Mulberry Tree Information – A Berry Tree

Mulberry Tree Information – A Berry Tree

Mulberry Tree Information – A Berry Tree

This post provides mulberry tree information to include varieties, propagation, edibility, and recipes for this medicinal tree.

Mulberry Fruit

Mulberry Fruit

Mulberry (Morus) is a tree that produces edible fruit and has medicinal qualities.  It comes in white, red, and black varieties.  A fact that I did not know until researching this article is that mulberry leaves are the sole food source of the silkworm.

Varieties

White – Can grow up 80-ft tall and is more cold hardy than red or black. It is native to eastern China and the fruit is generally very sweet but often lacking in needed tartness and ripens in late spring. They have roughly oval, toothed, alternate leaves 2-6 inches long.

Red – Can grow up to 70ft tall and is native to eastern Untied States. The fruit ripens in late spring. They have roughly oval, toothed, alternate leaves 2-6 inches long.

Black – Can grow up to 30 ft tall, is less hardy than red or white, and is native to western China. The fruits are large and juicy, with a good balance of sweetness and tartness that makes them the best flavored species of mulberry. Fruit ripens in mid to late summer.

In General

Mulberries like full sun with warm, well-drained soil, preferably a deep loam. Mulberry trees are either dioecious or monoecious, and sometimes will change from one sex to another. Flowers grow on current season’s growth and on spurs on older wood.  The flowers are wind pollinated.

Mulberry Branch

Mulberry Branch

No special pruning techniques are needed after the branches have been trained to a sturdy framework, except to remove dead or overcrowded wood.

Fruit

Immature fruits are white, green, or pale yellow. In most species the fruits turn pink and then red while ripening, then dark purple or black, and have a sweet flavor when fully ripe. The aggregate fruit, composed of lots of berries stuck together, each with its own seed, is long-oval in shape, and hangs from a short, slender fruit stalk.  Use mulberries immediately. They won’t last more than a couple of days in the refrigerator.

Propagation

Mulberries can be grown from seed, although the plants can take 10 years or more to bear. Seed should be sown as soon as extracted from the fruit, although white mulberry seeds germinate better after stratifying one to three months before planting.

Sprig budding is the most common method for grafting mulberries.

Mulberry Leaf

Mulberry Leaf

Hardwood, softwood and root cuttings also are suitable methods for propagating mulberries.

Edible

The berries can be eaten out of hand, in pies, tarts, puddings or sweetened and pureed as a sauce.

Medicinal

Mulberry contains resveratrol, zea-xanthin, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium Vitamins A, C, E, K, and B-complex.

Mulberry may; fight arterial plaque, fight diabetes, control blood sugar, and protect blood-cell membranes. *

(Source:life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/992-mulberry-helps-control-blood-sugar-and-more)

My Tree

I bought the Illinois Everbearing Mulberry from Raintree Nursery.  Here is the excerpt from Raintree’s page: “This grafted tree is hardy to -30 deg.F. It sometimes starts producing the first year after planting and bears an abundance of sweet, highly flavored fruit, 1-1/2 inches long x 1/2 inch wide that look like elongated blackberries.

The fruit has a delicious distinctive flavor. The berries ripen continuously throughout July, August, and September, hence its name. The fruit is red and turns black when ripe.

Illinois Everbearing will grow to 35 feet tall but it is easily pruned and kept much smaller. Each is self-fertile.”

Last year I had a few dozen fruits.  It was tasty, but was not very plump.  I’m guessing that was because of drought and sandy soil.  Hopefully the fruit will be a little better in 2016.

Recipe

Mulberry Tree Information

Mulberry Tree Information

Mulberry Crumble

Fruit Layer

6 cups mulberries (any species)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons kudzu or arrowroot
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh wild spearmint or other mint
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons honey, barley malt, or rice syrup

Topping

2 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup corn oil or flaxseed oil
1 cup shelled raw pistachio nuts or other nuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the fruit layer: combine the fruit layer ingredients in a bowl and then pour the mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish.
  3. To make the crumble topping: combine the crumble topping ingredients except the cinnamon. Press the crumble mixture on top of the fruit layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

(Source:wildmanstevebrill.com/Web%20Recipes/Mulberry%20Crumble.html)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Mulberry Trees are one of the varieties that will be for sale at Great Escape Nursery in the future.

Researching mulberry tree information was fun and educational.

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Blueberry Plant Information – Blueberries Everywhere

Blueberry Plant Information – Blueberries Everywhere

Blueberry Plant Information – Blueberries Everywhere

This post will give you valuable blueberry plant information as to the different types, how to prune them, eat them, care for them, and cook them.

