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Medical disclaimer: always check with a physician before consuming wild plants, and make positive identification in the field using a good source such as Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.  Michael Moore also has a glossary of medical terms in his books, and maps in later editions. ) 
#149 Supplement
Common Name: American Columbo, Green Gentian, Elkweed
Latin Name:
Frasera caroliniensis, F. speciosa
Family: Gentianaceae
 Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and all states south of the Ohio R. and east of the Mississippi R. , except W. Virginia and Florida; In Canada; Ontario. (Frasera caroliniensis)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=FRSP All states west of the Rocky Mountains, plus North Dakota and Texas. (Frasera speciosa)
Photos : (Click on Latin name after common name )

149 (e)
Common Name: American Columbo, Green Gentian (Frasera caroliniensis)
Appearance and Habitat:
Found in calcareous grasslands and savannah over much of east-central North America, but not common, Frasera caroliniensis is listed as a species of special concern in Canada by SARA (Species at Risk Act), as threatened in New York, and as endangered in Pennsylvania.
(1)  Dry soils in Eastern N. America – New York to Ontario and Wisconsin, south to Georgia and Tennessee. A perennial growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in). It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower from Jul to August.(2)
Warnings: None
Edible Uses:None
Medicinal Uses : The powdered plant is applied externally to ulcers as a poultice. The plant is a feeble simple bitter. The root is cathartic, emetic, stimulant and tonic. When dried it is a simple bitter that can be used as a digestive tonic in a similar way to gentian root (Gentiana spp), but the fresh root is cathartic and emetic. The root is used in the treatment of dysentery, stomach complaints and a lack of appetite. It should be harvested in the autumn of its second year, or the spring of its third year. (5)
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=FRCA2

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5 )http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Frasera+caroliniensis
149 (f)
Common Name: Elkweed, Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa)
Appearance and Habitat:
A narrowly cone-shaped plant with 1 stout, tall errect stem, large leaves in evenly spaced whorls, and clusters of 4-lobed, yellowish-green corollas in axils of upper leaves and leaf-like bracts. The broad leaves are a good browse for deer.
(1)  Dryish or dampish places in Rich soils in open pine and woods, aspen groves etc. from 1500 – 3000 meters in Western N. America – California to Washington. A biennial/perennial growing to 1.5 m (5ft). It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Jul to August.(2)
Warnings: When used medicinally, large does of the powdered root have proved fatal.
Edible Uses:Root. It has been reported that the N. American Indians ate the fleshy root of this plant, but caution is advised since the roots of closely related plants are used medicinally as emetics and cathartics.
Medicinal Uses : The whole plant is febrifuge, pectoral, laxative and tonic. An infusion of the dried, powdered leaves, or the root, has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A cooled decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of asthma, colds, digestive complaints etc. An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive. Caution is advised in the use of this plant, see the notes above on toxicity. (5)
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=FRSP

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4, 5 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Frasera+speciosa
Common Name: Maidenhair Fern, Lady Fern, Culatrillo
Latin Name:
Adiantum aleuticum, A. capillus-veneris, A joranii, A. pedatum
Family: Polypodiaceae
All 50 states, except North Dakota; In Canada; British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. This is the main database.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADAL All states west of the Rocky Mountains, except New Mexico, plus Alaska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, W. Virginia, Maryland, Vermont and Maine; In Canada; British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and Newfoundland. (Adiantum aleuticum)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADCA All states east of the Mississippi R. and south of the Ohio R., except W. Virginia, plus Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and Hawaii; In Canada; British Columbia. (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADJO California and Oregon. (Adiantum jordanii)
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADPE All states east of the Mississippi, except Florida, all states on the west bank of the Mississippi R., plus South Dakota to Oklahoma and Alaska; In Canada; Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. (Adiantum pedatum)
Photos : (Click on Latin name after common name )

