Ink: Plants that can be used as an ink.

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Viburnum opulus - L. Guelder Rose

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:42

Viburnum opulus - L.
Guelder Rose
Author L. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Caprifoliaceae Genus Viburnum
Synonyms
Known Hazards warning signLarge quantities of the fruit can cause vomiting and diarrhoea[10, 65]. The fruit is of very low or zero toxicity, it only causes mild upsets when eaten unripe or in large quantities[65, 76].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, north and west Asia.
Habitat Hedges, scrub and woodland, usually on damp soils[3, 13, 17].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of shrub A decidious Shrub growing to 5m by 5m at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soil.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 3, 5, 46]. The fruit is up to 8.5mm in diameter but with a large seed[200]. A sour taste, it is best cooked. The crushed fruit has an unpleasant smell[4]. Used as a cranberry substitute in making, jellies, preserves etc[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes on toxicity at top of the page.
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antispasmodic; Astringent; Birthing aid; Homeopathy; Sedative.
Guelder rose is a powerful antispasmodic and is much used in the treatment of asthma, cramps and other conditions such as colic or painful menstruation[254]. It is also used as a sedative remedy for nervous conditions[254]. The bark is antispasmodic, astringent and sedative[4, 9, 46, 165, 213]. The bark contains 'scopoletin', a coumarin that has a sedative affect on the uterus[238]. A tea is used internally to relieve all types of spasms, including menstrual cramps, spasms after childbirth and threatened miscarriage[9, 222, 238]. It is also used in the treatment of nervous complaints and debility[4, 46, 165, 213]. The bark is harvested in the autumn before the leaves change colour, or in the spring before the leaf buds open. It is dried for later use[238]. The leaves and fruits are antiscorbutic, emetic and laxative[4, 222]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh bark[9]. It is used in the treatment of menstrual pain and spasms after childbirth[9].
Other Uses
Dye; Hedge; Ink; Wood.
A red dye is obtained from the fruit[13]. An ink can be made from the dried berries[4]. Plants can be grown as a tall hedge[29], they are rather bare in winter though[K]. The wood can be used to make skewers[4].
Cultivation details
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[1]. It prefers a deep rich moist loamy soil in a sunny position[11]. Succeeds in semi-shade but does not grow or fruit so well in such a position[186]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and on chalk[184]. Does not do well on very acid soils. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[200]. A very ornamental plant[1], it is hardy to about -30°c[184] and is often grown in the flower garden. There are many named varieties[184]. Guelder rose regenerates quickly if it is cut to the ground, it can also produce suckers and will often form thickets[186]. The plant is an alternative host for the broad bean aphid[11].
Propagation
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[80]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate[113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[200]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm long with a heel if possible, July/August in a frame[78, 113]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out[113]. Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring - pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring. Layering of current seasons growth in July/August. Takes 15 months[78].

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Vaccinium myrtillus - L. Bilberry

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:41

Vaccinium myrtillus - L.
Bilberry
Author L. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Ericaceae Genus Vaccinium
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Range Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, Macedonia, the Caucasus and N. Asia
Habitat Heaths, moors and woods on acid soils to 1250 metres[17, 186].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple iconapple iconapple icon 4 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of shrub A decidious Shrub growing to 0.2m by 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit - raw or cooked[183]. Sweet and very tasty[2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13], they make an excellent preserve, their small seeds making them suitable for jam[4]. A slightly acid flavour when eaten raw[4]. The fruit can be dried and used like currants[12]. The fruit is up to 10mm in diameter[200]. A tea is made from the leaves[4, 177, 183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic; Astringent; Diuretic; Kidney; Ophthalmic; Tonic.
The dried leaves of bilberries are used in the treatment of a variety of complaints[4]. These leaves should be harvested in early autumn, only green leaves being selected, and then dried in gentle heat[4]. The leaves should not be used medicinally for more than 3 weeks at a time[254]. A tea made from the dried leaves is strongly astringent, diuretic, tonic and an antiseptic for the urinary tract[4]. It is also a remedy for diabetes if taken for a prolonged period[4]. Another report says that the leaves can be helpful in pre-diabetic states but that they are not an alternative to conventional treatment[254]. The leaves contain glucoquinones, which reduce the levels of sugar in the blood[238]. A decoction of the leaves or bark is applied locally in the treatment of ulcers and in ulceration of the mouth and throat[4]. A distilled water made from the leaves is an excellent eyewash for soothing inflamed or sore eyes[7]. Whilst the fresh fruit has a slightly laxative effect upon the body, when dried it is astringent and is commonly used in the treatment of diarrhoea etc[4, 7, 254]. The dried fruit is also antibacterial and a decoction is useful for treating diarrhoea in children[254]. The skin of the fruits contains anthocyanin and is specific in the treatment of hemeralopia (day-blindness)[7]. The fruit is a rich source of anthocyanosides, which have been shown experimentally to dilate the blood vessels[238], this makes it a potentially valuable treatment for varicose veins, haemorrhoids and capillary fragility[254].
Other Uses
Dye; Ink.
A green dye is obtained from the leaves and the fruit and is used to colour fabrics[7]. A blue or black dye is obtained from the fruit[100, 141]. This can be used as an ink[66].
Cultivation details
Requires a moist but freely-draining lime free soil, preferring one that is rich in peat or a light loamy soil with added leaf-mould[11, 200]. Prefers a very acid soil with a pH in the range of 4.5 to 6, plants soon become chlorotic when lime is present. Succeeds in full sun or light shade though it fruits better in a sunny position[17, 200]. Dislikes root disturbance, plants are best grown in pots until being planted out in their permanent positions[200].Tolerates some shade, succeeding in light woodland. Very tolerant of wind and exposure[186]. Plants do not always do well in sheltered positions and they fruit better in an exposed position[115]. They can also form the ground layer in acid woods[186]. A freely suckering shrub when growing well[182]. Plants quickly regenerate from below ground level if they are burnt and also tolerate some grazing[186]. One report says the plant is self-sterile[3], another that it is self-fertile[17]. The fruits are relished by wildlife and the plants provide food for a number of insect species[186]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
Propagation
Seed - sow late winter in a greenhouse in a lime-free potting mix and only just cover the seed[78]. Stored seed might require a period of up to 3 months cold stratification[113]. Another report says that it is best to sow the seed in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe[200]. Once they are about 5cm tall, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame[78]. Slow and difficult. Cuttings of mature wood in late autumn. Layering in late summer or early autumn[78]. Another report says that spring is the best time to layer[200]. Takes 18 months[78]. Division of suckers in spring or early autumn