Blueberry Plant

Blueberry Plant

Blueberry is a perennial flowering shrub with indigo colored fruit.  This plant is native to North America and has edible, and medicinal qualities and attracts beneficial insects.  There are two main types of blueberries which include a smaller species known as “low-bush blueberries” (synonymous with “wild”), and a larger species are known as “high-bush blueberries”.

lowbush – (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a low spreading deciduous shrub. The leaves are glossy blue-green in summer, turning purple in the fall. The leaf shape is broad to elliptical.

highbush – (Vaccinium corymbosum) grows 6 to 12 feet tall and wide.  The dark glossy green leaves are elliptical and up to 2 inches long. In autumn, the leaves turn to a brilliant red, orange, yellow, and/or purple.

Blueberries like well drained acidic soil with a lot of organic matter (mulch) and they do not like to compete with weeds.  I keep 6 to 8 inches of oak leaves around mine all year long.  This keeps the weeds down, keeps the roots cool and the ground moist.  Blueberries also like full sun.

blueberry

blueberry

The flowers are usually white to somewhat pink and bell shaped. The flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects throughout the year.  The fruit is a berry with a flared crown at the end. They are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark purple when ripe.  The fruit is harvested either early (May-June), mid-season (June-July) or late (July-August) depending on cultivar.  I picked up several different cultivars so I would have blueberries from May through August.

The berries can be made into jams, jellies, puree, juice, used in muffins, snack foods, cereals, wines, and pies. They contain manganese, fiber, vitamins C and K. A lot of pesticides are used in commercially grown blueberries, so if you can grow your own or purchase organic, you are much better off.

As you can see in the picture titled “Blueberry Plant Information”, the plant is very nice looking with the fruit on it.

Pruning

Prune older bushes removing branches that are over 7 years old.  Remove any diseased or broken wood, plus crossing branches. You want the bush to have a narrow base and a wide, open top that allows sunlight and air in. The best time to prune blueberry bushes is late winter while they’re still dormant.

Propagation

Blueberry Plant Information

Blueberry Plant Information

Propagation can be done with softwood and hardwood cuttings.

Take softwood cuttings (4 inches to 5 inches long). Remove lower leaves leaving two or three leaves on top. Place cuttings in the propagation bed, under mist, as soon as possible at a depth of one-half to two-thirds of their length.

Collect hardwood cuttings in the dead of winter (late January through February).  Take cuttings from the mother plant from last summers growth. Insert cuttings into the propagation medium from one-half to two-thirds of their length with one shoot bud exposed. Plants can remain in the propagation bed until winter.

Medicinal

People use the fruit and leaves to make medicine.
Be careful not to confuse blueberry with bilberry. Outside of the United States, the name “blueberry” may be used for a plant called “bilberry” in the U.S.

Blueberry is used for preventing cataracts and glaucoma and for treating ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs), multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), colic, fever, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. Blueberry is also used for improving circulation, and as a laxative.

Some women use blueberry for labor pains and as a tonic after miscarriage.
The dried fruit and leaves are used for diarrhea.
Tea made from the dried leaves is used for sore throat and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth or the skin lining the throat.
How does it work?

Blueberry, like its relative the cranberry, might help prevent bladder infections by stopping bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder. Blueberry fruit is high in fiber which could help normal digestive function. *

(Source:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1013-blueberry.aspx?activeingredientid=1013&activeingredientname=blueberry)

Recipe

Blueberry Sauce

“Delicious, warm blueberry sauce which is fabulous on pancakes, waffles, cheesecake or ice cream! Fresh or frozen blueberries work equally well.”

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.
  2. In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and cinnamon. Thin sauce with water if it is too thick for your liking.

(Source:allrecipes.com/recipe/70112/blueberry-sauce/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=8)

 

Purple Monstrosity Fruit Smoothie

“This is a great smoothie for breakfast – and sometimes dinner! You can substitute the orange juice with any mix of juices or even soy milk! The soy milk adds more of a milk shake quality than the juice does.”

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen bananas, skins removed and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

  1. Place bananas, blueberries and juice in a blender, puree. Use honey and/or vanilla to taste. Use more or less liquid depending on the thickness you want for your smoothie.

(Source:allrecipes.com/recipe/16490/purple-monstrosity-fruit-smoothie/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=5)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Dandelion Plant Information – The Incredible Edible

Dandelion Plant Information – The Incredible Edible

Dandelion Plant Information – The Incredible Edible

This post gives you dandelion plant information to include its edibility, medicinal properties, how to propagate it, and a dandelion recipe.

