PRICKLY PEAR: Properties, Uses and Benefits

Common Name: Prickly Pear, Indian Fig Opuntia, Nopal Cactus Species: Opuntia Ficus Indica Family: Cactaceae Prickly pear cactus, also known as Nopal, Opuntia and other names, it is a type of cactus, characterized by its remarkable resiliency and adaptation to arid and semi-arid climates. It thrives in dry, arid places in the tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide. This plant can tolerate drought well, and capable to stand low temperatures as occur at night in the desert. This succulent plant can reach 4-5 meters in height. It has a shrubby pattern, its branches and…

NASTURTIUM: Properties and Benefits of a Natural Antibiotic

  Family: Tropaeolaceae Species: Tropaeolum majus Common Names: Common Nasturtium, Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress It is a herbaceous annual plant with trailing stems growing to 1 meter long. Leaves are large, circular with distinct veins, 3 to 15 cm in diameter, flowers are 3-6 cm diameter, with five petal; and a long nectar spur at the rear. They vary from yellow to red, often darker at the base of the petals. The fruit is 2 cm broad, three-segmented, each segment with a single large seed. Native to South America, today it…

SEDUM: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Family: Crussulaceae Species: Sedum Common Names: Sedastrum, Sedum, Stonecrops There are an impressive 300 more different species of these succulent plants, which are also called Stonecrop as they are often found in the wild growing on rocky ledges. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Mostly is a perennial plant with thick, succulent leaves, fleshy stems, and clusters of star-shaped flowers. So many varieties of this plants makes them suitable for almost all types of garden designs. Use low–growing ones varieties as ground covers and in rock gardens, and…

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE: Properties, Uses and Benefits

Common Name: Jerusalem Artichoke, Sunroot, Sunchoke, Topinambour Species: Helianthus Tuberosus Family: Asteraceae   Jerusalem artichoke is a herbaceous perennial related to sunflower and native to North America. Today it’s widely cultivated across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable, eaten both raw and cooked. Other uses come from Industry being tuber a great source of biomass, as well as high quality alcohol is extracted from tuber fermentation. CULTIVATION Needing plenty of space to grow, this perennial is ideal when planted as a windbreak or screen. Its…

PULMONARIA: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Family: Boraginaceae Species: Pulmonaria Officinalis Common Names: Lungwort, Pulmonaria, Bethlehem sage   This shade plant is not only attractive, but surprisingly resilient. Lungwort prefers moist locations but can survive in drier locations if enough shade is provided. If planted in full sun, the plant will wilt… I suggest grow them under trees where other plants may have a hard time. Coltivation Lungwort plants grow in clumps and reach a height of about 40 cm. In proper conditions they can spread rapidly, root division should be carried out in early…

CALENDULA OFFICINALIS: Not Just a Bless for Your Skin and Garden

  Common Name: Pot Marigold, Common Marigold, Calendula Species: Calendula Officinalis Family: Astareaceae   Calendula Officinalis is an annual short-life aromatic plant native to the Mediterranean, but widely spread around the globe and cultivated for centuries as food and for its medical many uses. Calendulas are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially because they tolerate most soils and climates. CULTIVATION Seeds have a distinct curved shape almost looking like little worms, and are sown in spring in temperate climates…

PLANTAIN: Properties of a Common yet Precious Plant

  Common Name: Greater Plantain, Broadleaf Plantain, Common Plantain Species: Plantago Major Family: Plantaginaceae   Plantain  is a perennial broadleaf plant that grows the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops around the world. Plantain has oval shaped leaves revealing string-like veins, with thick stems that meet at the base and grow in a rosette. Flowers rise well above the foliage and contain a small pod housing dark seeds held by the narrow spikes. Each plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. We can find this miraculous plant growing nearly everywhere, from meadows…

BEAR’S GARLIC: The Best Spring Natural Detox

  Family: Alliaceae Species: Allium Ursinum Common Name: Bear’s Garlic, Wild Garlic, Bear leek, Broad-leaved garlic Bear’s Garlic is a wild plant relative to chives. and well-known for being a true spring treat for bears that have just woken up from their winter slumber, also a favorite of wild boar. It is a bulbous perennial herbaceous plant that reproduces primarily by seed. The narrow bulbs are formed from a single leaf base and produce bright green elliptical leaves. The inflorescence is an umbrella of several white flowers. It’s native to…

HOP PLANT: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Family: Cannabaceae (hemp family) Species: Humulus Lupulus Common Names: Hops, Wild Hop, Common Hop, Lupulin These perennial herbaceous climbing plant require support to thrive. Plants are dioecious, which means that they have a gender. Hop Plants send up new shoots in early spring which are edible and delicious. The cone-shaped fruits are known as strobili,  are collected in fall, can be used either fresh or dried. Hops dies back to a cold-hardy rhizome in autumn. Plants are very hardy tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c when dormant,  in the…