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Quercus robur - L. Pedunculate Oak

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:40

Quercus robur - L.
Pedunculate Oak
Author L. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Fagaceae Genus Quercus
Synonyms Quercus pedunculata - Ehrh.
Known Hazards None known
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, the Urals and Crimea.
Habitat Often the dominant woodland tree, especially on clay soils and in the eastern half of Britain, but avoiding acid peat and shallow limestone soils[17].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple iconapple iconapple icon 4 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of evergreen tree A decidious Tree growing to 30m by 30m at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. 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 is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Canopy; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Gum.
Seed - cooked[2, 5, 8, 13]. Nourishing but indigestible[4]. Chopped and roasted, the seed is used as an almond substitute[8]. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread[183]. The seed contains bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost[63]. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[21, 61]. An edible gum is obtained from the bark[177]. Another report says that an edible manna is obtained from the plant and that it is used instead of butter in cooking[183]. This report probably refers to the gum[K].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic; Astringent; Bach; Decongestant; Haemostatic; Tonic.
The oak tree has a long history of medicinal use. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, decongestant, haemostatic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 165]. The bark is the part of the plant that is most commonly used[4], though other parts such as the galls, seeds and seed cups are also sometimes used[7]. A decoction of the bark is useful in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, intermittent fevers, haemorrhages etc[4]. Externally, it is used to bathe wounds, skin eruptions, sweaty feet, piles etc[9]. It is also used as a vaginal douche for genital inflammations and discharge, and also as a wash for throat and mouth infections[9]. The bark is harvested from branches 5 - 12 years old, and is dried for later use[9]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Despondency', 'Despair, but never ceasing effort'[209]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the bark. It is used in the treatment of disorders of the spleen and gall bladder[9].
Other Uses
Basketry; Charcoal; Compost; Fuel; Ink; Repellent; Tannin; Wood.
A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth[20, 201]. The bark is an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The bark is very rich in calcium[18]. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4]. A black dye and an excellent long-lasting ink is made from the oak galls, mixed with salts of iron[4, 7, 66]. The colour is not very durable[4]. When mixed with alum, the dye is brown and with salts of tin it is yellow[4]. Trees can be coppiced to provide material for basket making, fuel, construction etc[23]. The wood is a source of tar, quaiacol, acetic acid, creosote and tannin[123]. Tannin is extracted commercially from the bark and is also found in the leaves[223]. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains11.6% tannin and the wood 9.2%[223]. The bark strips easily from the wood in April and May[4]. A purplish dye is obtained from an infusion of the bark with a small quantity of copperas[4]. It is not bright, but is said to be durable[4]. Wood - hard, tough, durable even under water - highly valued for furniture, construction etc[4, 13, 61, 66]. It is also a good fuel[6] and charcoal[61].
Cultivation details
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[11]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Succeeds in heavy clay soils[13] and in wet soils so long as the ground is not water-logged for long periods[186]. Dislikes dry or shallow soils but is otherwise drought tolerant once it is established[186]. Tolerant of exposed sites though it dislikes salt-laden winds[186]. The oak is a very important timber tree in Britain, it is also a very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly[30], there are 284 insect species associated with this tree[24]. It has often been coppiced or pollarded for its wood in the past[23], though this should not be done too frequently[186], about once every 50 years is the average. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Older trees have a thick corky bark and this can protect them from forest fires, young trees will often regenerate from the base if cut down or killed back by a fire[186]. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Immune to attacks by the tortix moth[1]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200].
Propagation
Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly

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Quercus petraea - (Mattuschaka.)Leibel. Sessile Oak