Dandelion Plant Information - Dandelion

Dandelion Plant Information – Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum) is a wildflower found around the world that is a wonderful benefit to the landscape and permaculture garden.  It attracts beneficial insects, provides nectar for bees in the early spring, is an edible, and has herbal and medicinal qualities.

They are native to Eurasia and North America, and two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as commonplace wild flowers worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety. The stems and leaves exude a white, milky latex when broken.

They can can grow to a height of nearly 12 inches and have deeply-notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are shiny and hairless and ½” to 2-1/2” wide. They always grow in a basal rosette, with the grooved leaves funneling rain to the root. They have large tap roots, are herbaceous and are perennial. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly.

They have many flowers collected together into what is called a flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. The flower heads are yellow to orange colored, and are open in the daytime, but closed at night. The flower heads are borne singly on a hollow stem (scape) that is usually leafless. The flower heads mature into spherical seed heads called blowballs (or clock) containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes (a type of simple dry fruit containing one seed).

Edible

Dandelion Plant Information - Dandelion Flower

Dandelion Plant Information – Dandelion Flower

Dandelion is used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The leaves are tastiest in early spring, before the flowers appear and after a frost, as their protective bitterness disappears.

To make leaves more palatable, they are often blanched to remove bitterness. The flower petals, along with other ingredients, usually including citrus, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer.

Other beneficial properties

Other beneficial properties include providing an important source of nectar and pollen early in the season for bees, acts as a dynamic accumulator, is used as food source for some species of butterfly and moth, and releases ethylene gas which helps fruit to ripen.

Medicinal

Dandelion Plant Information - Dandelion Clock

Dandelion Plant Information – Dandelion Clock

Dandelions contain vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center: “In the past, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, dandelion was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

So far, there have not been any quality scientific studies on dandelion. Today, the roots are mainly used to stimulate the appetite, and for liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of too much fluid.” *

(Source:umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion)

Propagation

Dandelion can be spread by seed or by root cuttings.  The flowers have many seeds in their seed head.  Each seed has a tiny parachute, to spread far and wide in the wind.  The seeds are fertile even without cross pollination and can sprout immediately after hitting the ground (no stratification/cold time needed).

The taproot is deep, twisted, and brittle. Unless you remove it completely, it will regenerate.  One taproot can be cut many times to make many plants.

Recipe

Curried Greens with Golden Onions and Cashews

Ingredients

1 large onion, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted cashews (4 oz)

1 lb spinach, tough stems discarded (6 cups)

3/4 lb mustard greens, stems and center ribs discarded (5 cups)

3/4 lb dandelion greens, tough stems discarded (4 cups)

1/2 cup water

Preparation

Cook onion with salt to taste in 3 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden and some wedges are crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together spices.

Add cashews to onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until nuts are 1 shade darker, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mix and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook remaining spice mix, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately stir in the 3 greens and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is evaporated and greens are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Serve greens sprinkled with onion mixture.

(Source:www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/curried-greens-with-golden-onions-and-cashews-104561)

 

Dandelion Sesame

1-1/2 tbs. olive oil
7-1/2 cups (packed) of very young common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), wild or commercial chicory (Cichorium intybus), or wild lettuce (Lactuca species) leaves
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3/4 cup sesame seeds
2-1/2 tsp. Bragg’s liquid amino’s or tamari soy sauce

Preparation

Toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Immediately remove from pan and set aside. Gently sauté the dandelion leaves and garlic in the olive oil 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the Bragg’s liquid aminos and sesame seeds and serve hot.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Blackberry Plant Information – a Wonderful Plant to Propagate

Blackberry Plant Information – a Wonderful Plant to Propagate

Blackberry Plant Information – a Wonderful Plant to Propagate

This post provides Blackberry Plant Information and gives details on how to propagate and eat this medicinal plant.

Blackberry Plant Information - Blackberry

Blackberry Plant Information – Blackberry

Blackberry (Rubus) is one of my favorite fruits.  They are easy to grow, very productive, and they taste great.  There are over 375 different species of blackberries.  There are many hybrids out there that offer bushy features that don’t require to be trellised up, there are thornless varieties, and there are varieties that fruit on both first and second year canes.

Blackberry and raspberry are both in the Rubus family.  The difference between a blackberry and raspberry is the stem stays with the blackberry fruit when picked, whereas with a raspberry the stem stays with the plant leaving a hollow fruit. Each fruit is actually an aggregate fruit consisting of of many drupelets.

