Spiny Sow Thistle

Here’s another edible and medicinal plant for you.
This is a new plant to me. At first I thought a thistle and a dandelion had cross pollinated. That’s what it looks like! I’ve learned since its actually called a Spiny Sow Thistle. It’s edible and has medicinal properties which make it even better! Here’s some info I’ve gathered, but like always be sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before consuming. I’ll be posting about Caledula next week.

Spiny Sow Thistle-

Identifying the different sow thistle:
The three common ones areSonchus oleraceus, (SON-kus oh-ler-AY-see-us ) Sonchus Asper (SON-kus ASS-pur) and Sonchus arvensis (SON-kus ar-VEN-sis.) They are respectfully the common sow thistle, the spiny sow thistle and the field sow thistle. The Oleraceus has green leaves with a bit of blue, Delta- arrow-shaped end lobes and distinctly pointed lobes where it clasps the stem. The asper has spiny round lobes where it clasps the stem. It also has a lot of spines. It’s the one that can require trimming. The arvensis has more lance shaped leaves, lobes can be irregular, and soft small spines. It is the softest of the three with a tactile feel closer to a wild lettuce.

Best way to eat.
Young sow thistles can just be tossed in the herb pot, where as some older leaves need to be trimmed of the thistles, which is a point of culinary departure. Really old leaves are bitter and not that much fun to eat even if they are edible. When young their flavor resembles lettuce and as they age more like Swiss chard. When old they are just bitter. I try to harvest them between four and 12 inches high. The young stalks peel and cooked are excellent, too. The young root is also edible when cooked but tends to be woody.

Recipes:
BUTTERED SOW-THISTLE

1 or 2 handfuls sow-thistle leaves – young

Butter or oil

Beef stock or water

Ground nutmeg – pinch

1 tsp. flour

Salt and pepper

For this recipe the young 2- to 4-inch leaves of common sow-thistle

Heat some butter or oil in a pan and add the leaves. Stir thoroughly to

coat the leaves. Add a good slug of stock or water, reduce the heat to a

simmer and cover. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg,

the flour and some seasoning. Stir everything, then add another knob of

butter and melt into the sow-thistle over a low heat.

Serve.

STIR-FRIED SOW-THISTLE & PORK

½-1 cup pork meat – shredded / sliced

Light soy sauce

Corn flour – pinch

Water

White wine or dry sherry

Sugar – pinch

Salt and pepper

Sows thistles

Begin by slicing the meat into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/10th inch thick. Set aside. Next, make up a marinade from the remainder of the first group of ingredients, using a splash of soy sauce, slugs of water and wine, seasoning and pinches of corn flour and sugar. Mix together well in a bowl and then add the sliced meat. Stir thoroughly so that all the pieces are

coated and leave for 30 minutes. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the ginger for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent burning, then add the spring onion. Stir for a minute, then add the meat. Stir-fry until the meat begins to cook. Add the sow-thistle leaves and continue frying for another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring to prevent burning and distribute the heat

Medicinal uses:

The plant is emmenagogue and hepatic. An infusion has been used to bring on a tardy menstruation and to treat diarrhoea. The latex in the sap is used in the treatment of warts. It is also said to have anticancer activity. The stem juice is a powerful hydrogogue and cathartic, it should be used with great caution since it can cause colic and tenesmus. The gum has been used as a cure for the opium habit. The leaves are applied as a poultice to inflammatory swellings. An infusion of the leaves and roots is febrifuge and tonic.

Much love & many blessings!

-Jason

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Kalanchoe propagation.

Long time no blog! I’m back and will be more constant. I have some blogs set to go up on future days. Today’s post is on propagation. I love propagating plants from leaves! This Kalanchoe is one of my most recent ones. My mom actually bought me two huge leaves for this NOID Kalanchoe at a booth for the local master gardeners. They have really took off! It always amazes me on how many little plantlets pop up. You just lay the leaf on top of moist soil and the leaf notches will send out roots then little plantlets will start to grow! I plan to use several of these plants as mother plants for my nursery and keep a couple for my personal collection. This would be a great project for kids to get them into gardening. You just lay the leaf on most soil, I press the leaf stem into the soil some also. Not sure if it helps any or not.  Just keep the soil moist and somewhere in indirect light. You have to be patient, but when the little plantlets pop up its so rewarding. Most Kalanchoe will do this, so give it a try! 


Much love & many blessings!

-Jason-

My Epiphyllum White NOID bloomed!

I’ve been growing several Epiphyllums that I got as cuttings for the past two or three years. One finally rewarded me with a bloom this year. I’m in love with this plant. Some people probably wouldn’t be as excited as me since it’s just a white flower and a NOID. Some people are plant snobs and only want named varieties for some reason. Being a named variety doesn’t make the plant more beautiful, just worth more as cuttings or started plants. White flowers are my favorite too, so that’s a plus! This one has grown into such a nice plant and looks like it’s pushing out a few more blooms. I should have more flowers next year I’m hoping since they are getting older.

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Much love & Many blessings!

-Jason

Kalanchoe pinnata

Family: Crassulaceae (Krass-yoo-LAY-see-ee)

Genus: Kalanchoe (kal-un-KOH-ee)

Species pinnata (pin-NAY-tuh)

Light: Sun to light shade

Water: Let dry between watering

 

Kalanchoe pinnata is a very easy plant to grow. You can propagate from cuttings or small plantlets that grow on the edge of leaves. Just lay a leaf on some moist soil and press the leaf into the soil. The whole bottom of the leaf should be in contact with the soil. Keep the soil moist and you will see little plantlets form on the edge of the leaf. They grow rapidly from these plantlets. I usually let them get a couple inches tall then separate. Kalanchoe pinnata also has health benefits. I haven’t tested any of these uses myself and I’m not responsible for any side effects. Everything with benefits also has side effects. There’s several things Kalanchoe pinnata can help with. Some of the things it helps with is kidney stones, wounds, inflammation, high blood pressure, and several other things.

