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Cactus and Other Succulents

Cactus and Other Succulents

A cactus (plural: cactuses, cacti) is any member of the plant family Cactaceae, native to the Americas (with one exception, Rhipsalis baccifera, which is native to parts of the Old World). They are often used as ornamental plants, and some are also crop plants for fodder, forage, fruits, cochineal, and other uses. Cactuses are part of the plant order Caryophyllales, which also includes members like beets, gypsophila, spinach, amaranth, tumbleweeds, carnations, rhubarb, buckwheat, plumbago, bougainvillea, chickweed and knotgrass.

Cacti are unusual and distinctive plants, which are adapted to extremely arid and/or semi-arid hot environments, as well as tropical environments as epiphytes or hemi-epiphytes . They show a wide range of anatomical and physiological features which conserve water. Their stems have adapted to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have become the spines for which cacti are well known.

Cacti come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The tallest is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m, and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm diameter at maturity. Cactus flowers are large, and like the spines and branches arise from areoles. Many cactus species are night blooming, as they are pollinated by nocturnal insects or small animals, principally moths and bats. Cacti range in size from small and globular to tall and columnar.

Uses

Cacti, cultivated by people worldwide, are a familiar sight as potted plants, houseplants or in ornamental gardens in warmer climates. They often form part of xeriphytic (dry) gardens in arid regions, or raised rockeries. Some countries, such as Australia, have water restrictions in many cities, so drought-resistant plants are increasing in popularity. Numerous species have entered widespread cultivation, including members of Echinopsis, Mammillaria and Cereus among others. Some, such as the Golden Barrel dekha Cactus, Echinocactus grusonii, are prominent in garden design. Cacti are commonly used for fencing material where there is a lack of either natural resources or financial means to construct a permanent fence. This is often seen in arid and warm climates, such as the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is known as a cactus fence. Cactus fences are often used by homeowners and landscape architects for home security purposes. The sharp thorns of the cactus deter unauthorized persons from entering private properties, and may prevent break-ins if planted under windows and near drainpipes. The aesthetic characteristics of some species, in conjunction with their home security qualities, makes them a considerable alternative to artificial fences and walls.

Description

Cacti are perennial and grow as trees, shrubs, or vines. Most species are terrestrial, but there are also many epiphytic species, especially in the tribes Rhipsalideae and Hylocereeae. In most species, except for the sub-family Pereskioideae (see image), the leaves are greatly or entirely reduced. The leaves may also be tiny and deciduous as can be seen on new shoots of Opuntia. Spines found in the cacti are actually modified leaves; the stems (the green “pads” of many cacti) have also evolved to photosynthesize. The flowers, mostly radially symmetrical and bisexual, bloom either by day or by night, depending on the species.

Their shape varies from tube-like through bell-like to wheel-shaped, and their size from 0.2 to 15–30 centimeters. Most of them have numerous sepals (from 5 to 50 or more), and change form from outside to inside, from bracts to petals. They have stamens in great numbers (from 50 to 1,500, rarely fewer). Nearly all species of cacti have a bitter mucilaginous sap contained within them. The berry-like fruits may contain few to many (3,000), seeds, which can be between 0.4 and 12 mm long.

The life of a cactus is seldom longer than 300 years but may be as short as 25 years, (although these flower as early as their second year). The Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) grows to a height of up to 15 meters (the record is 17 meters 67 cm), but in its first ten years, it grows only 10 centimeters. The “mother-in-law’s cushion” (Echinocactus grusonii) reaches a height of 2.5 meters and a diameter of 1 meter and – at least on the Canaries – is already capable of flowering after 6 years. The diameter of cactus flowers ranges from 5 to 30 cm; the colors are often conspicuous and spectacular.

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Aloe

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Aloe

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Aloe (scientific name: Aloe) commonly known as Aloe, native to the Mediterranean, Africa, for the Asphodelaceae perennial herbs, According to research, more than 300 kinds of wild aloe species, mainly in Africa and other places. The plant popular popular favorite, mainly because of its ease of cultivation, both for the mosaic of ornamental plants. Only six kinds of edible species, of which Aloe Vera has a variety of valuable drugs are:

1. Yang Aloe Vera (also known as Barbados aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis Aloe Barbadensis / Aloe Vera)
2. Aloe vera (distributed in North Africa, West Indies),
3. Cape Aloe (found in southern Africa),
4. Yuanjiang aloe vera.

