Tag Archives: Virginia

Myrica pennsylvanica

Botanical Name: Myrica pennsylvanica
Family: Myricaceae
Genus: Myrica
Species: M. pensylvanica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fagales

Synonyms: M. carolinensis. non Mill. M. cerifera latifolia

Common Names: Northern Bayberry

Habitat : Myrica pennsylvanica is native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland west to Ontario and Ohio, and south to North Carolina. It grows on dry or wet sterile soil near the coast. Coastal dunes, pine barrens, pine-oak forests, old fields, bogs, edges of streams, ponds, and swamps from sea level to 325 metres.

Description:
Myrica pensylvanica is a deciduous shrub growing to 4.5 m tall. The leaves are 2.5–7 cm long and 1.5-2.7 cm broad, broadest near the leaf apex, serrate, and sticky with a spicy scent when crushed. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October.The flowers are borne in catkins 3–18 mm long, in range of colors from green to red. The fruit is a wrinkled berry 3-5.5 mm diameter, with a pale blue-purple waxy coating; they are an important food for yellow-rumped warblers.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

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.It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid and saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers a moist soil. Grows well in an open position in a well-drained soil in sun or light shade. Thrives in any ordinary garden soil. Prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil. Does well in dry maritime sites[200]. Hardy to about -40°c. Closely related to M. cerifera and perhaps no more than a hardier northern form of it, it has larger fruits than M. cerifera. Where their ranges overlap, Myrica pensylvanica hybridizes quite readily with both M . cerifera and M . Heterophylla. Tolerant of salt spread on roads. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many species in this genus have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil micro-organisms, these form nodules on the roots of the plants and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is about 4mm in diameter and contains a single large seed. There is very little edible flesh and this is of poor quality. The leaves and fruit are used as a food flavouring in soups etc. A bay leaf substitute, imparting a delicate aroma and subtle flavour. The herb is removed before the food is served.
Medicinal Uses:
The root bark is astringent and emetic in large doses. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and externally as a wash for itchy skin.
Other Uses:
A wax covering on the fruit is extracted by scalding the fruit with boiling water and immersing them for a few minutes, the wax floats to the surface and is then skimmed off. The fruit is then boiled in water to extract the wax from the pulp and once more the wax is skimmed off. It is then strained through a muslin cloth and can be used to make aromatic candles. Candles made from this wax are quite brittle but are less greasy in warm weather. They are slightly aromatic, with a pleasant balsamic odour, and do not smoke when put out, making them much more pleasant to use that wax or tallow candles. The wax is also used in making soaps. A green dye is obtained from the leaves. The plant is very wind hardy and can be grown as an informal hedge.

Known Hazards : There is a report that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.
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/Myrica_pensylvanica
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Myrica+pennsylvanica

Prunus angustifolia

Botanical Name : Prunus angustifolia
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. angustifolia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms: Pruns chicasa.
Common Name : Chickasaw Plum, Watson’s plum, Hally Jolivette Cherry, Cherokee plum, Florida sand plum, sandhill plum, or sand plum

Habitat :Prunus angustifolia is native to South-eastern N. America – New York to Florida, west to Texas. It is usually found in sandy soils, occurring along fence rows, in pastures, fields, stream banks, sand dunes and disturbed sites, often forming thickets.

Description:
Prunus angustifolia is a deciduous Tree growing to 3 m (9ft 10in) at a medium rate. The tree is 15 to 20 feet wide in an irregular shape. It is “twiggy” in nature, and has a scaly, almost black bark. Its branches are reddish with thorn-like, small side branches. In February, March, April and May, small white flowers blossom, 8–9 mm wide, along with red plums, up to 25 mm long. The flowers have five white petals with reddish or orange anthers. The plums are cherry-like and tend to be quite tart until they fully ripen. They ripen in late summer. It requires low to medium amounts of water to grow, and dry, sandy or loose soil. It grows best in areas with regular sunlight or areas of partial shade. In sunny areas, it will be more dense and colonize thickly. In areas of partial shade, it will be thinner and less dense, and each plant will be more spread out. P. angustifolia is very difficult to distinguish from Prunus umbellata, with which it hybridizes easily.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

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 moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

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. Although it should be hardy in all parts of Britain, it grows better in the warmer areas of the country. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild, it has become rather rare in a truly wild state, though it is often cultivated for its edible fruit in N. America. There are some named varieties. The fruit is not freely produced in British gardens. The flowers, which appear just before the leaves unfold, have a refreshing fruity scent. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. This species suckers freely in the wild, often forming thickets. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.