Blackberries have a perennial root system and biennial canes. In the first year a new cane called a primocane grows vigorously, up to 25-feet long (mine only grow to about 10ft).  It has large fan-like palmately compound leaves with 5 or 7 leaflets. In the second year the cane is known as a floricane.  The floricane do not grow longer but do grow lateral shoots with flowers and have 3 to 5 leaflets. First- and second-year shoots usually have numerous short-curved, very sharp prickles.

Blackberries usually only produce fruit on floricanes.  There are some hybrid varieties out now that produce fruit on both primocane and floricanes. After fruiting, the second-year canes die and should be be removed to ensure good future fruit production.

The flowers appear in late spring and early summer on the lateral shoots.  Each flower has 5 petals that are white (in some cases a pale pink).  The fruit is usually green when immature and turn slightly red as they approach maturity.  Unless you like really bitter fruit, you don’t want to pick them until they have turned black.  Another way to tell ripeness is the ripe fruit will readily give way with a simple pull.  Unripe fruit requires a harder tug.

Blackberry Plant Information - Blackberry-Plant

Blackberry Plant Information – Blackberry-Plant

I have both thorned and thornless varieties at my place.  The thorned variety produces great tasting fruit, but often times draws blood as I’m reaching for the fruit.  The thornless variety also tastes great and does not draw blood.  The only possible issue I see with the thornless variety is the deer will move in and pick all the leaves off.  They seem a little more hesitant to do that with the thorned variety.

Blackberries tolerate poor soil and you can find blackberry plants growing in vacant lots, along the forest edge, and ditches.  They prefer acidic to slightly basic (6.0-7.0), well-drained, and organic soil. Blackberries are self pollinating.  They are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4-9 and require 400 to 500 chill hours. In some areas blackberries are considered an invasive weed.

Edible

The soft fruit is popular for use in desserts, jams, seedless jelly, and wine. It can also be used in pies and to produce candy. Non-humans like blackberries as well.  The leaves are chewed on by caterpillars and deer.  The fruit are eaten by birds and mammals.

Blackberries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber components as well as vitamins C and K.

Worldwide, Mexico is the leading producer of blackberries and Oregon is the leading producer of blackberries in the United states.

Propagation

Blackberries can be propagated by cuttings (root and stem), suckers, and tip layering.  This year I had about four dozen plants that tip layered themselves and rooted.  I had another couple of dozen suckers.  I have cut these / dug them up and will be replanting them around the farm this weekend.

For cuttings, choose a cane that is still firm and succulent. You’ll want to take about 4-6 inches of the cane stems. These should be placed in a moist peat/sand mix, sticking them in a couple inches deep.  I tried doing cuttings this year and did not have much success.  In doing research for this post, I see that my cuttings were not long enough.  I only had 2-3 inch cuttings.  I’ll try again next year with longer cuttings.

For suckers, simply find a sucker that is already growing, dig it up being sure to dig far enough away from the sucker to keep some of the roots, and replant elsewhere.

For tip layering, just take a cane that is growing and stick the tip in a pot of soil.  After a few weeks you should have roots.  At that point you can cut the original cane and you now have a new plant.

Medicinal

“Blackberry is a plant. The leaf, root, and fruit (berry) are used to make medicine.

Blackberry is used for treating diarrhea, fluid retention, diabetes, gout, and pain and swelling (inflammation); and for preventing cancer and heart disease.

It is also used as a mouth rinse for mild mouth and throat irritation.

How does it work?

Blackberry contains chemicals that might have antioxidant effects. It also contains chemicals that might protect against cancer.” *

(Source:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1076-blackberry.aspx?activeingredientid=1076&activeingredientname=blackberry)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Hardy Banana Plant Information – Survives to Zone 6A

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Survives to Zone 6A

Hardy Banana Plant Information

This post gives Hardy Banana Plant Information including how to grow it, including winterization, and how to propagate this medicinal tropical looking plant.

Hardy Banana Plant Information - Front Banana

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Front Banana

The Hardy Banana (Musa basjoo) is also known as Japanese Banana, and Japanese Fibre Banana and provides a tropical look to any yard.  It is native to southern China and is an herbaceous perennial in permaculture.  I have found conflicting reports on line as to the exact hardiness of the plant.  Some sources say down to zone 6A, others say down to zone 4.

The plant grows up to 12-foot-tall and has leaves that grow to about 6-foot-long and about 18 inches wide.  It produces both male and female flowers in the same cluster.  It grows mini non-edible fruit.  The fruit is only about two inches long.

I planted mine in 2002 in full sun and very sandy soil.  I planted two of the hardy bananas in different areas and they have both done great.  Each arrived in a four-inch pot.  I put them in the ground, mulched them, and watered them for the first year.  After that I have not done much with them.  I have never fertilized them.  You can see from the pictures here that they are quite large.  They are looking a little ragged, but this picture was taken in late October after the oak leaves have already started to fall.

