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Of Southwest Oklahoma
Samantha R. Selman
Of Southwest Oklahoma Written and Designed by Samantha R. Selman Photography by Samantha R. Selman
All Rights Reserved
Nickname: Hairy White Oldfield Aster, Frost Aster, White Heath Aster Scientific name: Symphyotrichum Pilosum (Native) Asters grow in all parts of the world, the only exception being Australia. Some are low-growing with one head per stem; others grow to four feet tall with clusters of flower heads on many branches. There are various sizes and shapes of leaves. S. Pilosum flowers are light purple, blue or white, with 10-25 ray flowers 1/8 – ½ inch long with a yellow-gold center. Their leaves are alternate, rough and are attached directly to the stems. Asters are late blooming, showing the first sign of flowering in early August and ending abruptly in mid October.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Late Purple Aster, Spreading Aster Scientific name: Symphyotrichum Patens (Native) S. Patens flowers range from very light purple or pink to dark purple or black. This Aster bears 10-25 ray flowers 1/8 – ½ inch long with a gold center. The plant grows 1-3 feet tall and is easily recognized by its short and wide leaves that are attached directly to the stem. Flowering begins in early August and ends in mid October.
Nickname: Balloon Vine, Love in a Puff, Heartseed Scientific name: Cardiospermum Halicacabum (Introduced)
Balloon vine is creeper plant which is grown as ornamental plant. It is found in Africa, America, Asian Tropical areas and sub tropical areas. It is cultivated in Tamil Nadu and Eastern Bengal abundantly. It is found in Bermuda, Florida and Texas from the ancient times. It is also grown in Switzer land and southern Germany. It is also known as Heart Pea or Heart Seed. The scientific name of Balloon vine is Cardiospermum Halicacabum. Its family is Sapindaceae. (Soapberry). Balloon Vine climbs the trees like common creeper plants and needs some support for this purpose. It grows foreword rapidly. It grows up to 20 cm in three (3) or four (4) weeks. In cold seasons it gets slow. It requires a sufficient heat o grow. It is cultivated by seeds. The plant needs sunlight and a land in which the water may not stay. If it is grown in green house. It requires 2/4/5 peat moss, 2/4/5 loam and 1/5 sand and perlite. In the season of growth weekly fertilizer is also needed. Its seeds are cultivated in the spring season. It also can regrow from roots. It seed easily float on the water and so dispersed everywhere. The leaves of Balloon Vine are similar to that of neem. It has small little white flowers which evolve in hot season. The flowers have a slight fragrance and remain on the plant for the whole year. It has a fine bark and fruit of green colour which gets brown. The fruit is 3 cm long. It contains 3 black seeds. The fruit is globular shape and seed is of heart shape with a whit spot on it.
Medicinal Benefits of
In skin diseases the balloon vines's leaves are used. They are made wet into caster oil and used on swollen parts, tumeur and also on wounds.
Balloon Vine is mixed with other extracts to get an effective cold drink.
In headache Its leaves are smelt and pain is gone.
It's seeds are crushed and used for treatment sever headache and also in joint pains. The ointment prepared from balloon vine is taken as the best alternate of Cortisone.
The juice of its leaves is the best treatment of cough, inhaling disturbance and for earache.
The boiled extract of the leaves is used for pain due to sprain, joint construction pain, bleeding piles and abnormal suppression of manses.
Its leaves are used for nervous diseases, Rheumatism, hemorrhoids, and Chronic bronchitis.
Its root is the treatment of urine stoppage, over perspiration, vomiting, lower blood flow, redness of skin, stomach ache , waist pain. stiffness of limbs and itchy skin.
Anti bacterial, laxative, anti anaemia (blood producing), analgesic (pain killer), blood refrigerant, anti infection, anti parasite, anti diarrhea, anti hyperglycaemia, and used to get rid of grogginess and bitter coldness.
Nickname: White Baneberry, Doll’s Eyes, Foam-flower, White Cohosh, Beautyberry Scientific name: Actaea pachypoda (Native)
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50 cm or more tall (1½ to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide). It has toothed, bipinnate compound leaves up to 40 cm long and 30 cm broad. The white flowers are produced in spring in a dense raceme about 10 cm long. Its most striking feature is its fruit, a 1 cm diameter white berry, whose size, shape, and black stigma scar give the species its other common name, "doll's eyes". The berries ripen over the summer, turning into a fruit that persists on the plant until frost. Fall foliage color may be yellowish, and is fairly unremarkable. White baneberry prefers clay to coarse loamy upland soils, and are found in hardwood and mixed-forest stands. In cultivation it requires part to full shade, rich loamy soil, and regular water with good drainage to reproduce its native habitat. The berries are highly poisonous, and the entire plant is considered poisonous to humans. The berries contain cardiogenic toxins which can have an immediate sedative effect on human cardiac muscle tissue, and are the most poisonous part of the plant. Ingestion of the berries can lead to cardiac arrest and death. The berries are harmless to birds, the plant's primary seed dispersers. Both Native American and settlers made tea out of the roots for relieving pain of childbirth. Settlers also used the plant to improve circulation and to cure headache or eyestrain.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Bearded Beggarticks, Tickseed Sunflower, Bur Marigold Scientific name: Bidens Aristosa (Native) Bidens is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. It contains about 200 species. The common names beggarticks, black jack, burr marigolds, cobbler's pegs, Spanish needles, stickseeds, tickseeds and tickseed sunflowers refer to the achene burrs on the seeds of this genus, most of which are barbed. The plants are zoochorous; their seeds will stick to clothing, fur or feathers, and be carried to new habitat. This has enabled them to colonize a wide range, including many oceanic islands. Some of these species occur only in a very restricted range and several are now threatened with extinction, notably in the Hawaiian Islands. Due to the absence of native mammals on these islands, some of the oceanic island taxa have reduced burrs, evolving features that seem to aid in dispersal by the wind instead. On the Hawaiian Islands, Bidens are called koko olau. They were and still are used to brew a refreshing tea. In some regions, leaves of Hairy Beggarticks (B. pilosa) and Three-lobed Beggarticks (B. tripartita) are sometimes eaten as a vegetable.
Nickname: Tall Bellflower, American Bellflower Scientific name: Campanulastrum Americanum (Native) American bellflower (Campanula americana) is a tall bellflower native to eastern North America from the Great Lakes region south to Florida and from the Dakotas east to New York. Its flowers are light blue to violet and usually form in elongated clusters. It is an unusual bellflower in that its flowers are usually flat and not bellshaped. It has a varying life-history with seeds germinating in the fall producing annual plants and springgerminating seeds producing biannual plants. It is generally insect-pollinated, and does not usually selfpollinate.
Nickname: Large-Flowered Bellwort Scientific name: Uvularia Grandiflora (Native) Large-flowered bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) is a plant in the family Colchicaceae, native to eastern North America. In the past twenty-three years, the plant has spread as far Southward as Texas and into Mexico. It blooms in May, producing large yellow flowers. The top parts of the plant tend to bend downward due to the weight of the leaves and flowers. The light green stems are round, glabrous, and glaucous and the leaves are perfoliate since the stem appears to come through the leaves at the base. Large flowered bellwort are different from Uvularia sessilifolia in that the leaves of U. sessilifolia grow from the stem and its flowers are smaller. U. grandiflora are also different from Uvularia perfoliata, which occurs in Central North America. U. perfoliata has similar large perfoliate leaves like the grandiflora, but the flowers have orange-coloured bumps on the petals.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Sessileleaf Bellwort, Wild Oats Scientific name: Uvularia Sessilifolia (Native)
Sessile bellwort or wild oats (Uvularia sessilifolia) is a species of bellwort native to Eastern North America. It grows in woodlands with wet or dry soils. The strap-like leaves are sessile on the stem. The flowers are yellow, narrowly bell-shaped, and creamy yellow, blooming in spring. The leaves have no hairs on the margin and are somewhat narrow, distinguishing this plant from the similar Streptopus. They spread asexually by means of long under ground stolons with most plants in a clonal colony not flowering. Flowering plants often do not set seed, but when plants form seeds they are in three angled fruits. The native range extends from the Atlantic Ocean west to The Dakotas, south to Florida, and north to Manitoba and Quebec.
Nickname: Wild Bergamot Scientific name: Monarda Fistulosa (Native)
Wild bergamot or Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa) is a wildflower in the mint family (Lamiaceae) widespread and abundant as a native plant in much of North America. This plant, with showy summer-blooming white flowers, is often used as a honey plant, medicinal plant, and garden ornamental. The species is quite variable, and several subspecies or varieties have been recognized within it. Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) is a native herbaceous perennial that grows from slender creeping rhizomes, thus commonly occurring in large clumps. The plants are typically up to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall, with a few erect branches. Its leaves are about 2-3 in (5-8 cm) long, lance-shaped, and toothed. Its compact flower clusters are solitary at the ends of branches. Each cluster is about 1.5 in (4 cm) long, containing about 20–50 flowers. Wild bergamot often grows in rich soils in dry fields, thickets, and clearings, usually on limy soil. The plants generally flower from June to September. Monarda fistulosa ranges from Quebec to the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, south to Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, and Washington. The plant is noted for its fragrance, and is a source of oil of thyme.
Nickname: Cutleaf Toothwort, Crow’s Toes, Pepper Root Scientific name: Cardamine Concatenata (Native) The Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) is a flowering plant in Brassicaceae. It owes its name to the tooth-like appearance of its rhizome. It is a perennial plant woodland wildflower native to eastern North America. It is considered a spring ephemeral and blooms in March, April, and/or May. The vegetative parts of this plant, which can reach 20–40 cm, arise from a segmented rhizome. The leaves are on long petioles, deeply and palmately dissected into five segments with large "teeth" on the margins. The white to pinkish flowers are held above the foliage in a spike. Fruit is an elongated pod which can be up to 4 cm long.
