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Acer saccharum nigrum

 

Botanical Name: Acer saccharum nigrum
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Acer
Species: A. nigrum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: A. nigrum. Michx.f.

Common Name: Black Maple

Habitat : Acer saccharum nigrum is native to Eastern N. America – Quebec to Alabama, west to South Dakota and Arkansas. It grows on rich calcareous or alluvial woods. Found in a variety of soil types, near streams, rivers and in rich woodlands, usually below 750 metres but up to 1650 metres in the south of its range.

Description:
Acer saccharum nigrum is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft 0in) at a slow rate. Leaves are simple, opposite, often 4 inches or more long and fully as wide, from 3 to 5 shallow lobes with wide-spaced coarse teeth, dark green in color above, paler below; the clefts are rounded at the base. Leaf edge is smooth between the points. The leaf stalk (petiole) is typically greater in length than the leaf blade.

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Twigs are slender, shining, and warmly brown, the color of maple sugar. The current year’s twig is identical to sugar maple, but the older sections of twigs often have a waxy coating that may peel in strips from the twig.

Winter buds are conical, sharp-pointed, and brown in color, the terminal buds much larger than the lateral buds.

Barks of young trees, dark gray in color, close, smooth, and firm, becoming furrowed into long irregular plates lifting along one edge.

It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant)

Bloom Color: Green. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Rounded.
Fruit – maple keys (samaras), in short clusters, ripening in September. Samaras are paired with the seeds joining each other in a straight line, but the wings are separated by about 60 degrees.

Outstanding features – rounded cleft between lobes of leaves; leaf blade broad and lateral lobes often droop; sharp-pointed, brown buds; brown twig with waxy coating on older sections of the twig.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Specimen, Street tree. Of easy cultivation, it prefers a good moist well-drained soil but succeeds on most soils. Chlorosis can often develop as a result of iron deficiency when the plants are grown in alkaline soils, but in general maples are not fussy as to soil pH. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Trees need full light and a lot of space. Plants are hardy to about -45°c when fully dormant. This species is not a great success in Britain, though it does better than once thought. It grows well in Cornwall. Slow growing when young. Plants produce prodigious root growth but very little top growth in first year from seed. Trees grow rapidly for their first 25 years in the wild, but then slow down and only occasionally surviving for more than 200 years. A very ornamental tree but a bad companion plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. This species is commercially exploited in America for its sap. Along with A. saccharum and the sub-species A. s. grandidentatum it is the major source of maple syrup. There are some named varieties. The sap can be tapped within 10 – 15 years from seed but it does not flow so well in areas with mild winters. Special Features:North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the following spring. A lot of the seed is non-viable, it is best to cut a few open to see if there is an embryo. An average of 95% germination can be achieved from viable seed. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours and then stratify for 2 – 4 months at 1 – 8°c. It can be slow to germinate, sometimes taking two years. The seed can be harvested ‘green’ (when it has fully developed but before it has dried and produced any germination inhibitors) and sown immediately. It should germinate in late winter. If the seed is harvested too soon it will produce very weak plants or no plants at all. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until they are 20cm or more tall before planting them out in their permanent positions. Layering, which takes about 12 months, is successful with most species in this genus. Cuttings of young shoots in June or July. The cuttings should have 2 – 3 pairs of leaves, plus one pair of buds at the base. Remove a very thin slice of bark at the base of the cutting, rooting is improved if a rooting hormone is used. The rooted cuttings must show new growth during the summer before being potted up otherwise they are unlikely to survive the winter.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Inner bark; Sap; Seed.

The sap contains reasonable quantities of sugar and can be used as a drink or concentrated into a syrup by boiling off the water. The syrup is used as a sweetener on many foods. The sap can be harvested in late winter or early spring, the flow is best on a warm sunny day after a frost. Trees on southern slopes in sandy soils give the best yields. It is best to make a hole about 7cm deep and about 1.3 metres above the ground. Yields of 40 – 100 litres per tree can be obtained. The best sap production comes from cold-winter areas with continental climates. Seed – boiled then roasted. The seed is about 6mm long and is produced in small clusters. Inner bark – cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickening in soups etc or mixed with cereals when making bread.