The bananas form a cluster.  The first year I had the one plant in each spot.  The second year I had about three plants sprout up around the first in each spot.  Each subsequent year more bananas sprout up.  I keep them in check just by mowing around the bananas.  If any sprout up in the lawn outside of the mulch, the mower keeps them at bay.

Winterize

For the first 10 years or so I winterized the bananas by putting a 4-foot high fence around them and then filled the fence with fallen oak leaves.  This was easy as I had dozens of oak trees in the yard.  When I did it this way, the stalks would usually survive up to about the 3-foot mark and would start growing from there.  This gave the plants a definite boost in height earlier in the season.

I now just blow the leaves around the banana plants and cut down the stalks to about two foot and use the banana leaves to cover the leaves and prevent them from blowing away.  Usually the stalks die back to the ground level doing it this way, but it takes less time than the old way because I don’t have to put the fence up every year. This year I surrounded one of the banana clusters with bags of leaves to build the leaves in the center of the cluster up higher.  This is shown in the YouTube video below.

Check out our Great Escape Farms YouTube channel to see more videos.

Propagation

Hardy Banana Plant Information - Back Banana

Hardy Banana Plant Information – Back Banana

In researching this variety of banana plant, it appears that the seeds are not viable and do not sprout.  So propagation is done via cuttings.  Online resources state that you take an entire sucker and plant it to form a new banana plant.  This will work.  But I have taken stalks from previous years and cut them to the ground.  I put the old stalks in the back yard to rot and self compost and many of them rooted and formed new plants in this area.  This is certainly something I will be experimenting with in the next year or two.

Medicinal

The roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sialagogue. A decoction is used in the treatment of beriberi, constipation, jaundice, dropsy, restlessness due to heat, leucorrhoea and croton bean poisoning. The leaves are diuretic. *

(Source:healingplantsinfo.com/plants/Musa-basjoo)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

This post, titled Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree, gives information on the paw paw tree that includes how to propagate, eat, and cook this medicinal tree.

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

The paw paw tree (Asimina triloba) is a deciduous tree (and can be a shrub) native to eastern North America.  It has a growing to a height of 35 feet with a slight tropical look to it.  It has edible fruit, possible medicinal uses, and is a good understory tree.

Leaves

The leaves are simple, alternate and spirally arranged.  The dark green, obovate-oblong, drooping leaves grow up to 12 inches long and 4 to 5 inches broad, giving the pawpaw an interesting tropical appearance. When bruised, the leaves have a disagreeable odor similar to a green bell pepper.

Flowers

The flowers are self fertile having both male and female parts.  They are about 1-2 inches across, rich red-purple or maroon when mature, with three sepals and six petals. Flowers occur in the spring right around the time the tree leafs out.  Each flower contains several ovaries which explains why a single flower can produce multiple fruits.

Fruit

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree - Fruit

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree – Fruit

The conspicuous fruits begin developing after the plants flower; they are initially green, maturing by September or October to yellow or brown. The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to North America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. The brownish to blackish seeds are shaped like lima beans, with a length of 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches. Pawpaw fruits often occur as clusters of up to nine individual fruits. The ripe fruit is soft and thin skinned.  The yellow flesh is custard like and highly nutritious with a tropical flavor that resembles a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple. The fruits of the pawpaw are eaten by a variety of mammals, including raccoons, gray foxes, opossums, squirrels, and black bears.

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree - Leaves

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree – Leaves

Propagation

Trees are easily grown from seed. Pawpaw seeds must receive a 90 to 120-day stratification. Sexual reproduction by seed does also occur in the wild, but at a fairly low rate.  This rate can be increased by hand pollinating the flowers.  Desirable kinds (cultivars) of pawpaw are propagated by whip grafting. Paw paws spread locally primarily by root suckers.

Self Defense

The disagreeable-smelling leaves, twigs, and bark of pawpaws contain natural insecticides known as acetogenins. Pawpaw leaves and twigs are seldom consumed by rabbits, deer, or goats, or by many insects.

Edible

Fresh fruits of the pawpaw are commonly eaten raw, either chilled or at room temperature. However, they can be kept only 2–3 days at room temperature, or about a week if refrigerated

The easily bruised pawpaw fruits do not ship well unless frozen.  The fruit can be blended into ice cream or included in pancakes. Paw paws are also used for juice-making, and made into a country wine.