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, cooked or dried for later use. Large and thin-skinned with a soft juicy sweet pulp, it has a dlicious flavour and is very good eaten out of hand, whilst it can also be used in pies, preserves etc. The fruit is up to 18mm in diameter. Seed – raw or cooked.
Ripe fruits are slightly tart, but can be eaten or are sometimes made into jellies, desserts and preserves.
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; Shelterbelt; Soil stabilization; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. This species is sometimes used in shelterbelt planting. It has an extensive root system and often forms thickets, which make it useful for erosion control. Wood – heavy, rather soft, not strong. It weighs 43lb per cubic foot and is of little commercial value.

Landscape Uses:Border, Espalier, Standard, Specimen.

Because they bloom early in the spring, before many other plants bloom, and require very little maintenance, they are often used in horticulture for ornamental use. They are found along many highways, especially in the southern part of the United States. The fruit is eaten by various animals. It also provides cover for nesting sites. Because of its attractive bark, small leaves and thin branches, prunus angustifolia plant is also sometimes used for bonsai.

Known Hazards: Athough 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_angustifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+angustifolia

 

Prunus alleghaniensis

Botanical Name: Prunus alleghaniensis
Family:  Rosaceae
Subfamily: Prunoideae
Genus:  Prunus
Species:  P. alleghaniensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:  Rosales

Common Name: Allegheny plum,Davis’ plum

Habitat :    Prunus alleghaniensis is native to the Appalachian Mountains from New York to Kentucky and North Carolina, plus the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. There are old reports of it growing also in New Jersey and Connecticut, but it now appears to have been extirpated in those two states.
It is not common in moist woodlands. It is typically found in elevations between 1200 and 2000 feet (360-600 meters).

Description:
Prunus alleghaniensis is a shrub or small tree 3-12 feet (90-360 cm) tall. The leaves of are two to three and a half inches (5.0-8.8 cm) long, the tip is usually long and pointed. The leaf margins are finely toothed. The twigs sometimes have thorns. The bark is fissured in older specimens. The flowers are plentiful and white, eventually turning pink. The dark reddish purple fruit is half an inch (13 mm) wide, with a whitish bloom.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in August. 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 moist soil.

Cultivation: 
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil, growing well on limestone. 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. A fast-growing but short-lived tree in the wild. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged.  This species is closely related to P. americana. 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 thick juicy flesh is pleasantly acid. The fruit can also be made into jams, preserves etc. The fruit has a tough skin, it can be up to 2cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above 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;  Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. Wood – hard, heavy, close grained. Trees are too small for the wood to be commercially valuable.

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:
http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+alleghaniensis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_alleghaniensis

Robinia pseudoacacia

Botanical Name:Robinia pseudoacacia
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Robinieae
Genus: Robinia
Species: R. pseudoacacia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Common Names: Black Locust, Yellow Locust, False acacia

Habitat :Robinia pseudoacacia is native to Eastern N. America – Appalachian and Ozark mountain ranges. Naturalized in Britain . It grows in woods and thickets, especially in deep well-drained calcareous soils.

Description:
Robinia pseudoacacia is a deciduous tree. It reaches a typical height of 40–100 feet (12–30 m) with a diameter of 2–4 feet (0.61–1.22 m).[12] Exceptionally, it may grow up to 52 metres (171 ft) tall and 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) diameter in very old trees. It is a very upright tree with a straight trunk and narrow crown which grows scraggly with age. The dark blue-green compound leaves with a contrasting lighter underside give this tree a beautiful appearance in the wind and contribute to its grace. Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

*The bark is dark gray brown and tinged with red or orange in the grooves. It is deeply furrowed into grooves and ridges which run up and down the trunk and often cross and form diamond shapes.