Nickname: Indian Blanket, Indian Blanketflower, Firewheel Scientific name: Gaillardia Pulchella (Native) Gaillardia, the blanket flowers, is a genus of drought-tolerant annual and perennial plants from the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to North and South America. It was named after M. Gaillard de Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a patron of botany. The common name refers to the inflorescence's resemblance to brightly patterned blankets made by native Americans. These plants form wiry, branched stems with lanceolate to linear basal leaves. The plant grows to 1 1⁄2 to 2 ft (46 to 61 cm) tall, with bright, daisy-like single color and bicolor blooms in shades from buff to red to brown. The flowers bloom in the summer. There are more than two dozen known species of Gaillardia. They will grow under very harsh and dry conditions, forming mounds 8–18 inches (20–46 cm) high, and will even bloom in sand along a seashore. Gaillardia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, including Schinia bina (which has been recorded on G. pulchella), Schinia masoni (which feeds exclusively on G. aristata) and Schinia volupia (which feeds exclusively on G. pulchella).
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Blue-eyed Grass, Stout Blue-eyed Grass, Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass Scientific name: Sisyrinchium Angustifolium (Native) Sisyrinchium angustifolium, commonly known as Stout blue-eyed grass or simply blue-eyed grass, is a herbaceous perennial growing from rhizomes, native to moist meadow and open woodland. It is the most common blue-eyed grass of the eastern United States, and is also cultivated as an ornamental. Range: Eastern Canada and US, west to Texas and Minnesota, in meadows, low woods, and shorelines. Height: 15–50 centimetres (6–20 in). Stem: broadly winged, 2–4 millimetres (0.08–0.16 in) wide, usually branched. Leaves: 2–6 millimetres (0.08–0.24 in) wide. Tepals: 6, blue, 7–10 millimetres (0.3–0.4 in), each tipped with a sharp point, veined, and darkening toward central yellow patch.
Nickname: Tiny Bluet, Small Bluet, Least Bluet Scientific name: Houstonia Pusilla (Native) Houstonia pusilla is a plant in the family Rubiaceae native to the United States and common in the southeastern and central parts of the country. It is a short plant 6 inches (150 mm) or less in height with a tiny blue toned, yellow centered four lobed flower with a 0.25–0.33 inch (6.3–8.4 mm) diameter. The plant has a center rosette form and green herbaceous foliage with leaves up to 0.5 inches (13 mm) long. The leaves are opposite and each flower grows from a single branch growing from the leaf axil. This plant requires full sun and blooms in spring and early summer. It is a groundcover multiplying by self sowing and grows in mildly acidic soil where the grass is thin and moisture is adequate to support the plant.
Nickname: Wild Hyacinth; Atlantic Camas Scientific name: Camassia Scilloides (Native) Camassia scilloides is a perennial herb also known as the Atlantic camas and Southern Wild Hyacinth. It is native to the eastern half of North America. It has an inflorescence of pale blue flowers on a leafless stalk 30 70 centimeters long, arising from a subterranean stem and bulb that is 1.5 - 3 cm diameter. One of the defining characteristics of the order is the presence of phytomelan, a black pigment present in the seed coat, creating a dark crust. Phytomelan is found in most families of the Asparagales (although not in Orchidaceae, thought to be a sister to the rest of the group). Almost all species have a tight cluster of leaves (a rosette), either at the base of the plant or at the end of a moreor-less woody stem; the leaves are less often produced along the stem. The flowers are in the main not particularly distinctive, being of a general 'lily type', with six tepals, either free or fused from the base. The order is thought to have first diverged from other related monocots some 120-130 million years ago (early in the Cretaceous period), although given the difficulty in classifying the families involved, estimates are likely to be uncertain. From an economic point of view, the order Asparagales is second in importance within the monocots to the order Poales (which includes grasses and cereals). Species are used as food and flavourings (e.g. onion, garlic, leek, asparagus, vanilla), as cut flowers (e.g. freesia, gladiolus, iris, orchids), and as garden ornamentals (e.g. day lilies, lily of the valley, Agapanthus).
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Fire Pink, Scarlet Catchfly Scientific name: Silene Virginica (Native) Fire Pink (Silene virginica) is a wildflower in the pink family, Caryophyllaceae. It is known for its distinct brilliant red flowers. Each flower is approximately five centimeters in diameter and composed of five notched, brilliant red petals which extend into a long tube. It is a small (20-80 cm tall), short-lived perennial (2-3 years), with lance shaped leaves. Its stems, and the bases of the flowers, are covered in short sticky hairs. Fire Pink begins blooming in late spring and continuing throughout the summer. It is sometimes grown in wildflower, shade, and rock gardens. Fire Pink grows in open woods and rocky deciduous slopes in eastern North America, ranging as far north as extreme southern Ontario. It is protected as a state endangered species in Wisconsin and Florida, and as a state threatened species in Michigan. Fire Pink's principal pollinator is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), which is attracted by the flowers bright red petals and sugary nectar.
Nickname: Chicory Scientific name: Cichorium Intybus (Introduced) Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Various varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia, where it has become naturalized. "Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia); these two closely related species are often confused. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. It is also called cornflower, although that name is more commonly applied to Centaurea cyanus. Common names for varieties of var. foliosum include endive, radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf or witloof. When flowering, chicory has a tough, grooved, and more or less hairy stem, from 30 to 100 centimetres (10 to 40 in) tall. The leaves are stalked, lanceolate and unlobed. The flower heads are 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.6 in) wide, and usually bright blue, rarely white or pink. There are two rows of involucral bracts; the inner are longer and erect, the outer are shorter and spreading. It flowers from July until October. The achenes have no pappus (feathery hairs), but do have toothed scales on top. Wild chicory leaves are usually bitter. Their bitterness is appreciated in certain cuisines, such as in the Liguria and Puglia regions of Italy and also in Catalonia (Spain), in Greece and in Turkey. In Ligurian cuisine the wild chicory leaves are an ingredient of preboggion and in Greek cuisine of horta; in the Puglian region wild chicory leaves are combined with fava bean puree in the traditional local dish Fave e Cicorie Selvatiche. By cooking and discarding the water the bitterness is reduced, after which the chicory leaves may be sauteed with garlic, anchovies and other ingredients. In this form the resulting greens might be combined with pasta or accompany meat dishes.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Sulfur Cinquefoil, Roughfruit Cinquefoil Scientific name: Potentilla Recta (Introduced) Potentilla recta (Sulphur Cinquefoil or Rough-fruited Cinquefoil) is a species of cinquefoil. It is native to Eurasia but it is present in North America as an introduced species, ranging through almost the entire continent except the northernmost part of Canada and Alaska. The plant probably originated in the Mediterranean Basin, and it was first collected in the 19th century in Ontario and in 1914 in British Columbia. It is known as a minor noxious weed in some areas. It occurs in many types of habitat, including disturbed, weedy places. This perennial herb is a tufted plant growing from a woody taproot or caudex. It produces upright to erect leafy stems up to 80 centimeters tall. The leaves are palmate, divided into usually 6 or 7 leaflets, sometimes up to nine. The green to yellow-green leaves may be up to 15 centimeters long, with the central leaflet reaching 8 centimeters in length. The leaflets are hairy in texture and toothed along the edges. The inflorescence is a cyme of several flowers which are generally light to pale yellow in color, with white to gold-flowered individuals occurring at times. The plant may reproduce by seed or vegetatively by sprouting new shoots from its caudex.
Nickname: Eastern Red Columbine, Wild Columbine Scientific name: Aquilegia Canadensis (Native) Aquilegia canadensis (Canadian or Canada Columbine, Eastern Red Columbine, Wild Columbine, and Honeysuckle) is a herbaceous perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern North America, prized for its red and yellow flowers. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus. Height is 15–90 cm (6–35 in). Leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems. Flowers are 1-2 inches long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring, nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds. The caterpillars of Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves. The plant is easily propagated from seed and blooms the second year. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture. The plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar 'Little Lanterns' is half the height of the species. Canada columbine contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged.