Medicinal

American pawpaw is a plant. The bark, leaf, and seed are used to make medicine. *

In homeopathy, American pawpaw is used for treating fever, vomiting, and pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat. Homeopathy is an alternative treatment method that uses extreme dilutions of medicines. *

How does it work?

American pawpaw has chemicals that might have activity against certain lung and breast cancers.*

(Source:www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-278-american%20pawpaw.aspx?activeingredientid=278&activeingredientname=american%20pawpaw)

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree

Recipe

Pawpaw Pie

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ c. pawpaw pulp (peeled and seeded)

Place all ingredients into stew pan and stir together. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake until the crust is done.

(www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/recipes.htm)

 

Pawpaw Pie or Parfait

  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 c. strained pawpaw pulp
  • ¼ c. sugar

In a saucepan, mix together brown sugar, gelatin, and salt. Stir in milk and slightly beaten egg yolks. Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from fire and stir in pawpaw pulp. Chill until it mounds slightly when spooned (20 to 30 minutes in refrigerator). Shortly before the mixture is sufficiently set, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks; then gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the partly set pawpaw mixture thoroughly into egg whites. Pour into a 9-inch graham cracker crust or into parfait glasses and chill until firm. “Then lock the door to keep the neighbors out.”

(www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/recipes.htm)

Pawpaw Cake

  • ¼ c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1¼ c. sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. mashed pawpaw pulp
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cream shortening and sugar. Add well beaten egg and mashed pawpaw. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and pour in an 8 inch square pan or two round layer cake pans. Bake at 375o F for 50 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese thinned with milk, or with any simple white frosting. Decorate with pawpaw slices.

(www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/recipes.htm)

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Mimosa Tree Information

Mimosa Tree Information

Mimosa Tree Information

This post, titled Mimosa Tree Information, provides information on propagation, edibility, and permaculture uses of this medicinal tree.

The mimosa tree, Albizia julibrissin, is also known as Persian silk tree and pink silk tree, is originally from China and was introduced to the United States between 1745 and 1785.  It is a small deciduous tree growing 15 to 50 feet, often having multiple trunks and has a unique tropical look.  It is fast-growing, deer and drought-tolerant, and hardy from USDA zones 6 to 10. It is a member of the legume Fabaceae plant family and is capable of fixing nitrogen. The species is sometimes called an invasive species in Japan and North America.

Mimosa Tree Information - Mimosa Leaf and Bark

Mimosa Tree Information – Mimosa Leaf and Bark

The leaves look like an arrangement of feather-like or multi-divided features arising from both sides of a common axis.  On most plants the leaves are green, but some cultivars are now being sold with chocolate or purple colored leaves as well as other colors. The leaves slowly close during the night and during periods of rain, the leaflets bowing downward with a spreading, often umbrella-like crown.

The bark is dark greenish grey in color and striped vertically as it gets older.

Fragrant, hot pink blooms grow in clusters. Flowers produce throughout the summer and look like pom-poms borne in terminal clusters at the base of the current year’s twigs. The flowers attract beneficial insects, bees, butterflies and humming birds.

The fruit is a flat green pod that turns brown as it matures.  Each pod has an average of eight and up to a dozen seeds inside. The seeds are light brown oval-shaped seeds about ½ inch in length. The plant is self-fertile, so only one is required to produce viable seed.

Permaculture Uses

It can be used as an ornamental tree, medicinal plant, edible plant, pioneer species, and nitrogen fixer. In permaculture we called it a “pioneer species,” because if you disturb the land, remove native vegetation, and open the tree canopy to light, it’s one of the first trees to appear.

It is a member of the legume (Fabaceae) plant family and is capable of fixing nitrogen.

Edible

Mimosa Tree Information

Mimosa Tree Information Mimosa Flower

While the leaves and flowers are edible, they are reportedly not great. Dried leaves can be used for teas. You can also boil young leaves.  The blossoms are edible like a vegetable or crystallized.  See the note below about possible toxicity with the seed pods.

Seed pods are used as a food source for livestock.  The birds and bees like the nectar from the flowers.

Toxin

The mimosa pod carries the poison. The pod contains neurotoxic alkaloids which are also known as the paralytic shellfish toxins. The entire pod is considered poisonous but the bark and wood have not been shown to carry the toxin. Affected animals are grazers like sheep and goats. There is no information regarding human toxicity or domestic animals.