*The roots of black locust contain nodules which allow it to fix nitrogen as is common within the pea family.
The branches are typically zig-zagy and may have ridges and grooves or may be round.[5] When young, they are at first coated with white silvery down, this soon disappears and they become pale green and afterward reddish or greenish brown.

*Prickles may or may not be present on young trees, root suckers, and branches near the ground; typically, branches high above the ground rarely contain prickles. R. psuedoacacia is quite variable in the quantity and amount of prickles present as some trees are densely prickly and other trees have no prickles at all. The prickles typically remain on the tree until the young thin bark to which they are attached is replaced by the thicker mature bark. They develop from stipules (small leaf like structures which grow at the base of leaves) and since stipules are paired at the base of leaves, the prickles will be paired at the bases of leaves. They range from .25–.8 inches (0.64–2.03 cm) in length and are somewhat triangular with a flared base and sharp point. Their color is of a dark purple and they adhere only to the bark.

*Wood: Pale yellowish brown; heavy, hard, strong, close-grained and very durable in contact with the ground. The wood has a specific gravity of 0.7333, and a weight of approximately 45.7 pounds per cubic foot.

*The leaves are compound, meaning that each leaf contains many smaller leaf like structures called leaflets, the leaflets are roughly paired on either side of the stem which runs through the leaf (rachis) and there is typically one leaflet at the tip of the leaf (odd pinnate). The leaves are alternately arranged on the stem. Each leaf is 6–14 inches (15–36 cm) long and contains 9-19 leaflets, each being 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm)long, and .25–.75 inches (0.64–1.91 cm) wide. The leaflets are rounded or slightly indented at the tip and typically rounded at the base. The leaves come out of the bud folded in half, yellow green, covered with silvery down which soon disappears. Each leaflet initially has a minute stipel, which quickly falls, and is connected to the (rachis) by a short stem or petiolule. The leaves are attached to the branch with slender hairy petioles which is grooved and swollen at the base. The stipules are linear, downy, membranous at first and occasionally develope into prickles. The leaves appear relatively late in spring.

*The leave color of the fully grown leaves is a dull dark green above and paler beneath. In the fall the leaves turn a clear pale yellow.
Closeup of flowers.

*The flowers open in May or June for 7–10 days, after the leaves have developed. They are arranged in loose drooping clumps (racemes) which are typically 4–8 inches (10–20 cm) long. The flowers themselves are cream-white (rarely pink or purple) with a pale yellow blotch in the center and imperfectly papilionaceous in shape. They are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, very fragrant, and produce large amounts of nectar. Each flower is perfect, having both stamens and a pistil (male and female parts). There are 10 stamens enclosed within the petals; these are fused together in a diadelphous configuration, where the filaments of 9 are all joined to form a tube and one stamen is separate and above the joined stamens. The single ovary is superior and contains several ovules. Below each flower is a calyx which looks like leafy tube between the flower and the stem. It is made from fused sepals and is dark green and may be blotched with red. The pedicels (stems which connect the flower to the branch) are slender, .5 inches (1.3 cm), dark red or reddish green.

*The fruit is a typical legume fruit, being a flat and smooth pea-like pod 2–4 inches (5.1–10.2 cm) long and .5 inches (1.3 cm) broad. The fruit usually contains 4-8 seeds. The seeds are dark orange brown with irregular markings. They ripen late in autumn and hang on the branches until early spring. There are typically 25500 seeds per pound.

*Winter buds: Minute, naked (having no scales covering them), three or four together, protected in a depression by a scale-like covering lined on the inner surface with a thick coat of tomentum and opening in early spring. When the buds are forming they are covered by the swollen base of the petiole.