Nickname: Orange Coneflower Scientific name: Rudbeckia Fulgida (Native) Rudbeckia fulgida Orange Coneflower, is a perennial plant native to eastern North America. Rudbeckia fulgida are perennial herbaceous plants growing up to 120 cm tall, growing from rosettes that develop at the end of stolons.In the garden, this plant spreads aggressively by both stoloniferous stems and seed. The seeds are produced in fruits called cypselae, which are 2.2 to 4 mm long and have short coroniform pappi, 0.2 mm long. The ripe seed is a favorite food of finches in winter. Stems are hairy, ridged, and dark green. Leaves are dark green, sparsely but roughly haired, simple, with sparsely serrate margins. Flowers are heads, with black disk florets and bright orange ray florets, borne singly on stems that extend above the foliage. Stems are glabrous or moderately covered in hirsute hairs with spreading branches. The leaves have blades that are lanceolate to broadly ovate or elliptic in shape without lobes. The leaf bases are attenuate to cordate in shape and the margins of the leaves are usually entire or serrate, or sometimes lacerate. The upper surfaces of the leaves are glabrous or have hirsute to strigose hairs. The basal leaves are petiolate, with petioles that are 5 to 30 cm long and 1 to 8 cm wide, the cauline or stem leaves have petioles that are 2 to 25 cm long and 0.5 to 7 cm wide, the bases are attenuate to cordate or auriculate in shape. The flower heads are often produced one per stem but are also often produced in corymbiform arrays with 2 to 7 flowers per stem. The cups that hold the flowers called receptacles, are hemispheric to ovoid in shape with paleae 2.5 to 4 mm long, the apices are obtuse to acute in shape with the ends usually glabrous and the apical margins ciliate. The flower heads have 10 to 15 ray florets with laminae elliptic to oblanceolate in shape and 15– 25 cm long and 3 to 6 mm wide. The abaxially surfaces of the laminae have strigose hairs. The flower discs or center cones are 12 to 16 mm tall and 10 to 18 mm wide, made up of 50 to over 500 disc florets, with the corollas proximally yellowish green and brown-purple distally in color, 3 to 4.2 mm long, having style branches 1.3 mm long.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Oxeye Daisy Scientific name: Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum (Introduced) Leucanthemum vulgare, the oxeye daisy, (syn. Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), is a widespread flowering plant native to Europe and the temperate regions of Asia. It is one of a number of Asteraceae family plants to be called a 'daisy,' and has the vernacular names common daisy, dog daisy, moon daisy, and ox-eye daisy. Leucanthemum vulgare is a typical grassland perennial wildflower, growing in a variety of plant communities including meadows and fields, under scrub and open-canopy forests, and in disturbed areas. Leucanthemum vulgare is a perennial herb 2 feet (61 cm) high by 1 foot (0.30 m) wide. The stem is mostly unbranched and sprouts laterally from a creeping rhizomatous rootstock. The leaves are dark green on both sides. The basal and middle leaves are petiolate, obovate to spoon-shaped, and serrate to dentate. The upper leaves are shorter, sessile, and borne along the stem. Leucanthemum vulgare blooms from late spring to autumn. The small flower head, not larger than 5 centimetres (2.0 in), consists of about 20 white ray florets that surround a yellow disc, growing on the end of 1 to 3 ft (30 to 91 cm) tall stems. The plant produces an abundant number of flat seeds, without pappus, that remain viable in the soil for 2 to 3 years. It also spreads vegetatively by rhizomes. The un-opened flower buds can be marinated and used in a similar way to capers. Leucanthemum vulgare is widely cultivated and available as a perennial flowering ornamental plant for gardens and designed meadow landscapes. It thrives in a wide range of conditions and can grow in sun to partial shade, and prefers damp soils. There are cultivars, such as 'May Queen' which begins blooming in early spring.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Dandelion Scientific name: Taraxacum officinal (Introduced) Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion (often simply called "dandelion"), is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T. officinale is considered a weedy species, especially in lawns and along roadsides, but it is sometimes used as a medical herb and in food preparation. As a nearly cosmopolitan weed, common dandelion is best known for its yellow flower heads that turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that blow away on the wind. Taraxacum officinale grows from generally unbranched taproots and produces one to more than ten stems that are typically 5 to 40 cm tall but sometimes up to 70 cm tall. The stems can be tinted purplish, they are upright or lax, and produce flower heads that are held as tall or taller than the foliage. The foliage is upright growing or horizontally orientated, with leaves having narrowly winged petioles or being unwinged. The stems can be glabrous or are sparsely covered with short hairs. The 5–45 cm long and 1–10 cm wide leaves are oblanceolate, oblong, or obovate in shape with the bases gradually narrowing to the petiole. The leaf margins are typically shallowly lobed to deeply lobed and often lacerate or toothed with sharp or dull teeth. The calyculi (the cup like bracts that hold the florets) is composed of 12 to 18 segments: each segment is reflexed and sometimes glaucous. The lanceolate shaped bractlets are in 2 series with the apices acuminate in shape. The 14 to 25 mm wide involucres are green to dark green or brownish green with the tips dark gray or purplish. The florets number 40 to over 100 per head, having corollas that are yellow or orange-yellow in color. The fruits, which are called cypselae, range in color from olive-green or olive-brown to straw-colored to grayish, they are oblanceoloid in shape and 2 to 3 mm long with slender beaks. The fruits have 4 to 12 ribs that have sharp edges. The silky pappi, which form the parachutes, are white to silver-white in color and around 6 mm wide. Plants typically have 24 or 40 pairs of chromosomes but some plants have 16 or 32 chromosomes. Plants have milky sap and the leaves are all basal, each flowering stem lacks bracts and has one single flower head. The yellow flower heads lack receptacle bracts and all the flowers, which are called florets, are ligulate and bisexual. The fruits are mostly produced by apomixis. It blooms from March until October.
While the dandelion is considered a weed by most gardeners and lawn owners, the plant has several culinary uses. The specific name officinalis refers to its value as a medicinal herb, and is derived from the word opificina, later officina, meaning a workshop or pharmacy. The flowers are used to make dandelion wine, the greens are used in salads, the roots have been used to make a coffee-like drink and the plant was used by Native Americans as a food and medicine. Dandelions are grown commercially on a small scale as a leaf vegetable. The leaves (called dandelion greens) can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. They are probably closest in character to mustard greens. Usually the young leaves and unopened buds are eaten raw in salads, while older leaves are cooked. Raw leaves have a slightly bitter taste. Dandelion salad is often accompanied with hard boiled eggs. The leaves are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, carrying more iron and calcium than spinach. Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine, for which there are many recipes. It has also been used in a saison ale called Pissenlit (literally "wet the bed" in French) made by Brasserie Fantôme in Belgium. Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute. In Silesia and also other parts of Poland and world, dandelion flowers are used to make a honey substitute syrup with added lemon (so-called May-honey). This "honey" is believed to have a medicinal value, in particular against liver problems. Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold principally as a diuretic. A hepatoprotective effect of chemicals extracted from dandelion root has been reported, and the plant is known for its ability to treat jaundice, cholecystitis and cirrhosis. The dandelion also affects the digestive system by acting as a mild laxative, increasing appetite, and improving digestion. "Dandelion and Burdock" is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom with authentic recipes sold by health food shops. It is unclear whether cheaper supermarket versions actually contain extracts of either plant. The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent; the milk has also been used to treat warts, as a folk remedy. Yellow or green dye colours can be obtained from the flowers but little colour can be obtained from the roots of the plant. T. officinale is food for the caterpillars of several Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), such as the tortrix moth Celypha rufana. See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on dandelions.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Asiatic Dayflower, Mouse Ears, Dew Herb, Widow’s Tears Scientific name: Commelina Communis (Introduced) Members of the dayflower family have jointed stems. The leaves are grasslike in shape and sheathed at the base. Flowers have three sepals, three petals and three stamens. The grow in clusters, often having only one open at a time. They wither within twenty-four hours. When picked, the flowers dissolve or become pulpy, a reason for sometimes being called Widow’s Tears. Blooming begins in May and ends in October.
Nickname: Carolina Elephant's foot, Leafy Elephantfoot Scientific name: Elephantopus carolinianus (Native) Elephantopus is a genus of at least twelve species of perennials in the daisy family. Several species are native to the southeastern United States, and at least one is native to India and the Himalayas. E. scaber is a traditional medicine and other species, including E. mollis and E. carolinianus, have also been investigated for medicinal properties. E. scaber contains elephantopin which is a germacranolide sesquiterpene lactone containing two lactone rings and an epoxide functional group, and it has shown to have an antitumour activity.
Nickname: Pink Ladies, Showy Evening Primrose, Pink Primrose Scientific name: Oenothera speciosa (Native) Oenothera speciosa is a species of evening primrose known by several common names, including pinkladies, pink evening primrose, showy evening primrose, Mexican primrose, and amapola. It is a herbaceous perennial wildflower native to 28 of the lower 48 U.S. states (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, the Carolinas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia) as well as Chihuahua and Coahuila in Mexico. The specific name, speciosa, means "showy". The pink primrose has glaborous (smooth) to pubescent stems that grow to 50 cm in height. The pubescent leaves are alternate with very short or no petiole (sessile), reaching 10 cm long to 4 cm broad. They are variable in shape, from linear to obovate, and are toothed or wavy-edged. It produces single, four-petaled, cup-shaped flowers on the upper leaf axils. These fragrant shell-pink flowers bloom throughout the summer into early autumn. The 1.5–2 in (3.8–5.1 cm) flowers start out white and grow pink as they age. The flower throats, as well as the stigmas and stamens, have a soft yellow color. It blooms both day and night, but typically in the pre-dawn hours, closing when the full sun hits them. They bloom from March to July, and occasionally in the fall. The flowers are frequented by several species of insect, but moths are the most common as the flowers are mostly open at night. The plant's wild habitat includes rocky prairies, open woodlands, slopes, roadsides, meadows and disturbed areas. While it makes an attractive garden plant, care should be taken with it as it can become invasive, spreading by runners and seeds. This drought-resistant plant prefers loose, fast-draining soil and full sun. This plant is also frequently referred to as a buttercup, though it is not a true buttercup (genus Ranunculus), or even in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Slender Gerardia, Slenderleaf False Foxglove Scientific name: Agalinis tenuifolia (Native) Agalinis Raf. (false foxglove) is a genus of about 70 species in North, Central, and South America that until recently was aligned with members of the family Scrophulariaceae. As a result of numerous molecular phylogenetic studies based on various chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) loci, it was shown to be more closely related to members of the Orobanchaceae. Agalinis spp. are hemiparasitic, which is a character that in part describes the Orobanchaceae. The first detailed study of this genus began with Francis W. Pennell around 1908, and his earliest major publication of the North American members of this genus appeared in 1913. Dr. Judith Canne-Hilliker began to revise Pennell's treatment in 1977. Her taxonomic, anatomical, and developmental studies have greatly enhanced our understanding of this sometimes perplexing group. In particular, her studies of the seed surfaces using electron microscopy has shown that the seeds are diagnostic for delimiting species and has resulted in a relignment of Pennell's classification of the group. In the 1990s Greg Dieringer investigated the reproductive ecology of several Agalinis spp., to include the self-incompatible Agalinis strictifolia and the autogamous beevisited Agalinis skinneriana. Much remains to be studied in this regard, however. One species of Agalinis, Agalinis acuta, is federally-listed. This is mainly due to continued habitat loss within its historically-known range. There are a number of species in North America that are ranked at the state and federal level. However, many of the species considered rare are ranked at the state level and represent species on the periphery of their range. There are a number of rare (and endemic) species that are not noted at the state or federal level, and the biogeography of this group in North America has yet to be studied in detail, and is poorly understood. Below is a list of currently-recognized species of Agalinis that occur in North America.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: False Garlic, Crowpoison Scientific name: Nothoscordum bivalve (Native) Nothoscordum bivalve is a species of flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae known by the common names crowpoison and false garlic. It is native to North America, where it can be found in the southcentral and southeastern United States. This perennial herb grows from a bulb about a centimeter wide. It produces one erect stem, or occasionally two. They grow up to 40 centimeters tall. There are one to four narrow leaves up to 30 centimeters long. The inflorescence is an umbel of 3 to 6 flowers, or sometimes up to 10. There are two bracts at the base of the umbel. The flower has six whitish tepals, each of which usually has a dark reddish midvein. The flower has no scent. The fruit is a capsule. This is a common plant which grows in parks and on roadsides, and soils which are not too dry or too wet.
