Southeastern Oregon near Bonanza. Can you ID this lichen?
yellow flowers in the scrub lands near Bonanza, Oregon. Can you ID me?
From scrublands near Bonanza, Oregon. Can you ID Me?
This new spring blossom along the scrub-land floors of southeastern Oregon – near Bonanza, Oregon. Anyone have a clue as to what plant this is?
Bitter Root: Lewisia rediviva Pursh
Lewisia rediviva Pursh [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Core Eudicots: Caryophyllales: Portulacaceae: Lewisia: L. rediviva ]
Common Names: Bitteroot, Bitter Root, racine amere, spetlum, spetlem, naamtcu, Ktanxa, naqamcu, mo’otaa-heseeo’otse, black medicine
Commonly found in open shrub or grasslands, low lying forests in lower elevations upwards to sub-alpine terrain atop gravelly to heavy dry soils. Found throughout southern British Columbia, eastern Oregon and Washington near the Cascades south towards southern California, east to Wyoming, Montana, northern Colorado and Arizona.
Bitter root is a small low growing perennial herb that is common in North America, especially in grasslands within low or moderate elevations. Bitter root when mature, exhibits a white to pinkish flower late May / early June. It possesses a fleshy taproot with simple or branched base leaves and a leafless flow stem ranging from 1-3 centimeters in height. Flowers form at the tip of the 5-6 linear bract whorl ranging from 5-10 mm in size brandishing a single flower on each stem with 5-9 oval to oblong shaped petals approximately 18-35 mm length. Once mature, the plant produces egg-shaped capsules with 6-20 rounded seeds.
The explorer Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, wrote in his journal describing the plant as “cilindric and as white as snow throughout, except some small parts of the hard black rind which they had not seperated in the preperation… [the roots] became perfectly soft by boiling, but had a very bitter taste, which was naucious to my pallate, and [I] transfered them to the Indians who had eat them heartily.”
Lewisia rediviva Pursh
Wildcrafted. Harvested throughout history by Native American tribes, especially in the Pacific Northwest.
Bitter Root was a well known foodstuff utilized by various Native American tribes such as the Flathead Indians, Shoshone, Cheyenne, and others.
Various tribes consumed the roots, often used to accompany grouse (Ktunaxa). The Ktunaxa ate bitter root with sugar while others ate it with salt. The root was often boiled in preparation. Native American women would dig up the plant, preferably before it flowered, cleaned the roots, boiled them, and mixed it with meat and/or berries. Hunting expeditions would take patties made from the pulverized root packed with deer fat and moss. Sometimes a sack of bitterroot would bring enough high trade value it was traded for a horse.
According to the Organic Facts website, Bitter root possesses the ability to relieve pain, eliminate respiratory irritation, calm the nerves, purify the skin, detoxify the body, regulate blood sugar, and settle upset stomachs. It is said that bitter root can be used to slow the pulse of the heart acting as a soothing agent effecting circulation, blood vessel dilation, and relief of excess stress upon the cardiovascular system and helpful preventative for atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. As a pain killer, utilized as an analgesic rub on injuries, headaches, and general muscle soreness. Eaten or added to tea could reduce inflammation of the lungs and respiratory system, loosening phegm and mucus, showing success with gout, arthritis, and gastro-intestinal disorders. Eaten it has been said to soothe sore throats. Rubbed on the skin or added to cleansing agents is well known to protect the skin from infection and decay, stimulating growth keeping young and beautiful skin tones. It is also a diuretic to detox the body from excess salts, fats, water, or toxins in the system – protecting health of the kidney. It has also been reputed for healing upset stomachs, often remedied by chewing the leaves or eating the roots to stop gastro-intestinal disorders.
The Lemhi Shoshone believed that the bitter root possessed a small red core in the upper taproot possessed many magical powers, especially one used to prevent bear attacks. It is also seen through history as a resurrection plant, because of its ability to revive each year back to life. It was because of this, that botanist Frederick Pursh gave it the latin species name Rediviva, a Latin word that translates to “brought back to life.”
