Echinacea angustifolia: Purple coneflower

Echinacea angustifolia 
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also known as Black Sampson, purple coneflower, coneflower, Rudbeckia

Medicinally: Echinacea Angustifolia is used to boost the immune system, and folklore suggests it wards off colds and flu.  If taken in high doses, its effectiveness decreases. It is said to have anti-inflammatory properties. It was used by Native Americans to treat snakebites, burns, toothaches, colds, flu, sore throats, headaches, gonorrhea, mumps, tonsilitis, and smallpox.   The juice from the plant is said to prevent burns. The roots were believed a blood purifier to cure a wide variety of ailments such as rheumatism, streptococcus infections, bee stings, poisonous snakebites, dyspepsia, tumors, syphilis, gangrene, eczema, hemorrhoids, and pains/wounds. It is considered an effective antibiotic. Chewing the root or using it as a tea is used for snake bites, spider bites, cancers, toothaches, burns, hard-to-heal sores, wounds, flu, and colds.  Decoctions of the roots for snakebites and hydrophobic and the macerated root used as an anesthetic or cold medicine. Chewing root and letting the juice coat the throat is good for colds and sore throats. It has been said to have the ability to lower blood sugar levels, anti-proliferation effects especially in pancreatic cancer cells. There has been some scientific research to support folklore. In the 1920’s it was considered a cure-all and one of the most popular plant drugs in the United States. 

Magically:  Its power is to strengthen spells and was used by Native American Indians as an offering to spirits to ensure and strengthen spells or prayers. The juice from the plant was added to water sprinkled on coals during traditional sweat lodge ceremonies and/or taken for purification purposes.   According to Gaea and Shandor Weiss’ book “Growing and Using the Healing Herbs,” some Native Americans used the juice to make their hands, feet, and mouths insensitive to heat to hold, walk on, or swallow hot coals and fire during ceremonies. 

The plant:  A perennial flower that grows approximately 18-24 inches tall, rarely branched, with oblong leaves covered with stiff hairs, producing pinkish-lavender ray petals borne singly atop the stems from a flower head that is dark, spiny, cone-shaped. It blooms in May, June, and July usually and can be found in woodland edges or openings, prairies, plains, meadows, pastures, and savannahs in North America.  It has spindle-shaped taproots that are branched. It belongs to the sunflower family. Angustifolia has more alkylamines than its subspecies purpurea which support the suppression and the activation of the immune system. 

Other Uses:  ornamental garden plant. 

keywords:  Echinacea angustifolia, black sampson, purple coneflower, coneflower, rudbeckia, immune system, colds, flu, anti-inflammatory, snakebites, burns, toothaches, sore throats, headaches, gonorrhea, mumps, tonsilitis, smallpox, burns, blood purifier, rhuematism, streptococcus, bee stings, dyspepsia, tumors, syphilis, gangrene, eczema, hemorrhoids, wounds, antibiotic, hydrophobic, anesthetic, lower blood sugar, pancreatic cancer, offerings, strengthen spells, purification, fire, ornamental


  • Cunningham, Scott  1992  “Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs”.  Llwellyn: St. Paul, Minnesota. 
  • Kowalchik, Claire; Hylton, William  1987  “Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs”.  Rodale Press: Emmaus, Pennsylvania. 
  • Prarie Moon Nursery  n.d.  “Narrow-Leaved Coneflower”  website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia  n.d.  “Echinacea angustifolia”  website referenced 6/23/21 at
  •  n.d.  “Echinacea angustifolia” Plant Database, University of Texas. Website referenced 6/23/21 at

Photos from Wikipedia Creative Commons: Public Domain

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Smilax glycophylla: Sweet Sarsparilla

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Smilax glycophylla

Also known as sweet sarsparilla.

A small evergreen climbing plant, it is dioecious where individual flowers are either sex but not self-fertile, and common in woodlands, dappled shade, and rainforests. Leaves are three-veined with a glaucous under-surface, lanceolate 4-10 cm width with coiling tendrils growing upwards of 8 cm, producing black globose berries 5-8 mm in diameter.