Nickname: Cinnamon Fern Scientific name: Osmunda cinnamomea
Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, the Cinnamon Fern, is a species of eusporangiate fern in the family Osmundaceae. It is native to the Americas and eastern Asia, growing in swamps, bogs and moist woodlands. In North America it occurs from southern Labrador west to Ontario, and south through the eastern United States to eastern Mexico and the West Indies; in South America it occurs west to Peru and south to Paraguay. In Asia it occurs from southeastern Siberia south through Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan to Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Osmundastrum cinnamomeum is a deciduous herbaceous plant which produces separate fertile and sterile fronds. The sterile fronds are spreading, 30150 cm tall and 15-20 cm broad, pinnate, with pinnae 5-10 cm long and 2-2.5 cm broad, deeply lobed (so the fronds are nearly, but not quite, bipinnate). The fertile spore-bearing fronds are erect and shorter, 20-45 cm tall; they become cinnamon-colored, which gives the species its name. The fertile leaves appear first; their green color slowly becomes brown as the season progresses and the spores are dropped. The spore-bearing stems persist after the sterile fronds are killed by frost, until the next season. The spores must develop within a few weeks or fail. The Osmundastrum cinnamomeum fern forms huge clonal colonies in swampy areas. These ferns form massive rootstocks with densely-matted, wiry roots. This root mass is an excellent substrate for many epiphytal plants. They are often harvested as osmunda fiber and used horticulturally, especially in propagating and growing orchids. Cinnamon Ferns do not actually produce cinnamon. Traditionally, this plant has been classified as Osmunda cinnamomea L.. However, recent genetic and morphological evidence (Metzgar et al. 2008; Jud et al. 2008) clearly demonstrate that the cinnamon fern is a sister species to the entire rest of the living Osmundaceae. Cladistically, it is either necessary then to include all species of the Osmundaceae, including Todea and Leptopteris in the genus Osmunda, or else it is necessary to segregate the genus Osmundastrum. O. cinnamomeum is the sole living species in the genus, although it is possible that some additional fossils should be assigned to Osmundastrum. Formerly, some authors included the interrupted fern, Osmunda claytoniana, in the genus or section Osmundastrum, because of its gross apparent morphological similarities. However, detailed morphology and genetic analysis have proven that the interrupted fern is actually a true Osmunda. This is borne out by the fact that it is known to hybridize with the American royal fern, Osmunda spectabilis to produce Osmunda × ruggii in a family in which hybrids are rare, while Osmundastrum cinnamomeum has no known hybrids. Osmundastrum cinnamomeum is considered a living fossil because it has been identified in the geologic record as far back as 75 million years ago. The Asian and American populations of cinnamon fern are generally considered to be varieties of a single species, but some botanists classify them as separate species.
Nickname: Wild Blue Flax, Lewis Flax, Prairie Flax Scientific name: Linum lewisii (Native) Linum lewisii (Linum perenne var. lewisii) (Lewis flax, blue flax or prairie flax) is a perennial plant in the family Linaceae, native to western North America from Alaska south to Baja California, and from the Pacific Coast east to the Mississippi River. It grows on ridges and dry slopes, from sea level in the north up to 3000 m altitude in the south of the species' range. It is a slender herbaceous plant growing to 90 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2 cm long. The flowers are pale blue or lavender to white, 1.5–3 cm diameter, with five petals. Linum lewisii is extremely durable, even aggressive, in favorable conditions, successfully seeding even into established lawns.
Nickname: Eastern daisy fleabane, Fine Beam Scientific name: Erigeron annuus (Native) The fine beam ( Erigeron annuus ) and white fleabane or ryegrass fleabane , belongs to the family Compositae (Asteraceae). It is in this species is a neophyte in North America , since 18 Century as a former ornamental plant has run wild. The fine beam grows as an annual or biennial herbaceous plant with erect stems reaching heights between 50 inch stature and 100. With its deep and 1 m into the ground penetrating roots, he is considered a pioneer plant . The leaves are simple, the leaf margins serrate to almost smooth. The number of basket-shaped flower heads are part of a Schirmrispe arranged the terminal flower head is here dominated by the side. The bracts are green, hairy, almost equal in length and less. The ray floret (flower = Radiation) is white to pale purple and 4-8 (to 10) mm long and 0.6 to 1 mm wide. The yellow tubular flowers are 2 to 2.8 mm long. The pappus of the disc florets is very short and uniseriate. Flowering season is from June to October. This plant reproduces asexually a large extent, ie seeds without fertilization formed ( apomixis ). The fine jet preferred floodplain forests , wet meadows, ruderal . In Austria, he is often distracted and in all provinces. In Germany, penetration rates are rising roughly from south to north. In the Black Forest, he is often found in some northern German regions, it occurs only rarely. The fine beam is also common in Switzerland.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Fly Poison, Stagger Grass Scientific name: Amianthium muscitoxicum (Native) Amianthium is a monotypic genus of perennial plants growing from bulbs. It contains the single species Amianthium muscitoxicum, known in English as fly poison from a literal translation of the Latin muscitoxicum, and is noted for its pretty flowers and its toxic alkaloid content. While all parts of the plant are poisonous, the bulb is particularly toxic. The scientific name was given to it by Thomas Walter when he published his Flora Caroliniana in 1788. The epithet is sometimes spelt "muscaetoxicum". The bulb was mixed with sugar by American colonists to kill flies. The toxic alkaloids present in the roots and leaves include jervine and amianthine. Amianthium is selfincompatible and is pollinated mostly by beetles. It is native to eastern North America, as far north as Pennsylvania, west roughly to the Appalachian Mountains (with an additional area in the Ozarks), and south to northern Florida. Within the family Melanthiaceae, Amianthium is a member of the tribe Melanthieae. Molecular phylogenetic studies in the 21st century have resulted in number of changes to placements within this tribe. A. muscitoxicum has sometimes been placed in the genus Zigadenus (as Z. muscitoxicus); however its position as a separate genus has been confirmed. (See also Phylogeny of Melanthieae.)
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, Northern Fogfruit Scientific name: Phyla lanceolata (Native) Phyla lanceolata is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family known by the common name lanceleaf fogfruit or frogfruit. It is native to the southern half of North America, including much of the United States except for the northwestern quadrant, and much of Mexico. It is resident in many types of moist and wet habitat, including disturbed areas, such as irrigation ditches. It is a perennial herb growing decumbent in a matlike form with spreading, trailing stems up to half a meter long, sometimes rooting at nodes. The lance-shaped or nearly oval leaves are up to 6 centimeters long and have toothed or partially toothed edges. The inflorescence, arising on a peduncle several centimeters tall, is a spherical spike of flowers which elongates into a cylindrical form as the fruits develop. The tiny, densely packed flowers are white, sometimes tinged with blue or purple.