Folklore and History:
Originally gathered by the Cheyenne, Shoshone, Flatheads, and other tribes in the Pacific Northwest. The use spread to the French trappers and became known as racine amere (bitter root). Meriwether Lewis ate bitter root in 1805 during the Lewis and Clark Expedition and labelled “Lewisia rediviva” by the botanist Frederick Pursh. On February 27, 1895 bitter root became the official state flower of Montana.
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Article/Research by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Research www.technogypsie.com
Genus species: Origanum vulgare. Plantae, Angiosperms, Eudicots, Asterids, Lamiales, Lamiaceae, Origanum vulgare.
Common Names:Oregano, Carvacrol, Dostenkraut, Hulle d’Origan, Mountain Mint, Oil of Oregano, Organy, Origan, Origano. “Oregano” comes from the Anglo-Italian word “Origano” possibly originating from the Latin “Organum” relating to the Greek “origanon” meaning “an acrid herb”, or deriving from “mountain” and “delight in” or “joy of the mountains”. The exact origin is unknown.
Locality/Location/Environment: Native to the Mediterranean as well as Western/Southwestern Eurasia. Transplanted around the world and very common house plant in the United States
Description: “Oregano” is a perennial herb belonging to the common species Origanum species as part of the Lamiaceae mint family. It can grow upwards of 20-80 cm in height displaying opposite spade-shaped, olive-green leaves approximately 1-4 cm in length. While it is commonly known as a perennial, it can also be found as an annual in colder climates with human intervention as it doesn’t naturally survive winter conditions. When blossoming, Oregano displays a myriad array of 3-4 mm long purple flowers produced in erect spikes and can often be mis-identified as wild marjoram (or sweet marjoram – its sister Origanum majorana). Marjoram and Oregano share much in relation so it is common to mistake the two. Another sister species is Syrian Oregano (Origanum syriacum). Numerous sub-species and strains of Oregano have been created throughout human intervention primarily to create different flavors, scents, aromas, and tastes. Some sub-species have variations in its leaves and stems such as the Aureum with golden foliage, Greek Kaliteri hirtum with small, hardy, dark, compact, thick, silvery-haired leaves containing purple undersides. Lippia graveolens, also called “Mexican Oregano” does not belong to the Oregano family, nor the mint – it is more closely related to the Vervain family verbenaceae. Also it is used by some as an Oregano alternative like Marjoram.
Cultivation: It is most commonly planted in early spring, often as early as February, within recommended spacing of 30 centimeters in dry or loamy soil exposed to full sun. Oregano loves a hot dry climate but can survive in most conditions especially with human assistance. Oregano can grow in mildly acidic (ph. range 6.0) variably to strongly alkaline (ph. range 9.0) soils however will be more successful within a 6-8.0 PH range. Easy to begin from seed, it can also be propagated from cuttings off an established plant. When first planting, place in well-drained soil under relatively warm conditions. It is a great companion plant in vegetable gardens. When it reaches approximately 4 inches, it is suggested to pinch or lightly trim the plant to make it denser and branch again. Do not over-water, best to just water when the soil feels dry. Be wary of aphids and spider mites that are attracted to this plant. Watch for root and stem rots. When ready to harvest, especially for culinary use, do so before flowering to keep flavor. Drying – hang upside in bundles. Once dried keep in airtight container. If keeping fresh, freeze in the freezer during winter.
Culinary: A very popular culinary herb, Oregano can be found in most kitchens. Some describe its taste to be similar to that of thyme, with a strong zesty flavor. Its leaves possess more flavor when dried rather than fresh. It possesses a warm, aromatic, slightly bitter taste. When shopping for Oregano, you can tell the better quality ones from poorer variants by its ability to numb your tongue. Most cooks and culinary specialists will recommend a different strain of Oregano than the common Origanum vulgare which is known for its pungent and less remarkable taste. The Aureum sub-species has a golden foliage and mild taste. Greek Kaliteri is common in Greek cooking known for its flavor and pungency. A common culinary herb throughout Indo-Europe, it is also widely used in the Mediterranean, as well as the Philippines and Latin America. Oregano is most common in Italian-American cooking especially with pastas and pizza. It became popular during World War II when it gained its nickname “the pizza herb” as soldiers returning brought back the herb and added to their pizzas. It is also a very common herb to be used to spice up meat, fish, and grilled, roasted, or fried vegetables. In Turkey it’s commonly used to flavor meats, especially lamb and offered as a condiment in kebab restaurants. The Greeks use it commonly in their salads and the lemon-olive oil sauces when barbecuing fish or meat. The Philippines use its aroma to get rid of odors from boiling water buffalo and adding flavor.
