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 Herbal Listings

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PostSubject: Herbal Listings   Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:14 pm

*The herbs listed here are the herbs that can be found in the region!*

Arctic Moss
Genus: Calliergon
Species: giganteum




The Calliergon giganteum grows in the arctic tundra which is a harsh cold environment in the Northern Hemisphere within the arctic circle. There are strong winds, up to 100 miles per hour. In the tundra it is very cold: the average winter temperature is -25° C, and in the summer it is rarely over 10° C. The summertime only lasts six to eight weeks. In the winter it is dark most of the time, and even in the summer it is usually cloudy and

overcast; therefore plants get little sunlight. The tundra is also unusually dry; it gets an average of just 30 cm of rainfall per year. The growing season is very short. There is also a major lack of nutrients.

A cool fact about the tundra is that nearly 75 % of it is covered in permafrost. There are many cracks on the surface because of the earth freezing and thawing. This frozen soil prevents water from sinking into the ground, causing many lakes, streams, bogs, and fens (wetlands with a constant high water level) during the summer. Probably the most unique thing about the arctic moss Calliergon giganteum is that it grows in freshwater arctic lakes and in fens.

The Calliergon giganteum is an aquatic plant found growing on the bottom of tundra lake beds and in and around bogs and fens. It is a member of the Siberian tundra biome. Like all mosses, Calliergon giganteum is a bryophyte. They have rhizoids (tiny rootlets) instead of roots. They never have wood stems. They have tiny leaves, usually only one cell thick. There are lots of leaves on the stem. They do not have flowers. They can either reproduce by growing shoots or by sending out spores, which need to be wet to survive. They have two life stages; gametophyte and sporeophyte. There are some ways Calliergon giganteum is unique. It is very slow growing. It grows as slow as one centimeter per year. It also lives a very long time; the shoots live seven to nine years, the leaves live for four. It is brown in color. Its branches are crowded. It is one of the few plants on the tundra. It is "the slowest growing longest living freshwater macrophyte ever recorded" (Amazing Arctic Moss.)

The Calliergon giganteum has adapted well to its cold climate. When it is not growing, it stores nutrients so new leaves can be made quickly next spring. The more leaves the more they can photosynthesize. It is adapted to the incredibly strong winds because it grows near to the ground. Because it can grow under water it is protected from the drying winds and cold, dry air of the frozen tundra. Its long life and slow growth are probably adaptations to the short growing season and the cold.

There are few uses for the Calliergon giganteum. In the arctic, moss covers the ground and warms it up allowing other plants to grow. It is eaten by migrating animals such as birds. Some type of arctic moss was frozen for thousands of years and is helping scientists learn about life on our planet.

The Calliergon giganteum is fairly common. It is one of about 2000 plant species on the tundra, most of which are mosses and lichens.



Arctic Willow
Common Name(s): Rock Willow
Genus: Salix
Species: arctica




Salix arctica whose common name is Arctic willow or rock willow can be found in the North American tundra. The North American tundra consists of Northern Alaska and Northern Canada. It stretches from 52 N to 65 N and from 60 W to 165 W.

The Tundra can be described as a treeless plain with uneven ground. Each year this treeless plain gets 15-35

cm (6-14 in) of precipitation. There are two seasons in the tundra. They are winter and summer. Salix arctica prefers to live in dry, cold, open places, hummocks in wet sphagnum bogs, sedge meadows, margins of pools, and muddy salt flats in course sandy soil. The Arctic willow likes cold climates, which makes the tundra a perfect place for it because the average temperatures range from -70 degrees F to 20 degrees F.

Salix arctica is 15-20 cm in height. It has many different shapes, but sometimes has long trailing branches that root where they touch the surface. Rock willows/Arctic willows grow prostrate, shrub, and carpet. The leaves are oval shaped with pointed tips, wedge shaped bottoms, and have little stalks. These leaves are 15-50 mm in length. The leaves are dark green on the bottom and a lighter green on the top. They have net like veins and long hairs that cover their leaves. The flowers of the Salix arctica are upright scaly spikes that are unisexual flowers with no petals. The Salix arctica blooms in the spring. They are 5 cm and are dark brown or sparkling pink. There's no fruit on the plant, only seeds. There are no taproots on this plant. The lateral roots are shallow due to the frozen ground underneath the permafrost.

Salix arctica has made many adaptations to the cold climate of the North American tundra. In its strongest growth season the Salix arctica forms a pesticide to keep insects like the Arctic woolly bear away. It has also adapted to the permafrost by growing a shallow root system. The leaves of the Salix arctica have also adapted to the cold weather by growing long fuzzy hairs.