Nickname: Wild Geranium Scientific name: Geranium maculatum (Native) Geranium maculatum, the Spotted Geranium, Wood Geranium, or Wild Geranium is a woodland perennial plant native to eastern North America, from southern Manitoba and southwestern Quebec south to Alabama and west to Oklahoma and South Dakota. It is known as Spotted Cranesbill or Wild Cranesbill in Europe, but the Wood Cranesbill is another plant, the related G. sylvatium (a European native called "Woodland Geranium" in North America). Colloquial names are Alum Root, Alum Bloom and Old Maid's Nightcap. It grows in dry to moist woods and is normally abundant when found. It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 60 cm tall, producing upright usually unbranched stems and flowers in spring to early summer. The leaves are palmately lobed with five or seven deeply cut lobes, 10–12.5 cm broad, with a petiole up to 30 cm long arising from the rootstock. They are deeply parted into three or five divisions, each of which is again cleft and toothed. The flowers are 2.5–4 cm diameter, with five rose-purple, pale or violet-purple (rarely white) petals and ten stamens; they appear from April to June in loose clusters of two to five at the top of the stems. The fruit capsule, which springs open when ripe, consists of five cells each containing one seed joined to a long beak-like column 2–3 cm long (resembling a crane's bill) produced from the center of the old flower. The rhizome is long, and 5 to 10 cm thick, with numerous branches. The rhizomes are covered with scars, showing the remains of stems of previous years growth. When dry it has a somewhat purplish color internally. Plants go dormant in early summer after seed is ripe and dispersed. The plant has been used in herbal medicine, and is also grown as a garden plant. Wild Geranium is considered an astringent, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. The Mesquakie Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Tall Goldenrod, Late Goldenrod, Canada Goldenrod Scientific name: Solidago altissima (Native) Solidago altissima, late goldenrod, is a species of goldenrod native to much of North America. It is common in much of its range, and fairly tolerant of landscapes which have been disturbed by humans. It has been introduced to many parts of the world. S. altissima is one to two meters tall, with fine hairs on the stem. The leaves are located along the stem, not in a rosette near the ground. S. altissima is self-incompatible. S. altissima has diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid populations and morphological variations which has generally led to classifying it into two subspecies, which roughly speaking can be identified as being from the eastern and western parts of the continent. At least in the midwest, it is common to have plants of different ploidy interspersed, with little apparent tendency for one type to dominate even a fairly local geographical area. Within Solidago, S. altissima is part of the Solidago canadensis species complex, which is classified in the subsection Triplinervae. S. altissima has sometimes been classified as part of S. canadensis.
Nickname: Smooth Horsetail, Smooth Scouring Rush Scientific name: Equisetum laevigatum (Native) Equisetum laevigatum is a species of horsetail known by the common names smooth scouring rush and smooth horsetail. This plant is native to much of North America except for northern Canada and southern Mexico. It is usually found in moist areas in sandy and gravelly substrates. It may be annual or perennial. It grows narrow green stems sometimes reaching heights exceeding 1.5 meters. The leaves at the nodes are small, scale-like brownish sheaths and there are occasionally small, spindly branches. The stems are topped with rounded coneshaped sporangia.
Nickname: Wild Hydrangea, Smooth Hydrangea, Sevenbark Scientific name: Hydrangea arborescens (Native) Hydrangea arborescens, commonly known as Smooth Hydrangea, Wild Hydrangea, or Sevenbark, is a small to medium sized, deciduous shrub up to 3 m tall that is native to the eastern United States. Smooth hydrangea is widely distributed across the eastern United States—from southern New York to the panhandle of Florida, west to eastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas. It is mainly found in moist soils under a hardwood forest canopy and is often common along woodland road banks and streams. It is common in the Delaware River Valley and in the Appalachian Mountains. At one time both ashy hydrangea (Hydrangea cinerea) and silverleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea radiata) were considered subspecies of smooth hydrangea. However, most taxonomist now consider them to be separate species. The inflorescence of smooth hydrangea is a corymb. The showy, sterile flowers are usually absent or if present they are usually less than 1 cm in diameter. Flowering occurs May to July. Fruit is a ribbed brown capsule about 2 mm long; many are produced. The leaves of smooth hydrangea are large (8 to 18 cm long), opposite, serrated, ovate, and deciduous. The lower leaf surface is glabrous or with inconspicuous fine hairs, appearing green; trichomes of the lower surface are restricted to the midrib and major veins. The stem bark has a peculiar tendency to peel off in several successive thin layers with different colors, hence the common name "sevenbark". Smooth hydrangea can spread rapidly by stolons to form colonies. This attractive native shrub is often cultivated for ornamental use. 'Annabelle' is the best known cultivar of this species; it is one of the most cold hardy of the hydrangeas. The cultivar ‘Grandiflora’ has flowers that resemble snowballs, similar to Viburnum plicatum. Smooth hydrangea was used medicinally by Native Americans, and later, by early settlers for treatment of kidney and bladder stones.
Nickname: Indian Pipe, Ghost Flower, Ghost Plant Scientific name: Monotropa uniflora (Native) Monotropa uniflora, also known as the Ghost Plant, Indian Pipe, or Corpse Plant is a herbaceous perennial plant, formerly classified in the family Monotropaceae, but now included within the Ericaceae. It is native to temperate regions of Asia, North America and northern South America, but with large gaps between areas. It is generally scarce or rare in occurrence but is common or even ubiquitous in some areas, such as many parts of eastern North America. Unlike most plants, it is white and does not contain chlorophyll. Instead of generating energy from sunlight, it is parasitic, more specifically a myco-heterotroph. Its hosts are certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees. Since it is not dependent on sunlight to grow, it can grow in very dark environments as in the understory of dense forest. The complex relationship that allows this plant to grow also makes propagation difficult. The plant is sometimes completely white but commonly has black flecks and a pale pink coloration. Rare variants may have a deep red color. The stems reach heights of 10–30 cm, clothed with small scale-leaves 5–10 mm long. As its scientific name suggests, and unlike the related Monotropa hypopitys (but like the closely related Monotropastrum humile), the stems bear only a single flower, 10–15 mm long with 3-8 petals. It flowers from early summer to early autumn. Like most mycoheterotrophic plants, M. uniflora associates with a small range of fungal hosts, all of them members of Russulaceae.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Tall Ironweed, Giant Ironweed, Ironweed Scientific name: Vernonia gigantea (Native) Ironweed grows 2-4 feet tall and has numerous leaves 3-4 inches long and ½ inch wide attached directly to the stem. It branches considerably at the top, each stem with a round head of purple flowers. Buds are creamcolored before they open. This attractive plant is worthy of cultivation. One or more species of ironweed, all with similar flowers, are found in all parts of the state blooming from June to November. The plant is perennial.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Jimsonweed, Jamestown Weed, Mad Apple, Moon Flower, Stinkwort, Thorn Apple, Devil's Trumpet Scientific name: Datura stramonium (Introduced)
Datura stramonium, known by the common names Jimson weed or datura is a plant in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, which is believed to have originated in the Americas, but is now found around the world. For centuries, datura has been used as an herbal medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used spiritually for the intense visions it produces. However the tropane alkaloids which are responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalizations and deaths. D. stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect annual, freely-branching herb that forms a bush up to 2–5 ft (1–1.5 m) tall. The root is long, thick, fibrous and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches, and at each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower. The leaves are approximately 3-8 inches long, smooth, toothed, soft, irregularly undulate. The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green. The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried. D. stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 2.5 to 3.5 in. long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by 5 sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has six prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance and providing food for nocturnal moths. The egg-shaped seed capsule is walnut-sized and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small black seeds. Datura has long been used as an extremely effective treatment for asthma symptoms. The active anti-asthmatic agent is atropine, which causes paralysis of the pulmonary branches of the lungs, eliminating the spasms that cause the asthma attacks. The leaves are generally smoked either in a cigarette or a pipe. This practice of smoking datura to relieve asthma has its origins in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India. After this was discovered during the late 18th century by James Anderson, the English Physician-General of the East India Company, the practice quickly became popular in Europe. The Zuni used to use datura as an analgesic, to render patients unconscious while broken bones were set. The Chinese also used it in this manner, as a form of anaesthesia during surgery. Atropine and scopalamine (both of which are found in very high concentrations in datura) are muscarinic antagonists which can be used to treat Parkinson's disease and motion sickness, and to inhibit parasympathetic stimulation of the urinary tract, respiratory tract, GI tract, heart and eye. Datura can be used to assist in the process of breaking drug addictions, by reducing the symptoms of delirium tremens and morphine withdrawals. Other medicinal uses for datura included stimulating abortions, providing relief from sore throat or toothache, and getting rid of parasites. Datura should be avoided by patients with heart problems, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, urinary difficulties, fluid build up in the lungs, or bowel obstructions.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Kudzu Scientific name: Pueraria montana (Introduced)
Pueraria montana is a species of plant in the botanical family Fabaceae. At least three sub-species (alternatively called varieties) are known. It is closely related to other species in the genus Pueraria (P. edulis, P. phaseoloides and P. thomsonii) and the common name kudzu is used for all of these species and hybrids between them. The morphological differences between them are subtle, they can breed with each other, and it appears that introduced kudzu populations in the United States have ancestry from more than one of the species. It is an seasonal climbing plant, growing high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as ground cover where there are no vertical surfaces. It is a perennial vine with tuberous roots and rope-like, dark brown stems to 20 m (65 ft) long. It grow up to 20 m per year and can achieve a growth height of 30 m. It has herbaceous stems markedly hairy. Pueraria montana is native to Southeast Asia, primarily subtropical and temperate regions of China, Japan, and Korea, with trifoliate leaves composed of three leaflets. Each leaflet is large and ovate with two to three lobes each and hair on the underside. The leaves have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, which can supply up to 95% of leaf nitrogen to the plant in poor soils. Along the vines are nodes, points at which stems or tendrils can propagate to increase support and attach to structures. As a twining vine, kudzu uses stems or tendrils that can extend from any node on the vine to attach to and climb most surfaces. In addition, the nodes of the kudzu vine have the ability to root when exposed to soil, further anchoring the vine to the ground. The roots are tuberous and are high in starch and water content, and the twining of the plant allows for less carbon concentration in the construction of woody stems and greater concentration in roots, which aids root growth. The roots can account for up to 40% of total plant biomass. Like other exotic species, the invasion is due to human actions. It is labeled as an invasive species in many parts of the United States. Kudzu are plants adapted to the drought, only above ground portions are damaged by frost. It forms new perennial root crowns from stem nodes touching the ground, with thick storage roots growing as deep as 1 m. Pueraria montana with a great capacity of adaptation, find more favorable conditions for development and a similar habitat to their native habitat. The ecological requirements of the species, are those of the subtropical and temperate habitat areas. Like most of their counterparts in the world, it is a vigorous species with a great ability to populate the habitat that is conducive. It responded to favorable climatic periods and expanded across the available habitat. It occur as opportunistic species across wide distribution with close vicariant relatives and few species, indicating the recent divergence of this species. The expansion is favored by seeds spread by mammals and birds. In Europe Pueraria montana grows in several places in warm regions on Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, Switzerland and Italy. During World War II, kudzu was introduced to Vanuatu and Fiji by United States Armed Forces to serve as camouflage for equipment. It is now a major weed. Pueraria montana is also becoming a problem in northeastern Australia. In the United States, Pueraria montana is extensively reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Of these states, three in the southeast have the heaviest infestations: Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Dwarf Larkspur, Spring Larkspur Scientific name: Delphinium tricorne (Native) Delphinium tricorne is a perennial flowering plant, known also by the common name dwarf larkspur, in the family Ranunculaceae. It sends up long, stringy thin stems with few leaves and bears attractive flowers in shades of blue. It is found throughout the eastern United States and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. D. tricorne is one of the Delphinium species mentioned by Chesnut in an old report in connection with livestock poisoning in the United States. The diterpenoid alkaloids lycoctonine and tricornine (otherwise known as lycoctonine-18-O-acetate) have been isolated from D. tricorne. The toxicology and pharmacology of lycoctonine have been quite well studied, but there is only limited information available concerning the biological properties of tricornine. Both alkaloids have neuro-muscular blocking properties, and D. tricorne should be treated as a potentially poisonous plant.
