Thursday, August 22, 2013

Geranium sylvaticum and Taraxacum Vulgare

These two pretty stamps were issued by Iceland on 29.11.1960 in order to highlight two of the many flowers that grow in that small but wonderful country. This FDC was given to me by Maria.
Wild geraniums, Geranium sylvaticum, known as wood cranesbill, growing in the Pingvellir National Park. They were used long ago for their medicinal properties to treat inflammation and arthritis. Geranium sylvaticum, is a medicinal herb that grows wild all around Iceland. It can be found in the undergrowth of birch forests, on hillsides shielded from winds, in gullies and ravines. Its fruit contains five seeds which are neatly tucked into a five-fold structure. When mature it expands fervently and flings away the seeds, leaving a beautiful pentagon of blossom behind. Wood cranesbill has long been used in Iceland for its medicinal properties. The entire herb was used and traditionally it was believed to be beneficial for treating inflammation, gastrointestinal sores and arthritis.
Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Eurasia and North and South America, and two species, are found as weeds worldwide. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion (from French dent-de-lion, meaning "lion's tooth") referring to the coarsely toothed leaves, is given to members of the genus, and like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant. Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Sephardic, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. In Crete, Greece, the leaves of a variety called Mari (Μαρί), Mariaki (Μαριάκι) or Koproradiko (Κοπροράδικο) are eaten by locals, either raw or boiled, in salads. Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic.

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