Tag Archives: Western Europe

Cuscuta epithymum

 

 

Botanical Name : Cuscuta epithymum
Family: Convolvulaceae
Genus: Cuscuta
Species: C. epithymum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Dodder, Hellweed, Strangle-tare, Clover Dodder, Lesser Clover Dodder, Lesser Dodder, Thyme Dodder . Common names for the genus Cuscuta: are Dodder, Love Vine, Angel’s Hair, Tangle Gut, Strangle Vine, Devil’s Gut, Witches’ Shoelaces
In Spain it is called Azafrán borde o cabellos de monte

Habitat : Cuscuta epithymum is native to Europe. It can now be found throughout the world. In North America, it is found in the United States (CA, CT, IA, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MT, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, VA,VT,WA,WV,WY) and Canada (BC, NB, ON) Cuscuta epithymum is known for infesting crops – particularly legumes, in Europe and around the world. It was spread globally, introduced by the seed trade. C. epithymum is documented from Oceana, Calhoun, Hillsdale, Washtenaw, Macomb, and St. Clair countie.

Description:
Cuscuta epithymum is a parasitic plant assigned to the Cuscutaceae or Convolvulaceae family, depending on the taxonomy. It is red-pigmented, not being photosynthetically active. It has a filiform habit, like a group of yarns. Its leaves are very small, like flakes. Its flowers, disposed in little glomerules, have a white corolla, with the androecium welded to the corolla.

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Flowering Time: Mid-July to late September….CLICK & SEE

Pollinator: Cuscuta epithymum is capable of both cross-pollination and self- pollination. Many different species of insects may contribute to pollination. One study indicated that ants were some of the main pollinators, while another observed visits to the flowers by species of bees, wasps, flies and other insects, collectively from 8 families of insects .

Fruit Type and Description: The fruit is a globose, circumscissile capsule, topped by the withered corolla. Fruits usually contain 4 seeds ....…CLICK & SEE

Seed Description: Seeds are very small, about 1mm in length. Rough, angled, and compressed-ovoid. The hilum is short, oblong, and transverse. The shape of a seed depends on how many seeds it developed with, because they develop alongside each other in the ovary. One Cuscuta epithymum plant was reported to produce 16,000 seeds .

Medicinal Uses:
A mild laxative and a well regarded hepatic. It is of value for the treatment of bladder and liver troubles. It is also considered a remedy for kidney complaints.

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/Cuscuta_epithymum
http://climbers.lsa.umich.edu/?p=223
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

Ranunculus bulbosus

Botanical Name: : Ranunculus bulbosus
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Ranunculus
Species: R. bulbosus
KingdomPlantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms:  St. Anthony’s Turnip, Crowfoot. Frogsfoot, Goldcup. (French) Jaunet.

Common Names:  St Anthony‘s turnip or bulbous buttercup

Habitat: Bulbous buttercup grows in lawns, pastures and fields in general, preferring nutrient-poor, well-drained soils. Although it doesn’t generally grow in proper crops or improved grassland, it is often found in hay fields and in coastal grassland. The native range of Ranunculus bulbosus is Western Europe between about 60°N and the Northern Mediterranean coast. It grows in both the eastern and western parts of North America as an introduced weed
Description:
Ranunculus bulbosus is a perennial herb. It has attractive yellow flowers, and deeply divided, three-lobed long-petioled basal leaves. Bulbous buttercup is known to form tufts. The stems are 20–60 cm tall, erect, branching, and slightly hairy flowering. There are alternate and sessile leaves on the stem. The flower forms at the apex of the stems, and is shiny and yellow with 5–7 petals. The flowers are 1.5–3 cm wide. The plant blooms from April to July...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation:       
Prefers a moist loamy soil. A common weed of lawns and gardens, it can be very difficult to eradicate when established. It is a polymorphic species and there is at least one named variety which has been selected for its ornamental value. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation:     
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. This species is a common weed and doesn’t really need any help from us. Division in spring. Very easy, though probably totally unnecessary, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – cooked. A famine food used when all else fails. Root – must be dried beforehand and thoroughly cooked. When boiled, the roots are said to become so mild as to be eatable.