 

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These are two I grew from plantlets on the side of leaves of my main plant. They were only a 1/2 inch tall in May when I placed them on soil. You can see how fast they have grown in just 3 month’s. If you have any more info let me know in a comment!

 

Much love!!!

-Jason-

Adenium obesum seedlings

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee)

Genus: Adenium (a-DEE-nee-um)

Species: obesum (oh-BEE-sum)

Light: Full Sun

Water: Let dry well before watering.

 

Adenium is one of the most interesting genus of plants out there. They are a blast to grow from seed and grow faster than one would think. The biggest ones pictured germinated around the end of May. I forgot to mark the germination date on these. I started them in full Sun. Mine get almost 9 hours of full Sun everyday the Sun shines. They are native to South Africa and Arabia. Most of the ones you buy at the big box stores are hybrids. They come in many flower colors and sizes. Adenium obesum is one of the larger species of Adenium. They form beautiful caudex bases of gnarly roots. It’s good to raise you plant every couple years when you re pot to show off the gnarly caudex. They like well draining soil and it’s best to add perlite or another product to help with aeration and drainage.

Growing Adenium from seed is easy and a blast. Fill you pot with your potting mix of choice (I make my own) and cover the seed with about a quarter inch of soil. Unless your sowing mini’s which need to be top sowed. That just means laying the seed on top of the soil without covering them. Give them a good watering and place in a sunny place. Give them as much Sun as possible. You can start them under grow lights also if you are starting them while it’s cold out. They germinate quite fast and are so cute to watch grow. Once you have a couple of true leaves you can start fertilizing with a very diluted fertilizer. The true leaves are the leaves that form after the two leaves the seedling germinates with. If you start them inside under lights or a window seal you need to transition them into full Sun slowly. Moving them too fast into the full Sun with toast them. I hope you give them a try. I order my seeds off Ebay from Thailand and had great germination rate. If you have questions please be sure to ask! Blessed Be!!

13781744_10153833781848437_6437729048934514461_nThis is my favorite one that germinated from the first batch which germinated around the end of May. He will be staying in my collection.

 

13754346_10153833782288437_5096003894448355785_nThis was from the first batch too. He has very pleasing growth. Very nice fat base.

 

13669128_10153833782463437_4469377098487187676_nFrom the first batch also. Has great shape also.

 

13669556_10153833782573437_8557611726150126374_nThis is from the first batch also. This one has more of a tall growth habit. Could be interesting when he gets older and is raised above the soil.

13669211_10153833782678437_8244981862546959028_nThis is from the first batch too. I’m keeping this one also.

 

13658920_10153833782743437_2014877277069330852_nFrom my second batch. These germinated around the end of June. They were sowed on June 23rd. It’s like a little Adenium forest!

13626960_10153833782818437_7799633071788719906_nAlso from the second batch.

 

13882179_10153833782988437_1940021156659811853_nThese are from my third batch. They germinated around a week or so ago.

 

13680847_10153833783138437_4278253981558872714_nFrom the third batch. This is a view from the top of the picture before this one. I know the tag says June 23rd, but I just reused a tag from one pot that the some Adenium seeds I got from a friend didn’t germinate. It happens some times.

The ones planted together will get their own pots soon so their growth isn’t stunted.

Much love!!!

-Jason-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Huernia schneideriana

Common name: Red dragon flower

Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee)

Genus: huernia (hew-ERN-ee-uh)

Species: Schneideriana

Light: Bright indirect light to a couple hours of direct sun.

Water: Let dry between watering.

 

Schneideriana is a wonderful succulent in the asclepiadaceae family.
The growth is vining and a lovely green color. It has these bumps
almost like they want to have thorns, but they don’t. The flowers
are a dark gorgeous red about t he size of a nickle. Very easy care
plant that likes to dry out between watering. I let mine get wrinkled
sometimes during winter before I water them. I hang mine in an East
or West window during winter. They don’t like too much direct sun.
They are prolific growers and will fill a pot in no time. I find I
have to thin mine out almost every fall. I like to thin mine out
some because I think they grow better when they aren’t as crowded.
They are one of my favorite of the asclepiad’s.

Huernia schneideriana

Huernia schneideriana 5

Huernia schneideriana 4

Huernia schneideriana 3

Huernia schneideriana 2

 

Much love!!!

-Jason-

Stetsonia coryne

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee)

Genus: Stetsonia (stet-SOHN-ee-uh)

Species: coryne (ko-RY-nee)

Common Name: Toothpick Cactus

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Let dry between watering

Stetsonia coryne is a tree forming cactus from South America. Usually has a main trunk forming several side branches. They have a blueish color to their flesh. They have long spines which gives it the common name Toothpick Cactus. They like full sun to partial shade. How much a cactus needs depends on your environment. During the hot days of Summer they need regular watering. During Winter they should be kept dry and on the cooler side. In a cool room or greenhouse where they can get some needed rest. They should still get good light. I’ll do a more detailed post on plant care. They are beautiful plants.

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Much love!!!

-Jason-