Category: Plants of Pakistan

plants indigenous to pakistan

Gardenia Jasminoides

Gardenia Jasminoides,

(gardenia, cape jasmine, cape jessamine, danh-danh, or jasmine)

is an evergreen flowering plant of the family Rubiaceae. It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing wild in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, and India. With its shiny green leaves and heavily fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates, and as a houseplant in temperate regions.

Gardenia Jasmine
Gardenia Jasmine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large-and long-flowering forms.

Taxonomy and naming

Gardenia jasminoides was described by English botanist John Ellis in 1761, after it had been conveyed to England in the 1750s. It gained its association with the name jasmine as the botanist and artist Georg Dionysius Ehret had depicted it and queried whether it was a jasmine as the flowers resembled the latter plant. The name stuck and lived on as common name and scientific epithet. The name G. augusta of Linnaeus has been ruled invalid.

The common names cape jasmine and cape jessamine derive from the earlier belief that the flower originated in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

Description

Gardenia jasminoides is a shrub with greyish bark and dark green shiny evergreen leaves with prominent veins. The white flowers bloom in spring and summer and are highly fragrant. They are followed by small oval fruit.

History

1880s botanical drawing
Evidence of Gardenia jasminoides in cultivation in China dates to the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), where both wild and double-flowered forms have been depicted in paintings, such as those of the Song Emperor Huizong, and the Tenth century artist Xu Xi. The Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) saw it on lacquerware, and the Ming Dynasty on porcelain (1368–1644). Gardenias were seen in nurseries in Guangzhou in 1794 by English statesman Sir John Barrow.

Meanwhile, it was first propagated in England in August 1757 by a James Gordon of Mile End, and sold well thereafter.

It was first grown in the United States in 1762, in the Charleston garden of Alexander Garden, who had moved there ten years previously.

G. jasminoides has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Cultivation

It is widely used as a garden plant in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. It can be used as a hedge. It requires good drainage and a sunny location, and prefers an acidic soil with a pH between 5 and 6.5.

Gardenia jasminoides is generally considered to be somewhat difficult to cultivate.

As a subtropical plant, it thrives best in warm temperatures in humid environments. Getting those conditions is rather hard in temperate latitudes, the reason for which gardenias are usually cultivated as houseplants or in greenhouses. In warm places, though, it can be grown outdoors. Either way, it prefers bright indirect sunlight or partial shade.

Apart from the difficulties in creating suitable conditions for the plant to live, gardenias need to be planted in an acidic soil (it is a calcifuge). If the soil is not acid enough, many of its nutrients (especially iron compounds) will not be available for the plant, since they will not dilute in water and therefore will not be absorbed via the roots. If this happens, gardenias start to develop chlorosis, whose main symptom is a yellowing of the leaves.

For this reason, it is advisable not to water gardenias with very hard water. When having to water with hard water, it is possible to add some vinegar or lemon juice to it before doing so, this will lower the pH of the water. Or use an effective pH modifier, like phosphoric or nitric acid.

Iron chelate can be added to the soil in order to lower the pH, but care must be taken since an overdose can kill the plant, as with any other inorganic soil amendment.

Some gardeners will spill vinegar over the soil to effectively keep the pH low and prevent chlorosis. This can be carried out either regularly or when the first symptoms of chlorosis have been spotted.

Cultivars

cultivars of Gardenia jasminoides

‘Magnifica’, a large double-flowered form

single-petaled form, Japan
Many cultivars have been developed, of which the double-flowered forms are most popular. G. ‘Radicans’ is a low-growing groundcover which reaches 15–45 cm (6–18 in) and spreads up to a metre wide, while G. ‘Fortuniana’ and G. ‘Mystery’ are double-flowered cultivars.[4] The former was sent by Scottish botanist Robert Fortune in 1844 to the Royal Horticultural Society in London. The latter has a large upright habit and has been a popular variety good for hedging. It reaches 1.8 to 2.5 m (6–8 ft) high and wide.