The Salix arctica is very plentiful in the wild, but is still vulnerable because of the delicate habitat it lives in. It has a shallow root depth, which makes them susceptible to root damage. It also has a short growing season. There is also a limited food supply for herbivorous insects. There is also a low N.P.P. (nitrogen/ phosphorus/ potassium) in the North American tundra. This means that the chemical fertility of the soil is low. There are many studies being done on the Salix arctica. Some of the organizations involved are I.T.E.X. (International Tundra Experiment), S.A.G.E. (Sustainable Arid Grassland Ecosystems). International Tundra Experiment placed open top chambers (O.T.C) in order to raise the average temperature a couple of degrees to find out how it affected the plants, insects, etc. Sustainable Arid Grassland Ecosystems studied the arctic grasslands and plants.

The Tundra is a delicate place where tire tracks can last for years. The Salix arctica has adapted well in these frigid non-fertile conditions. In such conditions small changes could drastically affect the Salix arctica.


Bearberry
Common name: Bearberry, Foxberry, and Kinnikinic
Genus: Arctostaphylos
Species: uva-ursi
Parts used:



Bearberry is a low growing evergreen. It has a stem that rises 2-8" off the ground and is covered in a thick bark and fine silky hairs. On the stem are many oval-shaped, leathery leaves that are _" to 1" long. The flowers have five petals and are pale pink or white. The petals are only _" long and are curled around the narrow center. They bloom anywhere between March and June. The fruit is a red berry 3/8" in diameter. Bearberry gets its name because bears like to feast on these berries.

Bearberry is commonly found in dry, non-nutrient soils such as sand, soils

on rock outcrops and shallow soils. This plant ranges from northern California to Alaska, east from Oregon and Washington to the mountains of west Montana, and from there, south to New Mexico. Other areas of the world include Greenland, Iceland, and northern Eurasia. Bearberry is plentiful in the wild.

Since bearberry is a low growing plant it can stay out of the wind chill. It's fine silky hairs also help to keep it warm. Leathery leaves are also an adaptation to the cold of the tundra.

Bearberry is a very useful plant. All parts of it can be used in some way. The fruit can be eaten and cooked with other foods. The roots can be made into a tea that can treat a constant cough or slow down menstrual bleeding. A tea from the stem is used to prevent miscarriage and to speed up a women's recovery after childbirth. The leaves can be added to tobacco or used as a substitute for it. A tea made from the leaves can be drunk to treat kidney or bladder problems.



Caribou Moss
Common Name: Caribou Moss, Reindeer Lichen
Genus: Cladonia
Species: rangiferina
Parts Used: entire organism




Caribou moss grows in arctic and northern regions around the world. It grows on the ground and on rocks. It looks like a foamy, gray-green spongy mass, and grows to be 1 to 4 inches high. The stems, or stocks, are hollow, and branch out many times. Although it is called caribou moss, it is actually a lichen.

Lichens are two separate organisms. They are made up of fungi and algae, which live and grow together. The spongy threads of lichens support and protects the algae. The algae has

chlorophyll which can make food. Each has something the other needs. This is called a symbiotic relationship. Lichen can make food when the temperature gets very low and there is little light. The tissues of lichens aren't easily damaged by frost. This makes it a great plant for the tundra.

Lichen can survive for long periods of time without water. They just dry out and go dormant when there is little water or light. They can begin to grow again even after very long periods of dormancy.

Animals such as Reindeer and Caribou feed on lichen during the coldest periods of the season. They do this because it is one of the only things that they have for food when the weather is cold and there is little other vegetation left. It has lots of carbohydrates that give the caribou energy to make body heat. Caribou have special microorganisms in their stomachs which let them digest lichen. Very few other animals eat lichens. Some scientists think that the caribou evolved to fill the tundra's food niche that other animals couldn't fill.

People are afraid that the reindeer and the caribou are dying from eating lichens. Lichens absorb moisture and nutrients through their surface cells. Pollutants and deadly radiation can pass easily into their cells. The caribou eat the radiation rich lichen and pass it on to people who can get the radiation from caribou meat.

Lichens are commercially grown in Scandinavia to make a powder that thickens soups and desserts. It is very rich in vitamins A and B. The Dena'ina, Native Americans of the area, boil it until its soft. They use it in all kinds of their foods. They also make a tea out of it as a medicine for diarrhea.

It is also used to tan caribou hides so if you don't boil out the harsh acids, it will give you a very bad stomach ache.


Willow
Common Name: Diamond-leaf Willow, Sura
Genus: Salix
Species: pulcha
Parts Used: the leaves




The twigs on a willow are soft, slender, and they bend easily. A willow has thin branches. The leaves are narrow and grow alternately on the branch. Some leaves have serrated edges.