Chemical constituents:
This plant, like other buttercups, contains the toxic glycoside ranunculin. It is avoided by livestock when fresh, but when the plant dries the toxin is lost, so hay containing the plant is safe for animal consumption.

Parts used  in medicines  : Juice and Herb.

Medicinal  Uses:
Acrid;  Anodyne;  Antirheumatic;  Antispasmodic;  Diaphoretic;  Rubefacient;  VD.

The whole plant, and especially the sap, is acrid, anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, rubefacient. It was at one time rubbed on the skin by beggars in order to produce open sores and thereby excite sympathy. The root has been placed in a tooth cavity to act as a painkiller. A decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of VD.

Like most of the Crowfoots, the Bulbous Buttercup possesses the property of inflaming and blistering the skin, particularly the roots, which are said to raise blisters with less pain and greater safety than Spanish Fly, and have been applied for that purpose, especially to the joints, in gout. The juice, if applied to the nostrils, provokes sneezing and cures certain cases of headache. The leaves have been used to produce blisters on the wrists in rheumatism, and when infused in boiling water, as a poultice, at the pit of the stomach.

A tincture made with spirits of wine will cure shingles very expeditiously, it is stated, both the outbreak of the small pimples and the accompanying sharp pains between the ribs, 6 to 8 drops being given three or four times daily. For sciatica, the tincture has been employed with good effect.

The roots on being kept lose their stimulating quality, and are even eatable when boiled. Pigs are remarkably fond of them, and will go long distances to get them.

The herb is too acrid to be eaten alone by cattle, but possibly mixed with grasses it may act as a stimulus.

It is recorded that two obstinate cases of nursing soremouth have been cured with an infusion made by adding 2 drachms of the recent root, cut into small pieces, to 1 pint of hot water, when cold, a tablespoonful was given three or four times a day, and the mouth was frequently washed with a much stronger infusion.

Its action as a counter-irritant is both uncertain and violent, and may cause obstinate ulcers. The beggars of Europe sometimes use it to keep open sores for the purpose of exciting sympathy.
Known Hazards:  All parts of the plant are poisonous, the toxins can be destroyed by heat or by drying. The plant has a strongly acrid juice that can cause blistering to the skin.
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/Ranunculus_bulbosus
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/butcup97.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ranunculus+bulbosus

 

Ononis arvensis

Botanical Name : Ononis arvensis
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe:     Trifolieae
Genus:     Ononis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fabales

Synonyms: Wild Liquorice. Cammock. Stinking Tommy. Ground Furze. Land Whin.

Common Names :  Field Restharrow, Rest-harrow

Habitat : Ononis arvensis is native to    Western Europe in Britain, France and Belgium.It grows on dry grassland on calcareous soils near shore-side meadows, waste ground.

Description:
Ononis arvensis is a Perennial herb, growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). Rootstock short, taproot strong. Stem with long and sticky hairs, also with glandular hairs, smells unpleasant.

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Flower: Corolla zygomorphic, light red, 15–20 mm (0.6–0.8 in.) long, fused at base. Petals 5; the upstanding the ‘standard’, the lateral two the ‘wings’, the lower two united to form the ‘keel’, overall shape of corolla being butterfly-like. Keel white. Calyx 5-lobed, lobes long. Stamens 10. A single carpel. Inflorescence a lax, leafy terminal raceme or flowers axillary in pairs.

Leaves: Alternate, stalked, stipulate. Blade with 3 leaflets, sometimes with 1 leaflet; leaflets elliptic–quite round, with serrated margin, terminal leaflet stalked. Stipules large, united with stalks.

Flowering time: July–August.The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
Fruit: The seeds ripen from Aug to October.Opening, same length as calyx, 6–9 mm (0.24–0.36 in.) long, 1–3-seeded pod (legume).
It is hardy to zone 6.