G. ‘Aimee’ is an early-flowering (spring) form.[11] Cultivars such as G. ‘Shooting Star’ and G. ‘Chuck Hayes’ are more cold-hardy, roughly to zone 7.[12][13] A cultivar called ‘Summer Snow’ is distinguished by its large flowers and grows in USDA Zones 6-10.[14] ‘Crown Jewel’ is a dwarf spreading variety That has survived several weeks below zero in Zone 6.

Unlike other varieties, G. ‘Golden Magic’ bears flowers which change to a golden yellow relatively early after opening white. It grows to 1.5 m (5 ft) high and 1 m (3.5 ft) wide.

Uses Edit

The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food.

Polynesian people in the pacific islands use these fragrant blooms in their flower necklaces, which are called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in French Polynesia and Lei in Hawaii

Traditional uses Edit
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within traditional Chinese medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Chemical composition of fruit Edit

The iridoids genipin and geniposidic acid can be found in G. jasminoides.

Crocetin (a chemical compound usually obtained from Crocus sativus) can also be obtained from the fruit of G. jasminoides.

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Native Trees of Pakistan

This is sequel to my invitation to join the Billion Tree Campaign initiated by United Nations Environment Program. The purpose of this campaign is to invite communities, businesses, activists and people to plant and grow native trees and preserve biodiversity.

Native Trees of Pakistan

Image by Zillay Ali via flickr

Native trees are species that have colonized the landscape of a region  by natural processes and by going through a number of climatic changes that occurred over many thousand years. These native trees have adapted themselves to the local conditions and have become part of the ecosystem of the region. Unfortunately, most of the native trees are victims of deforestation and have been reduced to the verge of extinction. In order to make up the deficiency, we have been planting new trees but most of these trees do not belong to the ecosystem. They are invading trees that would gradually take place of most native trees and ultimately impact the whole ecosystem disturbing the wild life, insects, birds, crops and the soil.

The Billion Tree Campaign specifically targets at creating awareness of the importance of native trees and encourage people all over the world to protect and grow native trees in their localities.  In the coming weeks, I would feature popular native trees of Pakistan. Since these are native trees, you can can grow them easily almost everywhere in the country. The first tree in this series is Delonix Regia also known as Gul Mohr. Return to my blog soon for an interesting post on Gul Mohr.

Popular Native Trees of Pakistan

  • How to Grow Syzygium cumini also known as Jaman Tree
  • How to Grow Jacaranda Tree
  • How to Grow Azadirachta indica or Neem Tree
  • How to Grow Azedarach melia also known as Bakain or Dharek Tree
  • How to Grow Banyan tree also known as Borh or Bargad Tree
  • How to Grow Michela or Champa Tree
  • How to Grow Saraca indica also known as Ashoka Tree
  • How to Grow Bauhinia also known as Kachnar or Orchid Tree
  • How to Grow Polyalthia longifolia or Mast Tree
  • How to Grow Bombax ceiba  also known as Red Silk Cotton Tree
  • How to Grow Moringa oleifera or Mircale Tree also known as Sohanjna Tree
  • How to Grow Cassia fistula also known as Amaltas or Golden Shower Tree

Courtesy: http://www.thelovelyplants.com/native-trees-of-pakistan/

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Angoor (Grapes)

Grapes called Angoor in Urdu are one of the favourite Pakistani fruits grown in huge areas of Sindh, Punjab and parts of KP and Baluchistan. The combination of unique texture and sweet, tart flavor has made grapes an ever popular between-meal snack as well as a refreshing addition to both fruit and vegetable salads.

Angoor
Angoor

Grapes are small round or oval berries that feature semi-translucent flesh encased by a smooth skin. Some contain edible seeds while others are seedless. Like blueberries, grapes are often covered by a protective, whitish bloom. Grapes that are eaten as is or used in a recipe are called table grapes and as opposed to wine grapes (used in viniculture) or raisin grapes (used to make dried fruit).

