rhizomatous perennial plant, with pale blue, lavender or white flowers with an orange or yellow crest. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions. It has wiry, stout stems, that can grow up to between 25–80 cm (10–31 in) tall. It has 5-12 short, slender branches, (or pedicels) near top of the plant. The stiff pedicels can reach between 1.5–2.5 cm (1–1 in) long. The flowering stem (and branches) grow higher than the leaves. The stems have 3-5 spathes (leaves of the flower bud), which are lanceolate, and 9.5–2.2 cm (4–1 in) long.

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The flowers are like Iris cristata flowers but paler and fancier. The short lasting flowers open in succession (one after another), for between 2, and 5 weeks. These flowers have a clove pinks aroma.

The flattish, flowers are 4.5–6 cm (2–2 in) in diameter, and come in shades of pale blue, or pale lavender, or lilac, or purple, to white.

It has 2 pairs of petals, 3 large sepals (outer petals), known as the ‘falls’ and 3 inner, smaller petals (or tepals, known as the ‘standards’). The falls are elliptic or obovate, with a spreading limb and blue or purple/violet blotching, spots, (or dots) around a central yellow signal patch around a visible yellow, or orange crest. They are 2.5–3 cm (1–1 in) long and 1.4–2 cm wide. The standards are elliptic or narrowly obovate. They are 2.8–3 cm (1–1 in) long and 1.5-2.1 cm wide. The standards spreading to the same plane as the falls, creating the ‘flat’ look. All the petals are fringed (fimbriated) around the edges.

It has a 1.1–2 cm long perianth tube, 0.8-1.2 cm long stamens, white anthers and 7-10mm ovary. It has 0.5-0.75 long and pale blue style branches. The terminal lobes are fimbriated (fringed).

After the iris has flowered, between May and June, it produces an ellipsoid-cylindric, non-beaked seed capsule, which is 2.5–3 cm long and 1.2-1.5 cm wide. Inside the capsule, it has dark brown seeds with a small aril.

Cultivation:
Prefers a gritty well-drained soil with plenty of moisture in summer and shelter from early morning sun. Prefers a lime-free soil but succeeds in most good soils. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade, but plants flower better in a hot sunny position. Established plants are drought tolerant. Cultivated for its edible root in Japan. A number of named varieties have been selected for their ornamental value. It is best to lift the plant in October, store in sand in a cool frost-free place over winter and plant out in March. Plants have creeping aerial rhizomes that root at intervals. The flowers are susceptible to damage by late frosts, the plants failing to flower after an exceptionally cold winter. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. 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 year. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division, best done after flowering in July/August. Very easy, 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.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Root.

Root – the source of an edible starch. Some caution is advised, see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:

The rhizome is used in the treatment of injuries. A decoction of the plant is used in the treatment of bronchitis, internal injuries, rheumatism and swellings.

Other Uses :
Plants can be grown for ground cover when planted about 45cm apart each way.

Known Hazards: Many plants in this genus are thought to be poisonous if ingested, so caution is advised. The roots are especially likely to be toxic. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.

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/Iris_japonica
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Iris+japonica

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Herbs & Plants

Prunus arabica

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Botanical Name: Prunus arabica
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae
Tribes: Amygdaleae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: P. subg. Amygdalus
Species: Prunus arabica

Synonyms: Amygdalus arabica Oliv.; A. spartioides Spach; Prunus spartioides (Spach) Schneid.

Common Name:

Habitat :Prunus arabica is native to W. Asia – Iran. It grows on the dry steppe and open oak woodland.

Description:
Prunus arabica an unarmed deciduous shrub of broom-like habit 3 to 6 ft high, with green, glabrous, angled branches, leafless in the hot season. Leaves linear-lanceolate, up to 15?8 in. long, 1?8 to 3?16 in. wide, shortly stalked. It is in flower in May.

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Flowers solitary, sessile, borne in spring, each from a bud with numerous brown imbricating scales, 1?2 to 3?4 in. wide, white or pinkish; receptacle partly concealed by the bud-scales, broad campanulate, glabrous or almost so. Ovary densely hairy. Fruits ovoid, slightly flattened, about 1 in. long; stone smooth.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Judging by its native habitat this plant should succeed in dry soils. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

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. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit contains a single large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
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……A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. A gum obtained from the plant is sold in local markets. It is probably obtained from the trunk and branches.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Prunus_arabica
http://www.beanstreesandshrubs.org/browse/prunus/prunus-arabica-oliv-meikle/
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+arabica

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Lactuca triangulata

 

Botanical Name: Lactuca triangulata
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Subtribes: Lactucinae
Genus: Lactuca
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Species: Lactuca triangulata

Common Names: Lactuca triangulata var. sachalinensis Kitamura; Pterocypsela triangulata (Maximowicz) C. Shih.

