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Rhus x pulvinata

Botanical Name : Rhus x pulvinata
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. typhina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Equisetopsida: C. Agardh
Subclass: Magnoliidae Novák ex Takht.
Superorder: Rosanae Takht.

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Synonyms: Rhus glabra ‘Laciniata’, Rhus glabrata ‘Laciniata’
Common names: Northern Hybrid Sumac, Sumac.

Habitat : Rhus x pulvinata is native to Eastern N. America.It is usually found in upland sites on rich soils, but it is also found in gravel and sandy nutrient-poor soils.
Description:
Rhus x pulvinata is a Suckering deciduous shrub or small, spreading tree, growing to 3 m (9ft) by 5 m (16ft).
Smooth shoots and large pinnate leaves with up to 13 oblong to lance-shaped, green leaflets which turn fiery orange and red-purple in autumn. Erect, dense, conical panicles of yellow-green flowers followed by bristly dark red fruit.

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It is is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

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 alkaline soils.It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Cultivation:
Easily grown in a wide range of soils, from dry to moist, acidic or alkaline, including shallow chalk soils. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun[11, 200]. Tolerates poor sandy soils. A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to at least -25°c. However, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A naturally occurring hybrid, R. glabra x R. typhina. A very ornamental and variable plant, there are some named varieties. The cultivar ‘Red Autumn Lace’ (often erroneously labelled as R. glabra ‘Laciniata’) is a female form that fruits freely. A good bee plant. Single-stem plants are short-lived in cultivation, but if the plants are coppiced regularly and allowed to form thickets, then they will live longer and also be more ornamental with larger leaves. Any coppicing is best carried out in early spring. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring 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. This is a hybrid species and will not breed true from seed. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentag. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:
The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species. Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent. Root – peeled and eaten raw. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity. Young shoots – peeled and eaten raw. This report should be treated with some caution due to possible toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Astringent; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Refrigerant; Tonic.

The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species. Smooth sumach was employed medicinally by various native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is occasionally used in modern herbalism where it is valued for its astringent and antiseptic qualities. Some caution should be employed in the use of this species since it can possibly cause skin irritations. It is best only used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A tea made from the bark or root bark is alterative, antiseptic, astringent, galactogogue, haemostatic, rubefacient and tonic. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, fevers, general debility, sore mouths, rectal bleeding, uterine prolapse etc. It is used as a gargle to treat sore throats and applied externally to treat excessive vaginal discharge, burns and skin eruptions. The powdered bark can be applied as a poultice to old ulcers, it is a good antiseptic. A tea made from the roots is appetizer, astringent, diuretic and emetic. An infusion is used in the treatment of colds, sore throats, painful urination, retention of urine and dysentery. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. An infusion of the green or dried branches has been used in the treatment of TB. A decoction of the branches, with the seed heads, has been used to treat itchy scalps and as a bathing water for frost-bitten limbs. The milky latex from the plant has been used as a salve on sores. A tea made from the leaves was used in the treatment of asthma, diarrhoea and stomatosis. A poultice of the leaves has been used to treat skin rashes. The leaves have been chewed to treat sore gums and they have been rubbed on the lips to treat sore lips. The berries are diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, purgative and refrigerant. They are used in the treatment of late-onset diabetes, stranguary bowel complaints, febrile diseases, dysmenorrhoea etc. They have been chewed as a remedy for bed-wetting. The blossoms have been chewed as a treatment for sore mouths. A decoction of the blossoms has been used as a mouthwash for teething children. An infusion of the blossoms has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes.

Other Uses:
Dye; Mordant; Oil; Shelterbelt; Soil Stabilization; Tannin; Wood.

The following reports refer to R. glabra, but they are almost certainly applicable to this species. The leaves are rich in tannin, containing about 10 – 25%. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. The twigs and root are also rich in tannin. A black dye is obtained from the fruit. An orange or yellow dye is obtained from the root. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The plant has an extensive root system and is fairly wind tolerant, though branches can be broken off in very strong winds. It is planted for soil stabilization and as a shelter screen. Wood – soft, light, brittle.

Known Hazards: There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation Details’
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://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+x+pulvinata
http://www.deeproot.co.uk/pbo/plantdetail.php?plantname=Rhus+x+pulvinata+6I927Red+Autumn+Lace6I927
https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/102502/Rhus-x-pulvinata-(Autumn-Lace-Group)-Red-Autumn-Lace/Details?returnurl=%2Fplants%2Fsearch-results%3Fs%3Ddesc(plant_merged)%26query%3DRhus%26form-mode%3Dfalse%26context%3Db%25253D0%252526hf%25253D10%252526l%25253Den%252526q%25253DRhus%252526s%25253Ddesc%25252528plant_merged%25252529%252526sl%25253Dplants%26page%3D5%26aliaspath%3D%252fplants%252fsearch-results

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Alum

Definition:
Alum is a salt that in chemistry is a combination of an alkali metal, such as sodium, potassium, or ammonium and a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium.