Source:www.gardenguides.com/131838-toxicity-mimosa-tree.html#ixzz2cZolGLb6

Medicinal

In vitro studies document anticancer activity of the various julibrosides against numerous cancer cell lines. The herb is often marketed for relieving anxiety, depression, and stress. *

Source:www.drugs.com/npp/mimosa.html

The Persian Silk Tree is used in traditional Chinese Medicine to “nourish the heart and calm the spirit”; recent research shows that the tree contains an anti-depressant effect. *

Propagation

Propagation is usually done from seed. Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds.  Seeds require scarification in order to germinate. This characteristic allows the seed to remain dormant for many years. Pre-soak for 24 hours in warm-hot water.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree

This post, titled Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree, covers the edibility, propagation and medicinal uses of neat plant.  Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) is also sometimes called red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date.  It is a small deciduous tree reaching up to 40’ in height. Jujube is a native to many parts of Asia and has over 400 cultivars. It has thorns on the branches of most cultivars.  The wood is very hard and strong.

Jujube Tree Information - A Unique Edible Tree

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree – Jujube Tree

Jujube has small, ovate or oval leaves that are 1-2 inches long and a shiny bright green.  In the autumn, the leaves turn bright yellow before falling.  In the mid spring small flowers with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals emerge, giving way to strawberry sized fruit in the late summer into the fall. Most jujube cultivars produce fruit without cross-pollination

The fruit has a thin edible skin surrounding whitish flesh in an oval shape up to an inch and a quarter deep.  It starts out green and tasting like an apple maturing brown to purplish-black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date.  There is a single stone similar to an olive pit that contains two seeds. A mature jujube tree can have 40 to 100 lb or more of fruit depending on tree size and culture management. It requires hot summers and sufficient water for good fruiting.

The fruits are eaten fresh, dried, candied, and smoked.  Juice, marmalades, jujube vinegar, pickles, and wine are also made from the fruit of Jujube.  Fresh fruit harvested when first ripe can be stored at 40° F for two weeks or more without losing quality.  The best time to harvest drying cultivars is when they are fully red.

Cultivars

There are over 400 cultivars of jujube in total.  I have the three listed below and will be writing articles on them in the future.  I just put my trees in last year, so I have not harvested any fruit yet.

Li

Popular commercial cultivar. Large, round fruit up to 3 ounces, mid-season (ripens in mid-August), fresh eating cultivar. Good quality. USDA Zones 5-10. Self fertile. May be picked at the yellow-green stage. Tree is many-branched, yet narrow and upright. Best first tree to have.

Lang

Another popular commercial cultivar. Fruit is big and pear-shaped and good for drying. This fruit is best to let dry on the tree. The tree is upright and virtually spineless and is a late season ripening variety. Some fruit may split if it rains at mature season. USDA Zones 5-10. Pollenized by Li or other jujubes.

Coco

Prolific producer of golden-brown fruit with a unique coconut-like flavor. Can be self fruitful, but a second variety recommended for best fruit set. Origin- Nikita Botanic Garden in Yalta, Ukraine.

Propagation

Most commercial jujube trees are grafted on sour jujube for their hardiness.  Softwood cuttings are also possible.

Medicinal

Jujube Tree Information - A Unique Edible Tree - Fruit

Jujube Tree Information – A Unique Edible Tree – Jujube Fruit

While they may not have a large amount of any one nutrient, jujubes contain a wide array of different ones, including magnesium, potassium, copper, niacin, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron. They contain 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit, strengthening the immune system and fighting infections, which may be why they’ve been used medicinally for millennia in many cultures, as a tea for sore throat, for example. [1] *

Medical studies have found that jujube fruits and extracts have the capacity help lower blood pressure, reverse liver disease, treat anemia, and inhibit the growth of tumor cells that can lead to leukemia. Jujube extracts are also used in skin care products used to diminish wrinkles, relieve dry skin, and treat sunburn pain. [1] *

The seeds, fruit, and bark of jujube have been used in traditional medicine for anxiety and insomnia, and as an appetite stimulant or digestive aid. Experiments in animals support the presence of anxiolytic and sedative properties. However, clinical trials are lacking. [2] *

Recipe

Jujube Cake

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups dried, minced jujube
  • 1 cup water

Bring these to a boil then set aside to cool

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoonful soda
  • 1/2 teaspoonful salt

Sift these together then add to the above mixture. Bake at 325° F

(Source: www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/jujube.html)

 

[1] foodfacts.mercola.com/jujubes.html

[2] www.drugs.com/npp/jujube.html

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

This post, Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening, provides information on care and edibility of this medicinal wonder plant. The purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea,  is a showy flower that will add color and texture to any flower garden. The flowers are long lasting usually displaying the purple-pink color for the entire summer. I have been growing purple coneflower for fourteen years now and found that they are very hardy, tolerate neglect and drought well and are little affected by any pest pressure.  It is a perfect plant for forest gardening.

