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Vincetoxicum

7 November 2010

 


Vincetoxicum officinalis
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

 

Vincetoxicum
Vincetoxicum offinalis [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Gentianales: Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae: Vincetoxicum: Vincetoxicum offinalis ]
Common Names:
Localities:
North America; Texas to Delaware.

Description:
Is a twining perennial vine that has downy stems and milky sap. Its leaves are opposite with ability to reach 10 cm in length, and each being cordate and entire. Wheel or bell-shaped Flowers have 5 regular parts and are up to 2 cm wide being dark purple though sometimes yellow. They blook in late spring and continue into late summer. It grows in rich woods and thickets.

Cultivation:
Habitat is rich woods and thickets. Easily grown.

Common Uses:
Culinary Uses:
Medicinal Uses:
Believed to be an antidote to poisons.

Magical Uses:
Folklore and History:
Name means “to conquer poison” as believed to have virtue as an antidote.

 


Vincetoxicum nigrum
Vincetoxicum nigrum or Cynanchum nigrum [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Gentianales: Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae: Cynanchum: Vincetoxicum nigrum or Cynanchum nigrum ]
Common Names:
Louise’s swallow-wort, black swallow-wort

Localities:
Europe, Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain; Invasive in Northeastern United States, parts of the Midwest, southeastern Canada, and California.

Description:
Of the milkweed family it is a perrenial herbaceous vine species native to Europe, but invasive to North America, that has oval shaped leaves with pointed tips. Leaves grow on average to 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, often in pairs on the stem. Flowers have five star shaped petals with white hairs ranging in color from black to dark purple. Its fruit appears in slender tapered pods ranging in color from brown to green.

Cultivation:
It variably grows in upland areas, tolerant to variable light, salt, and moisture levels. Often found in abandoned fields, brush areas, woodlands, river banks, roadways, hedgerows, quarries, and gardens as a weed. It sprouts in spring and flowers from June to July. It is self-pollinating, with seed pods forming throughout summer.

Common Uses:
Culinary Uses:
Medicinal Uses:
Magical Uses:
Folklore and History:

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