Edible Uses:
Eadle part is root – eaten  raw or cooked. A liquorice substitute. Soaked in cold water it makes a refreshing cold drink. The young shoots were at one time much used as a vegetable, being boiled, pickled or eaten in salads

Medicinal Uses:
The whole herb has been used in the treatment of bladder stones and to subdue delirium.

Other Uses:
It is noted for attracting wildlife.

It is a favourite food of the donkey, from which the generic name is derived, onos being the Greek word for an ass.

A tradition exists that this was the plant from which the crown of thorns was plaited for the Crucifixion.

The plant is obnoxious to snakes.

It can fix Nitrogen.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ononis
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/restharrow
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ononis+repens
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/restha11.html

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Wild Hyacinth

Botanical Name : Hyacinthus nonscriptus
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Scilloideae
Genus: Hyacinthoides
Species: H. non-scripta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Bluebell. Scilla nutans. Nodding Squill. Scilla nonscriptus. Agraphis nutans. Calverkeys. Culverkeys. Auld Man’s Bell. Ring-o’-Bells. Jacinth. Wood Bells. Agraphis nutans, Link.

Common Names :Wild Hyacinth, common bluebell or simply bluebell

Habitat : Bluebell is Abundant in Britain, Western Europe to Spain, eastward to Central France, along the Mediterranean to Italy.

Description:
Wild Hyacinth  is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb. It produces 3–6 linear leaves, all growing from the base of the plant, and each 7–16 millimetres (0.28–0.63 in) wide. An inflorescence of 5–12 (exceptionally 3–32) flowers is borne on a stem up to 500 mm (20 in) tall, which droops towards the tip; the flowers are arranged in a 1-sided nodding raceme. Each flower is 14–20 mm (0.55–0.79 in) long, with two bracts at the base, and the six tepals are strongly recurved at their tips. The tepals are violet–blue. The three stamens in the outer whorl are fused to the perianth for more than 75% of their length, and bear cream-coloured pollen. The flowers are strongly and sweetly scented. The seeds are black, and germinate on the soil surface

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The Wild Hyacinth is in flower from early in April till the end of May, and being a perennial and spreading rapidly, is found year after year in the same spot, forming a mass of rich colour in the woods where it grows. The long leaves remain above ground until late in the autumn.

The bulbs produce contractile roots; when these roots contract, they draw the bulbs down into deeper layers of the soil where there is greater moisture, reaching depths of 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in). This may explain the absence of H. non-scripta from thin soils over chalk in South East England, since the bulbs are unable to penetrate into sufficiently deep soils.

MedicinalUses:
Part Used: Root bulb, dried and powdered.

Constituents: The bulbs contain inulin, but are characterized by the absence of starch (which in many other monoeotyledons is found in company with inulin). Even if fed on cane-sugar, Bluebell bulbs will not form starch. They also contain a very large quantity of mucilage.

Though little used in modern medicine, the bulb has diuretic and styptic properties.

Dried and powdered it has been used as a styptic for leucorrhoea; ‘There is hardly a more powerful remedy,’ wrote Sir John Hill (1716-75), warning at the same time that the dose should not exceed 3 grains. He also informs us that a decoction of the bulb operates by urine.

Tennyson speaks of Bluebell juice being used to cure snake-bite.

The flowers have a slight, starch-like scent, but no medicinal uses have been ascribed to them.

The bulbs are poisonous in the fresh state. The viscid juice so abundantly contained in them and existing in every part of the plant has been used as a substitute for starch, and in the days when stiff ruffs were worn was much in request. From its gummy character, it was also employed as bookbinders’ gum.

Other Uses:
Wild Hyacinth or Bluebells are widely planted as garden plants, either among trees or in herbaceous borders. They flower at the same time as hyacinths, Narcissus and some tulips. Their ability to reproduce vegetatively using runners, however, means that they can spread rapidly, and may need to be controlled as weeds.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyacinthus_non-scriptus
http://thorns-meadow.com/bos/documents/898.html
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyawil43.html

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Parietaria officinalis

Botanical Name : Parietaria officinalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Parietaria
Species: P. officinalis

Common Names:Pellitory-of-the-wall,lichwort

Habitat :Western Europe to Western Asia and the Caucasus

Description:
Parietaria officinalis is a  perennial plant  growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October. 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 Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) 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 dry or moist soil.