Plant Characteristics

Aloe Vera with short stem; leaf evergreen, hypertrophic juicy, edge thinning birth spines gradually sharp blade length of up to 15 to 40 centimeters, 1.5 centimeters thick, grass green; summer and autumn flowering, raceme from the leaf extract from , up to 60 to 90 cm, in which inflorescence up to 20 cm, there is alienation arrangement of yellow flowers; capsule Seeds many different varieties of shape difference between the larger.

Chinese Medicinal

Bitter cold in nature, Liver heat, purge, pesticides; also used for headache, constipation, children scared epilepsy, rickets Boil ulcers, burns, ringworm sores, hemorrhoids, atrophic rhinitis, scrofula, hepatitis, bile duct stones, wet eczema, etc.. However, many other varieties, only a few varieties can be used for consumption or external use, in which the best varieties of medicinal value for the Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Barbadensis, also known as Aloe Vera).

Ingredients

Aloe leaf contains more than 200 kinds of compounds, which include 20 kinds of minerals, 18 kinds of amino acids, 12 kinds of vitamins and other nutrients in a variety of [1], including a variety of sticky polysaccharides, fatty acids, anthraquinones and yellow ketones, sugar, active enzymes. Anthraquinones, also known as Anthra owned agricultural complex (Anthraquinone complex), there is the effectiveness of disinfection sterilization, mainly present in the juice inside. However, the epidermis contains aloe emodin, can make patients and diarrhea, and to make pregnant women, abortion, it must be peeled aloe consumed.

Cultivation methods

* Love grows in the drainage in good and difficult to harden in the loose soil.
* The more the soil can be mixed gravel ash, such as leaf mold Cao Hui and so better able to join.
* Drainage poor soil permeability will cause the roots of respiratory obstruction, lousy root necrosis, but the sandy soil often result in excessive moisture and nutrient loss, so that the growth of aloe bad.
* Aloe afraid of the cold. If less than 0 ℃, it will frostbite. Stop growing at about 5 ℃, its optimum growth temperature of 15 ℃ ~ 35 ℃, humidity 45% ~ 85%.

Greenhouse cultivation of the use of thermal insulation will solve a large area north of the winter issue of planting of aloe. Aloe and, like all plants need water, but are most afraid of water. In the rainy wet season or a bad case of the drainage is very easy to leaf shrinkage of root rot or death of branches. Aloe in about 15 ℃ ~ 35 ℃ fastest-growing, China’s 3 to 10 months, most of the region in line with this temperature. During this period to strengthen the management, multiple scarification weeding, can promote soil aeration to accelerate the transformation of soil nutrients, promoting well-developed root system and improve resistance to diseases, to achieve rapid and healthy growth. Timely watering during the hot summer, with particular attention to. Aloe Yoshimitsu heat, but in the summer temperatures are high, but also to prevent the precipitation came from a drought, proper watering receive higher yields. Caused by excessive watering can, generally 5 to 10 days once poured. Vigorous growth period of strains of soil nutrients in body constantly being absorbed, such as aloe vera in time will affect the growth of top-dressing. General fertilizer organic fertilizer slow, can not wait for the growth by affecting the aloe vera after fertilization, so too late. One should not be too much fertilizer, not stained leaves, rinse with water if the stain to use. Aloe vera plant can be picked in about three years had. The leaves of medicinal value of more than three years later. Leaf from the plant when the lower part of the general began, mature leaves hot Su Shun, do not hurt the plants, and daylight to keep the body complete. Aloe leaf accounted for more than 96% moisture. Damaged leaves in the juice out of body, its nutrition is a loss. Also damaged leaves are not easy to save, but also affect other blade storage. We should control the watering in the autumn can be taken to sprinkle water, even in relatively dry soil does not matter, it will easily lousy root. In addition to autumn and winter to keep warm, but also note that as far as possible the sun aloe more common. You can put potted plants, aloe sheltered sunny place. If the temperature is lower, you can use a transparent plastic hooded, 9:00 in the morning after the three-point prior to the afternoon sun.

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Cumin

Cumin

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum, pronounced /ˈkjuːmɪn/ or UK: /ˈkʌmɪn/, US: /ˈkuːmɪn/, and sometimes spelled cummin) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to East India.

Scientific Name: Cuminum cyminum

Biological Background: A seasoning that is the principal ingredient of curry powder, a blend of powdered Indian spices. Cumin is a member of the parsley family and cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds. The aromatic seed has a characteristic strong, slightly bitter taste. Traditionally cumin has been used to flavor cheese, unleavened bread, chili, and tomato sauce.

