Let's get growing!
If your a fan of plants like we are, you love to learn more about
them. Here we have a series of articles (plant biogrophies) that have detailed
information about specific plant varieties. These are some of the more interesting
varieties we know of that can be grown from seed.
We hope to keep adding more and more of these to serve the gardening community.
- Jicama, Pachyrrhizus erosus
Jicama, Mexican Potato, Yam Bean: These tasty tubers can weigh up to 5 lbs. with a mild, sweet texture much like water chestnuts. Adds crunch to salads, or can be made into a delicious appetizer if you peel and cut the turnip like root into strips, sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and salt. In Mexico, they dot it with the juices of hot chilies as well.
- Sage, Salvia officinalis
Sage, Salvia officinalis: The ancient Romans used to ask, "How can a man die if he has sage growing in his garden?" It was a highly valued herb in those times and is well supported for its medicinal values today as well. It is an attractive, shrubby plant that develops upright flowering spikes with tiered clusters of inch-long violet-tinted blue blossoms. The taste of sage is a welcome addition to many different types of cooking.
- Lovage, Levisiticum officinale
Lovage, Levisiticum officinale: While a name like Lovage would seem to suggest a medicinal use for this herb that would inspire romance, it is actually one of the oldest know salad green plants in the world. The stems can be, and have been eaten for many years as a vegetables, and both stems and seeds have been candied and consumed as sweet treats for some time as well. In the 16th century, herbalists suggested consuming lovage to ease digestive disorders, usually in the form of a tea.
- Chives, Allium schoenoprasum
Chives, Allium schoenoprasum: Most everyone has had a potato adorned with chives at some point, but they also make great additions to salads and other dishes that would benefit from their mild onion flavored leaves. The more cuttings you take, the more it produces.
- Catnip, Nepeta cataria
Catnip, Nepeta cataria: Catnip has a well earned reputation for sending cats into states of kittenish friskiness and euphoria. It is now known that the aroma of catnip is an aphrodisiac to our feline friends. In the past though, catnip was better known for its medicinal qualities. It was also consumed in the form of a tea in Europe before the arrival of true tea from Eastern Asia.
- Lemmon Balm
Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis: The attractive bright green leaves of this highly touted medicinal plant exude a wonderful scent of lemon, especially when rubbed between the fingers. This was a favorite of bee keepers in ancient times as they would rub it on beehives to encourage the bees to return home to their hives and bring others with them.
Self-heal, Allheal, Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris): For centuries herbalists have been lavish with their praise of this plants curative powers. Before the advent of modern medicine, it was often used to treat cuts, bruises and even internal ailments like ulcers.
- Gingko Biloba
Ginkgo Tree, Maidenhair Tree (Gingko biloba): If they ever were to truly create a "Jurassic Park," the Maidenhair tree would have to be planted there for sure. The Ginkgo, as it's also known, is the world's oldest living species of tree, the sole survivor of the Ginkgolaceae family whose fossil records date back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. These trees can live a long time, some over 600 years, so you, your children, and generations to come can enjoy this incredibly beautiful tree for centuries.
Fo-ti, He-shou-wu (Polygonum multiflorum): Called the "Elixir of Life," Fo-ti tonic is said to produce longevity, fertility and vitality. Taking Fo-ti is said to keep one vigorous and extends one's life span. It is a vine plant that grows well in a shady bed.
- Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis
Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis: In the wild, goldenseal grows up from the forest floor in late April. Small white flowers bloom in the middle of the leaf. With only two large, five-lobed, serrated leaves growing on a one foot stem, it bears a raspberry-like fruit in July. Goldenseal has many medicinal uses, and that is in fact its most common use.
Ginseng, Xi-Yang-Shen, Man Root, American Ginseng: A perennial plant known worldwide for its medicinal values. Grows well on forest floors throughout the world. Ginseng is said to provide a vital elixir that improves health overall, along with vigor and longevity.
- Dang Shen
Dang Shen, Bastard Ginseng, Poor Man's Ginseng (Codonopsis pilosula): Throughout the world, this widely used herb is also called the "poor man's ginseng" as it is also used to invigorate vital energy and is good for the blood. A climbing vine plant that should be trellised. Produces beautiful bell shaped blowers that are yellow to olive green with purple veins.
- Jie-Geng, Balloon Flower
Jie-Geng, Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflora): A hardy perennial featuring star-like, blue-violet flowers. Plants will bloom all summer long. Jie-Geng is a very beautiful vining plant whose edible root has been used in Korean cuisine and to treat ailments of the lung including bronchitis, laryngitis, pleurisy, chest pain and tonsillitis.
Astragalus, Huang-Qi, Yellow Vetch, Milk Vetch Root, Yellow Emperor (Astragalus membranaceous): Huang-Qi is a sprawling perennial legume, with pea like flowers. It is a beautiful, yet short-lived plant that has long been coveted by Asian cultures for its medicinal qualities.