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Unusual Plants "What is that smell "


 
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Bugs
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 4:47 pm    Post subject: Unusual Plants "What is that smell " Reply with quote

What is that smell?
The giant carrion flower (Stapelia gigantea) [sta pel' ee a gi gan tee' a] is a succulent from the arid places of southern Africa. The flower makes you look twice, but sniff only once. The flower appears to be a light-colored starfish out of the water and smells like something that been dead for a while.





The carrion fly wants a little meal and a dead thing on which to lay her eggs. The carrion flowers want to be pollinated. The carrion fly visits a flower, crawls around searching for the dead, gets covered with pollen, and flies away looking for some other dead thing.

The fly is fooled, but not smart enough to figure out that the aroma is not wafting off dead things. It proceeds to the next flower, where its behavior is repeated. But the fly leaves pollen from the first flower on the second and picks up more pollen. The carrion flowers get pollinated, better yet; the odds are that they get cross-pollinated.

Eventually, the fly will find a dead thing in the desert on which to leave her eggs. Unwittingly, she has performed two services to the ecosystem. She has cross-pollinated the Stapelia, leaving a generation of seeds more likely to survive. And her young will help remove a carcass, reducing the spread of disease and recycling the nutrients to other life.





Article written by Chelsie Vandaveer

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs, I took the liberty of posting the pic direct into your post.
This will be better for users of dial-up. Wink

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Bugs
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did dowsers use witch hazel?
By Chelsie Vandaveer

March 8, 2004

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana Linnaeus) is a small autumn blooming tree native to damp woodlands in eastern North America. The herbal lore of the witch hazel dates back to the Native Americans. Charles F. Millspaugh (American Medicinal Plants, 1892) wrote "The many varied uses of a watery infusion of Witch-hazel bark were fully know to the aborigines, whose knowledge of our medicinal flora has been strangely correct as since proven."

Witch hazel was taken as a mild tea for its astringent action. According to William Cook, MD (The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869) the weak extracts were useful to treat intestinal and bladder hemorrhage and one of the major killers of the day, dysentery. "It soothes the bowels rather than excites them, as many other astringents do...." For women whose labor had not gone well, "it is particularly effective in arresting uterine hemorrhage."


Witch hazel was most often used topically to treat inflammations like rashes and as a soothing liniment for the skin. Various witch hazel products for the skin have been available commercially since the 1800s. In a study by B.J. Hughes-Formella, K. Bohnsack, F. Rippke, G. Benner, M. Rudolph, I. Tausch, and J. Gassmueller, an after sun exposure lotion with 10 percent Hamamelis extract had a marked effect decreasing the erythema associated with sunburn. ("Anti-inflammatory effect of Hamamelis lotion in a UVB erythema test", Dermatology, 196(3), 1998)

Witch hazel had a peculiar reputation and a special use among early settlers. The tree was considered a magical plant by those who practiced dowsing. A green forked branch, a Y, was removed from the tree and stripped of leaves and sometimes the bark. The arms of the Y were held with the palms upward and the base of the Y straight up. The dowser walked crisscrossing over fields. Legends state the dowser's branch would twist until it pointed to wherever water, ores, or valuable treasures were hidden under the soil.




The Forestry Department, College of Natural Resources with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has several great photographs of the leaves, bark, flowers, and buds of witch hazel. To view their photographs, click on the link:

http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/hvirginiana.htm
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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

is witch hazel usually grown on a root stock?
mine (pic attached) has started sprouting purple foliage from its base.



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medieval knievel
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

any idea what i should do with the above?
prune off the growth from the base whe the leaves fall?
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