*Cotyledons are oval in shape and fleshy.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:
Aggressive surface roots possible. Succeeds in any well-drained soil, preferring one that is not too rich. Succeeds in dry barren sites, tolerating drought and atmospheric pollution. Succeeds in a hot dry position. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 61 to 191cm, an annual temperature in the range of 7.6 to 20.3°C and a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A fast-growing tree for the first 30 years of its life, it can begin to flower when only 6 years old, though 10 – 12 years is more normal. The flowers are a rich source of nectar and are very fragrant with a vanilla-like scent. The branches are brittle and very liable to wind damage. When plants are grown in rich soils they produce coarse and rank growth which is even more liable to wind damage. The plants sucker freely and often form dense thickets, the suckers have vicious thorns. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value, some of these are thornless. Any pruning should be done in late summer in order to reduce the risk of bleeding. The leaves are rich in tannin and other substances which inhibit the growth of other plants. A very greedy tree, tending to impoverish the soil. (Although a legume, I believe it does not fix atmospheric nitrogen) A very good bee plant. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. Special Features: North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attracts butterflies, Fragrant flowers, Blooms are very showy.

Propagation:
Seed – pre-soak for 48 hours in warm water and sow the seed in late winter in a cold frame. A short stratification improves germination rates and time. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the following summer. Other reports say that the seed can be sown in an outdoor seedbed in spring. The seed stores for over 10 years. Suckers taken during the dormant season.
Edible Uses:
Seed – cooked. Oily. They are boiled and used like peas. After boiling the seeds lose their acid taste. The seed is about 4mm long and is produced in pods up to 10cm long that contain 4 – 8 seeds. A nutritional analysis is available. Young seedpods – cooked. The pods contain a sweetish pulp that is safe to eat and is relished by small children. (This report is quite probably mistaken, having been confused with the honey locust, Gleditsia spp.) A strong, narcotic and intoxicating drink is made from the skin of the fruit. Piperonal is extracted from the plant, it is used as a vanilla substitute. No further details. All the above entries should be treated with some caution, see the notes at the top of the page regarding toxicity. Flowers – cooked. A fragrant aroma, they are used in making jams and pancakes. They can also be made into a pleasant drink.

Composition:
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Seed (Dry weight)

*0 Calories per 100g
*Water : 0%
*Protein: 21g; Fat: 3g; Carbohydrate: 0g; Fibre: 28g; Ash: 6.8g;
*Minerals – Calcium: 1400mg; Phosphorus: 0.3mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
*Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Medicinal Uses:
The flowers are antispasmodic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative. They are cooked and eaten for the treatment of eye ailments. The flower is said to contain the antitumor compound benzoaldehyde. The inner bark and the root bark are emetic, purgative and tonic. The root bark has been chewed to induce vomiting, or held in the mouth to allay toothache, though it is rarely if ever prescribed as a therapeutic agent in Britain. The fruit is narcotic. This probably refers to the seedpod. The leaves are cholagogue and emetic. The leaf juice inhibits viruses.

Other Uses:
Dye; Essential; Fibre; Fuel; Oil; Soil stabilization; Wood.

A drying oil is obtained from the seed. An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. Highly valued, it is used in perfumery. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark. Robinetin is a strong dyestuff yielding with different mordants different shades similar to those obtained with fisetin, quercetin, and myricetin; with aluminum mordant, it dyes cotton to a brown-orange shade. The bark contains tannin, but not in sufficient quantity for utilization. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains 7.2% tannin and the heartwood of young trees 5.7%. The bark is used to make paper and is a substitute for silk and wool. Trees sucker freely, especially if coppiced, and they can be used for stabilizing banks etc. Wood – close-grained, exceedingly hard, heavy, very strong, resists shock and is very durable in contact with the soil. It weighs 45lb per cubic foot and is used in shipbuilding and for making fence posts, treenails, floors etc. A very good fuel, but it should be used with caution because it flares up and projects sparks. The wood of Robinia pseudoacacia var. rectissima, the so called ‘Long Island’ or ‘Shipmast’ locust, has a greater resistance to decay and wood borers, outlasting other locust posts and stakes by 50 – 100% .Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Firewood.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant (except the flowers) and especially the bark, should be considered to be toxic. The toxins are destroyed by heat.