Common Uses: Cooking and a Culinary Spice. In gardening it is commonly planted as a companion plant, ornamental, and as ground cover. When flowering often used in decorations and within artistic wreaths. Oregano oil is used topically as an insect repellent. The tops of the plants are used to produce a reddish-brown dye. The leaves can be used as a wood polish when rubbed over wood.
Medicinal: According to folklore Oregano has numerous medicinal qualities. Through the ages it has been listed as a powerful antiseptic. It is a folk cure for stomach and respiratory issues. In Austria it is used as a tea or ointment to treat gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract disorders as well as to treat the nervous system. The Greeks use the sister Origanum dictamnus (Cretan Oregano) for sore throats. In Herbalism and folk healing, Oregano is used to treat coughs, asthma, croup, and bronchitis. It is also known to relieve heartburn and bloating, menstrual cramps, rheumatoid arthritis, urinary tract disorders, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. Its Oil is taken internally to treat colds, flues, arthritis, sinus pain, allergies, intestinal parasites, swine flu, earaches, and fatigue. It is also applied to the skin for acne, athlete’s foot, oily skin, dandruff, canker sores, warts, rosacea, ring worm, spider bites, insect bites, gum disease, toothaches, muscle pain, varicose veins, and psoriasis. Some claim its ability to ease seasickness. It is believed to be a natural antihistamine – and drank as a tea to relieve hives or other allergies, often mixed with tarragon, basil, chamomile, and fennel. Added to the bath, some say it will relax sore muscles and help one unwind after a long day. Made into a tea and used as a mouthwash has claims to ease sore gums and toothaches. Add the oil to massage oils to aid in muscle aches.
The U.S.A. Federal Trade Commission in 2005 sued firms claiming its ability to treat colds and flu saying the “representations were false or were not substantiated at the time the representations were made and that they were therefore a deceptive practice and false advertisements.” The result of the suit required in America that one could not advertise Oregano for its health benefits without reliable scientific evidence accompanying it. A ridiculous outcome since it has been known for its medicinal attributes for hundreds of years. Oregano possesses polyphenols and flavones. The essential oil is composed primarily of monoterpenoids and monoterpenes. Oregano is composed of numerous compounds, the most common being carvacrol and thymol as the major composition, with lesser compounds including p-cymene, y-terpnene, caryophyllene, spathulenol, germacrene-D, etc. Oregano is known to interact with Lithium. Preliminary science suggests the chemicals within Oregano might help reduce cough and spasms. Science also suggests it could help digestion by increasing bite flow. There is also some preliminary science suggesting possibilities of fighting against bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms, and parasites. Clinical research also suggests its treatment for high cholesterol when taken after each meal for three months could reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Other science have determined Oregano oil might kill the intestinal parasites Blastocystis hominis, Entamoeba hartmanni, and Endolimax nana. Some suggest 200 mg of oil of oregano three times daily for 6 weeks for intestinal parasites.
Potential side effects: While Oregano is determined to be likely safe when ingested within the common amounts found in foods containing it, it is determined possibly safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin in medicinal amounts – it has been noted to cause stomach upset, especially in excessive amounts. Those allergic to plants in the Lamiaceae family also have noted allergic reactions in its use. Oregano is cited as possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy and breast feeding. It has a reputation of possibly causing miscarriage. Those with bleeding disorders or those about to enter surgery are recommended not to take Oregano due to the possibility Oregano can increase bleeding. Those preparing for surgery should stop use at least 2 weeks before surgery. Since Oregano can possibly lower blood sugar levels, use of Oregano by people with Diabetes should consult a physician first. Oregano use might cause effects similar to diuretics. Since Oregano interacts with Lithium, it can also decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium causing side effects. If taking Lithium, consult your physician before using oregano.