The plant is edible, with leaves chewed or used as a tea substitute, sugar substitute, and believed via folklore to be an alterative, antiscorbutic, diuretic, pectoral, and tonic. The leaves used medicinally by indigenous peoples as a tea substitute. It was used by pioneering colones to treat scurvy, coughs, and chest problems. The leaves,stems, and flowers contain glycoside glyciphyllin. It is used as food and medicine, also for beverages.


  • n.d. “Smilax glycophylla – Sm”. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • n.d. “Smilax glyciphylla”. website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Smilax gylcophylla”. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
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Boronia ledifolia: Forest Boronia

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Boronia ledifolia

also known as Sydney boronia, posum, forest boronia, showy boronia, and ledum boronia.

A citrus plant and shrub are endemic to Southeast Australia that possesses simple or pinnate leaves with a strong odor, pale to bright pink flowers. It grows to a height of .3-2.5 meters with thin branches covered in fine, matted hairs. Pinnate leaves are simple with 3-7 leaflets, dark green and glabrous with a light green underneath and a thin layer of matted hairs. Common in open forests and woodlands, usually on sandstone. This plant is often called possum bush because of its strong smell of leaves when crushed.


Garden plant,


  • Anpsa n.d. “Boronia ledifolia” Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) website referenced on 6/23/21 at
  • PlantNET n.d. “Boronia ledifolia”. PlantNET website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Boronia ledifolia”. Website referenced on 6/23/21 at
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Petalstigma pubescens: Quinine Tree

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Petalostigma pubescens

Also known as the Quinine Bush

A small hardy evergreen common bush or rainforest native tree in Australia, and Papua New Guinea. This small tree has a dense canopy with drooping branches and can obtain a height of 5-8 meters, though exceptions have gone to 12 meters tall. Foliage may be poisonous. Produces an orange fruit.


A natural bitter, the bark and fruits have been used to treat malaria, toothaches, and sore eyes according to folklore. The wood has been used as fuel. In landscaping, it is used for infilling, revegetation, screening, and windbreaks.


  • Territory Native Plants n.d. “Petalostigma pubescens (Quinine Bush)” Territory Native Plants. website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • n.d. “Petalostigma pubescens” Useful Tropical Plants. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Petalostigma pubescens” website referenced 6/23/21 at
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Histiopteris incisa: Bat’s wing fern

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Histiopteris incisa

Also known as bat’s wing fern, water fern, histiopteris, mata, and fern mata.

A common fern found in Australia, New Zealand, and many of the South Pacific Islands in moist areas where it forms large colonies. Found in coastal to subalpine regions. The large fronds of this fern provide a shady moist place for frogs to hide. The lower lobe of each pinna has a bat wing-like appearance from whence it name comes. This medium-sized fern produces approx. 60-200 cm long fronds that are widely spaced, distinct, and slightly dimorphic with fertile lobes. Rhizomes are long-creeping, scaly, with stipes and rachis chestnut-brown at the base otherwise mainly yellow-brown blarous except for basal scales, glossy, with stipe .15-1.2 meters long, 5-10 mm in diameter.


Ornamental – both indoor and outdoors.


  • n.d. “Histiopteris incisa” website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Histiopteris incisa” website referenced 6/23/21 at
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Schizaea dichotoma : Branched Comb Fern

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Schizaea dichotoma

The fairy comb, branched comb fern, schizaea, fan fern

A small terrestrial fern and Australian plant found on the heath, in open forests, and sandy soils. It is an unusual fern that produces fertile fronds that look like fairies’ combs. It is often upright with upwards of 20 segments, 2+ branched. The repeatedly forked leaves lobes end in sorophores. Rhizomes short creeping upwards of 6 cm in length that is covered with coarse, lustrous, brown hairs extending 2-3 mm in length. It is common in Australia, New Zealand, Malesia, and Papua New Guinea, as well as Pacific Ocean Islands. It grows approximately 20-40 cm high. It is named after the Greek word “dichotoma” meaning “twice cut” because of its fronds branched nature.


