When To Plant Yellow Chestnut Oak, Quercus Muehlenbergii


Latin NameQuercus Muehlenbergii
CommonnameYellow Chestnut Oak
SynonymsQ. acuminata. non Roxb. Q. prinus acuminata.
Known HazardsNone known
RangeEastern N. America – Vermont and Ontario to Minnesota, Nebraska, Alabama and Texas.
HabitatDry calcareous slopes and ridges, or on rich bottoms[43]. Well-drained uplands[227], favouring limestone soils and avoiding acid soils[229].
HabitTree
Height20ft
Width10ft
Hardyness4
Sensitive To FrostYes
Flowering TimeMay
Seed RipensNov - Dec
PollinatorsWind
Edible UsesSeed – cooked. It is up to 18mm long[227]. The seed contains very little bitter tannin, it is quite sweet and rather pleasant eating[183, 227]. Tastes nice when baked in an oven[183]. Any bitter seeds can be leached by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency Roasted seed is a coffee substitute.
MedicinalAn infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of vomiting[257]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4].
Uses NotesA mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth[20]. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4]. Wood – heavy, very hard, strong, close grained, durable. It weighs 53lb per cubic foot[227]. Not abundant enough to be used commercially, it is used for fencing, cooperage etc and makes an excellent fuel[82, 149, 229].
Cultivation DetailsPrefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[1, 11]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Tolerates moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted[200]. Prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, trees often grow poorly in this country and fail to properly ripen their wood resulting in frost damage overwinter[200]. Growth is fairly rapid for an oak[227], especially when the tree is young, though it slows down with age[229]. Seed production is cyclic, a year with high yields is followed by 2 – 3 years of light crops[229]. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Q. muhlenbergii brayi (Small.)Sarg. has somewhat larger seeds than the type, sometimes 3cm long[227]. Closely related to Q. prinus[11]. Trees are often confused with Q. prinus, Q. prinoides and Q. michauxii[200]. Trees respond well to coppicing[149]. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
Growth RateMedium
PropagationSeed – it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.
Deciduous / EvergreenDeciduous
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When To Plant Yellow Day Lily, Hemerocallis Lilioasphodelus


Latin NameHemerocallis Lilioasphodelus
CommonnameYellow Day Lily
SynonymsH. flava.
Known HazardsLarge quantities of the leaves are said to be hallucinogenic. Blanching the leaves removes this hallucinatory component[205]. (This report does not make clear what it means by blanching, it could be excluding light from the growing shoots or immersing in boiling water[K].)
RangeOriginal habitat is obscure, possibly China. An occasional garden escape in Britain.
HabitatRocky mountain woods, wet meadows and riversides on foothills of the S.E. Alps in Europe[50].
HabitPerennial
Height0.6ft
Width1ft
Hardyness4
Sensitive To FrostNo
ScentedYes
Flowering TimeMay
PollinatorsInsects
SelffertileY
Edible UsesLeaves and young shoots – raw or cooked like asparagus or celery[85, 105, 183]. They must be consumed when very young or else they become fibrous[K]. Flower buds – raw or cooked. They taste somewhat like green beans[85, 105]. They contain about 43mg vitamin C per 100g, 983 IU vitamin A and 3.1% protein[205]. Flowers – raw or cooked[85, K]. They can be dried and used as a thickener in soups etc[183]. If the flowers are picked just as they start to wither they can be used as a condiment[85]. The flowers are a traditional food in China where they are steamed and then dried[266]. Root – cooked[85, 105]. They taste like a blend of sweet corn and salsify[183]. We have found them to be tender but fairly bland with a slight sweetness[K]. The swollen roots are quite small and are only really worthwhile using if the plant is being dug up for divisions or some other reason[K].
MedicinalThe juice of the roots is an effective antidote in cases of arsenic poisoning[205]. The root also has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer – extracts from the roots have shown antitumour activity[218]. A tea made from the boiled roots is used as a diuretic[205].
Uses NotesThe tough dried foliage is plaited into cord and used for making footwear[205]. Plants form a spreading clump and are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 45cm apart each way[208]. The dead leaves should be left on the ground in the winter to ensure effective cover[208].
Cultivation DetailsSucceeds in most soils[1], including dry ones, preferring a rich moist soil and a sunny position[111] but tolerating partial shade[88, 111]. Plants flower less freely in a shady position though the flowers can last longer in such a position[205]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in short grass if the soil is moist[1]. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7[200]. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[187]. A very vigorous plant, spreading by underground rhizomes[1]. The plant has a fibrous root system with occasional spindle-like swellings[205]. Cultivated as a food and medicinal plant in Japan[127]. Individual flowers are short-lived, they open at night and last for 20 – 76 hours. The plant produces a succession of blooms over a period of about 2 months[205]. The flowers are fragrant[205]. The flowers have a honeysuckle-like scent and this can pervade the air for a considerable distance when warmed by the summer sunshine[245]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[200]. Plants take a year or two to become established after being moved[200]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. The plants are very susceptible to slug and snail damage, the young growth in spring is especially at risk[200].
PropagationSeed – sow in the middle of spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring[K]. Division in spring or after flowering in late summer or autumn[200]. Division is very quick and easy, succeeding at almost any time of the year[K]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
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When To Plant Yellow Elderberry, Sambucus Australiasica


Latin NameSambucus Australiasica
CommonnameYellow Elderberry
Known HazardsAlthough no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves and stems of some members of this genus are poisonous[9, 76]. The fruit of many species (although no records have been seen for this species) has been known to cause stomach upsets to some people. Any toxin the fruit might contain is liable to be of very low toxicity and is destroyed when the fruit is cooked[65, 76].
RangeAustralia – New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria.
HabitatLight rainforest and wet eucalyptus forests, up to the montane zone.
HabitShrub
Height6ft
PollinatorsInsects
Edible UsesFruit – raw or cooked. A sweetish taste[154, 193]. The fruit is juicy with a mild pleasant flavour[144]. Some forms are bitter[193]. The fruit is quite small but is borne in large clusters and is easy to harvest. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw or cooked.
MedicinalNone known
Uses NotesWood – pale, soft, light[154].
Cultivation DetailsWe have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it is only likely to be hardy outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Tolerates most soils, including chalk[200], but prefers a moist loamy soil[1, 200]. Tolerates some shade but is best in a sunny position[1]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and coastal situations[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
PropagationSeed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame, when it should germinate in early spring. Stored seed can be sown in the spring in a cold frame but will probably germinate better if it is given 2 months warm followed by 2 months cold stratification first[78, 98, 113]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. If good growth is made, the young plants can be placed in their permanent positions during the early summer. Otherwise, either put them in a sheltered nursery bed, or keep them in their pots in a sheltered position and plant them out in spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 7 – 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current season’s growth 15 – 20cm with a heel, late autumn in a frame or a sheltered outdoor bed[78].
Deciduous / EvergreenDeciduous
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