Magical / Mythology / Folklore: Medicinal and folk-healing properties are abundant in folklore about Oregano, especially in relaxing nerves and settling upset stomachs. Some claim the Assyrians utilized Oregano in 3000 BCE. Folk remedies claim it being a poison antidote, headache cure, asthma ease, and relief for insect bites as well as stings from scorpions. It is believed that Aristotle noticed would eat the leaves of an oregano plant after eating a snake thinking this would be an antidote to poison. Through Shakespearean lore, it was thought to cure overdoses of opium and hemlock. Oregano is used in magic, ritual, and ceremony. In Ancient Greece, it was an element in weddings as the crowns the wedded pair would wear would often be oregano laurels. During the middle Ages, the herb was planted around graves so departed spirits could be at peace. Those seeking psychic dreams would wear Oregano leaves on their heads. It was commonly carried as a charm for good luck and health. In spell craft, it is an ingredient for promoting happiness, luck, health, protection, letting go of a loved one, deepening existing love, and tranquility. Outside the home, it was grown to protect the house from evil. Oregano tea would often be prescribed by healers to assist patients in letting a loved one go. Oregano is believed to be ruled by Venus and the element of air. It is one of Aphrodite’s herbs. Oregano represents “joy” (possibly from its namesake “joy of the mountain”) and is used during rites imbued with celebrating happy occasions such as love, romance, marriages, or the passing of loved ones to find happiness in their next life.
To obtain the Essential oil, visit http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?p=6661
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- Bespoke Spices 2015: undated “The History, lore, and Uses of Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/16 at http://www.bespokespices.com/history-of-oregano
- Collins Dictionary 2014 “Oregano”
- Francis, Meagan HGTV 2015: undated “Herbivore: Get a Dose of Good Luck by Growing Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/15 at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/herbivore-get-a-dose-of-good-luck-by-growing-oregano#sthash.NBESNnYy.dpuf
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2015: undated “Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/15 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano
- USDA undated “Origanum vulgare L. oregano”. Plant database http://plants.usda.gov
- WebMD 2015: undated “Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/15 at http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-644-OREGANO.aspx?activeIngredientId=644&activeIngredientName=OREGANO
- Wikipedia 2015: undated “Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/15 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano.
- Witchipedia 2015: undated “Oregano”. Website referenced 6/6/15 at http://www.witchipedia.com/herb:oregano
Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Asterales: Asteraceae: Asteroideae: Heliantheae: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida, etc.
echinacea, purple coneflower, coneflower, American coneflower, American Cone Flower, Black Sampson, Black Susans, Brauneria Angustifolia, Brauneria Pallida, Comb Flower, Coneflower, Echinacea Angustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, Echinacea Purpurea, Echinaceawurzel, Échinacée, Échinacée Angustifolia, Échinacée Pallida, Échinacée Pourpre, Échinacée Purpurea, Equinácea, Fleur à Hérisson, Hedgehog, Igelkopfwurzel, Indian Head, Kansas Snakeroot, Narrow-Leaved Purple Cone Flower, Pale Coneflower, Purple Cone Flower, Purpursonnenhutkraut, Purpursonnenhutwurzel, Racine d’echininacea, Red Sunflower, Rock-Up-Hat, Roter Sonnenhut, Rudbeckie Pourpre, Schmallblaettrige Kegelblumenwurzel, Schmallblaettriger Sonnenhut, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot, Sonnenhutwurzel.
Native to North America. Endemic to eastern and central North America especially in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They are drought-tolerant perennial plants growing up to 4 feet in height growing from taproots except purpurea that grows from a short caudex with fibrous roots.
Named from the Greek word echino meaning “sea urchin” due to the way the large spiny central disk of the flower appears. There are nine known species of Echinacea most of which are native to North America. Most common species is Echinacea purpurea. It is the genus of a group of herbaceous flowering plants of the Asteraceae daisy family with nine species all called coneflower. They possess large showy heads of composite flowers blooming from early to late summer. The species E. tennesseeosis and E. levitate are endangered species.