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/Robinia_pseudoacacia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Robinia+pseudoacacia

Picea rubens

Botanical Name : Picea rubens
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Picea
Species: P. rubens
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms : Picea rubra. (DuRoi.)Link.

Common Names: Red spruce (This species is also known as yellow spruce, West Virginia spruce, eastern spruce as well as he-balsam)

Habitat : Picea rubens is native to eastern North America, ranging from eastern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and from New England south in the Adirondack Mountains and Appalachians to western North Carolina. It grows at or near sea level in the northern part of its range, where it grows in swamps, along bogs or on well-drained slopes. In the south it is found in mountain ranges, usually in thin soils.

Description:
Red spruce is a perennial, shade-tolerant, late successional coniferous tree which under optimal conditions grows to 18–40 metres (59–131 ft) tall with a trunk diameter of about 60 centimetres (24 in), though exceptional specimens can reach 46 m (151 ft) tall and 100 cm (39 in) diameter. It has a narrow conical crown. The leaves are needle-like, yellow-green, 12–15 millimetres (0.47–0.59 in) long, four-sided, curved, with a sharp point, and extend from all sides of the twig. The bark is gray-brown on the surface and red-brown on the inside, thin, and scaly. The wood is light, soft, has narrow rings, and has a slight red tinge. The cones are cylindrical, 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) long, with a glossy red-brown color and stiff scales. The cones hang down from branches.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Bloom Color is Red. Main Bloom Time is Late spring, Mid spring and the form is Pyramidal.

It is in leaf 12-Jan, and the seeds ripen from Ot 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.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.

It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure. It cannot tolerate atmospheric pollution.

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. Resists wind exposure to some degree. A shallow-rooted tree, in the wild it is often blown down by strong winds. Prefers a pH between 4 to 6. Dislikes shade. Intolerant of atmospheric pollution. This species has been planted experimentally as a timber crop in N. Europe. It is slow to get started, but can then grow fairly rapidly when established though it soon slows down and seems to be fairly short-lived in cultivation, around 100 years is probably the limit. Wild trees live about 300 – 400 years. 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. Seed production commences when the tree is about 15 years old, though reliable crops are not produced for another 5 – 10 years. Heavy crops occur every 4 – 6 years. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Closely related to and hybridizes in the wild with P. mariana. It is believed by some botanists to be a hybrid between P. mariana and P. glauca. 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. The crushed leaves are redolent of apples or camphor. Special Features: North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

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. 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.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Inner bark; Leaves; Seed.

Young shoots. An emergency food, used when all else fails. 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 3 – 5cm in diameter. Inner bark – 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 gum is exuded from the tree as a result of injury to the sapwood. It is used for chewing. The sap can be used to make spruce gum. Leafy red spruce twigs are boiled as a part of making spruce beer. Also it can be made into spruce pudding.
Medicinal Uses:
A tea made from the boughs has been used in the treatment of colds and to ‘break out’ measles. The pitch from the trunk has been used as a poultice on rheumatic joints, the chest and the stomach in order to relieve congestion and pain. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of lung complaints and throat problems.

Other Uses:
The bark has been used to make baskets. Pitch can be obtained from the trunk. The roots have been used to make thread for sewing baskets, canoe skins etc. Wood – straight-grained, soft, light, not strong. It weighs 28lb per cubic foot. Used for boxes, sash frames etc. It is also valued for its use in the pulp industry to make paper and is commonly used to produce stringed musical instruments.

Landscape Uses:Screen, Specimen. Red spruce is also used for Christmas trees. It can also be used as construction lumber and is good for millwork and for crates. Red spruce is the provincial tree of Nova Scotia.

Known Hazards : The sawdust, the resin from the trunk and even the needles can cause dermatitis 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/Picea_rubens
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Picea+rubens