Ethnobotanicals

Discussion in 'Conversations' started by lozronz, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Hi!

    New to the forum, just wondering how many of you folks were into the the ethno side of botany?

    I'm not a plant junky but I fell in love with this side of the hobby because of all the avenues of interest it opens- History of plant, ceremonies, active compounds, weird and wonderful methods of germination, the hours and hours of googling you can spent trying to find genuinely viable seeds!

    Currently growing-
    Banisteriopsis caapi
    Catha edulis
    Trichocereus Peruvianus
    Mimosa hostilis
    Mimosa verrucosa
    Phalaris Arundinacea
    Mitragyna Speciosa
    Rivea Coryombosa
    Entada Reedi
    Argyreia nervosa
    brugmansia suaveolens
    Sophora secundiflora
    datura nanaka
    acorus calamus

    Currently struggling to grow/germinate-
    Virola theidora
    Peganum harmala
    Psychotria viridis
    Leonotis leonurus

    Currently struggling to obtain
    ilex guayusa
    oncidium cebolleta
    d. cabrerana

    Any help would be greatly greatly appreciated with the 'struggling to obtain' or struggling to grow' list.

    I'm sure virtually everybody on this site is a far more experienced botanist than myself but anyone is reading this as a 'edible' list please don't! many of these plants are extremely poisonous (some fatally) and I hope its not irresponsible of me to put it on... I don't use them just grow them!

    I would love to know how many others share this interest for the sake of swapping info/seeds/cuttings.

    If I have missed a sub forum or there is a more suitable forum for these enquires please redirect me.

    Cheers
    Laurence
     
  2. s13paul

    s13paul Member

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    Finally someone else with the same interest. However my list of etho plants which I'am currently growing isn't as extensive. Plants I have transplanted and growing include:

    Catha edulis
    Argyreia nervosa
    Brugmansia arborea
    Leonotis leonurus

    I have just ordered 2 days ago Banisteriopsis caapi and 4 Psychotria viridis plants.

    My Catha edulis and Leonotis leonurus were grown from cuttings and the Argyreia nervosa and Brugmansia arborea were grown from seed. The Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis I ordered are all cuttings too. Unfortunately most seeds I attempt to grow don't succeed so I purchase cuttings instead.

    In regards to the Psychotria being difficult to grow from seed, I've heard that remark made by many people. The seed takes at the least 6 weeks to germinate and usually you have to soak it in a mild bleach solution as it sits in the soil for so long. After soaking it in bleach rinse thoroughly and sit in water for a day before putting in soil.

    My Leonotis leonurus im growing is actually doing well considering it is surviving the subtropical climate in which I live. It has started to flower also and I only started growing it 6 months ago. The bright orange clusters of flowers it produces look fantastic and smell lovely also.

    My Catha edulis is growing well too, however my garden is full of insects and they love eating the new leaves. It's amazing how these African plants have adapted so well in a subtropical environment.

    Anyway enough blabbing and good luck with your collection. Im actually quiet jealous of your collection, it must be awesome tending to there needs everyday.
     
  3. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Wow! After posting this thread I thought that I was the only person in the world interested in this... Pleased to meet you!

    Catha was the plant that got me into this strange hobby, I have found that growing it in the UK is really tricky, mine gets stroppy if I move it, take cuttings, have a cloudy week or don't water it at exactly the right time, but I know other people here have no problems at all.

    I have probably just gone over the 6 week mark with Psychotria, no signs yet but fingers crossed!

    I'm envious of your success with Leonotis leonurus, that was a 'no show' I was really hoping to be a success but the seeds were quite crumbly when I got them so I'm not sure they were even viable.