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It refers to a specific chemical compound and a class of chemical compounds. The specific compound is the hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate with the formula KAl(SO4)2.12H2O. The wider class of compounds known as alums have the related stoichiometry, AB(SO4)2.12H2O.

Applications:
The most common form, potassium aluminum sulfate, or potash alum, is one form that has been used in food processing. Another, sodium aluminum sulfate, is an ingredient in commercially produced baking powder. (Have you never noticed the faint metallic taste in baking powder? It comes from the alum.)

The potassium-based alum has been used to produce crisp cucumber and watermelon-rind pickles as well as maraschino cherries, where the aluminum ions strengthen the fruits’ cell-wall pectins.

Alums are useful for a range of industrial processes. They are soluble in water; have an astringent, acid, and sweetish taste; react acid to litmus; and crystallize in regular octahedra. When heated they liquefy; and if the heating is continued, the water of crystallization is driven off, the salt froths and swells, and at last an amorphous powder remains.

Potassium alum is the common alum of commerce, although soda alum, ferric alum, and ammonium alum are manufactured.

Aluminium sulfate is sometimes called alum in informal contexts, but this usage is not regarded as technically correct. Its properties are quite different from those of the set of alums formally described above.

Early uses in industry:-
Alum was imported into England mainly from the Middle East, and, from the late 15th century onwards, the Papal States for hundreds of years. Its use there was as a dye-fixer (mordant) for wool (which was one of England’s primary industries), the value of which increased significantly if dyed. These sources were unreliable, however, and there was a push to develop a source in England especially as imports from the papal states were ceased following the excommunication of King Henry VIII. With state financing, attempts were made throughout the 16th century, but without success until early on in the 17th century. An industry was founded in Yorkshire to process the shale which contained the key ingredient, aluminium sulfate, and made an important contribution to the Industrial Revolution. Alum (known as turti in local Indian languages) was also used for water treatment by Indians for hundreds of years.

Current uses
Alum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant. Alum is commonly used as a coagulant in water treatment.

Production:-

Alum from alunite
In order to obtain alum from alunite, it is calcined and then exposed to the action of air for a considerable time. During this exposure it is kept continually moistened with water, so that it ultimately falls to a very fine powder. This powder is then lixiviated with hot water, the liquor decanted, and the alum allowed to crystallize. The alum schists employed in the manufacture of alum are mixtures of iron pyrite, aluminium silicate and various bituminous substances, and are found in upper Bavaria, Bohemia, Belgium, and Scotland. These are either roasted or exposed to the weathering action of the air. In the roasting process, sulfuric acid is formed and acts on the clay to form aluminium sulfate, a similar condition of affairs being produced during weathering. The mass is now systematically extracted with water, and a solution of aluminium sulfate of specific gravity 1.16 is prepared. This solution is allowed to stand for some time (in order that any calcium sulfate and basic ferric sulfate may separate), and is then evaporated until ferrous sulfate crystallizes on cooling; it is then drawn off and evaporated until it attains a specific gravity of 1.40. It is now allowed to stand for some time, decanted from any sediment, and finally mixed with the calculated quantity of potassium sulfate (or if ammonium alum is required, with ammonium sulfate), well agitated, and the alum is thrown down as a finely-divided precipitate of alum meal. If much iron should be present in the shale then it is preferable to use potassium chloride in place of potassium sulfate.

Alum from clays or bauxite
In the preparation of alum from clays or from bauxite, the material is gently calcined, then mixed with sulfuric acid and heated gradually to boiling; it is allowed to stand for some time, the clear solution drawn off and mixed with acid potassium sulfate and allowed to crystallize. When cryolite is used for the preparation of alum, it is mixed with calcium carbonate and heated. By this means, sodium aluminate is formed; it is then extracted with water and precipitated either by sodium bicarbonate or by passing a current of carbon dioxide through the solution. The precipitate is then dissolved in sulfuric acid, the requisite amount of potassium sulfate added and the solution allowed to crystallize.

Types of alum:-

Soda alum
Sodium alum, Na2SO4·Al2(SO4)3·24H2O, mainly occurs in nature as the mineral mendozite. It is very soluble in water, and is extremely difficult to purify. In the preparation of this salt, it is preferable to mix the component solutions in the cold, and to evaporate them at a temperature not exceeding 60 °C. 100 parts of water dissolve 110 parts of sodium alum at 0 °C, and 51 parts at 16 °C. Soda alum is used in the acidulent of food as well as in the manufacture of baking powder.

Ammonium alum
Ammonia alum, NH4Al(SO4)2·12H2O, a white crystalline double sulfate of aluminium, is used in water purification, in vegetable glues, in porcelain cements, in natural deodorants (though potassium alum is more commonly used), in tanning, dyeing and in fireproofing textiles.