The roots, leaves, and stems are used fresh or dried for teas, capsules, to make an extract, juice, or poultice. In addition to medicinal cultivation they are used as ornamentals. The erect stems are unbranched, with both basal and cauline leaves arranged alternately, leaves are normally hairy with a rough texture having uniseriate trichomes but sometimes they lack hairs. Basal leaves nad lower stem leaves have petioles and as leaves progress up the stem the petioles decrease in length. Some species have linear to lanceolae shaped leaves while others have elliptic to ovate shaped leaves. Flowers are collected together into single rounded heads that aterminate long peduncles. Corollas are pinkish, greenish, reddish-purple or yellow and have tubes shorter than the throats. Pollen is normally yellow. 3-4 angled fruits are created tan or bicolored with a dark brown band distally.
Traditionally used to enhance the immune system as a natural antibiotic, best used for colds, flus, and other infections. Some also use it for wounds and skin problems including boils and acne. Scientifically it has not been documented officially for dependable effects on immune system. Some have stated allergic reactions to the plant including rashes, increased asthma, and anaphylaxis. Sometimes gastronintestinal side effects have been noted. Used for fighting infections, common cold, and other upper respiratory infections. Often taken during the first sign of the cold or flu hoping to keep it from developing, while others take it after getting a cold hoping to make the symptoms less severe. It is reputed to reduce cold symptoms, including flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), rheumatism, migraines, acid indigestion, pain, dizziness, rattlesnake bites, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Others have reputedly used it applied to their skin to treat boils, abscesses, skin wounds, ulcers, burns, eczema, psoriasis, UV radiation skin damage, herpes simplex, bee stings, and hemorrhoids. It is believe to activate chemicals in the body to decrease inflammation that might reduce cold and flu symptoms. Laboratory research states it does stimulate the body’s immune system but has not been proven to be effective in people.
Traditionally used by the Great Plains Indian tribes and followed in use by European settlers. It was reputedly used by the Kiowa for coughs and sore throats, for sore throats by the Cheyenne, for headaches by the Pawnee, and other tribes as a analgesic. Native Americans supposedly learned of the most potent form Echinacea angustifolia by observing elk seeking out plants and consuming them when sick or wounded and identified those as “elk root”.
Article by Thomas Baurley, herbalist for Technogypsie Productions and The Tree Leaves’ Oracle. © 2014 – copyrighted and all rights reserved. Full on-going article and research diary here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=1493. To purchase or obtain birch bark for your own use, purchase from us here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?post_type=tcp_product&p=4795.
Common Names: Betula alba, Birch, downy birch, moor birch, white birch, European white birch, hairy birch, Beithe, Bereza, Berke, Beth, Bouleau. The name comes from the Old English birce, bierce, or Proto-Germanic *berk-jōn and the generic name betula is from Latin.
Taxonomy: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Rosids; Fagales; Betulaceae; Betula; Betula; Betula pubescens
Locality: Native throughout North America, Northern Europe, Iceland, Northern Asia, and Greenland. They love light, dry and acid soils and can cling to rocks on mountain sides. Growth preference in colder climates and can be found further north than most trees.
Description: Very common in European landscape and lore, it is one of the most common native broad-leaved trees. It is a deciduous tree Growing to a tall height of 10-30 meters in maturity with a slender crown and a trunk upwards of 70 cm thick with smooth dull grey-white bark marked with dark horizontal lenticels. The sapling starts out like a small shrub in its sapling phase with grey-brown finely down shoots – always with elegant, drooping branches providing a light canopy and whip like twigs. Ovate-acute 2-5 cm long and 1.5-4.5 cm broad finely serrated marginated leaves create wind-pollinated catkins that bloom early spring before the leaves sprout. This creates a pendulous cylindrical aggregate fruit that is approximately 1-4 cm long a nd 5-7 mm diameter in size disintegrating during maturity into individual seeds that are upwards of 2 mm long with two small wings along their sides. The tree bark has a white color and sheds layers like tissue paper – which is used by some as paper. The smooth twigs have little dark warts. The Downey birch has a greyish bark that doesn’t peel and twigs that are smooth with no warts, barks of both become rugged with darker diamond shaped crevices throughout growth. The leaves and flowers are small, triangular, pointed with a toothed edge producing female flowers called “catkins” beginning with a bright green maturing into a dark crimson throughout summer. Before the seeds drop to the ground, they hang off the tree like ‘lamb tails’. There are many species of “Birch” and sometimes this species gets confused with Betula pendula – the Silver Birch. In North America, these two trees are sometimes treated as conspecific, although in Europe are distinctly two different species. Best way to tell the difference is the Downey Birch (pubescens) has smooth, downy shoots that are hairless and warty in the silver birch (pendula). Downy’s bark is dull grey white while the silver birch has striking white papery bark with black fissures. Leaf margins differ as in downey being finely serrated and silver having coarse double-toothed margins. The downy birch is a tetraploid (4 sets of chromosomes) and the silver birch is a diploid (2 sets).