    If you are gonna keep adding to your collection the Mimosa hostilis or verrucosa, were both quite interesting to grow from seed and are very pretty plants... Strange germination process, I soaked them in hot water until they doubled in size then apparently a chemical in smoke acts as a catalyst to germination so I dried them in a cooling tube with incense smoke running over them for a few hours! I don't know if this really did anything but its the first time I have ever had 100% success rate of germination so I guess something worked. They are doing really well, they have really delicate fern-like leaves, I'm hoping I can pot them up as large house plants eventually.

    Anyway, nice to meet you, if you have any problems growing, feel free to PM me I'm no expert but I'll help if I can.

    Cheers
    L
     
  4. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    This site from Canada may be of some interest to you guys http://www.ethnogarden.com/
    I do not recommend ingesting any of these plants as most can be extremely dangerous or even deadly. I'm even surprised that some of this stuff is even legal to buy. I have grown Leonotus leonurus successfully and it is a very interesting plant. I only grew mine to about 10 feet on my deck one summer about 5 years ago. I managed to harvest quite a few seeds out of it. Once you get this plant going it will take off like a weed.
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    Man, you're having trouble getting Leonotis to grow? I have trouble keeping it under control. Perhaps your soils are too rich - it seems to prefer the most depleted stuff here, where it's a common ditch weed.

    For the oncidium, try ecuagenera (www.ecuagenera.com) and see if they have it in stock.
     
  6. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Thanks for the Web addresses there are quite a lot of these http://www.ethnogarden.com/ websites cropping up these days and the quality of the seeds seem to vary greatly from site to site as a rule of thumb I find the sites that also offer live plants usually have much better seeds than the sites that concentrate mostly on 'legal high' pills. I have actually foune ebay to be the best source so far.

    I am having problems with getting Leonotis to germinate but it might have been a bad load of seeds. Thanks for the soil info, Its a plant that likes to be dry and full light doesn't it?

    I couldn't find the orchid on that site but thanks I will email them and see if they can help. Cebolleta is apparently a weird one to grow, they need to be kept very humid initially, for instance in fish tank on a raft then when they mature they need nearly no water or humidity and to be kept in a breeze.
     
  7. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Hey lozronz. I never had a problem getting Leonotis to germinate at all. I watered the soil regularly when the soil began to dry out and thats all! I have found that germination may take up to 2 1/2 weeks for some of the seeds I have had. May have been old seed. I have about a hundred seeds right now. If you PM me your address I can send you about half of what I have. This might ensure that you have some success at least.
     
  8. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    Leonotis prefers fairly sunny and arid conditions once you've gotten it to sprout; but like I said, it's a weed here so I've never had to try germinating it by hand.
     
  9. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Thanks Labtea, that sounds great, I'll PM you.

    Its funny how different plants are weeds in different countries. I was reading about Urtica dioica on one of the sites I was trawling and it was talking about cultivation and how rich they were in calcium and iron and being an important potherb. It was ages until it clicked that it was a stinging nettle and that in the UK they grow everywhere wild, they are every child with shorts and a footballs worst nightmare!
     
  10. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Big Thanks to Labtea, who sent me a load of Leonotis seeds, I am now the proud owner of a dozen or so seedlings and have had much more success than last time. It turns out I was actually failing to germinate mislabeled (by me) Leonurus Sibericus!

    Thanks again!
     

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  11. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Wow those plants are coming right along! Nice job!
     
  12. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    I've got somewhat of a witch's garden on the go myself, just for display purposes of course...

    So far:
    Tree Datura
    Papaver Somniferum
    Spider Beans (Desmanthus Illinioensis)

    and currently seeking Trichocereus Peruvianus/Echinopsis Pachanoi (alive or seeds, I bought 10 seeds for $8 from a local dealer and only one sprouted but then died, so I need to look elsewhere I think).

    I bought what were supposed to be Banisteriopsis Caapi seeds but I think they were random bits of tree bark --- they certainly didn't sprout. Then I spent another $15 (not including shipping) on Phalaris Arundinacea seeds but not a single one of them germinated either.