Nickname: Sericea Lespedeza Scientific name: Lespedeza cuneata (Introduced)
Lespedeza cuneata is a species of flowering plant in the legume family known by the common names Chinese bushclover and sericea lespedeza, or just sericea. It is native to Asia and eastern Australia and it is present elsewhere as an introduced species and sometimes an invasive plant. This plant is a perennial herb with branching stems reaching a maximum height around two meters. It grows from a woody taproot which may exceed one meter in length and which is topped with a woody caudex. The stems are covered densely in leaves, which are each divided into leaflets up to 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) long. Flowers occur singly or in clusters of up to three in the leaf axils. Some of the flowers are cleistogamous, remaining closed and self-pollinating. The open flowers are purple, cream, white, or yellowish in color. The fruit is a legume pod containing one seed. This plant has been introduced to the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. It was first planted in the US in North Carolina in 1896. It was used to control erosion and to revegetate abandoned mine sites and was used as forage for livestock. It was useful in areas susceptible to drought because its deep roots can keep it alive. A number of cultivars have been developed, including "Arlington", "Serala", and "Interstate". The plant is considered invasive in many areas. When it invades a habitat it reduces the abundance and diversity of native plants and can make the area less attractive to wildlife. It may inhibit the growth of tree seedlings. It may be allelopathic, producing substances that chemically inhibit the growth of other plants. Possible biological pest control agents include the Lespedeza webworm (Tetralopha scortealis). It will probably not be approved for use, however, because it does not discriminate between native and invasive Lespedezas. Grazing may also be a way to control the plant, especially by goats.
Nickname: Downy Lobelia Scientific name: Lobelia puberula (Native)
Lobelia is a genus of flowering plant comprising 360–400 species, with a subcosmopolitan distribution primarily in tropical to warm temperate regions of the world, a few species extending into cooler temperate regions. English names include Lobelia, Asthma Weed, Barfweed, Indian Tobacco, Heaveleaf, Pukeweed, Retchwort, Fool's Bane, and Vomitwort. Some botanists place the genus and its relatives in the separate family Lobeliaceae, others as a subfamily Lobelioideae within the Campanulaceae. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group did not make a firm decision in this, listing the genus under both families. Lobelia is probably the base form from which many other lobelioid genera are derived; it is therefore highly paraphyletic and not a good genus. For example, the Hawaiian species (see Hawaiian lobelioids) originated from a single introduction to Hawaii 15 million years ago, probably from an Asian Lobelia in Lobelia subg. Tupa. However, the group has not yet been studied adequately to rearrange the classification. Lobelia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Setaceous Hebrew Character. The genus is named after the Belgian botanist Matthias de Lobel (1538–1616) Native Americans used lobelia to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative. The species used most commonly in modern herbalism is Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco). However, there are adverse effects that limit the use of lobelia.Extracts of Lobelia inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Furthermore, lobeline can be modified to lobelane which decreased methamphetamine self-administration in rats. It therefore opens a perspective in methamphetamine dependency treatment. Lobelia has been used as "asthmador" in Appalachian folk medicine Two species, Lobelia siphilitica and Lobelia cardinalis, were once considered a cure for syphilis. Herbalist Samuel Thomson popularized medicinal use of lobelia in the United States in the early 19th century, as well as other medicinal plants like goldenseal. One species, Lobelia chinensis, is used as one of the fifty fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Several studies show that lobelia is ineffective in helping people to quit smoking.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Wood Betony; Canadian Lousewort Scientific name: Pedicularis canadensis (Native)
Pedicularis canadensis is a flowering plant in the Orobanchaceae family and is also known as Wood Betony, Beefsteak Plant, Canadian Lousewort, High Heal-all, Snaffles and Canada Lousewort. It is found in thickets and dry, open wooded areas throughout Canada and the United States. It is a low, hairy plant with a broad whorl of tubular, hooded flowers on top of a segmented stalk. It has long, soft, hairy leaves (many are basal, growing tufted from roots), some 5 to 15 inches long, deeply incised and toothed, often reddish. A favorite of bees, its flowers bloom from April through June. The flowers range in color from a greenish-yellow to purplish-red, clustered on short, dense spikes. The fruit is a long brown seed capsule. Some Native Americans used it to cure rattlesnake bites._ The Meskwaki and Potawatomi would use the entire plant to make a tea used to reduce internal swelling._ The root was used in a poultice for external use. The Menomini called the root "Enticer Root" and carried it as a charm when determined on seducing the opposite sex. The root was also used to heal broken marriages by placing it in food the couple would both eat, hoping its magic would rekindle romance.
Nickname: False Solomon's Seal, Feathery False Lily of the Valley, Solomon's Plume Scientific name: Maianthemum racemosum (Native)
Maianthemum racemosum (Treacleberry, False Solomon's Seal, Solomon's plume or False Spikenard; syn. Smilacina racemosa, Vagnera racemosa) is a species of flowering plant, native to North America. It is a woodland herbaceous perennial plant growing to 50–90 cm tall, with alternate, oblong-lanceolate leaves 7–15 cm long and 3–6 cm broad. The flowers are produced on a 10–15 cm panicle, each flower with six white tepals 3–6 mm long blooming in late spring. The plants produce green fruits that are round and turn red in late summer. It grows from cylindrical rhizomes about 0.3 m long. The young shoots, while still tender and stripped of their leaves, can be simmered in water and eaten. Their delicate flavor is somewhat reminiscent of asparagus. However, they should not be collected for this purpose unless they are obviously abundant. Although the young shoots are edible, the plant becomes too fibrous and bitter to enjoy after it completes flowering and seed setting stages. The Ojibwa Indians harvested the roots of this plant and cooked them in lye water overnight to remove the bitterness and neutralize their strong laxative qualities. This plant should be consumed in moderation, as it can act as a strong laxative in sensitive individuals._ A poultice made from the roots of this plant was used as an effective treatment for sunburns by American Indians._ The roots of this plant were often dried and then smoked by several Eastern Native American tribes as a treatment for hyperactivity in children and emotional depression._ The plant was also used by Native Americans as a cough suppressant. When young, Maianthemum racemosum may closely resemble members of the genus Veratrum, a highly toxic plant to which it is distantly related. Consequently, this plant should not be consumed unless identification is positive.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Common Milkweed, Silkweed Scientific name: Asclepias syriaca (Native)
Asclepias syriaca, commonly called Common Milkweed, Butterfly flower, Silkweed, Silky Swallow-wort, Virginia Silkweed, is a herbaceous plant species. It is in the genus Asclepias, making it a type of milkweed. This species is native to most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, excluding the drier parts of the Prairies. It grows in sandy soils and appreciates lots of sunlight. It was one of the earliest North American species described in Cornut's 1635 Canadensium plantarum historia. The specific name was reused by Linnaeus due to Cornut's confusion with a species from Asia Minor. Common milkweed is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1-2 m tall from a rhizome. The stem and all parts of the plants produce a white latex when broken. The leaves are opposite, simple broad ovate-lanceolate, 7-25 cm long and 3-12 cm broad, usually with an undulate margin and a red-colored main vein. They have a very short petiole and a velvety underside. The flowers are grouped in several spherical umbels with numerous flowers in each umbel. The individual flowers are small, 1-2 cm diameter, perfumed, with five cornate hoods. The seeds are attached to long, white flossy hairs and encased in large follicles.’ The plant's latex contains large quantities of glycosides, making the leaves and seed pods toxic for sheep and other large mammals, and potentially humans (though large quantities of the foul-tasting parts would need to be eaten). The young shoots, young leaves, flower buds and immature fruits are all edible raw. Concerns about milkweed bitterness and toxicity can be traced back to Euell Gibbons, author of Stalking the Wild Asparagus (1962). It is theorized that Gibbons inadvertently prepared dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), a poisonous look-alike instead. He devised a method to remove the bitterness and toxicity by plunging the young shoots into boiling water (not cold) and cooking for one minute, repeating the procedure at least three times to make the plant safe to eat. Gibbons' method was copied from book to book, dominating edible plants literature for forty years. Most modern foragers consider the bitterness/toxicity issue a myth. The plants have no bitterness when tasted raw, and can be cooked like asparagus, with no special processing. Failed attempts have been made to exploit rubber (from the latex) and fiber (from the seed's floss) production from the plant industrially. The fluffy seed hairs have been used as the traditional background for mounted butterflies. The compressed floss has a beautiful silk-like sheen. The plant has also been explored for commercial use of its bast (inner bark) fiber which is both strong and soft. U. S. Department of Agriculture studies in the 1890s and 1940s found that Milkweed has more potential for commercial processing than any other indigenous bast fiber plant, with estimated yields as high as hemp and quality as good as flax. Both the bast fiber and the floss were used historically by Native Americans for cordage and textiles. Milkweed oil from the seeds can be easily converted into cinnamic acid, which is a very potent sunscreen when used at a 1-5% concentration.
