Lemongrass (Cymbopogon Citratus) , are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons.
Lemongrass is usually planted in home gardens to ward off insects such as whitefly adults. Its cultivation enables growing some vegetables (e.g. tomatoes and broccoli) without applying pesticides. Intercropping should include physical barriers, for citronella roots can take over the field.
Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisine and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico. Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. Despite its ability to repel some insects, such as mosquitoes, its oil is commonly used as a “lure” to attract honey bees. “Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee’s Nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees.
Analgesic, Antidepressant, Antimicrobial and Antibacterial, Anti-pyretic, Antiseptic, Astringent, Carminative, Deodorant, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Fungicidal, Galactogogue, Insecticidaland Nervine.
A Few Words of Caution: It is likely to irritate the skin and produce other types of irritations too. Hence it should be avoided during pregnancy, and kept away from the eyes.
Indian Hawthorn is a hardy sun-loving shrub which is in flower now. It is grown for it’s popular pink flowers and used extensively in Bonsai culture.
It is often trimmed to create hedges, or ball standards. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds
The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae) is the most popular perennial around the world.
Bees are common visitors when the spathe is in flower. Sunbirds may be the pollinator, but this has still to be proven. The role of sunbirds in Strelitzia pollination needs to be investigated, as they have been observed “robbing” the flowers by taking nectar but by-passing the pollination mechanism. Birds eat and disperse the seed.
Strelitzia reginae is widely used in landscaping as an architectural plant and focal point.
The Honey Badger is also known as a Ratel. Ratel is an Afrikaans word, possibly derived from the Middle Dutch word for rattle, honeycomb (either because of its cry or its taste for honey). It is primarily a carnivorous species and has few natural predators because of its thick skin and ferocious defensive abilities.
Thunbergia alata or “Black Eyed Susan” is a happy fast growing and long flowering vine. It is a favourite here in South Africa, as it is not fussy about the soil and needs only moderate water. It is mostly evergreen and covers ugly places fast.
Black-eyed susan is probably pollinated by bees. An insect visiting the flower will touch the stigma first, with its back, and then the anthers, getting a load of pollen that is then carried to another stigma. The flowers reflect ultra violet light in a pattern that is visible to insects but not to humans. This helps insects find the centre of the flower. Seeds are perhaps ejected mechanically when the fruit splits open. A butterfly, Junonia ovithya, or the eyed pansy, and moths also visit these plants to lay eggs, for the larvae eat the leaves. Hence this creeper, being attractive to insects, helps bring birds into a garden. Birds also often nest in the thickly tangled stems.
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Lemon grass originates from Southern India and Sri Lanka. It has long been characteristic of Far Eastern Cuisines. It has found it’s place in Gourmet dishes as well as fragrant toiletries around the world. Apart from culinary and cosmetic uses, Lemon grass has an array of medicinal properties.
To increase your stock of Lemon grass, divide it by pulling apart sections. Potted Lemon grass should be divided every two years. It makes a good companion plant with sweet potatoes, peppers, brinjals and tomatoes. Lemon grass requires full sun.
- Delicious as a tea.
- The chopped base of the leaf cluster is used in Thai cooking.
- Delicious with cheese, egg and fish dishes
- Flavouring for marinades, oils, sauces and stir fries.
- Lemon grass stimulates cell regeneration.
- Soothes intestinal infections
- A strong infusion can be used as a deodorant.
- Soothes fever, colitis, digestive upset, muscular pain,poor circulation,skin ailments and stress related conditions.
- Useful for treating most skin ailments.’
- Athlete’s foot
- foot bath and massage.
- Essential Oil diluted in carried oil, will deter mosquitoes, ticks, fleas.
- Lemon grass insect repelling spray can be used on insect infected plants.
- Watered over beds where seeds will be sown, to protect them from predators.
- Soak pea and bean seed in Lemon grass tea to have bumper crops.
- Rub the inside of your hive when baiting bees.
Milkweed is named for its milky juice which consists of a latex containing alkaloids and several other complex compounds including cardenolides. Some species are known to be toxic. The San use it as poison for the spears while fishing.
The milkweed filaments from the follicles are hollow and coated with wax, and have good insulation qualities. During World War II, over 5,000 t (5,500 short tons) of milkweed floss were collected in the United States as a substitute for kapok. As of 2007, milkweed is grown commercially as a hypoallergenic filling for pillows.