    I've had terrible luck with internet seed dealers, except the spider bean (Desmanthus Illinoensis) seeds, I got them from a seed company that specializes in prairie grassland seeds, not these pseudo-underground 'mystery-powder' dealers who I don't trust at all. These seeds are three years old now, and I just sowed a bunch more a week and a half ago and it looks like 95% (or more) germination rate. Prairie Moon Seeds --- since they specialize in prairie grassland species, they're not one of these "seedy" (har har) sleazy, dope-dealer type operations, but purely legitimate. Like they all should be.

    If somebody has some 'known good' seeds they'd like to trade for some of my known good Desmanthus seeds, lets work something out. I'm located in southern BC, Canada.

    I also have some Papaver Somniferum seeds which I also know are good --- the dried seed pods make superb decorations.
     
  13. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Hi!
    I forgot about this thread! Nice to meet a fellow hobbyist, I have had similar experiences with Trichocereus Peruvianus being fairly easy to germinate but tricky to keep moist enough without waterlogging, I found very sandy soil with a lot of perilite and verniculite seems to be the way forward.

    Banisteriopsis Caapi seeds on line are a bit hit and miss because they have quiite short viability and you never know how fresh they are.

    I have found trying to find nurseries that have an interest in medical plants is usually a more reliable source than shamanic hippy sites.

    I don't have any interesting seeds at the moment but if you PM me what you are after I have a friend who sources all sorts of weird and wonderful seeds for me I can add them to the list and see if anything comes up.

    Cheers
     
  14. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    Hi Loz

    Not sure if I sent you an email about this or not, in any case --- your Desmanthus seeds are en-route as of this afternoon. I asked the postal clerk how long she thought it will take for them to arrive and she said three or four days. Thats not bad --- if thats what happens. Let me know when they arrive.

    Regards, Tom
     
  15. lozronz

    lozronz Member

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    Hi!
    For anyone reading this thead, I just realised that it reads like I am just getting charity seeds sent!

    I just wanna clarify that its been going to PM and I am exchanging seeds, not just accepting them, this does not take from the fact that people are very kind to do so, I just want to make sure I don't look like a blagger!

    I do quite fancy seeing if anyone fancies trying to find and exchange rare Brugs and Datura's? There would have to be a certain amount of trust I guess because they are pretty hard to identify before they flower, but still! Anyone interested?

    Cheers
    L
     
  16. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    I have a nice brug. It's some kind of "tree datura". It's only just started to revive from winter dormancy, but if you want a cutting I'll send you one --- as soon as it starts growing full bore again. I understand the leaves have atropine --- this is good because if al-quada does a nerve-gas attack with sarin or VX, all I have to do is grab a leaf off my brug and munch on it and I should be ok.
    ;)
     
  17. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    Brugmansias one thing, Daturas another. Brugs are trees, and have pendulous flowers; Datura are shrubs or low herbs, and the flowers point up. They're related, though - both are Solanaceae.

    Their flowering habits along with the ethneogenic effects have given them both interesting Spanish names. Brugs, which flower down in the daylight, and are reported to create a type of euphoria, are called "Angel's Trumpets." Seven cultivars of different colours are named for the Seven Archangels.
    Datura, on the other hand, which flower up and in the madrugals (dawn and dusk) and are reported to cause dementia or complete divorce from reality, are called "Lucifer's Trumpets."

    Both plants contain Atropine, but also a number of solanotoxins that make them fairly dangerous to chew on. If you want a higher concentration of Atropine without the nasty tagalongs, it's probably better to eat the flowers off the Brugs.

    To illustrate, the first picture is Brugmansia "Trompetas de Rafael" and the second is some wild Datura. They're both native here in Ecuador.
     

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  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    And on a related topic, are any of you growing Brunfelsia?
     
  19. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    Brunfelsia? No, just a tree datura. I'll try to upload a pic.
    I think thats it --- should show my brug, and my garden's new additions --- I think they are Lophophoria Williamsi or Trichocereus Peruvianus.