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:39

Quercus petraea - (Mattuschaka.)Leibel.
Sessile Oak
Author (Mattuschaka.)Leibel. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Fagaceae Genus Quercus
Synonyms Quercus sessiliflora - Salisb.
Quercus sessilis - Ehrh.
Known Hazards None known
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to Spain, S.W. Russia and Greece.
Habitat Woods, especially on acid soils and in the western part of Britain, where it is often dominant[17].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple icon 2 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of evergreen tree A decidious Tree growing to 40m by 25m at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. 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 is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Canopy; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Gum.
Seed - cooked[2, 5, 8, 13]. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread. The seed contains bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[21, 61]. An edible gum is obtained from the bark[177].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiseptic; Astringent; Bach; Decongestant; Haemostatic; Tonic.
The oak tree has a long history of medicinal use. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, decongestant, haemostatic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 165]. The bark is the part of the plant that is most commonly used[4], though other parts such as the galls, seeds and seed cups are also sometimes used[7]. A decoction of the bark is useful in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, intermittent fevers, haemorrhages etc[4]. Externally, it is used to bathe wounds, skin eruptions, sweaty feet, piles etc[9]. It is also used as a vaginal douche for genital inflammations and discharge, and also as a wash for throat and mouth infections[9]. The bark is harvested from branches 5 - 12 years old, and is dried for later use[9]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Despondency', 'Despair, but never ceasing effort'[209]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the bark. It is used in the treatment of disorders of the spleen and gall bladder[9].
Other Uses
Basketry; Charcoal; Compost; Fuel; Ink; Repellent; Tannin; Wood.
A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth[20, 201]. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4]. The bark is an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The bark is very rich in calcium[13]. An ink is made from the oak galls, mixed with salts of iron[7, 66]. The wood is a source of tar, quaiacol, acetic acid, creosote and tannin[123]. Tannin is extracted commercially from the bark and is also found in the leaves[223]. Wood - hard, tough, durable even under water. It is highly valued for furniture, construction etc[4, 13, 66]. It is also a good fuel and charcoal[6, 61]. Trees can be coppiced to provide material for basket making, fuel, construction etc[23].
Cultivation details
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[11]. Dislikes heavy clay[98]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Found mainly on acid soils in the wild. Thrives in well drained soils but is also tolerant of periodic flooding[186]. Tolerates exposure and strong winds if these are not salt-laden[186]. A very important timber tree in Britain, it is also a food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly[30], there are 284 insect species associated with this tree[24]. Trees were often coppiced or pollarded in the past for their wood[186], though this is best done on a long rotation of perhaps 50 years. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Older trees have a thick corky bark and this can protect them from forest fires, young trees will often regenerate from the base if cut down or killed back by a fire[186]. Trees transplant badly unless moved regularly[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Immune to attacks by the Tortix moth[1]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200].
Propagation
Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.
Cultivars

No entries have been made for this species as yet.

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Prunus spinosa - L. Sloe

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:37

runus spinosa - L.
Sloe
Author L. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Rosaceae Genus Prunus
Synonyms
Known Hazards warning signAlthough 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.
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to the Mediterranean, Siberia and Iran.
Habitat Hedgerows and woods, usually in sunny positions, on all soils except acid peats[9, 17].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple icon 2 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of shrub A decidious Shrub growing to 3m at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife. 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 and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Fruit; Seed.
Edible Uses: Tea.
Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 5, 7, 11, 12, 13, 34]. Exceedingly astringent, it is normally cooked but once the fruit has been frosted it loses some of its astringency and some people find they can enjoy it raw[183, K]. The fruit is more usually used in jellies, syrups, conserves etc and as a flavouring for sloe gin and other liqueurs[183]. Some fruits that we ate in December were fairly pleasant raw[K]. In France the unripe fruit is pickled like an olive[183]. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed[200]. Seed - raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter - see the notes above on toxicity. The leaves are used as a tea substitute[7, 183]. The dried fruits can be added to herbal teas[183]. The flowers are edible and can be crystallised or sugared[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Aperient; Astringent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Laxative; Stomachic.
The flowers, bark, leaves and fruits are aperient, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and stomachic[7, 9, 21]. An infusion of the flowers is used in the treatment of diarrhoea (especially for children), bladder and kidney disorders, stomach weakness et[9]. 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[238].
Other Uses
Cosmetic; Dye; Hedge; Ink; Pioneer; Tannin; Wood.
The bark is a good source of tannin[7]. It is used to make an ink[66]. The juice of unripe fruits is used as a laundry mark[66], it is almost indelible[115]. The pulped ripe fruit is used cosmetically in making astringent face-masks[7]. A green dye can be obtained from the leaves[168]. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit[168]. The bark, boiled in an alkali, produces a yellow dye[66]. The sloe is very resistant to maritime exposure and also suckers freely. It can be used as a hedge in exposed maritime positions. The hedge is stock-proof if it is well maintained[1, 29], though it is rather bare in the winter and, unless the hedge is rather wide, it is not a very good shelter at this time[K]. Because of its suckering habit, the plant is a natural pioneer species, invading cultivated fields and creating conditions conducive to the regeneration of woodland. Wood - very hard. Used for turnery, the teeth of rakes etc[1, 13, 46, 66]. Suitable branches are used for making walking sticks and are highly valued for this purpose because of their twisted and interesting shapes[7].
Cultivation details
Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[11]. Succeeds in all soils except very acid peats[186]. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position[11, 200]. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone[11]. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present[1]. Thrives on chalk according to another report[182]. Plants are very resistant to maritime exposure[186]. An important food plant for the caterpillars of several species of butterfly[30], especially the larvae of the brown and black hairstreak butterflies[186]. A good bee plant. Plants are shallow-rooted and of a suckering habit, they can form dense impenetrable thickets which are ideal for nesting birds, especially nightingales[186]. Flowers are often damaged by late frosts[186]. Plants regenerate quickly after cutting or after fast moving forest fires, producing suckers from below ground level[186]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 200].
Propagation
Seed - requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[200]. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate[113]. 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[11, 200]. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers during the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