Cultivation: These are pioneer species with light wind blow seeds that can grow quickly on bare ground without planting. Preference of light, dry and acid soils. The birch stands up to harsh weather elements including wind, frost, and heat.
Common Uses: Commonly used in lotions, rinses, and creams for its fragrance. It was used by Native Americans to build canoes, wigwams and other structures as it is water-resistant. They are a preferred tree for their ability to provide a light open canopy with spaced small leaves giving light shade on the ground giving ability to grow mosses, grasses, and flowering planets beneath the canopy. A common timber tree in Scandinavia used as a pale, smooth, light hardwood for furniture, spools, bobbins, boxes, handles, and plywood. Smaller trees used for toys, tools, and handles. The bark is waterproof so used for roofing materials and tanning leather. Twigs are bound together as “besoms” and used as brushes or brooms. A tar made from the bark is thermoplastic and waterproof used as a glue for arrows and medicinal applications. Ground birch bark fermented in sea water is used to season wool, hemmp, or linen sails and ropes in Norwegian boats. As a firewood burns well without popping and very flammable.
Culinary: In Sweden the bark is ground up and used to make a bread, in Finland made into “mämmi” a traditional dish for Easter packed and baked in boxes of birch bark. In Iceland, the Bjork tree is used to make a sweet birch liquor. A birch beer root-beer like soda is made in northern regions.
Medicinal: Birch oil is a well known treatment for skin conditions and to repel insects. The tree sap is used as a natural shampoo and can be used as a remedy for dysentery and urinary infections. An infusion of the leaves is used as an antiseptic and diuretic. The bark soaked until moist in water can be formed into a cast for broken limbs.
Magical: Seen as having the powers of beginnings, renewal, protection, stability, and new journeys. Used in charms and talismans to ward off evil, banish fright, and instill courage. Associated with beauty, tolerance, and new beginnings. A broom made of birch is used by Witches to brush out the old year the morning of the Winter Solstice. Cut bark is added to protection spells. Birch beer is drank for protection from psychic attacks. Maypoles are commonly made of birch. Newborn cradles made to protect infants.
Folklore and Legends: Nicknamed by some modern Neo-Pagans as “The Lady of the Woods”. It is associated with the first Celtic Tree calendar month (December 24th – January 20th), and is prescribed as the first consonant of the Ogham alphabet “Beith”. Astrologically associated with the planet Venus and elements of air and water. It symbolizes renewal and protection as the Tree of Inception and New beginnings. Associated with Crystals, Daisies, Eagles, Pheasants, Egrets, and the color white. Associated with the Goddess Freya, Brigid, Venus, and Thor. Believed to ward off evil, fear, terror, and instill courage. The birch is commonly used in yule logs. The twigs used to light Beltane fires. Copulation in Birch forests encouraged pregnancy. In Celtic cultures, the birch symbolizes growth, renewal, stability, initiation and adaptability. The tree is also associated with the Tír na nÓg, the land of the dead and the Sidhe, in Gaelic folklore, and as such frequently appear in Scottish, Irish, and English folksongs and ballads in association with death, or fairies, or returning from the grave.
To purchase or obtain birch bark for your own use, purchase from us here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?post_type=tcp_product&p=4795.
