Herbs & Plants

Iris foetidissima

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Botanical Name: Iris foetidissima
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Subgenus: Limniris
Section: Limniris
Species: I. foetidissima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Stinking Gladwin, Stinking iris, Gladwin Iris,Stinking iris, gladdon, Roast-beef plant

Habitat : Iris foetidissima is native to Western Europe, including Britain, from France south and east to N. Africa, Italy and Greece. It grows on open woods, hedgebanks and shady places, usually on calcareous soils. It is often also found on sea cliffs.
Iris foetidissima is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1.5 m (5ft) at a medium rate.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from Oct to February. The flowers are usually of a dull, leaden-blue colour, or dull buff-yellow tinged with blue; the capsules, which remain attached to the plant throughout the winter, are 5–8 cm long; and the seeds scarlet.

It is known as “stinking” because some people find the smell of its leaves unpleasant when crushed or bruised, an odour that has been described as “beefy”
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.

It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
An easily grown and very tolerant plant, it succeeds in most positions in any good soil in sun or partial shade. Succeeds in dense shade. Prefers a moist soil but succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant. Thrives in a bog garden. Requires a well-drained soil containing some lime and succeeds on pure chalk. Established plants are tolerant of considerable neglect and can survive dense weed competition. The evergreen leaves are not very hardy, being killed back by cold winds around -15°c, though the rootstock is much hardier and the plant soon recovers in spring. A good plant for woodland edges. Plants often self-sow. There are some named forms, selected for their ornamental value. The crushed leaves emit a strong odour which, at a distance, resembles hot roast beef. On closer acquaintance the scent becomes disagreeable. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. Special Features: Flowers have an unpleasant odor, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame, it may take 18 months to germinate. 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 in July after flowering. 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.
Medicinal Uses:
Iris foetidissima has a long history of medicinal use, though it can be rather strong in its action and so is little used nowadays. The root is anodyne, antispasmodic and cathartic. A decoction of the roots acts as a strong purge, it has also been used as an emmenagogue and for cleaning eruptions. The powdered or infused dried root is beneficial in the treatment of fainting, nervous complaints and to relieve pains and cramps. The plant has been used as a cure for ringworm.


Other Uses:
Landscape Uses:Border, Rock garden, Specimen. A good ground cover plant, succeeding in dense shade and in dry soils. Rather slow to spread though, needing weeding for the first year or two. Plants should be spaced about 60cm apart each way.

Known Hazards: The roots of this plant are toxic to grazing mammals. 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.


Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name: Imperatoria ostruthium
P. ostruthium

Common Name: Masterwort

Habitat :Masterwort is native to the mountains of Central and Southern Europe, including the Carpathians, Alps, northern Apennines, Massif Central and isolated occurrences in the Iberian Peninsula. It has, however, been widely introduced and cultivated and its native range is therefore not entirely clear.It grows in woodland, damp fields, river banks and mountain meadows.
Masterwort is a smooth, perennial plant, the stout, furrowed stem growing 2 to 3 feet high. The dark-green leaves, which somewhat resemble those of Angelica, are on very long foot-stalks and are divided into `three leaflets, each of which is often again sub-divided into three. The umbels of flowers are large and many-rayed, the corollas white; the fruit has very broad wings…...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Dislikes shade. This report contradicts the report that this plant grows wild in woodlands. Masterwort was at one time cultivated as a pot herb and for medicinal purposes, though it has now fallen into virtual disuse. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Seed – It is suggested to sow the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring. The aromatic roots can be used as a flavouring. They are said to taste hotter than pepper. A particularly popular drink is made from the fermented roots.

Part Used in medicine: The Root.

Chemical constituents:
The plant is a source of coumarins, including oxypeucedanin, ostruthol, imperatorin, osthole, isoimperatorin and ostruthin.

Medicinal Uses:
Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative; of use in asthma, dyspepsia, menstrual complaints.
Masterwort is little used in modern herbalism, but it may well be a herb that bears further investigation. It was held in high regard in the Middle Ages where it was especially valued for its ability to resolve all flatulence in the body and stimulate the flow of urine and menstruation. It was also used in treating rheumatic conditions, shortness of breath, kidney and bladder stones, water retention and wounds. The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, strongly carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant and stomachic. It is of use in the treatment of asthma, dyspepsia and menstrual complaints, an infusion helps to relieve migraine. The root is gathered in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. An essential oil from the plant has a euphoric and odontalgic effect. Used externally, it relieves skin irritation. When used externally, the plant or the extracted essential oil can cause an allergic reaction to sunlight. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. No details of its applications are given.
Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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.