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Phytolacca americana - L. Pokeweed

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:35

Phytolacca americana - L.
Pokeweed
Author L. Botanical references 43, 200, 274
Family Phytolaccaceae Genus Phytolacca
Synonyms Phytolacca decandra - L.
Known Hazards warning signThe leaves are poisonous[21, 62, 76, 95]. They are said to be safe to eat when young, the toxins developing as the plants grow older. Another report says that the seeds and root are poisonous. The plant sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[222]. The plant contains substances that cause cell division and can damage chromosomes. These substances can be absorbed through any abrasions in the skin, potentially causing serious blood aberratins, and so it is strongly recommended that the people wear gloves when handling the plant[222, 274].
Range Northern and Central N. America. Occasionally naturalized in Britain[17].
Habitat Damp rich soils in clearings, woodland margins and roadsides[43]. Disturbed areas, pastures, clearings, thickets, woodland borders and roadsides from sea level to 1400 metres[270].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Perennial growing to 2m by 1.5m at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 4 and is frost tender. It is in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.
Edible Uses: Colouring.
Leaves - they must be cooked and even then it is best to change the water once[1, 2, 4, 33, 95]. They are used like spinach[183]. Only the young leaves should be used since they become toxic with age[102]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Young shoots - cooked[20, 33, 62, 102]. An asparagus substitute[183], they are delicious[159]. The shoots are sometimes blanched before using, or forced in cellars to provide an early crop[183]. The tender clear inner portion of the stem can be rolled in cornmeal and fried[183]. Although cultivated on a small scale in N. America for its shoots, caution is advised, see notes above. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Fruit - cooked and used in pies[159, 213]. Poisonous raw, causing vomiting and diarrhoea. Even the cooked fruits should be viewed with caution. The fruit is a berry about 12mm in diameter[200]. A red dye is obtained from the fruit and used as a food colouring[183].
Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Shoots (Dry weight)

* 274 Calories per 100g
* Water: 0%
* Protein: 31g; Fat: 4.8g; Carbohydrate: 44g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 20.2g;
* Minerals - Calcium: 631mg; Phosphorus: 524mg; Iron: 20.2mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
* Vitamins - A: 62mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.95mg; Riboflavin (B2): 3.93mg; Niacin: 14.3mg; B6: 0mg; C: 1619mg;
* Reference: [218]
* Notes:

Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative; Anodyne; Antiinflammatory; Antiviral; Cancer; Cathartic; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Hypnotic; Narcotic; Purgative.
Pokeweed has a long history of medicinal use, being employed traditionally in the treatment of diseases related to a compromised immune system. The plant has an interesting chemistry and it is currently (1995) being investigated as a potential anti-AIDS drug[238]. It contains potent anti-inflammatory agents, antiviral proteins and substances that affect cell division[238]. These compounds are toxic to many disease-causing organisms, including the water snails that cause schistosomiasis[238]. All parts of the plant are toxic, an excess causing diarrhoea and vomiting[238]. This remedy should be used with caution and preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. The root is alterative, anodyne, anti-inflammatory, cathartic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic and purgative[4, 21, 46, 61, 165, 192, 238]. The dried root is used as an anodyne and anti-inflammatory[213]. The root is taken internally in the treatment of auto-immune diseases (especially rheumatoid arthritis), tonsillitis, mumps, glandular fever and other complaints involving swollen glands, chronic catarrh, bronchitis etc[238]. The fresh root is used as a poultice on bruises, rheumatic pains etc, whilst a wash made from the roots is applied to swellings and sprains[222]. The root is best harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use[238]. The fruit has a similar but milder action to the roots[238].The juice is used in the treatment of cancer, haemorrhoids and tremors[213]. A poultice made from the fruit is applied to sore breasts[222]. A tea made from the fruit is used in the treatment of rheumatism, dysentery etc[222]. The plant has an unusually high potassium content and the ashes, which contain over 45% caustic potash, have been used as a salve for ulcers and cancerous growths[232]. The leaves are cathartic, emetic and expectorant[222]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root[232]. Its main action is on the throat, breast, muscular tissues and the joints[232].
Other Uses
Ink; Insecticide; Soap.
A red ink and a dye are obtained from the fruit[46, 50, 57, 100, 102, 159, 169]. A beautiful colour, though it is not very permanent[4]. It makes a good body paint, washing off easily when no longer required, though the slightly toxic nature of the berries should be remembered[K]. The rootstock is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[169]. Cut the root into small pieces and simmer it in boiling water to obtain the soap. The plant is currently (1980) being evaluated for its snail-killing properties[213].
Cultivation details
An easily grown plant, succeeding in most soils[1], though preferring a moisture retentive soil in full sun or partial shade[111, 200]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[233]. Succeeds in an open woodland garden[200], growing well under trees[20]. Whilst the dormant plant is hardy in much of Britain, the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant[1], it often self sows when in a suitable position[200]. Cultivated as a dye plant[50] and on a small scale for its edible young shoots, there is at least one named form. 'White Stem' has white stems and the berries yield a golden-peach dye instead of purple. It is not yet known (1992) if it will breed true from seed[183]. This plant is an alternative host to a number of viral diseases that affect members of the Amaryllidaceae, Liliaceae (broad view, including plants recently [1992] moved into separate families) and Solanaceae[200]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233].
Propagation
Seed - sow autumn or spring in a cold frame[200]. 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. If you have sufficient seed, it might be worthwhile trying an outdoor sowing in a seed bed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for their first year and plant them out the following spring. Division in March or October. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud. 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.