MILK THISTLE: A Natural Detox

Common Names: Cardus Marianus, Milk Thistle, Marian Thistle Species: Sylibum Marianum Family: Asteraceae (Cynareae)   Milk thistle is an annual/biennial plant that grows in dry, rocky soil throughout southern and Western Europe, and in some parts of the United States. The stem grows tall and bears spiny leaves, which are dark green in color and streaked with white along the veins. Milk thistle flowers from June to August, bearing a single spiny, reddish-purple blossom. The fruit of the plant (commonly misidentified as the seed) is used for health purposes. Milk Thistles can…

GARLIC MUSTARD: A Very Nutritious Invasive Plant

  Family: Brassicaceae Species: Alliara Petiolata Common Name: Garlic Mustard, Garlic Wort, Hedge Garlic, Poor-man’s-mustard Garlic Mustard is a biennial plant; the first year, plants appear as a rosette of green leaves close to the ground; remain green through the winter and develop into mature flowering plants the following spring. It’s a highly invasive plant widely growing in early spring on the side of roads, and waste lands. The leaves are triangular with a distinctive outline, flowers that are produced in spring and summer have four white petals. The fruit…

CALAMINTHA GRANDIFLORA / MINT SAVORY: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Family: Laminaceae Species: Calamintha Grandiflora Common Name: Mint Savory, Large-Flowered Calamint, Satureja Grandiflora Calamints are close cousins to garden mint, without the spreading invasive habit, and a more delicate fragrance. This plant is native to Europe and the Middle East. This selection forms an upright, bushy mound of soft green, oval-shaped leaves. Rose-pink flowers are studs on short spikes among the leaves in midsummer. This will slowly spread to form a small patch, attractive to butterflies  and bees for their pleasantly fragrance. CULTIVATION Plants are hardy to about -15°c,…

PLANTAGO LANCEOLATA – RIBWORT PLANTAIN: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Family: Plantaginaceae Species: Plantago Lanceolata Common Name: Ribwort Plantain, Narrowleaf Plantain, Ribgrass Ribwort Plantain is a perennial herb with a thick rhizome and fibrous roots. Leaves are lanceolate with 3-5 strong parallel veins along. The inflorescence is a short spike, densely flowered with white flowers that bring plenty of small seeds. Very closely related to Plantago Major, it’s very tolerant and can adapt to extreme condition, This plant can actually live anywhere from very dry meadows to places similar to a rain forest, roadsides, open woodlands and grasslands. Along…

THYMUS SERPYLLUM: Properties, Uses and Benefits

Common Names: Wild Thyme, Mountain Thyme, Creeping Thyme, Serpolet Species: Thymus Serpyllum Family: Lamiaceae    Thymus serpyllum or wild thyme,  is a specie of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to most of Europe and North Africa but found in North America too. It is a low, usually prostrate subshrub growing few centimeters tall with creeping stems up to 10 cm long. The oval evergreen leaves are small as the strongly scented flowers that are either pink-purple and produced in clusters. The hardy plant tolerates some pedestrian traffic and produces…

BORAGE: A Very Resourceful Plant

  Family: Boraginaceae Species: Borago Officinalis Common Names: Starflower, Bee Bush, Bugloss, Borragine, Tailwort Borago Officinalis is an annual herb in the flowering plant family Boraginaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has naturalized in many other localities. It grows satisfactorily in gardens in the UK climate, Northern Europe and America. Can survive light frost and it is considered to be an invasive plant in some country, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The leaves are edible and the plant is grown in gardens…

SNAPDRAGON: Uses and Benefits

  Common Names: Snapdragon,  Lion’s Mouth, Antirrhinum, Dog’s Mouth, Dragon Flower Species: Antirrinum Major Family: Plantaginaceae   Snapdragons are attractive ornamental plants which have some health benefits too. Its flowers resemble to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed, hence the name. An appreciated garden plant, perennial, widely cultivated from tropical to temperate zones as a bedding, herbaceous border or pot plant. CULTIVATION This peculiar flower can repeat bloom throughout the season, but do best in the cool of spring and fall and throughout the…

COMMON MALLOW: Properties, Uses and Benefits

  Common Names: Common Mallow, Malva Vulgaris, Marsh Mallow Family: Malvaceae   Mallow is usually an annual, sometimes perennial plant of the Malvaceae plant family. Normally small hairs cover its creeping stems and leaves. It can grow up to 60 cm in height. Leaves are dark green, while the flowers are pink with purple darker veins. Its fruit splits into numerous small seeds. Cultivation A very easy plant to grow, doesn’t require particular care and grow with success in ordinary garden soil, so that is often considered invasive and easily spotted…