Plant Profiles

Fennel

Botanical Name: Foeniculum vulgare | Family: Umbelliferae Common name(s): Fennel GROWING Perennial; herbaceous | Zones 6-9 | 4-5 feet tall  | Yellow umbels bloom from July until frost and produce seed after blooming Full sun | Any soils, prefers well-drained HARVESTING Harvest the seeds in autumn. PREPARATION / DOSAGE Infusion: Pour 1…

Cascara sagrada

Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana | Family: Rhamnaceae Common name(s): Cascara Sagrada, Sacred Bark, California Buckthorn GROWING Evergreen Tree | Zones 4a-9b | 32 feet tall  | Flowers May – June, black fruit in October, 3-lobed seeds. Young bark is purple brown changing to brown with age. Sun to semi-shade (woodlands) | All…

Gentian

Botanical Name: Gentiana lutea | Family: Gentianaceae Common name(s): Gentian, Yellow Gentian GROWING Perennial | Zones 3-9 | 3-4+ feet tall  | Yellow flowers grow in whorls in the uppermost leaves, bloom in summer/autumn. Full sun/partial shade, protected from wind | Loamy, moist soil HARVESTING Harvest root in the fall and…

Turkey Rhubarb

Botanical Name: Rheum palmatum | Family: Polygonaceae Common name(s): Turkey Rhubarb, Chinese Rhubarb GROWING Perennial | Zones 6-9 | 9 feet tall  | Palmate, roughish leaves. Greenish-white flowers in June/July. Larger than garden rhubarb. Full sun to partial shade | Prefers well-drained, moist soil but will grow in clay soils HARVESTING…

Pumpkin

Botanical Name: Curcurbit pepo | Family: Cucurbitaceae Common name(s): Pumpkin GROWING Annual vegetable | Zones 3-9 |  | Sprawling vines, orange fruit Full sun | Very rich, nutrient soil HARVESTING Parts used: Seeds and pulp Harvest in autumn, when the pumpkin is ripe (turns orange). Use fresh seeds (discard after 30 days).…

Saw Palmetto

Botanical Name: Serenoa repens (syn. Seronoa serrulata) | Family: Palmaceae Common name(s): Saw Palmetto, Sabal, Seronoa GROWING Palm tree/bush | Zones 8-11 | 7 feet tall/wide | Stems grow along the ground and upright. Green (and sometimes blue) leaves are the shape of a fan blade with sharp, saw-like edges. Fragrant white flowers in the…

Sarsaparilla

I am not posting a photo of this plant because I can’t find one for officinalis and there are tons of Sarsaparilla varieties. Please see my notes at the bottom of this post for a picture of wild sarsaparilla, which is a different botanical plant (but used medicinally, as well).…

Damiana

Botanical Name: Turnera aphrodisiaca, T. diffusa | Family: Turneraceae Common name(s): Damiana, Mexican Holly GROWING Shrub | Zone 9-11 | 3-6 feet tall | Serrated green leaves, yellow flowers, sweet-smelling fruit 4-6 hours of direct sun/day | Sandy, fast-draining soil HARVESTING Harvest leaves and stems while the plant is in flower. PREPARATION / DOSAGE Infusion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over…

Blessed Thistle

Botanical Name: Cnicua benedictus | Family: Compositae Common name(s): Blessed thistle, Holy thistle GROWING Annual; herbaceous | Zone 5-9 | 10-30 inches tall | Hairy leaves and stems. Stems are 5-sided. Yellow flowers with spider-web like hairs in them, April – September Full sun | Dry, stony, waste soil HARVESTING Harvest aerial parts while in flower and…