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening Purple Cone Flower

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Purple Coneflower is a perennial flower hardy in USDA zones 3-8 (one site stated zone 2-10) and native to the eastern United States. It has purple daisy like flower heads, blooms from June until September, grows two to three feet tall and prefers full sun. The flowers can be used in wildflower gardens, as cut flowers, and as dried flowers. Cut flowers last seven to ten days in a vase.  The pictures in this post were taken this morning – October 6th and I still have some plants blooming.

They have a vertical stalk with a flower on top. The stalk has leaves on opposite sides of the stalk. The leaves on the stalks are teardrop shape with the narrow end away from the stalk. The leaves can be up to 4” long and 2” wide and are smaller the higher on the stalk they are.

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening Purple Cone Flower

Purple Coneflower Care | Purple Coneflower in Forest Gardening

Dividing the crown into multiple clumps and replanting can propagate purple coneflower. Seeds can be planted as well. The seeds need to be planted in the fall or stratified over the winter (stratified means wetting and putting in a cold environment 35-40 degrees). I seem to have volunteers (self seeded from previous year) every year and just transplant the volunteers when I need some new plants.

In the Maryland area beetles seem to like to eat the petals off at night. This plant attracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects like the soldier beetle. I also have one area where a vole or mole eats the roots every year. Somehow the plants survive and come back. In the Mid-Atlantic we have a fair number of gold finches (pretty little yellow birds) and they love to eat the seeds of the coneflowers in August and September. According to multiple sites that I have run across deer tend to leave this plant alone.

According to the USDA, Echinacea is widely used as an herbal remedy. The USDA goes on to say; “A purple coneflower product containing the juice of the fresh aerial parts of Echinacea purpurea was found to make mouse cells 50 -80 percent resistant to influenza, herpes, and vesicular somatitis viruses.” *

(Source: USDA http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_ecpu.pdf)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Lemon Balm Plant Uses | A Forest Garden Plant

Lemon Balm Plant Uses | A Forest Garden Plant

Lemon Balm Plant Uses | A Forest Garden Plant

Lemon balm plant uses are many.  Lemon Balm, melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb in the mint family that is hardy down to zone 4 or 5 and can be used as a forest garden plant.  It is a native to Europe, central Asia and Iran, but is now naturalized around the world. Lemon Balm has a mild lemon sent that is enhanced if the leaves are bruised or torn. The leaves have a lemon flavor and can be used for culinary uses in sweets and teas. During the summer the plant has small flowers that are great for attracting bees and other beneficial insects.

Lemon Balm Plant Uses | A Forest Garden Plant

Lemon Balm Plant Uses | A Forest Garden Plant

Propagation can be done through seeds that require sunlight to germinate, so press the seeds into the soil surface, but do not cover with soil. The seeds require a minimum of 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. Propagation can also be done with softwood cuttings and by digging up “clumps” of the plant while dormant.

I bought my seeds from www.rareseeds.com. You get about 300 seeds for $2.50 (in the 2015 catalog.) I planted Lemon Balm for the first time in 2013. I planted the seeds in my basement under grow lights in March and then moved them out to the garden after the danger of frost had past. I put two plants in a 1×1 square (doing square foot gardening). By the end of 2013 they took up a 2×2 area and that was after being trimmed several times that year. Now in September 2015 I still have those plants growing, coming back every year, and needing to be trimmed back on a regular basis (they are in the mint family, so they spread readily and grow rapidly).

I like the leaves mixed into a tossed salad as that gives it a little extra flavor and zip. I have also added some of the leaves to a smoothie for a little extra zest. I have not tried it yet, but I’ve heard that Lemon Balm is a great addition to herbal teas. It can also be used as garnish for deserts.

Lemon Balm contains 24% Cintronellal with which is one of the main compounds in citronella. It is said that crushed Lemon Balm rubbed on your skin is a repellent to mosquitos.

Lemon Balm is high in flavonoids and can have an antioxidant effect. It also contains Vitamin C and Thiamin (a B Vitamin).

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Lemon Balm was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).

The University of Maryland Medical Center also posts the following warning regarding all herbs: “The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.” And “Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take lemon balm.”

Disclaimer: This document is for informational and educational purposes only. Great Escape Farms is not recommending, prescribing, or advising the use of any herb for medicinal purposes. Please consult a qualified medical professional for herbal treatments.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_officinalis

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

The Herb Society of America

Lemon Balm, melissa officinalis, is a great herb and I will continue to grow this at Great Escape Farms.  I plan on using it as a food forest garden plant on the farm.

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