Nutritional Information: Due to its use as a spice, cumin provides insignificant amount of nutrients.

Pharmacological Activity: Studies have indicated that cumin has strong anticancer activity, which may be due to its phytochemical cuminaldehyde. Cuminaldehyde also has strong antiinflammatory properties. In addition, cumin contains two phytochemicals, cuminyl ester and limonene, which have been shown to stop aflatoxin from binding to DNA to start the cancer process.

Eating Tips: Use cumin to add an earthy flavor to Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines.

Etymology

The English “cumin” derives from the French “cumin”, which was borrowed indirectly from Arabic “كمون” Kammūn via Spanish comino during the Arab rule in Spain in the 15th century. The spice is native to Arabic-speaking Syria where cumin thrives in its hot and arid lands. Cumin seeds have been found in some ancient Syrian archeological sites.

The word found its way from Syria to neighbouring Turkey and nearby Greece most likely before it found its way to Spain. Like many other Arabic words in the English language, cumin was acquired by Western Europe via Spain rather than the Grecian route.

Some suggest that the word is derived from the Latin cuminum and Greek κύμινον. The Greek term itself has been borrowed from Arabic. Forms of this word are attested in several ancient Semitic languages, including kamūnu in Akkadian.The ultimate source is believed to be the Sumerian word gamun.

A folk etymology connects the word with the Persian city Kerman where, the story goes, most of ancient Persia’s cumin was produced. For the Persians the expression “carrying cumin to Kerman” has the same meaning as the English language phrase “carrying coals to Newcastle”. Kerman, locally called “Kermun”, would have become “Kumun” and finally “cumin” in the European languages.

In Northern India and Nepal, cumin is known as jeera (Devanagari जीरा) or jira, while in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan it is known as zeera (Persian زيره); in Southern India it is called “Jeerakam” ( ജീരകം ) in Malayalam and Jeerige ( ಜೀರಿಗೆ in ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)) or jeeragam or seeragam (Tamil (ஜீரகம்/சீரகம்)) or jilakarra (Telugu); in Sri Lanka it is known as duru , the white variety being suduru and the large variety, maduru ; in Iran, South Asia and Central Asia, cumin is known as zireh; in Turkey, cumin is known as kimyon; in northwestern China, cumin is known as ziran (孜然). In Arabic, it is known as al-kamuwn (الكمون). Cumin is called kemun in Ethiopian, and is one of the ingredients in the spice mix berbere.

History

Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds, excavated at the Syrian site Tell ed-Der, have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.

Originally cultivated in Iran and Mediterranean region, cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). It was also known in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin fell out of favour in Europe except in Spain and Malta during the Middle Ages. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists.

Since returned to favour in parts of Europe, today it is mostly grown in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Syria, Mexico, and Chile. The plant occurs as a rare casual in the British Isles, mainly in Southern England, but the frequency of its occurrence has declined greatly; according to the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ most recent Atlas, there has been only one confirmed record since the year 2000.

Uses

Cumin is the second most popular spice in the world after black pepper.[5][unreliable source?] Cumin seeds are used as a spice for their distinctive aroma, popular in Indian, Pakistani, North African, Middle Eastern, Sri Lankan, Cuban, Northern Mexican cuisines, and the Western Chinese cuisines of Sichuan and Xinjiang. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses such as Leyden cheese, and in some traditional breads from France. It is commonly used in traditional Brazilian cuisine. Cumin can be an ingredient in (often Texan or Mexican-style) Chili powder, and is found in achiote blends, adobos, sofrito, garam masala, curry powder, and bahaarat.

Cumin can be used ground or as whole seeds, as it draws out their natural sweetnesses. It is traditionally added to chili, curries, and other Middle-Eastern, Indian, Cuban and Tex-Mex foods. Cumin has also been used on meat in addition to other common seasonings. It is not common in Mexican cuisine. However, the spice is a common taste in Tex-Mex dishes. It is extensively used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. Cumin is typically used in Mediterranean cooking from Spanish, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking making it a staple in certain stews and soups.

Medicine

In South Asia, cumin tea (dry seeds boiled in hot water) is used to distinguish false labour (due to gas) from real labour.

In Sri Lanka, toasting cumin seeds and then boiling them in water makes a tea used to soothe acute stomach problems.

It is commonly believed in parts of South Asia, that cumin seeds help with digestion. No scientific evidence seems to suggest this is the case.

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