The flowers often constitute small traps for insects who cannot take off again. Several insects live off the plant, including the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus), the Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetraophtalmus), Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii), the Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) and the weevil Rhyssomatus lineaticollis. The flower nectar has a high glucose content and was used by natives as a sweetener. Deforestation due to European settlement may have expanded the range and density of milkweed. The plant can become invasive and often acts as a weed. It is naturalized in several areas outside of its native range, including Oregon and parts of Europe.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Carolina Horse Nettle, Bull Nettle, Devil's Tomato Scientific name: Solanum carolinense (Native)
Carolina Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is not a true nettle, but a member of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, native to southeastern United States that has spread widely throughout North America. This plant has hard spines along the stems that can penetrate the skin and break off, causing much pain. "Horsenettle" is also written "horse nettle" or "horse-nettle", though USDA publications usually use the one-word form. Though there are other horsenettle nightshades, S. carolinense is the species most widely known simply as "the horsenettle". It is also known as Radical Weed or Sand Brier (or "briar"), while more ambiguous names are "bull nettle", "tread-softly" and "apple of Sodom". Names like Devil's Tomato and particularly "wild tomato" are better avoided, as the fruits of Carolina Horsenettle are poisonous and may kill a human who eats of them. Leaves are alternate, elliptic-oblong to oval, and each is irregularly lobed or coarsely toothed. Both surfaces are covered with fine hairs. The flowers have five petals and are usually white or purple with yellow centers, though there is a blue variant that resembles the tomato flower. The fruits also resemble tomatoes. The immature fruit is dark green with light green stripes, turning yellow and wrinkled as it matures. Each fruit contains around 60 seeds. It flowers throughout the summer, from April to October. Most parts of the plant are poisonous to varying degrees due to the presence of solanine which is a toxic alkaloid and one of the plant's natural defenses, but while ingestion of the unripe fruit causes abdominal pain and may potentially cause circulatory and respiratory depression, the mature fruit is reputedly non-poisonous or less poisonous. These plants can be found growing in pastures, roadsides, railroad margins, and in disturbed areas and waste ground. They grow to about 1 m tall, but are typically shorter, existing as subshrubs. They prefer sandy or loamy soils. Carolina horsenettle is considered a noxious weed in several US states. It can spread vegetatively by underground rhizomes as well as by seed. It is resistant to many herbicides; in fact, herbicide use often selects for horsenettle by removing competing weeds. It is an especially despised weed by gardeners who hand-weed, as the spines tend to penetrate the skin and then break off when the plant is grasped. The deep root also makes it difficult to remove. This plant is also seen as a beneficial weed: the ripe fruit of this plant contains relatively little solanine, and is cooked by herb doctors to use as a sedative or antispasmodic. The plant also provides ground cover for beneficial predatory beetles, making it potentially beneficial in gardens.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Purple Passionflower, Maypop Scientific name: Passiflora Incarnata (Native) The passionflower (also referred to as the Maypop) is a vine that can climb over fences and bushes or run along the ground. This name, “passionflower”, comes from early explorers, many of whom were priests, who saw in the flowers the crown of thorns of the crucifixion. Principally, the vines climb by tendrils and the plant bears alternate, petioled leaves and axillary flowers. Passionflowers can be identified by their fringed crown in addition to five sepals, five petals, five stamens and three styles. The leaves are alternate and deeply lobed and, to the inexperienced eye, may appear to be three leaflets. The flower is an average of three inches across; the fruit is oval, green and slightly larger than a hen egg. When ripened the fruit becomes tan in color and is also very rough and deflated. The inside of this lemon-shaped fruit is edible. Flowering begins in May and ends in August.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Downy Phlox Scientific name: Phlox pilosa (Native) Downy Phlox can reach 60 cm in height. The stems are upright and sometimes branch near the top. Leaves and stems are covered with hairs and the plant is sticky to the touch. Leaves are long and narrow; they can be up to thirteen cm long and one cm wide. The flowers form a cluster at the top of the stem. They have five lobes and are about three centimeters across. Blooms may be pale pink, lavender, or purple.
Nickname: Deptford Pink, Mountain Pink Scientific name: Dianthus armeria (Native) Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) is a species of Dianthus ("pink") native to most of Europe, from Portugal north to southern Scotland and southern Finland, and east to Ukraine and the Caucasus. It is a herbaceous annual or biennial plant growing to 60 cm tall. The leaves are hairy, dark green, slender, up to 5 cm long. The flowers are 8–15 mm diameter, with five petals, bright reddish-pink; they are produced in small clusters at the top of the stems from early to late summer. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant in gardens. Populations have been introduced to and have become naturalized in New Zealand and much of North America. Deptford Pink is also sometimes called mountain pink, but this may refer to several different species.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: American Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Inkberry, Poke Sallet Scientific name: Phytolacca americana (Native)
American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a large semi-succulent herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 10 feet (3 meters) in height. It is native to eastern North America, the Midwest, and the Gulf Coast, with more scattered populations in the far West. It is also known as Virginia poke, American nightshade, cancer jalap, coakum, garget, inkberry, pigeon berry, pocan, pokeroot, pokeweed, pokeberry, redweed, scoke, red ink plant and chui xu shang lu (in Chinese medicine). Parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans, and it is considered a major pest by farmers. Nonetheless, some parts can be used as food, medicine or poison. The plant has a large white taproot, green or red stems, and large, simple leaves. White flowers are followed by purple to almost black berries, which are a good food source for songbirds such as Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Brown Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird. Perennial herbaceous plant which can reach a height of 10 feet, but is usually four to six feet. The stem is often red as the plant matures. Upright, erect central stem early in the season. Changes to a spreading, horizontal form later in the season with the weight of the berries. Plant dies back to roots each winter. Stem has chambered pith. The leaves are alternate with coarse texture with moderate porosity. Leaves can reach sixteen inches in length. Each leaf is entire. Leaves are medium green and smooth with what some characterize as an unpleasant odor. The flowers have 5 regular parts with upright stamens and are up to 0.2 inches wide. They have white petal-like sepals without true petals, on white pedicles and peduncles in an upright or drooping raceme, which darken as the plant fruits. Blooms first appear in early summer and continue into early fall. A shiny dark purple berry held in racemous clusters on pink pedicels with a pink peduncle. Pedicles without berries have a distinctive rounded five part calyx. Berries are pomes, round with a flat indented top and bottom. Immature berries are green, turning white and then blackish purple. Thick central taproot which grows deep and spreads horizontally. Rapid growth. Tan cortex, white pulp, moderate number of rootlets. Transversely cut root slices show concentric rings. No nitrogen fixation ability. Pokeweed poisonings were common in eastern North America during the 19th century, especially from the use of tinctures as antirheumatic preparations and from ingestion of berries and roots that were mistaken for parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke, or horseradish. Deaths are currently uncommon, although there are cases of emesis and catharsis, but at least one death of a child who consumed crushed seeds in a juice has occurred. The toxic components of the plant are saponins based on the triterepene genins phytolaccagenin, jaligonic acid, phytolaccagenic acid (phytolaccinic acid), esculentic acid, and pokeberrygenin. These include phytolaccosides A, B, D, E, and G, and phytolaccasaponins B, E, and G. Phytolaccigenin causes hemagglutination.