General Uses

Cosmetic
*Alum in block form (usually potassium alum) is used as an aftershave, rubbed over the wet, freshly shaved face.
*Alum was used as a base in skin whiteners and treatments during the late 16th Century. A recipe for one such compound was given thus :
“For the Freckles which one getteth by the heat of the Sun: Take a little Allom beaten small, temper amonst it a well brayed white of an egg, put it on a milde fire, stirring it always about that it wax not hard, and when it casteth up the scum, then it is enough, wherewith anoint the Freckles the space of three dayes: if you will defend your self that you get no Freckles on the face, then anoint your face with the whites of eggs.” —Christopher Wirzung, General Practise of Physicke, 1654.

*Alum may be used in depilatory waxes used for the removal of body hair, or applied to freshly waxed skin as a soothing agent.
*In the 1950s, men sporting crewcut or flattop hairstyles sometimes applied alum to their front short hairs as an alternative to pomade. When the hair dried, it would stay up all day.
*Alum’s antibacterial properties contribute to its traditional use as an underarm deodorant. It has been used for this purpose in Europe; Mexico; Thailand, where it is called Sarn-Som; throughout Asia; and in the Philippines, where it is called Tawas. Today, potassium alum is sold commercially for this purpose as a “deodorant crystal,” often in a protective plastic case.

Medicinal
*Alum is used in vaccines as an adjuvant to enhance the body’s response to immunogens.
*Styptic pencils containing aluminium sulfate or potassium aluminium sulfateare are used as astringents to prevent bleeding from small shaving cuts.
*Alum in powder or crystal form, or in styptic pencils, is sometimes applied to cuts to prevent or treat infection.
*Powdered alum is commonly cited as a home remedy for canker sores.
*Preparations containing alum are used by pet owners to stem bleeding associated with animal injuries caused by improper nail clipping.

Culinary

*Alum powder, found in the spice section of many grocery stores, may be used in pickling recipes and as a preservative to maintain fruit and vegetable crispness.
*Alum is used as the acidic component of some commercial baking powders.

As a Flame Retardant
Solutions containing alum may be used to treat cloth, wood and paper materials to increase their resistance to fire.
Alum is also a component of foamite, used in fire extinguishers to smother chemical and oil fires.

As a Chemical Flocculant
Alum is used to clarify water by catching the very fine suspended particles in a gel-like precipitate of aluminum hydroxide. This sinks to the bottom of the containing vessel and can be removed in a variety of ways.
Alum may be used to increase the viscosity of a ceramic glaze suspension; this makes the glaze more readily adherent and slows its rate of sedimentation.
Alum is an ingredient in some recipes for homemade modeling compounds intended for use by children. (These are often called “play clay” or “play dough” for their similarity to “Play-Doh”, a trademarked product marketed by American toy manufacturer Hasbro).

Related compounds
In addition to the alums, which are dodecahydrates, double sulfates and selenates of univalent and trivalent cations occur with other degrees of hydration. These materials may also be referred to as alums, including the undecahydrates such as mendozite and kalinite, hexahydrates such as guanidinium (CH6N3+) and dimethylammonium (CH3)2NH2+) “alums”, tetrahydrates such as goldichite, monohydrates such as thallium plutonium sulfate and anhydrous alums (yavapaiites). These classes include differing, but overlapping, combinations of ions.

A pseudo alum is a double sulfate of the typical formula ASO4·B2(SO4)3·22H2O, where A is a divalent metal ion, such as cobalt (wupatkiite), manganese (apjohnite), magnesium (pickingerite) or iron (halotrichite or feather alum), and B is a trivalent metal ion.

A Tutton salt is a double sulfate of the typical formula A2SO4·BSO4·6H2O, where A is a univalent cation, and B a divalent metal ion.

In popular culture
Gags in which someone ingests alum, either accidentally self-administered or surreptitiously administered by another, resulting in exaggerated effects, are a traditional staple of comedy. In live-action comedies, effects on the victim usually include extreme puckering of the mouth and lips and tightening of the throat. An example of this is in the Three Stooges short “No Census, No Feeling” when Curly is making a fruit punch and thinking it was sugar, puts alum in the fruit punch.

In animated cartoons, the effects are normally expanded to include extreme shrinking of the head. One example would be in the Merrie Melodies cartoon Long-Haired Hare featuring Bugs Bunny in which he plays a prank on a pompus opera singer named Giovanni Jones by lacing his atomizer with liquid alum. This causes Jones’ head to shrink and his voice to squeak. (Please see the link to the cartoon for a more complete synopsis.) Another such use is Back Alley Op-Roar (Freleng, 1945), in which Elmer feeds Sylvester Pussycat alum-laced milk, shrinking his head and driving his voice up several octaves while singing Figaro.

Also, Thomas Pynchon borrows the joke in chapter 16 of his 1963 novel V., in a scene where alum is slipped into the beer of a jazz trumpet player.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum
http://www.ochef.com/1080.htm