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Papaver rhoeas - L. Corn Poppy

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:34

Papaver rhoeas - L.
Corn Poppy
Author L. Botanical references 17, 200
Family Papaveraceae Genus Papaver
Synonyms
Known Hazards warning signThis plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low[76]. The seed is not toxic[76].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to N. Africa and temperate Asia.
Habitat A common weed of cultivated land and waste places, avoiding acid soils[17]. Becoming far less frequent on cultivated land due to modern agricultural practices.
Edibility Rating apple iconapple icon 2 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Annual growing to 0.6m by 0.15m.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. 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 cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.
Habitats
Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seed.
Edible Uses: Colouring; Oil.
Seed - raw or cooked. Much used as a flavouring in cakes, bread, fruit salads etc[4, 5, 21, 183], it imparts a very nice nutty flavour[K]. The seeds are rather small, but they are contained in fairly large seed pods and so are easy to harvest. The seeds are perfectly safe to eat, containing none of the alkaloids associated with other parts of the plant[238]. Leaves - raw or cooked[7, 52]. Used like spinach or as a flavouring in soups and salads[132, 183]. The leaves should not be used after the flower buds have formed[7]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[2, 4]. Said to be an excellent substitute for olive oil[4, 183], it can be used in salad dressings or for cooking[2]. A syrup can be prepared from the scarlet flower petals, it is used in soups, gruels etc[4, 183]. A red dye from the petals is used as a food flavouring, especially in wine[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne; Cancer; Emmenagogue; Emollient; Expectorant; Hypnotic; Sedative; Tonic.
The flowers of corn poppy have a long history of medicinal usage, especially for ailments in the elderly and children[244, 254]. Chiefly employed as a mild pain reliever and as a treatment for irritable coughs, it also helps to reduce nervous over-activity[254]. Unlike the related opium poppy (P. somniferum) it is non-addictive[244]. However, the plant does contain alkaloids, which are still under investigation, and so should only be used under the supervision of a qualified herbalist[244]. The flowers and petals are anodyne, emollient, emmenagogue, expectorant, hypnotic, slightly narcotic and sedative[4, 7, 9, 13, 46, 53]. An infusion is taken internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints and coughs, insomnia, poor digestion, nervous digestive disorders and minor painful conditions[9, 238]. The flowers are also used in the treatment of jaundice[218]. The petals are harvested as the flowers open and are dried for later use[238]. They should be collected on a dry day and can be dried or made into a syrup[4]. The latex in the seedpods is narcotic and slightly sedative[240]. It can be used in very small quantities, and under expert supervision, as a sleep-inducing drug[7]. The leaves and seeds are tonic[240]. They are useful in the treatment of low fevers[240]. The plant has anticancer properties[218].
Other Uses
Dye; Ink; Pot-pourri.
A red dye is obtained from the flowers[7, 46, 61], though it is very fugitive[4]. A syrup made from the petals has been used as a colouring matter for old inks[4, 13, 89]. The red petals are used to add colour to pot-pourri[238].
Cultivation details
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[1, 200]. Does not do well on wet clay soils but succeeds in most other soils[115]. Plants usually self-sow freely when growing in suitable conditions so long as the soil surface is disturbed[238]. There are several named varieties selected for their ornamental value[200]. A polymorphic species, varying in leaf shape and flower colour[17]. When growing in cereal fields, poppies decrease the yields of nearby cereal plants[18, 20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233].
Propagation
Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[200].
Cultivars
There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database[K]

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Ligustrum vulgare - L. Privet

