Herbal Medicine Today

Today, traditional herbalist healers continue to use knowledge passed down for generations. Some ethnobotanists are studying with traditional healers to save such knowledge before it disappears. Due to a growing interest in alternative medicine, herbalism is also attracting new practitioners, and herbal research is constantly underway. Critics note that dosages can be difficult to control, even among plants of the same species, and side effects can be unpredictable. A number of essential modern...

Insect Pollination

Plants have coevolved with insects, and each insect pollinator group is closely associated with a particular type of plant. This is called a pollination syndrome. Without even knowing the exact insect that pollinates a plant, the type of insect that will visit the plant can be predicted because of the shape, color, size, and scent of the flower involved. Bees. Most bees visit flowers that are bilaterally symmetrical (zygomorphic or not round in outline) and have a landing platform on which the...

Economic and Ecologic Importance

Many of the most important plant species grown for human consumption are in the grass family, which includes rice, corn (maize), wheat, rye, barley, teff, millet, and other species. Many species of the grass family are also grown for animal consumption or as lawn grasses examples include timothy, fescue, and bluegrass. Another group of great economic importance is the palm family, which includes coconuts, dates, and the oil palm. In addition to these foods, the palm family provides construction...

Important Poisonous Compounds Found in Plants and Mushrooms

There are many different kinds of plant and mushroom toxins. Alkaloids, the major type of poisonous compound found in the potato and its relatives, are common and widely distributed in the plant kingdom, especially but not exclusively among the flowering plants or angiosperms. Alkaloids are compounds derived from amino acids and are alkaline in nature. compound a substance formed from two or more elements domesticate to tame an organism to live with and to be of use to humans...

Medically Important Compounds Derived From Plants

Mitotic Poison

About ninety species of plants contribute the most important drugs currently used globally, and of these about 75 percent have the same or related uses as the plant from which each was discovered. Two examples provide additional details of their discovery and development as drugs. May-apple. Eastern North American Indians long used the roots and rhizomes (underground stems) of the native May-apple (Podophyllum peltatum, Berberidaceae) as a drastic laxative. By the nineteenth century, white...

Benefits to Humans of Poisonous Plants and Fungi

The benefits that people gain from poisonous plants extend well beyond the pleasure many varieties of beautiful but poisonous house and garden ornamentals, like laburnum and oleander, can bring. From the glycosides of foxglove, used as heart medicines, to the alkaloids of ipecac, used as an emetic to treat poisoning, toxic compounds and poisonous plants applied in appropriate doses provide us with many important medicines. For 80 percent of the world's people, plants are the primary source of...

Horticulture

The word horticulture translates as garden cultivation, or to cultivate garden plants. It was first used in publication in 1631 and was an entry in The New World of English Words in 1678. Today horticulture means the science, technology, art, business, and hobby of producing and managing fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, landscapes, interior plantscapes, and grasses and turfgrasses. Although horticulture has been practiced for several millennia, it became a recognized academic...