Habitat : Lactuca triangulata is native to E. Asia – China, Japan. It grows on grasslands on mountain slopes, mountain forests, forest margins, trailsides; 700-1900 m. Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Shanxi [Japan, Korea, SE Russia].

Description:
Lactuca triangulata is a biennial or perennial herb growing 1M tall. Roots ramose. Stem solitary, usually purplish red, erect, branched in apical half or third, glabrous. Lower and middle stem leaves ± glabrous, margin with unequal and triangular teeth; basal portion winged petiole-like, 6-13 cm, base broadly auriculately to hastately clasping stem; apical portion triangular, broadly ovate, or broadly ovate-cordate, 8.5-13 × 9-16 cm. Upper stem leaves similar to middle stem leaves or basally shortly cuneate or winged petiole-like and auriculately or sagittately clasping and apically elliptic to rhombic. Uppermost leaves with semiamplexicaul base. Synflorescence rather narrowly paniculiform, with numerous capitula. Capitula with 10-16 florets. Involucre cylindric, 1-1.1 cm at anthesis, to 1.5 × 0.5-0.6 cm in fruit. Outer phyllaries narrowly triangular to lanceolate, longest ca. 7 × 1 mm, apex acute; inner phyllaries 8, usually purplish red, apex acute to obtuse. Florets yellow. Achene 4-6 mm; body blackish, reddish, or dark brown, ellipsoid, compressed, broadly winged, 2-2.5 mm wide, with 1(or 2) prominent rib on either side, apically contracted into an apically pale stout 0.1-0.5 mm beak. Pappus 6-8 mm, caducous. It is in flower during June-July and fruit comes in August- September.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil.
Cultivation: Prefers a light sandy loam in a sunny position. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly quick.

Edible Uses: Leaves – cooked. They are sometimes eaten.

Medicinal Uses:
Although we have seen no specific reports for this species, most if not all members of the genus have a milky sap that contains the substance ‘lactucarium‘ and can probably be used as the report below details. The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains ‘lactucarium’, which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Known Hazards: Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, many plants in this genus contain a narcotic principle, this is at its most concentrated when the plant begins to flower. This principle has been almost bred out of the cultivated forms of lettuce but is produced when the plant starts to go to seed.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Lactuca_triangulata
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200024121
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lactuca+triangulata

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Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Claytonia sibirica

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Botanical Name : Claytonia sibirica
Family: Montiaceae
Genus: Claytonia
Species: C. sibirica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Claytonia alsinoides. C. sibirica.

Common Names: Siberian Spring Beauty, Siberian Miner’s Lettuce, Candy Flower or Pink Purslane

Habitat:Claytonia sibirica is native to E. Asia – Siberia. Western N. America – Alaska to California. Naturalized in Britain. It grows on damp woods, shaded streamsides etc, especially on sandy acid soils. Thickets of red alder, dogwood, vine-leaf maple, moist shaded coniferous forests from sea level to 2000 metres.

Description:
Claytonia sibirica is a short-lived perennial or annual flowering plant with hermaphroditic flowers which are protandrous and self-fertile. The numerous fleshy stems form a rosette and the leaves are lanceolate. The flowers are 8-20 mm diameter, with five white, candy-striped, or pink petals, flowering is between February and August.

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It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to July, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it prefers a moist peaty soil and is unhappy in dry situations. It succeeds in full sun though is happier when given some shade and also grows in the dense shade of beech trees. Plants usually self-sow freely. This is an excellent and trouble-free salad plant. It is extremely cold-hardy and can provide edible leaves all year round in all areas of the country even if it is not given protection.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates rapidly.

Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw or cooked. They usually have a fairly bland flavour and are quite nice in a salad or cooked as a green vegetable. The leaves have a distinct earthy after-taste rather like raw beetroot. They are available all year round but can turn rather bitter in the summer, especially if the plant is growing in a hot dry position. Although on the small side, the leaves are produced in abundance and are very easily harvested.
Medicinal Uses:
The plant is diuretic. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied to cuts and sores. The juice of the plant has been used as eye drops for sore red eyes. A cold infusion of the stems has been used as an antidandruff wash for the hair.

Other Uses:
A good ground cover plant for a shady position. This species is a short-lived perennial but it usually self-sows freely and gives a dense weed-excluding ground cover

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/Claytonia_sibirica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Claytonia+sibirica