Several grape phytonutrients are now believed to play a role in longevity. At the top of the list in this area of research is resveratrol (a stilbene phytonutrient present mostly in grape skins, but also in grape seeds and grape flesh). Resveratrol has recently been shown to increase expression of three genes all related to longevity. (These three genes are SirT1s, Fox0s, and PBEFs.) Interestingly, some researchers have shown a parallel between activation of these longevity genes by resveratrol and activation by calorie-restricted diets. In aging and longevity research, our ability to get optimal nutrition for the fewest possible amount of calories is related to our longevity, and the more we can decrease our calories while staying optimally nourished, the better our chances of healthy aging and longevity.
Grapes have long been classified as a low glycemic index (GI) food, with GI values ranging between 43-53. But having a low GI value is not necessarily the same as having blood sugar benefits. In the case of grapes, recent studies have shown that the low GI value of grapes is also a good indicator of this fruit’s blood sugar benefits. Better blood sugar balance, better insulin regulation, and increased insulin sensitivity have now been connected with intake of grape juices, grape extracts, and individual phytonutrients found in grapes.
The 2014 edition of the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides by the Environmental Working Group has once again identified conventionally grown grapes as one of most problematic fruits and vegetables in terms of pesticide residues. There’s new evidence that pesticide residues can be successfully avoided by purchase of certified organic grapes. In a recent study of 99 vineyards in the Aegean Sea area of the Mediterranean, pesticide residues were found on conventionally grown table grapes, but were determined to be undetectable on grapes that had been organically grown. This new evidence adds to our confidence about the added health benefits of selecting organically grown grapes.

With respect to berries (and remembering that grapes are included among the berry fruits), we recommend that you include berries at least 3-4 times per week within your fruit servings. In several of our sample meal plans, we include berries on a daily basis! It would definitely not be a mistake for you to include a serving of either grapes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or other berries in your daily meal plan! When you’re including grapes among your daily fruit servings, you should treat one cup as the equivalent of approximately 15-20 grapes. In practice, what this means is that on any given day, if you decide that you would like to consume all 3 of your fruit servings from this delicious food, you can feel confident enjoying up to 45-60 grapes! On another day, if you are primarily in the mood for other kinds of fresh fruit, there is still plenty of room within this 3-serving range to include some fresh grapes on a salad, or enjoy a small cluster along with a snack.

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Afiun (Opium Poppy)

Poppy flower

Opium or Afiun is source of many chemical ingredients found wild in Pakistan.

The Origins of Opium

The earliest reference to opium growth and use is in 3,400 B.C. when the opium poppy was cultivated in lower Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia). The Sumerians referred to it as Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” The Sumerians soon passed it on to the Assyrians, who in turn passed it on to the Egyptians. As people learned of the power of opium, demand for it increased. Many countries began to grow and process opium to expand its availability and to decrease its cost. Its cultivation spread along the Silk Road, from the Mediterranean through Asia and finally to China where it was the catalyst for the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s.

Farmer harvesting poppies

From Seed to Sale

Today, heroin’s long journey to drug addicts begins with the planting of opium poppy seeds. Opium is grown mainly by impoverished farmers on small plots in remote regions of the world. It flourishes in dry, warm climates and the vast majority of opium poppies are grown in a narrow, 4,500-mile stretch of mountains extending across central Asia from Turkey through Pakistan and Burma. Recently, opium has been grown in Latin America, notably Colombia and Mexico. The farmer takes his crop of opium to the nearest village where he will sell it to the dealer who offers him the best price.

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The Silk Road

The Silk Road is an 18th-century term for a series of interconnected routes that ran from Europe to China. These trade routes developed between the empires of Persia and Syria on the Mediterranean coast and the Indian kingdoms of the East. By the late Middle Ages the routes extended from Italy in the West to China in the East and to Scandinavia in the North. Opium was one of the products traded along the Silk Road.

