The almond or amygdala (Prunus dulcis, formerly Amygdalus communis) is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to the Caucasus region, of the family Rosaceae with a smooth reddish coloured bark, spreading branches and alternate, stalked, rectangular to lanceolate, glossy and finely serrate leaves. The almond grows usually to the height of six meters, and is akin to the peach and nectarine. The flowers are sessile, white or pink in colour and appear in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is an elliptical, light-green coloured, velvety drupe which contains one oval seed in a hard- pitted shell. The almond was introduced to southern Europe in ancient times, and started being grown in Britain in the 16th century for its blossom, since the fruit doe not ripen in Britain.
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American wormseed (Chenopodium ambrosioides) or Mexican tea as it is also known, is a poisonous annual herb of the family Chenopodiaceae with a branched, reddish, leafy stem. The leaves are alternate and rectangular to lanceolate and coarsely toothed. The numerous small yellowish-green flowers are crowded together in small globose clusters in the leaf axils on the lateral stems. The fruit is an achene. American wormseed was introduced to Europe from tropical America during the 17th century, and acclimatized itself to some parts of Europe, but not Britain. In South America the leaves were formerly used to make an infusion of tea, but the principal use of the plant was in medicine to expel intestinal worms.
Ash (Fraxinus) is, a genus of deciduous trees belonging to the natural order Oleaceae, having imperfect flowers and a seed-vessel prolonged into a thin wing at the apex (called a samara). There are a good many species, chiefly indigenous to Europe and North America. The common ash (Fraximus excelsior), indigenous to Britain, has a smooth bark, and grows tall and rather slender. The branches are flattened; the leaves have five pairs of pinnae, terminated by an odd one, dark-green in colour; lanceolate, with serrated edges. The flowers are produced in loose spikes from the sides of the branches. and are succeeded by flat seeds which ripen in autumn.
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Ash is one of the most useful of British trees on account of the excellence of its hard, tough, elastic wood and the rapidity of its growth. There are many varieties of it, as the weeping-ash, the curled-leaved ash, the entire-leaved ash, etc.
The flowering or manna ash (Fraximus Ornus), by some placed in a distinct genus (Ornus), is a native of the south of Europe and Palestine. It yields the substance called manna, which is obtained by making incisions in the bark, when the juice exudes and hardens.
Among American species are the white ash (Fraximus americana), with lighter bark and leaves; the red or black ash (Fraximus pubescens), with a brown bark; the black ash (Fraximus sambucifolia), the blue ash, the green ash, etc. They are all valuable trees.
The mountain-ash or rowan belongs to a different order.
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Aspidistra is a genus of plants of the lily family, comprising three or four species, natives of China and Japan, being plants with large smooth rectangular lanceolate leaves, rising from an underground rhizome, and with campanulate flowers of a dull purplish or brownish colour.
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The Ba'obab or monkey-bread tree (Adansoniadigitata),is a tree belonging to the natural order (or sub-order) Bombacaceae, and the only known species of its genus, which was named after the naturalist Adanson. It is one of the largest of trees, its trunk sometimes attaining a diameter of ten meters; and as the profusion of leaves and drooping boughs sometimes almost hides the stem, the whole forms a hemispherical mass of verdure 42 to 45 metres in diameter and 18 to 21 metres high. It is a native of Western Africa, and is found also in Abyssinia; it is cultivated in many of the warmer parts of the world. The roots are of extraordinary length, a tree 23 metres in girth having a tap-root 33 metres in length. The leaves are deep green, divided into five unequal parts lanceolate in shape, and radiating from a common centre. The flowers resemble the white poppy, having snowy petals and violet-coloured stamens; and the fruit, which is large and of a rectangular shape, is said to taste like gingerbread, with a pleasant acid flavour. The wood is pale -coloured. light, and soft. The tree is liable to be attacked by a fungus which, vegetating in the woody part, renders it soft and pithlike. By the natives of the west coast these trunks are hollowed into chambers, and dead bodies are suspended in them. There they become perfectly dry and well preserved, without further preparation or embalming. The baobab is emollient and mucilaginous; the pulverized leaves constitute lalo, which the natives mix with their daily food to diminish excessive perspiration, and which was formerly used by Europeans in fevers and diarrhoeas. The expressed juice of the fruit is used as a cooling drink in putrid fevers, and also as a seasoning for various foods.
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Common bistort (Polygonum Bistorta), adder's-wort or snakeroot, is a perennial herb of the buckwheat family, family Polygonaceae, found in Britain. It has a stout, snake-like twisted rhizome and an erect, unbranched stem. The basal ovate to lanceolate leaves with undulate margins and winged petioles are arranged in a rosette. The smaller stem leaves are triangular, sessile and clasp the stem. The flowers are pink in colour, and arranged in a dense terminal spike. The fruit is a three-sided achene surrounded by a persistent perianth.
Common bistort contains a lot of tannin, which gives it astringent properties and led to its use in medicine. The young leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked like spinach and the root is edible after it has been soaked and roasted. In northern England it is commonly called Easter Giant and around Manchester it is called Patience Dock.
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Borage (Borago officinalis) is an erect, bristly annual herb of the family Boraginaceae, native to southern Europe. It has stalked ovate to lanceolate basal leaves, and stalkless, clasping upper leaves. The flowers are blue- coloured and carried in loose, arching sprays. The corolla has five, spreading, lanceolate, pointed lobes.
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Broom is the popular name of several allied genera of shrubs of the family Leguminosae. In Britain the name is generally applied to Cytisus scoparius, a shrub with erect, green, angled, tough spineless stems and numerous small alternate leaves which are lanceolate below and trifoliate in the upper parts of the stems. The flowers are large, yellow and grow singularly in the upper leaf axils.
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The Buffalo-Berry (Shepherdia argentea) is a shrub of the oleaster family, a native of the United States and Canada, with lanceolate silvery leaves and close clusters of bright-red acid berries about the size of currants, which are made into preserves and used in various ways.
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The Cajeput Tree, also known as White Tea Tree, Swamp Tea Tree and White wood (Melaleuca leucandendron) is a tree of the family Myrtaceae native to the East Indies and Tropical Australia. It has a long flexible trunk with irregular ascending branches, covered with a pale, thick, lamellated bark. It is soft and spongy and from time to time sheds its outer layer in flakes. The leaves are entire, linear, lanceolate, ash colour and alternate on short foot-stalks. The flowers are sessile and white on a long spike. An oil (tea tree oil) is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs.
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