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:33

Ligustrum vulgare - L.
Privet
Author L. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Oleaceae Genus Ligustrum
Synonyms
Known Hazards warning signPoisonous[10], though the toxicity is of a very low order and normally the consumption of the fruit leads to vomiting or no symptoms at all[65].
Range Central and southern Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa.
Habitat Open woodland, hedges and scrub, often by the sea and usually on calcareous soils[10, 17, 50].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple icon 1 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of shrub An evergreen Shrub growing to 3m by 3m at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent; Bitter; Detergent; Vulnerary.
The leaves are astringent, bitter, detergent, vulnerary[7, 21]. Internal use of this plant should be avoided since it can produce allergic symptoms[7]. Externally it is a safe and effective treatment[7]. The bark has been used as a stomachic[7], though this is not really recommended.
Other Uses
Basketry; Charcoal; Dye; Ink; Wood.
A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves[6], from the bark according to other reports[46, 61]. A bluish-green dye is obtained from the berries[6, 46, 61], it is more permanent than most greens[115]. A black dye can also be obtained from the fruit[61] as well as an ink[46, 61]. Wood - hard, close-grained. It is valuable for turning if it reaches sufficient size[115] and can also be used to make small tools[46, 61]. The wood is a source of charcoal[46, 61]. The young twigs are used in basketry and hurdle making[46, 61, 100].
Cultivation details
A very tolerant and easily grown plant, it succeeds in any soil that is not very impoverished[11]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a calcareous soil and succeeds in thin dry soils[186]. Grows well in light woodland or the full shade of a wall but flowers and fruits best in a sunny position[186]. Tolerant of atmospheric pollution, once established they also tolerate drought but are intolerant of water-logging[186]. A suckering shrub, forming dense thickets and making good bird cover[186]. An important food plant for many caterpillars, including the larvae of the privet hawk moth[186]. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Propagation
Sow the seed in spring in a cold frame. Stored seed germinates better if it is stratified,[113]. Remove any fruit flesh from around the seed before it is sown since this can inhibit germination[113]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed can also be sown in outdoor seed beds in the autumn. You can leave the plants to grow on in the seedbed for up to 4 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Very easy[78]. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 - 30cm in a sheltered outdoor bed in November/December[78]. The cuttings can also be placed in situ if required. High percentage[78].

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Iris pseudacorus - L. Yellow Flag

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:30

ris pseudacorus - L.
Yellow Flag
Author L. Botanical references 17, 200
Family Iridaceae Genus Iris
Synonyms
Known Hazards The leaves, and especially the rhizomes, of this species contain an irritating resinous substance called irisin. If ingested this can cause severe gastric disturbances[274]. Plants can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people[238].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Norway south and east to N. Africa the Caucasus and W. Asia.
Habitat Damp marshy areas, swampy woods and in shallow water or wet ground on the edges of rivers and ditches[17]. Often found in shady places[4].
Edibility Rating 1 (1-5) Medicinal Rating 2 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
Perennial growing to 1.5m by 2m.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, hoverflies. The plant is self-fertile. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soil and can grow in water. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Meadow; Pond; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Coffee.
The seed is said to make an excellent coffee substitute as long as it is well roasted[2, 7, 61, 105, 115, 244]. Caution is advised, it might be poisonous[177].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Astringent; Cathartic; Emetic; Emmenagogue; Odontalgic.
The fresh root is astringent, cathartic, emetic, emmenagogue and odontalgic[4, 7, 61]. A slice of the root held against an aching tooth is said to bring immediate relief[244]. It was at one time widely used as a powerful cathartic but is seldom used nowadays because of its extremely acrid nature[4]. It can also cause violent vomiting and diarrhoea[244]. When dried the root loses its acridity and then only acts as an astringent[4].
Other Uses
Dye; Essential; Ink; Tannin.
A beautiful yellow dye is obtained from the flowers[4]. A good black dye is obtained from the root if it is mixed with iron sulphate[4, 115]. It is brown otherwise[141]. The root is a source of tannin[61] and has been used in making ink[4]. A delicately scented essential oil, obtained from the roots, has been used to adulterate the oil of Acorus calamus[245].
Scented Plants

Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are scented.
Root: Dried
A delicately scented essential oil is obtained from the dried roots.

Cultivation details
Prefers a humus rich soil[79]. Succeeds in water up to 15cm deep[24]. Requires a moist soil, especially in early summer. Prefers a position in semi-shade[188]. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[233]. A delicately scented essential oil is obtained from the dried roots[245]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. Some named forms have been selected for their ornamental value[187].
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[4]. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible in a cold frame. A period of cold stratification improves germination time and rates. 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 in March or October. Early autumn is best[200]. 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.
Cultivars

There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database[K].

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Consolida regalis - Gray. Larkspur

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:28

Consolida regalis - Gray.
Larkspur
Author Gray. Botanical references 200
Family Ranunculaceae Genus Consolida
Synonyms Delphinium consolida - L.
Known Hazards warning signAll parts of the plant are poisonous in large doses[4, 21, 65]. The seed is especially toxic[4].
Range S. Europe. A rare casual in Britain[17].
Habitat Cornfields and waste places, usually on sandy or chalky soils, avoiding shade in Britain[4, 17].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Annual/Biennial growing to 0.5m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. 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 and can tolerate drought.
Habitats
Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic; Diuretic; Hypnotic; Hypotensive; Purgative; Vasodilator.
Larkspur was at one time used internally in the treatment of a range of diseases, but its only certain action is a violent purgative and nowadays it is only occasionally used in folk medicine[268]. It is of value, however, when used externally, to kill skin parasites[268]. The plant should be used with caution[9, 21], see the notes above on toxicity. The seed is anthelmintic, mildly diuretic, hypnotic, purgative and vasodilator[21]. It has been used internally in the treatment of spasmodic asthma and dropsy[4]. The flowers or the whole plant are mildly diuretic and hypotensive[9]. The expressed juice of the leaves has been considered an effective application to bleeding piles[4]. A conserve made from the flowers has been seen as a good remedy for children when subject to violent purging[4]. The juice of the flowers has also been used as a treatment for colic[4].
Other Uses
Dye; Ink; Insecticide; Parasiticide.
A strong tincture of the fresh seed is used externally to kill lice and nits in the head and pubic hair[4, 61, 74, 268]. It is also effective against aphids and thrips[20]. A good blue ink is obtained from the expressed juice of the petals together with a little alum[4]. It is made from the leaves according to another report[74]. It is also used as a dye[74] and is green when mixed with alum[46, 61].
Cultivation details
An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil. Plants succeeded when growing in a dry shady position in the hot dry summer of 1989[K]. A very ornamental plant[1]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. Other reports say that it is a good companion for wheat[18, 20]. A good bee plant[74]. Plants resent root disturbance and should not be transplanted[200].
Propagation
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in situ[200]. It can also be autumn sown in areas with mild winters, otherwise sow in succession from spring to early summer[200]. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks[200].

