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Barleria obtusa, the bush violet, occurs naturally along forest margins in the summer rainfall region of South Africa where it is widely cultivated as a decorative garden shrub and used medicinally. It is an evergreen multi-stemmed shrublet with a sprawling habit. The branches have an erect or decumbent habit. The size of the plant varies when planted in different growing environments.
The soft, sage green leaves are oppositely placed and have entire margins with fine translucent hairs. A characteristic feature is that the leaves are reflexed (the margins are upturned).
Clusters of 1 inch wide blue flowers appear at the branch tips in the fall and winter. The flower petals are borne on the top part of the branch. A closer look at the individual flower will reveal the style and only two stamens with violet colored pollen.
Plant in full sun or partial shade, water infrequently - once established is quite a drought tolerant in coastal gardens. Hardy to 20-25° F. In deep shade plants often grow taller and clamber up if supported by other plants or structures. Can reseed a bit in the garden but not to the extent of being pesky.
This great soft rounded low shrub for the garden that is attractive to bees, butterflies, and nectar feeding birds.
Small to medium in size tree. The leaves are lacy, giving the tree a delicate look. Amla fruit paste is a major ingredient of Chavyanprash, a popular Ayurvedic tonic. Amla is known as amritphala in Sanskrit, which literally means the fruit of heaven or nectar fruit. It is so called because it is rich in many desirable properties. It was described in a 7th century Ayurvedic medical text. According to several scholars, the sage Chyawan is reputed to have restored his vitality with this fruit. The fruit is Aperient, Carminative, Diuretic, Aphrodasiac, Laxative, Astringent and Refrigerant; is useful in anaemia, jaundice, dyspepcia, haemorrhage disorders, diabetes, asthama and bronchitis. It cures insomnia and is healthy for hair. It is the richest known source of vitamin C. The fruit tastes bitter, but if you drink water after eating it, the water tastes sweet.
Jasmine oil is extracted from the flowers and is imported from India. It has a rich, warm, sweet scent. It is a middle note in perfumery. Blends well with all citrus oils, clary sage, rose, sandalwood. Hardy to Zone 8. To encourage lateral branching and greater flower production, nip off the ends of canes that become too long. If plants become overgrown, prune them back as much as desired in early spring. Possible uses (from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless, Element Books, 1995): Circulation, muscles and joints: for muscle spasms and sprains. Emotions/mind and nervous system: for use with anxiety, depression, nervous exhaustion and stress-related disorders. Relieves repressed feelings, bitter jealously, low self-esteem, guilt, emotional abuse. Promotes optimism. Genito-urinary: for dysmenorrhea, frigidity, labor pains, and uterine disorders. Respiratory and immune system: used for catarrh, coughs, laryngitis. Skin/hair: for dry, irritated, sensitive, and oily skin. Actions: Analgesic (mild), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, cicatrizant, expectorant, galactagogue, parturient, sedative, tonic (uterine).
In general the Japanese pittosporum grows taller in the shade while those grown in full sun are more compact. The leathery leaves are glossy on the top with undersides that are lighter and have a dull surface. These very ornamental leaves reach a length of from 1-5 in and up to 1 in wide with edges that recurve (curl down and inward).The small flowers are about 0.5" in diameter and are held in clusters at the branch tips. They are pure white when they emerge from the bud and slowly age to a mellow creamy yellow. This plant is very adaptable and will grow in most soils except for those that are constantly wet. Moderate moisture is required for fastest growth and best looks. Established plants are able to survive long periods of drought but will look the worse for wear - will recover when adequate moisture is obtained. Propagation: By cuttings and seeds.