Monday, August 23, 2010

Form & Function

For good or bad, who knows, I have a sweet spot for some of the plants growing in the Herb Garden and the Native Flora Garden, and the Horsemint plant above happens to be in both. I also love when plants at Brooklyn Botanic are in Peterson's Medicinal Plants of Eastern/Central North America, not necessarily because I'm about to make a tincture from them, but because I can read a little more about them and learn to ID them at home. According to Peterson's, Horsemint's (Monarda punctata) oil is high in thymol, an antiseptic. If you've ever read a medicinal book, you know that expelling worms is high on the list of positive qualities for a plant and since thymol is listed as good at expelling worms, you know Horsemint was a pretty cool plant to know back in the day.

The Levant Cotton pictured below isn't native. African, I think. But it's certainly pretty and functional. The malva family is very pretty in flower, whether its a vegetable (Okra) or decorative plant, (Hibiscus) or important agricultural fiber like cotton (Gossypium). A lot of this country's history is tied up in the fiber of a malva family plant, but not the pretty purple one below.

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