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Medicinal Uses : A decoction of the inner bark has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

Other Uses:
Fuel; Preservative; Wood.

The leaves are packed around apples, rootcrops etc to help preserve them[18, 20]. Wood – close grained, tough, hard, heavy. Used for furniture, ship building, etc. It is a good fuel.

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/Acer_nigrum
http://maple.dnr.cornell.edu/kids/tree_blk.htm
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acer+saccharum+nigrum

Zhe Bei Mu (Fritillaria thunbergii )

Botanical Name : Fritillaria thunbergii
Family:
Liliaceae
Genus:
Fritillaria
Species:
F. thunbergii
Kingdom:
Plantae
Order:
Liliales

Synonyms : F. collicola. Hance. F. verticillata thunbergii.

Common Name :Zhe Bei Mu

Habitat :Fritillaria thunbergii is native to China and Japan . It grows in bamboo forests, shady and moist places from near sea level to 600 metres.

Description:
Fritillaria thunbergii is a bulb growing to 0.6 m (2ft).  It has linear leaves that are whorled on the top where there are also tendril-like tips. Flowers are cream-colored, flecked or tessellated green. This species needs to be planted deeply. It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is hardy to zone 8.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Best grown in a moist peaty soil in the open garden[90]. Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant when established. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5°c. The scaly bulbs are best planted on their sides or surrounded in sand to prevent water collecting in their hollow crowns. This species is cultivated as a medicinal plant in Europe and Asia. Plants take 3 – 5 years to flower from seed.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales

Edible Uses: Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.

Bulb – fried or candied. The bulb is up to 3cm in diameter. Young plants and buds – cooked

Medicinal Uses:
Antitussive;  ExpectorantFebrifuge.

The bulbs are antidote, antitussive, astringent, expectorant, galactogogue and purgative. They contain fritimine which diminishes excitability of respiratory centres, paralyses voluntary movement and counters effects of opium. The bulbs are thought to act specifically on tumours and swellings of the throat, neck and chest, and they are taken in the treatment of thyroid gland nodules, scrofula, abscesses and boils and breast cancer. The bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure. The bulbs are harvested in the winter whilst they are dormant and are dried for later use.

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://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_thunbergii
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fritillaria+thunbergii
http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/index.php/AsianFritillariaTwo

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One-Leaved Onion (Allium unifolium )

Botanical Name: Allium unifolium
Family  : Alliaceae
Genus  : Allium
Synonyms : Allium grandisceptrum – Davidson.
Kingdom:: Plantae
Order  : Asparagales
Species: A. unifolium

Habitat: South-western N. AmericaCalifornia and Oregon. Moist soils in pine or mixed evergreen forest in the coastal ranges of California. Cultivated Beds;

Description:
Bulb growing to 0.6m by 0.1m.
It is hardy to zone 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects..

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:-
Prefers a hot dry sunny position in a light, rich well-drained soil[90, 200]. This species is difficult to maintain under cultivation in Britain, our weather is probably too wet and cool for it to really thrive. The plant has a summer resting period when it should be kept dry and so it is best grown in a cold greenhouse or bulb frame . Placing a cloche over outdoor-grown plants in the summer, especially after flowering, will help to ripen the bulbs . Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants . This species is not fully hardy in Britain and is unlikely to survive in the colder parts of the country. It is only marginally hardy in N.W. England. A new bulb is formed annually, the old one withering away. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:-

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulbs are 10 – 15mm in diameter. Together with the young shoots, they are fried and eaten. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses :-
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system .

Other Uses:-
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Known Hazards :   Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

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?Allium+unifolium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_unifolium
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Allium_unifolium
http://www.baynatives.com/plants/Allium-unifolium/
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