Cultivation : 

Prefers a well-drained to dry alkaline soil in full sun or semi-shade[238]. The plant grows well on drystone walls . The pollen of this plant is one of the earliest and most active of the hay fever allergens . Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. Prick out the seedling when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed then it can be sown in situ in autumn or spring. Division in spring. Very easy, 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:
Young plant – raw or cooked. The young shoots can be added to mixed salads

Medicinal Uses:
Cholagogue;  DemulcentDiuretic;  Laxative;  Refrigerant;  Vulnerary.

Pellitory of the wall has been valued for over 2,000 years for its diuretic action, as a soother of chronic coughs and as a balm for wounds and burns. In European herbal medicine it is regarded as having a restorative action on the kidneys, supporting and strengthening their function. The whole herb, gathered when in flower, is cholagogue, slightly demulcent, diuretic, laxative, refrigerant and vulnerary. It is an efficacious remedy for kidney and bladder stones and other complaints of the urinary system such as cystitis and nephritis. It should not be prescribed to people with hay fever or other allergic conditions[238]. The leaves can be usefully employed externally as a poultice on wounds etc. They have a soothing effect on simple burns and scalds. The plant is harvested when flowering and can be used fresh or dried

This plant constitutes a very effective diuretic, Ideal to increase micturition. One of the best resources when it is necessary to increase the production of urine. It seems that flavonoids grants it this property besides its wealth in potassium. Two or three infusions a day of a dry couple of spoonfuls of leaves for a liter of water can be used in the following ailments when it is useful to eliminate liquid of the body ( this remedy can be substituted by herbal tincture. In this case we should take 40 daily drops diluted in water divided in three daily doses):

*Metabolic Illnesses in which the elimination of corporal liquids is fundamental, such as the obesity or the diabetes, also in the treatment of the cellulitis.

*Rheumatic illnesses, as the gout , arthritis or uric acid. When eliminating water, we expel with it all the unwanted substances accumulated in the articulations, deflating them and improving the painful symptoms associated with these complaints. The plant appears in this sense as a fantastic depurative.

*Illnesses of the urinary tract , as gallstones or kidney stones. It is very effective in the treatment of the stones of the kidney – calculous – since, when increasing the urine, it impedes the retention of the minerals and the possible formation of a stone. Equally useful to treat renal inflammations (nephritis) or those of the urinary bladder (cystitis) since the emollient values of the mucilages that this plant contains exercise a smoothing property on the body tissues.

*Illnesses of the circulatory system. CO-helper in the treatment of these affections when they are related to liquid retention, as in the formation of edemas, bad circulation, high blood pressure, etc.

Besides its diuretic , emollient and depurative properties, it is necessary to mention its pectoral properties , very useful for the cure of bronchial affections and asthma. In this case , half a spoonful of the powder of the dry leaves should be taken three times to the day .

The pungent pellitory root is taken as a decoction or chewed to relieve toothache and increase saliva production.  The decoction may also be used as a gargle to soothe sore throats.  In Ayurvedic medicine, the root is considered tonic, and is used to treat paralysis and epilepsy.  The diluted essential oil is used in mouthwashes and to treat toothache.  It is an energetic local irritant and sialagogue, and acts as a rubefacient when applied externally. Its ethereal tincture relieves toothache. The root chewed has been found useful in some rheumatic and neuralgic affections of the head and face, and in palsy of the tongue. The decoction has been used as a gargle in relaxation of the uvula. Severe acronarcotic symptoms, with inflammation of the alimentary tract and bloody stools, were produced in a young child by less than a drachm of the tincture. The dose is from 30 to 60 grains as a masticatory. Oil of pellitory is made by evaporating the ethereal tincture.

Other Uses
The whole plant is used for cleaning windows and copper containers.

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/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Parietaria+officinalis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parietaria_officinalis
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

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