- Encyclopedia of Life “Betula pubescens”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://eol.org/pages/1149353/overview.
- Forestry Commission “Birch” Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-5NLDXL.
- The Goddess Tree “Birch: The Lady of the Woods” Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://www.thegoddesstree.com/trees/Birch.htm.
- Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia “Betula pubescens”. Website reference 10/26/2014 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betula_pubescens.
- Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia “Birch”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birch.
Article by Thomas Baurley, Herbalist for Technogypsie Productions and Tree Leaves’ Oracle Botanicals. October 26, 2014: Technogypsie Press. © 2014: Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Benzoin Gum can be bought from us here: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/shop/?p=4791
Genus/Species: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Asterids; Ericales; Styracaceae : Styrax benzoin.
Common Names: gum benjamin tree, loban, kemenyan, onycha, snowbell, styrax, storax, sumatra benzoin tree, ben, benjamen, gum benzoin, Siam Benzoin, Siamese Benzoin.
Locality: Native to Sumatra in Indonesia. The Genus Styrax is found Warm temperate to tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere, especially eastern and southeastern Asia.
Description: A common tree in Sumatra growing upwards of 12 meters. The Styrax Genus has over 130 species ranging from shrubs to small trees, one of which the benzoin belongs to. Possesses alternate, deciduous and/or evergreen simple ovate leaves 1-18 cm long and 2-10 cm broad with pendulous 5-10 lobed corolla flowers producing 3-30 on open or dense panicles 5-25 cm long, producing a oblong dry drupe fruit with smooth and/or lacking ribs or narrow wings.
Cultivation: It is harvested primarily for its resin in Indonesia, grown as an ornamental, and a shade tree in West Africa.
Styrax benzoin – Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-133 – Public Domain image, copyright expired.
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Culinary Uses: It is used to preserve fats.
Common Uses: Commonly used as a base in incense sticks, cones, and mixtures. It is an alternative to storax. The resin which comes from a dried exudation seeping from pierced bark. The chemical “benzoin” in small amounts can be found within as hydrocarbon styrene but too minute to work with today. It was first obtained from the Levant Styrax (Liquidambar orientalis) as an isolate and later industrially used to create styrene that is now used to create polystyrene plastics like styrofoam. The Styrax resin of most species is used for incense, medicines, and perfumes. Often used as an additive to cigarettes. The wood is used for woodworking and handcrafts. It is a common wood used in creating the kokyū (胡弓) or Japanese bowed instrument.
Magical Uses: A Masculine tree, astrologically aligned with the sun, element of air, and holds the powers of purification and prosperity. It is burnt to purify and is added to purification incenses. It is considered a fine “clearing” herb. Use as an incense mixed with cinnamon and basil and burn to attract customers to your place of business. Magical substitution for storax to which it is related.
Medicinal Uses: Minimally researched, but traditionally used in Islamic medicine that if mixed with other antibiotic materials and hardening material creates a good dental restorative material. It is also found as a ingredient in the “Theriaca Andromachi Senioris” Venice treacle recipe in the 1686 “d’Amsterdammer Apotheek”. The alcohol tincture was very popular in the 19th century for antibacterial applications, as first aid for small injuries, a disinfectant, local anesthetic, and used to promote healing. The tincture diluted with water acts as a mild stimulant and antiseptic for skin irritations. If taken internally known to act as a carminative as it is rapidly absorbed. It is a mild expectorant diuretic and antiseptic for urinary passage. In the Tincture of Benzoin, it is used as an inhalant with steam to treat bronchitis and laryngitis.
Folklore/Legend: In the Book of Exodus, the “nataf” of the incense sacred to Yahweh is loosely translated by the Greek term staktḗ (στακτή, AMP: Exodus 30:34) or perhaps as another gum resin term. It is believed by scholars to have referred to Styrax officinalis. If burnt is believed to drive away snakes.
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- Botanical.com “Benzoin”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/benzoi31.html.
- Cunningham, Scott 1990 “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”. Llwelleyn Press.
- Wikipedia.com “Styrax Benzoin”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrax_benzoin.
- Wikipedia.com “Styrax”. Website referenced 10/26/2014 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Styrax.