There are many different species of willows in the world. They can grow to be 30 feet in height or just a few inches. On the tundra this willow only grows a

few inches tall and creeps along the ground in a thick carpet. Willows have clusters of flowers that look like white, fuzzy caterpillars and are about 1 inch in length. When the willow blooms on the tundra it looks like a bumpy, fuzzy carpet covering the ground

On the tundra the diamond-leaf willow is known by the Inupiat name Sura. Sura grows near creeks, marshes or other wet areas. Young leaves are picked in the spring, before they become bitter and hard. They can be used in seal oil to add vitamins. Seal oil is also used to preserve the leaves. Willow leaves can also be dried and used in tea and in soup as flavoring.

Amazingly enough, Sura is 10 times richer in vitamin C than oranges. It is also rich in vitamin A and calcium. Willow leaves are a good source of nutrients for animals and people of the tundra.

The twigs of the willow are made into baskets because they bend easily. The wood of some willows produce charcoal which they used to make gunpowder with. Wood from the willow is good to use to start a fire, since it burns easily.

The diamond leaf willow provides much needed food for grazing animal of the tundra, like musk oxen, and caribou or reindeer.

These plants are found in most parts of the world, usually in the northern hemisphere. The white willow (Salix alba) is know as Nature's Aspirin. The chemical salicin is found in the bark of the white willow. It reduces fever and relieves pain and inflammation. Chinese physicians have been using willow bark to relieve pain for 2,000 years.


Labrador Tea
Common Name: St. Jame's Tea, Marsh Tea, Swamp Tea, Hudson's Bay Tea
Genus: Ledum
Species: groenlandicum
Parts Used: leaves






The Labrador tea plant grows to be 4 to 5 feet. It will grow up straight in the southern latitudes of the tundra, but in the colder northern latitudes it will creep over the ground forming a carpet. It has woolly branches with narrow 1 to 2 inch leaves which are smooth on the upper side, with rusty hairs underneath. They droop slightly and edges are rolled under, and are a leathery green in color. At the ends of the branches are tiny clusters of white flowers with protruding stamen, which bloom in June and July.

The part used from this plant are the leaves, which were brewed for tea by Native Americans. The tea is very

rich in vitamin C. They were also scattered among clothes to keep moths away. Branches kept with grain are said to keep mice away.

They are also used for medical purposes. Externally it was used for all kinds of skin problems. Tea was used for stomach and nerve ailments. A syrup was made from the tea to be used for coughs

They usually grow in wet meadows, bogs, and forest areas mostly in the lower latitudes of the tundra biome. Bees are attracted to the flowers, but animals don't eat them because they are said to be slightly poisonous.


Pasque Flower
Genus: Anemone
Species: patens



Pasque flower is a pretty tundra plant. It is a member of the Ranunculaceae family, which is Latin for little frog. The name was given to the family because a group of plants in this family grow where frogs live.

The Pasque flower has several stems that rise 6-8 inches off the ground. On each stem is one flower with 5-8 petals. The range of color in the petals is from dark lavender to almost white. In the center of the flower are yellow stamens. Below the flower, around the stem is a leaf covered in silky hairs, as is the rest of the plant. The fruit of the plant is a plum that is achenial, which means that one seed is attached to the ovary wall, like a strawberry seed.


Pasque flower is found in many areas in the tundra. The plant only grows on southward facing slopes and is common throughout northwestern U.S. up to northern Alaska. The Pasque flower is also the state flower of South Dakota. It is popular in many home gardens. It likes well-drained, sandy, and gravelly soils as well as roadsides.

The Pasque flower, like all tundra plants, grows low to the ground to keep out of the cold climate. It is also covered in fine silky hairs, which help insulate it.

The Pasque flower is useful to treat eye diseases like cataracts, which is opacity on the lens of the eye, which can cause partial or complete blindness.

The Pasque flower is plentiful in the wild. It can be seen any where from northwest U.S. to northern Alaska.


Tufted Saxifrage
Common Name: Saxifrage
Genus: Saxifraga
Species: caespitosa





Tufted Saxifrage is a small perennial that grow in thick mats on the tundra. It has several straight flower stems which can get 3-15 cm high. The leaves are rigid and very hairy and only 5-10 mm long. Their tips divide into 3 lobes.

Two to ten flowers bloom from the top of each stem. Each flower has five white petals, that look like a bell when just opening and turn into a star when fully opened. This flower also has a small fruit which usually holds many small seeds.

There are many varieties of saxifrage

in the wild. Saxifrages like cool weather. The Saxifrage has a well-developed underground root system forstoring carbohydrates, so that they can respond quickly to the cold weather of the tundra. Saxifraga heuchera is one of the few saxifrages used as an ornamental plant. It grows in the northwestern United States.

The Tufted saxifrage grows on the rocky slopes and crevices of the tundra. It can be found from Alaska to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains and northwestern Oregon. Saxifraga comes from the Latin word "rock breaker".
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