In Indonesian folk traditions, the root is used to treat coughs and other throat issues as well as a childbirth tonic for women. In Malaysian lore, a decoction of the roots are used to treat coughs, and when mixed with other herbs to treat kidney issues and impotency.


  • n.d. “Schizaea dichotoma” New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Smith, J.E. n.d. “Schizaea dichotoma (PROSEA)”. Pl@ntUse. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Schizaea dichotoma”. Website referenced 6/23/21 at
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Banksia integrifolia: Coastal banksia

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Banksia integrifolia

also known as coast banksia, coastal banksia, honeysuckle, white banksia, white bottlebrush, and white honeysuckle. Coast Banksia is an Australian coastal tree or shrub that can grow upwards of 25 meters in height. It has a single rough gray stout trunk that is often depicted gnarled and twisted. It has dark green leaves with white undersides. It was identified and named after Sir Joseph Banks in 1782. It has a flower spike – an inflorescence made up of several hundred densely packed greenish – pinkish – pale yellow budding flowers spiraling around its woody axis.


It is commonly used for landscaping, especially in parks and along streetscapes, bush revegetation, and stabilization of dunes. The wood is pink to red with inconspicuous rings and conspicuous rays that is spongy and porous so used for decorative woodwork, cabinet panelling, ornamental turnery, boat knees, and firewood. Bees visiting the plant make a highly sought after dark amber honey.


  • Plant Lust n.d. “Banksia integrifolia” Website visited 6/22/21 at
  • UFEI n.d. “Coast Banksia” SelecTree: A Tree Selection Guide. Website visited 6/22/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Banksia integrifolia”. Website visited 6/22/21 at
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Acianthus fornicatus: Pixie caps

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Acianthus fornicatus

also known as Pixie Cap.

This terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, sympodial herb and orchid has a single heart-shaped dark green glabrous leaf with an reddish-purple coloring on its underneath. The leaves range from 10-40 mm in length x 10-20 mm in width, on a 4-9 cm stalk in height. It often produces upwards of 10 flowers, well-spaced on a raceme 100-300 mm tall, with each flower 10-40 mm in length, and translucent pinkish-red with green sometimes black labellum. The callus covers most of the central areas and is thick and fleshy with small pimple-like papillae on the outer half. It flowers between May and August.


  • Jones, D.L. 1993 “Acianthus fornicatus R.Br.” PlantNET website referenced 6/22/21 ayt
  • Orchid Roots 2017-2021 “Acianthus fornicatus, R.Br. 1810” Website referenced 6/22/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Acianthus fornicatus”. Website referenced on 6/22/21 at
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Allocasuarina littoralis: Black she-oak

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Allocasuarina littoralis
also known as black she-oak, black sheoak, river black-oak.

The Black she-oak is an endemic medium-sized Australian tree that grows upward of 8 meters, a coarse shrub in exposed maritime areas. It is evergreen with modified branchlets appearing to be leaves 5-8 cm in length and narrow width less than 4 mm in width, with a true very minute less than 1 mm length leaves occurring on the tips of the branchlets. It is a fast-growing tree that is commonly found along roadsides. It has a red female flower in the Spring.


  • n.d. “Allocasuarina littoralis – Salisb. L.A. S. Johnson” Plants For A Future. Website referenced 6/22/21 at
  • Vicflora 1982 “Allocasuarina littoralis” VICFLORA – Flora of Victoria. Website referenced 6/22/21 at
  • Wikipedia n.d. “Allocasuarina littoralis”. Website referenced 6/22/21 at
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Hovea acutifolia: Pointed leafed hovia

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This plant is adorned with purple flowers in August and is one of the many pea flowered plants that add nitrogen to the soil. It is a shrub common to Australia. Some use them as ornamentals. Found in wet forests and rainforest margins from southeast Queensland to central New South Wales. This small to medium sized shrub grows upwards of 1.5-4 meters tall with dense grey to rusty haired covered stems and branches. They produce a dark green elliptical or lanceolate leaf approx. 70 mm in length x 12 mm in width boasting a rusty appearance. Flowers are pea-shaped with 4 petals, blue to purple in color, hosting a keel and two wings.

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