Friday, May 11

In Bloom


Sell the kids for food
Weather changes moods
Spring is here again
Reproductive glands

Horticultured will return from its extended hiatus shortly.

Tuesday, September 5


ViridianRecently a trip to the Huntington Botanical Garden opened my eyes to the multitude of plants that i've never seen or heard of. One such plant (Ecbolium viride) made me consider the varied pigments that are nearly unknown to commercial horticulture. Blue color in plants is derived from anthocyanins such as Delphinidin and Malvidin. Delphinidin was first isolated in the Delphinium flower, and the genetic inability to produce this chemical prevents blooms such as roses from ever naturally occurring blue. Some plants make better use of their Delphinidin than others to create a color not often seen in nature: cyan.

Could specialized color expression be an evolutionary mechanism not being utilized to its fullest? Trichoderma viride, a parasitic mold displaying a unique shade of aquamarine, has been found to possibly combat the soil pathogens rhizoctonia and armillaria.

Also: Cyanobacteria had it right at the start, and it's in it for the long run.

Thursday, August 31

Plant of the Month: August 2006

Mimosa Pudica
Sensitive Plant

A short entry this month inspired by the surreal video found on the University of Indiana's biology server:

This plant has been identified as the Ayurvedic herb lajjalu. The bark from a close relative of this plant, Mimosa hostilis, is used in Brazilian Ayahuasca brews. It presents a pharmacological anamoly because the DMT available is orally active without any MAOI, unlike any other phytoindolic entheogens.

Other notable plants with intrinsic response movements include Desmodium gyrans (another Ayahuasca herb containing DMT) and Stylidium sp.

Tuesday, August 29

Gertrude the Gopher

GertrudeA new friend has taken up residence in my front yard; how can one sustainably treat pest matters around the home/farm? Pesticides and chemical deterrents may very well do more harm than good in the greater scope of things.

This German website (Translated) offers a Euphorbia species as a remedy for those "troubled by Wühlmäusen." It owes this unique property to Ingenol-3-angelate, purportedly a "tumor promoter." It also suggests Fritillaria imperialis, due to its Imperialine. Ever-useful PFAF notes that "The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic," which seems to be a reasonable deterrant in and of itself.

Invariably commercial botanic gopher repellents include garlic, castor oil, or dandelion.

The Gopher Getters shun other phytoremedial techniques for common marigolds. This may be the most convincing (and least toxic) suggestion. Marigolds are often used in tribal remedies and are widely renowned for their nematocidal activity. Tegete oil is a derivitive used most notably for bowfly deterrent and mosquito larvacide. Additionally, this remedy may not kill the vermin but merely force it off your properly marigold-lined property.

If all else fails: "Freeze, Gopher!"