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Centaurea cyanus - L. Cornflower

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:27

Centaurea cyanus - L.
Cornflower
Author L. Botanical references 17, 200
Family Compositae Genus Centaurea
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to the Near East.
Habitat Once a common weed of cornfields, as a result of modern agricultural practices it is now very rare in the wild[9, 13]. Found especially on porous, nutrient-rich soils[268].
Edibility Rating apple iconapple icon 2 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple icon 2 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of perennial/biennial/annual Annual growing to 1m by 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Habitats
Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers.
Edible Uses: Colouring.
The young shoots are edible[7]. Flowers - raw or cooked. The fresh florets can be used in salads[238]. They are used as a vegetable or a garnish[183]. An edible blue dye is obtained from the flowers, used for colouring sugar and confections[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antipruritic; Antirheumatic; Antitussive; Astringent; Diuretic; Emmenagogue; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Purgative; Tonic.
Cornflower has a long history of herbal use, though it is seldom employed nowadays. In France it is still used as a remedy for tired eyes, but opinions differ as to its efficacy[254, 268]. Traditionally it is said to work best on blue eyes, whilst Plantago major (great plantain) was used for brown eyes[268]. The dried flowers are antipruritic, antitussive, astringent, weakly diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic, very mildly purgative, and tonic[4, 7, 9, 21, 201, 240]. An infusion can be used in the treatment of dropsy, constipation, or as a mouthwash for ulcers and bleeding gums[9, 238]. This infusion is also taken as a bitter tonic and stimulant, improving the digestion and possibly supporting the liver as well as improving resistance to infections[254]. A water distilled from the petals was formerly in repute as a remedy for weak eyes[4] and a soothing lotion for conjunctivitis[7, 240]. The seeds are used as a mild laxative for children[7, 254]. A decoction of the leaves is antirheumatic[7, 254].
Other Uses
Dye; Hair; Ink; Pot-pourri.
A blue ink and a dye is obtained from the petals mixed with alum-water[4, 100, 115, 201]. The dye gives a lovely colour to linen, but it is transient[4]. The dried petals are used in pot-pourri in order to add colour[4, 268]. Extracts of the plant are added to hair shampoos and rinses[238].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1, 200]. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil and a sunny position[200]. Tolerates dry, low fertility and alkaline soils[200]. Established plants are drought tolerant[201]. A very ornamental plant[1], there are many named varieties[188]. The flowers are often used in dried-flower arrangements because they retain their colour well[7]. A good plant for bees, butterflies and moths[20, 30, 108]. The cornflower is considered to be a good companion, in small quantities, for cereal crops[18, 20], though another report says that its greedy roots deprive the cultivated plants of nutrients and its tough stem dulls the reaper's sickle[4]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Propagation
Seed - sow March in the greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in May. The seed can also be sown in situ during April, whilst in areas where the winters are not too cold a sowing in situ during September will produce larger and earlier-flowering plants
Cultivars

There are some named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database[K].

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Ink: Plants that can be used as an ink.