    By the way, atropine, scopolomine and hyascamine are not the kind of substannces you'll ever find sleazy people hanging around the corner selling for 'ten dallah' --- I think ingesting these compounds would be a horrible experience, like being poisoned or exposed to some kind of industrial chemical. Nasty, and not at all pleasant. I think the Aztecs gave their sacrificial victims a brew of it to simply immobilize them --- not fun.

    But by God the blooms have an awesomely nice smell, don't they? I just wish they didn't have that unpleasant habit of dropping all their blossoms all at once as soon as it cools down a bit (even the immature blooms).

    I guess they must have evolved with an insect pollinator that responded to their scent that they put out for that brief, one or two hour period in the evening. But when they do put out their scent it is heavy, sweet and intoxicating --- I love it.
     

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  20. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    That, and Incan warriors often ingested Datura before going into battle in an effort to unite themselves with the spirits of the Jaguar and Eagle and be more successful warriors. Done properly, it should bring on a similar type of psycosis to the one the Viking Berserkers got from their mushrooms.
     
  21. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    The Berserkers! Yeah, you gotta admire them, eh? Amanita Muscaria grows all year round on the BC coastal strip.
    Like this one:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/tomfromvan/Balaklava_Island_October_2007/photo#5117659855683624754

    There's a zillion types of fungi that live on our wet environment. You might enjoy my photo albums that I took when I went kayaking off the north end of Van Isle. Here's the link:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/tomfromvan/Queen_Charlotte_Strait_July_08/photo#s5177893584591706674

    There's a few pics of fungi, I think. Or maybe it was the October trip:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/tomfromvan/Balaklava_Island_October_2007/photo#s5194353558423550130

    I wish I had the resources to go down your way. If I win the lottery, look out ...
     
  22. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    I can't recall immediately what the pollinator is for Brugs; I think it's some kind of moth or beetle. I do really really love the scent, and for that reason I grow at least two trees of it wherever I end up. At least here in Ecuador it blooms year round.

    I was asking about Brunfelsia (scroll down), which is also related (familially) to Brugs and Datura, because it's another ethneogen, aka Manaca. I've got B. pauciflora, which is sometimes used as part of ayahuasca. It's apparently milder than Datura or Brugmansia, and a whole lot less toxic. Plus, the flowers are really really pretty, change colours over about a week, and they smell like tea.
     
  23. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    Yeah, but I'm sure the alkaloids would still be atropine, scopolamine and hyascimine --- nasty, unpleasant and toxic shizz. Maybe it has some wierd, synergistice effect in combination with other compounds, but still, I think it would feel more like being poisoned than anything.

    The medical community's mnemonic for the symptoms of datura poisoning is, "Blind as a bat, mad as a hatter, red as a beet, hot as a hare, dry as a bone, the bowel and bladder lose their tone, and the heart runs alone."

    No thanks. I'll pass on this one. But by god the blossoms smell good, don't they?

    ;)

    By the way, I thought you might be interested in this --- its a, hmm, don't know exactly what it is, but its big --- 30 to 50 cm across. There's tons of things like these in our perpetually wet rainforest, coastal strip.

    Strangely, all you have to do is go 100 miles east, on the far side of the mountains and its actually a desert with cactuses and rattlesnakes and scorpions and everything. Wierd, eh?
     

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  24. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor

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    Not really. About 30 km out of Quito, which is a desert, is a cloud forest. Rain shadows have an amazing and rapid effect in the Andes, and I see no reason that it should be any different in other mountains.

    That picture looks like a shelf fungus; some of them are edible but without a reliable mushroom book and the confirmation of a mycologist I wouldn't chance it....
     
  25. Thomas Anonymous

    Thomas Anonymous Active Member

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    Shelf fungus? Really ...
    I've posted it and asked for an ID in the fungi forum, nobody came back on it.
    Thanks for the info.
    ;)
     

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