Samantha R. Selman
Queen Anne's Lace
Nickname: Queen Anne's Lace, Wild Carrot Scientific name: Daucus carota (Introduced)
Daucus carota (common names include wild carrot, (UK) bird's nest, bishop's lace, and (US) Queen Anne's lace) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe, southwest Asia and naturalized to North America and Australia; domesticated carrots are cultivars of a subspecies, Daucus carota subsp. sativus. Daucus carota is a variable biennial plant, usually growing up to 1 m tall and flowering from June to August. The umbels are claret-coloured or pale pink before they open, then bright white and rounded when in full flower, measuring 3–7 cm wide with a festoon of bracts beneath; finally, as they turn to seed, they contract and become concave like a bird's nest. The dried umbels detach from the plant, becoming tumbleweeds. Similar in appearance to the deadly poison hemlock, Daucus carota is distinguished by a mix of bi-pinnate and tri-pinnate leaves, fine hairs on its stems and leaves, a root that smells like carrots, and occasionally a single dark red flower in its center. Like the cultivated carrot, the wild carrot root is edible while young, but quickly becomes too woody to consume. The crushed seeds were once thought to be a form of birth control and its use for this purpose was first described by Hippocrates over 2,000 years ago. Research conducted on mice has offered a degree of confirmation for this use—wild carrot was found to disrupt the ovum implantation process, which reinforces its reputation as a contraceptive. Chinese studies have also indicated the seeds block progesterone synthesis, which could explain this effect. As with all herbal remedies and wild food gathering, extra caution should be used, especially since the wild carrot bears close resemblance to a dangerous species, poison hemlock. The leaves of the wild carrot can cause phytophotodermatitis, so caution should also be used when handling the plant. If used as a dyestuff, the flowers give a creamy, off-white color. The wild carrot, when freshly cut, will draw or change color depending on the color of the water in which it is held. Note that this effect is only visible on the "head" or flower of the plant. Carnations also exhibit this effect. This occurrence is a popular science demonstration in primary grade school.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Helmet Flower, Hissopleaf Skullcap, Helmet Skullcap, Hyssop Skullcap Scientific name: Scutellaria integrifolia (Native) Scutellaria is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It contains about 300 species, which are commonly known as skullcaps. The generic name is derived from the Latin word scutella, meaning "a small dish," referring to the shape of the calyx. The genus is widespread in temperate regions and on tropical mountains. Most are annual or perennial herbaceous plants from 5 to 100 cm (2.0 to 39 in) tall, but a few are subshrubs; some are aquatic. They have four-angled stems and opposite leaves. The flowers have upper and lower lips. The genus is most easily recognized by the typical shield on the calyx that has also prompted its common name. Scutellaria root (Huang Qin, Radix of Scutellaria baicalensis) has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine to support the immune system. Baicalein, a major flavonoid isolated from Scutellaria, was shown to have cardiovascular effects in in vitro. Research also shows that Scutellaria root modulates inflammatory activity in viro to inhibit nitric oxide (NO), cytokine, chemokine and growth factor production in macrophages. Isolated chemical compounds including wogonin, wogonoside, and 3,5,7,2',6'-pentahydroxyl flavanone found in Scutellaria have been shown to inhibit histamine and leukotriene release.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Bitterweed, Yellowdicks Scientific name: Helenium amarum (Native)
Helenium amarum is a species of annual herb in the daisy family known by the common names yellowdicks, yellow sneezeweed, and bitter sneezeweed. It is native to much of the southeastern United States and northern Mexico, and it is present elsewhere in North America as an introduced species. This is a multibranched bushy erect plant reaching 20 to 70 centimeters in height and thickly foliated in narrow to threadlike leaves. The tops of stem branches hold inflorescences of many daisylike flower heads. Each head has a rounded center of golden yellow disc florets and a fringe of usually lighter yellow ray florets which are reflexed away from the center. The fruit is a tiny achene about a millimeter long. This herb is weedy in some areas. The plant is somewhat toxic to mammals and insects due to the presence of the lactone tenulin.
Nickname: Bull Thistle, Spear Thistle Scientific name: Cirsium vulgare (Introduced)
Cirsium vulgare (Spear Thistle) is a species of the genus Cirsium, native throughout most of Europe (north to 66°N, locally 68°N), western Asia (east to the Yenisei Valley), and northwestern Africa (Atlas Mountains). It is also naturalised in North America and Australia and is as an invasive weed in some areas. It is a tall biennial or short-lived monocarpic thistle, forming a rosette of leaves and a taproot up to 70 cm long in the first year, and a flowering stem 1–1.5 m tall in the second (rarely third or fourth) year. The stem is winged, with numerous longitudinal spine-tipped wings along its full length. The leaves are stoutly spined, grey-green, deeply lobed; the basal leaves up to 15–25 cm long, with smaller leaves on the upper part of the flower stem; the leaf lobes are spear-shaped (from which the English name derives). The inflorescence is 2.5–5 cm diameter, pink-purple, with all the florets of similar form (no division into disc and ray florets). The seeds are 5 mm long, with a downy pappus, which assists in wind dispersal. As in other species of Cirsium (but unlike species in the related genus Carduus), the pappus hairs are feathery with fine side hairs. Spear Thistle is often a ruderal species, colonising bare disturbed ground, but also persists well on heavily grazed land as it is unpalatable to most grazing animals. The flowers are a rich nectar source used by numerous pollinating insects, including Honey bees, Wool-carder bees, and many butterflies. The seeds are eaten by Goldfinches, Linnets and Greenfinches. The seeds are dispersed by wind, mud, water, and possibly also by ants; they do not show significant long-term dormancy, most germinating soon after dispersal and only a few lasting up to four years in the soil seed bank. Seed is also often spread by human activity such as hay bales. Spear Thistle is designated an "injurious weed" under the UK Weeds Act 1959, and a noxious weed in Australia and in nine US states. Spread is only by seed, not by root fragments as in the related Creeping Thistle C. arvense. It is best cleared from land by hoeing and deep cutting of the taproot before seeds mature; regular cultivation also prevents its establishment. The stems can be peeled and then steamed or boiled. The tap roots can be eaten raw or cooked, but only on young thistles that have not flowered yet.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Pale Touch-me-not, Pale Snapweed Scientific name: Impatiens pallida (Native) Pale Jewelweed or Yellow Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) is a flowering plant native to the United States. It grows in moist to wet soils, generally alongside the closely related Impatiens capensis, producing flowers from midsummer through fall. In some cases, the flower resembles a tulip. Along with other species of jewelweed or "touch-me-not", it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose. (Image by Samantha R. Selman; taken in Cordell, OK)
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Toadshade Trillium Scientific name: Trillium sessile (Native) Trillium sessile (Toadshade or Sessile-flowered wake-robin) is a perennial spring wildflower native to the central part of the eastern United States and the Ozarks. It is a small trillium (rarely over 9 cm tall). Toadshade can be distinguished from other trilliums by its single foul smelling, stalkless, flower nestled in the middle of its three leaves. The three maroon petals, maintain a "closed" posture throughout its presence, the petals are occasionally pale green. The leaves are sometimes, but not always mottled with shades of light and dark green. Its species name comes from the Latin word sessilis which means low sitting, and refers to its stalkless flower. T. sessile is most common in rich moist woods but also can be found in rich forests, limestone woods, flood plains, along fence rows. It is persistent under light pasturing. The foul smelling flowers attract its primary pollinators, flies and beetles. The flowers are present from April-June. This plant is clump forming from a thick rhizome. The above ground parts of the plant die back by mid-summer, but may persist longer in areas that do not completely dry out. Toadshade is listed as state threatened in Michigan and state endangered in New York; both states are on the northern edge of its range. Though some accounts indicate that the cooked greens of this plant may be edible as an emergency food, however the entire plant, and especially the root is known to induce vomiting. The fruits are considered a suspected poison. This plant has been used medicinally to treat tumors. T. sessile is sometimes cited as having been used as a poultice for boils and as a panacea-like decoction, but this is doubtful as it is attributed to Native American tribes (the Yuki and Wailaki) of California, where this plant is not known to occur. This plant is sometimes used in woodland wildflower gardens. Like many trilliums, T. sessile often does not transplant successfully from the wild.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Crown Vetch, Purple Crown Vetch, Axseed, Hive Vine Scientific name: Coronilla varia (Introduced) Purple vetch has escaped cultivation and grows along the highways and pastures of Oklahoma. It climbs and clings by tendrils and forms a dense, tangled mass, with many flowers and heavy foliage. The leaves have 5-10 pairs of leaflets. Flowers are abundant, growing directly from the leaf axil on a stem one-fourth as long as the flower cluster. The flowers, crowded on one side of the stem, are bluish or reddish purple two-lipped blossoms ½ inch long. Flowering begins in April and ends in June. It grows annually.
Samantha R. Selman
Nickname: Wood Violet, Early Blue Violet, Trilobed Violet Scientific name: Viola palmata (Native) Viola pedatifida (Prairie violet, Crow-foot violet, larkspur violet, purple prairie violet, coastal violet; syn. Viola pedatifida subsp. brittoniana (Pollard) L. E. McKinney, Viola pedatifida G. Don subsp. pedatifida, Viola palmata L. var. pedatifida (G.Don) Cronquist) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the Violet family (Violaceae). It is 4-8in. (10–20 cm) tall with pale purple flowers and deeply divided leaves. Prairie violet is native to North America. The specific epithet pedatifida means "pedately-cleft" in botanical Latin, in reference to the leaves, which look like a bird's foot with the outer toes again parted. Prairie violet was described for science in 1831 by the Scottish botanist George Don (1798–1856).
Nickname: Violet Wood Sorrel Scientific name: Oxalis Violacea (Native) Oxalis Violacea gets its name from the sour taste of the plant, resulting from the presence of oxalic acid. This is an erect plant growing up to sixteen inches tall. The long-stemmed leaves grow from the base and, in the plant’s immaturity, the leaves are longer than the stems. They are divided into three leaflets, gray-green to bluish-gray above and reddish-purple below, but similar in structure to the Oxalis Dillennii (Yellow Wood Sorrel) found in Texas. Leaves fold downward at night and in cloudy weather. There are 4-19 flowers at the end of each stem, lavender to pinksh-purple, the eye of the flower usually being a dark purple. The wide-spreading petal-like lobes are ½ to ¾ inch long. Each flower has five petals and ten stamens. Plants grow in fields and open woods, usually sandy, in months between March and May. It is perennial.
Nickname: Common Yarrow, Milfoil Scientific name: Achillea Millefolium (Native)
Yarrow grows to 3 feet tall and has few branches, which, if ever, appear near the top of the plant. The compound leaves are alternate, 3 – 5 inches long, with many leaflets on each side of the midrib; these are further divided into smaller leaflets, giving them a fern-like appearance. Flower heads are arranged in large, compact clusters atop the stem, each cluster consisting of at least one flower head. Each flower head has 20 to 25 yellowish-white or pink ray flowers and similarly colored disc flowers. Because of its pleasant odour, it is commonly used in flower arrangements and in potpourris. The plant thrives in the months between March and July.
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