Opium wars in the mid-1800s

Opium Wars

In order to fund their ever-increasing desire for Chinese produced tea, Britain, through their control of the East India Company, began smuggling Indian opium to China. This resulted in a soaring addiction rate among the Chinese and led to the Opium Wars of the mid-1800s. Subsequent Chinese immigration to work on the railroads and the gold rush brought opium smoking to America.

Opium den mid-1800s

Opium Dens

Opium dens were established as sites to buy and sell opium. Dens were commonly found in China, Southeast Asia, the United States, and parts of Europe. Chinese immigrants came to the United States in the Mid-1800s to work for railroads and the Gold Rush and brought the habit of opium smoking with them. Opium dens sprang up in San Francisco’s Chinatown and spread eastward to New York.

Chinese antique opium pipe set, ca. 1821

Chinese Style Opium Pipes

This antique opium pipe set, ca. 1821, highlights the exquisite details that could be afforded by rich Chinese opium smokers.

Opium smoking equipment

Opium Smoking Equipment

In addition to the traditional pipe, opium smokers could also use a lamp for heating the opium as well as various tools to manipulate the gummy substance.

Scales and the elephant-shaped gold weights

Weights and Scales

These scales and the elephant-shaped gold weights were used to accurately measure opium for sale.

MEDICAL USE

Opium plant anatamy illustration

Opium-An Ancient Medicine

Opium was known to ancient Greek and Roman physicians as a powerful pain reliever. It was also used to induce sleep and to give relief to the bowels. Opium was even thought to protect the user from being poisoned. Its pleasurable effects were also noted. The trading and production of opium spread from the Mediterranean to China by the 15th century. Opium has many derivatives, including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and heroin. Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé.

Morphine

Morphine

In 1803, morphine, the principal ingredient in opium, was extracted from opium resin. Morphine is ten times more powerful than processed opium, quantity for quantity. Hailed as a miracle drug, it was widely prescribed by physicians in the mid-1800s. Morphine is one of the most effective drugs known for the relief of severe pain and remains the standard against which new pain relievers are measured.

Codeine

Codeine

Codeine, another component of opium, is medically prescribed for the relief of moderate pain and cough suppression. It has less pain-killing ability than morphine and is usually taken orally. As a cough suppressant, it is found in a number of liquid preparations.

Heroin

Heroin

First synthesized from morphine in 1874, the Bayer Company of Germany introduced heroin for medical use in 1898. Physicians remained unaware of its addiction potential for years, but by 1903, heroin abuse had risen to alarming levels in the United States. All use of heroin was made illegal by federal law in 1924.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone

Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a third component of opium. Like morphine, it is used for pain relief. Oxycodone is taken orally. When abused, the tablets are crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.

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Opium: A Schedule II Drug

Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a third component of opium. Like morphine, it is used for pain relief. Oxycodone is taken orally. When abused, the tablets are crushed and snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.

Current Medical Use

Opium (and the majority of its derivatives, with the exception of heroin which is Schedule I), is listed as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its medical benefit but potential for abuse. However, various opium derivatives manufactured in combination with other medical substances (like Tylenol with Codeine) may be assigned to Schedule III, IV, or V under the Controlled Substances Act

FORMS

Poppies as Food

Besides being used for drug manufacturing, the poppy is also the source of poppy seeds which are greatly prized as a food source. Items such as poppy seed bagels and lemon poppy seed cake are sought after for their delicious flavors.

Poppy seeds

Poppy Seeds for Cooking

Poppy seeds for use in cooking can be purchased at local markets. The majority of poppy seeds used for food come from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. Although these seeds do have opium content, the amount used for cooking purposes is extremely small. Consumption of poppy seeds can produce a positive result on drug tests.

Poppy garden

Poppies for the Garden

Poppy flowers come in a variety of colors and are prized for the beauty they bring to the landscape. In several states, various species of poppies are planted along the sides of highways for erosion control, for example, the red corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas). Although the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) has the highest concentration of narcotics, all poppies in the Papaver genus do contain some amount of narcotic.

Poppy seed perennial packets

Growing Poppies

Poppy seed packets can be purchased at many local shops that sell gardening supplies.

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