Post by ThreeperMan on Mon 13 Jul 2009, 05:26

Alnus glutinosa - (L.)Gaertn.
Alder
Author (L.)Gaertn. Botanical references 11, 17, 200
Family Betulaceae Genus Alnus
Synonyms Alnus rotundifolia - Stokes.
Betula glutinosa - L.
Known Hazards None known
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to Siberia, W. Asia and N. Africa.
Habitat Wet ground in woods, near lakes and along the sides of streams, often formng pure woods n succession to marsh or fen[9].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Rating apple iconapple iconapple icon 3 (1-5)
Physical Characteristics
icon of man icon of evergreen tree A decidious Tree growing to 25m by 10m at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in leaf from March to November, in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen from September 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. It can fix Nitrogen. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Habitats
Woodland Garden; Canopy; Hedge; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative; Astringent; Cathartic; Emetic; Febrifuge; Galactogogue; Haemostatic; Parasiticide; Skin; Tonic; Vermifuge.
The bark is alterative, astringent, cathartic, febrifuge and tonic[4, 7, 14, 46, 269]. The fresh bark will cause vomiting, so use dried bark for all but emetic purposes[21]. A decoction of the dried bark is used to bathe swellings and inflammations, especially of the mouth and throat[4, 9, 21, 254]. The powdered bark and the leaves have been used as an internal astringent and tonic, whilst the bark has also been used as an internal and external haemostatic against haemorrhage[21]. The dried bark of young twigs are used, or the inner bark of branches 2 - 3 years old[9]. It is harvested in the spring and dried for later use[9]. Boiling the inner bark in vinegar produces a useful wash to treat lice and a range of skin problems such as scabies and scabs[21]. The liquid can also be used as a toothwash[21]. The leaves are astringent, galactogogue and vermifuge[7]. They are used to help reduce breast engorgement in nursing mothers[254]. A decoction of the leaves is used in folk remedies for treating cancer of the breast, duodenum, oesophagus, face, pylorus, pancreas, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus[269]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and used fresh[238].
Other Uses
Charcoal; Dye; Hedge; Ink; Insecticide; Pioneer; Shelterbelt; Soil reclamation; Tannin; Teeth; Wood.
Tolerant of clipping and maritime exposure, the alder can be grown in a windbreak or a hedge[75]. The trees are very quick to establish[200] and will grow at a rate of 1 metre or more per year when young[K]. This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen - whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established[K]. Because they tolerate very poor soils and also produce nitrogen nodules on their roots, alders are suitable for use in land reclamation schemes. The plants can be used as a source of biomass[269]. According to the phytomass files, annual productivity is estimated at 6 to 9 tonnes per hectare. The tree has yielded 11.8 tonnes per hectare per annum on pulverized fuel ash and annual productivity has been estimated at 8.66 tonnes per hectare, with 5.87 tonnes in wood, bark, and branches, 2.79 tonnes in foliage[269]. Alder has been recommended for consideration for firewood plantations in Tropical highlands where unseasonable cold might destroy the red alder[269]. The powdered bark has been used as an ingredient of toothpastes[9]. Sticks of the bark have been chewed as tooth cleaners[9]. An ink and a tawny-red dye are obtained from the bark[4, 6, 7, 66]. A green dye is obtained from the catkins[4, 6, 66]. A pinkish-fawn dye is obtained from the fresh green wood[4, 6, 66]. A yellow dye is obtained from the bark and young shoots[4, 6, 66]. A cinnamon dye is obtained from the shoots if they are harvested in March[4]. If they are dried and powdered then the colour will be a tawny shade[4]. The bark and the fruits contain up to 20% tannin[46, 61, 223], but they also contain so much dyestuff (imparting a dark red shade) that this limits their usefulness[4, 7]. The leaves are also a good source of tannin[4]. The leaves are clammy and, if spread in a room, are said to catch fleas and flies on their glutinous surface[4, 7]. Wood - very durable in water, elastic, soft, fairly light, easily worked, easily split. It is often used for situations where it has to remain underwater and is also used for furniture, pencils, bowls, woodcuts, clogs etc. It is much valued by cabinet makers[4, 7, 11, 13, 26, 46, 66, 100, 115]. The wood also makes a good charcoal[4, 115].
Cultivation details
Prefers a heavy soil and a damp situation[1, 11], tolerating prolonged submergence of its roots and periods with standing water to 30cm deep[186, 200]. Plants can also grow quickly in much drier sites, though they will usually not live for so long in such a position. Alders grow well in heavy clay soils[24, 98], they also tolerate lime and very infertile sites[200]. Tolerates a wide range of soils but prefers a pH above 6[186]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[49, 75, 166]. Alder is estimated to tolerate an annual precipitation of 40 to 200cm, an annual average temperature of 8 to 14°C and a pH of 6 to 8[269]. The leaves often remain green on the tree until November, or even later on young seedlings. The seeds contain a margin of air-filled tissue and are capable of floating in water for 30 days before becoming waterlogged[186]. This enables distribution of the seed by water. The alder has a very rapid early growth[98], specimens 5 years old from seed were 4 metres tall even though growing in a very windy site in Cornwall[K]. This species has 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[98, 200]. Nitrogen-fixation by trees up to 8 years old has been put at 125 kg/ha/yr., for 20 years at 56 - 130 kg/ha/yr.[269]. Trees often produce adventitious roots from near the base of the stem and these give additional support in unstable soils[186]. Trees are very tolerant of cutting and were at one time much coppiced for their wood which had a variety of uses[4, 186]. Alders are an important food plant for the caterpillars of many butterfly and moth species[30] and also for small birds in winter[24].There are 90 insect species associated with this tree[24]. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[200]
Propagation
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe and only just covered[200]. Spring sown seed should also germinate successfully so long as it is not covered[200, K]. The seed should germinate in the spring as the weather warms up. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If growth is sufficient, it is possible to plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer, otherwise keep them in pots outdoors and plant them out in the spring. There are about 700,000 - 750,000 seeds per kilo, but on average only about 20 - 25,000 plantable seedlings are produced[269]. Seeds can remain viable for at least 12 months after floating in water[269]. Seeds germinate as well under continuous darkness as with normal day lengths. Air-dried seeds stored at 1 - 2°C retained their viability for two years. Seeds can however be sown immediately as soon as ripe[269]. If you have sufficient quantity of seed, it can be sown thinly in an outdoor seed bed in the spring[78]. The seedlings can either be planted out into their permanent positions in the autumn/winter, or they can be allowed to grow on in the seed bed for a further season before planting them. Cuttings of mature wood, taken as soon as the leaves fall in autumn, outdoors in sandy soil.
Cultivars
There are many named forms for this species, but these have been developed for their ornamental value and not for their other uses. Unless you particularly require the special characteristics of any of these cultivars, we would generally recommend that you grow the natural species for its useful properties. We have, therefore, not listed the cultivars in this database[K]

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