Warnings: On PFAP for all covered. Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase.
Common Name: Common Maidenhair Fern, Southern Maidenhair Fern, Venus Hair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
Appearance and Habitat:
This plant has specific growing requirements that must be met to be successful in a garden setting. Though it lacks the fan-like pattern of Northern maidenhair, the fine, lacy foliage of Southern maidenhair has the same a graceful, delicate character. This fern grows from 6 inches to 1 foot in height; its fronds arising in clusters from creeping rhizomes. Listed as an endangered species in North Carolina (known as southern maidenhair-fern there) and threatened in Kentucky (known as venus hair fern there). Mostly found in the lower half of the U.S.and some parts of the tropics, the only Canadian site is near Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C.
(1)   Rock crevices, cliffs by the sea on basic rocks in damp positions. Tropical and warm temperate zones throughout the world, including Britain. It is a fern growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a slow rate.  It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender. The seeds ripen from May to September.(2)
Edible Uses:The fronds are used as a garnish on sweet dishes. The dried fronds are used to make a tea. A syrup is made from the plant – it makes a refreshing summer drink. The fern (does this refer to the rootstock?) is simmered in water for several hours and the liquid made into a thick syrup with sugar and orange water. It is then mixed with fruit juices to make a refreshing drink.
Medicinal Uses :The maidenhair fern has a long history of medicinal use and was the main ingredient of a popular cough syrup called ‘Capillaire’, which remained in use until the nineteenth century. The plant is little used in modern herbalism. The fresh or dried leafy fronds are antidandruff, antitussive, astringent, demulcent, depurative, emetic, weakly emmenagogue, emollient, weakly expectorant, febrifuge, galactogogue, laxative, pectoral, refrigerant, stimulant, sudorific and tonic. A tea or syrup is used in the treatment of coughs, throat afflictions and bronchitis. It is also used as a detoxicant in alcoholism and to expel worms from the body. Externally, it is used as a poultice on snake bites, bee stings etc. In Nepal, a paste made from the fronds is applied to the forehead to relieve headaches and to the chest to relieve chest pains. The plant is best used fresh, though it can also be harvested in the summer and dried for later use.
Foot Notes: (1) http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ADCA

Foot Notes: (2, 3, 4 ) http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Adiantum+capillus-veneris
Common Name: Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)
Appearance and Habitat:
Northern maidenhair’s delicate, 8-20 in. fronds, with dark, shiny stems, spread their pinnae horizontally in a nearly perfect circle. This graceful, fan-like pattern is unique among native ferns. The fronds arise from a creeping rootstock in clusters. Burgundy red fiddleheads appear in early spring. The roots are wiry and black, colonizing in favorable sites. This fern is quite easy to grow if it is provided with the right conditions. Western plants are sometimes treated as a separate variety or subspecies, A. pedatum var. or ssp. aleuticum, but eastern and western plants look very much alike.
(1)   Stems short-creeping; scales bronzy deep yellow, concolored, margins entire. Leaves lax-arching (rarely pendent), closely spaced, 40–75 cm. Petiole 1–2 mm diam., glabrous, occasionally glaucous. Blade fan-shaped, pseudopedate, 1-pinnate distally, 15–30 × 15–35 cm, glabrous; proximal pinnae 3–9-pinnate; rachis straight, glabrous, occasionally glaucous. Segment stalks 0.5–1.5(–1.7) mm, dark color entering into segment base. Ultimate segments oblong, ca. 3 times as long as broad; basiscopic margin straight; acroscopic margin lobed, lobes separated by narrow incisions 0–0.9(–1.1) mm wide; apex obtuse, divided into shallow, rounded lobes separated by shallow sinuses 0.1–2(–3.7) mm deep, margins of lobes crenulate or crenate-denticulate. Indusia transversely oblong, 1–3 mm, glabrous. Spores mostly 34–40 µm diam. Sporulating summer–fall. Rich, deciduous woodlands, often on humus-covered talus slopes and moist lime soils; 0–700 m; N.B., N.S., Ont., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Once considered a single species across its range in North America and eastern Asia, Adiantum pedatum is considered to be a complex of at least three vicariant species ( A . pedatum and A . aleuticum occur in North America) and a derivative allopolyploid species (C. A. Paris 1991). Adiantum pedatum in the strict sense is restricted to deciduous woodlands in eastern North America.(2)  Rich, deciduous woodlands, often on humus-covered talus slopes and moist lime soils for sea level to 700 meters in North America – Alaska to Quebec and Nova Scotia, south to California nad Georgia. East to Asia. It is hardy to zone 3. The seeds ripen from Aug to October.(3)
Edible Uses:None
Medicinal Uses :The whole plant is considered to be antirheumatic, astringent, demulcent, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, haemostatic, pectoral and tonic. A tea or syrup is used in the treatment of nasal congestion, asthma, sore throats etc. A decoction of the root was massaged into rheumatic joints. The N. American Indians chewed the fronds and then applied them to wounds to stop bleeding. A strong infusion of the whole plant was has been used as an emetic in the treatment of ague and fevers. This plant was highly valued as a medicinal plant in the 19th century and merits scientific investigation.
Foot Notes: (1)http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ADPE

Foot Notes: (2 ) http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200003542
Foot Notes: ( 3, 4, 5)http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Adiantum+pedatum
Appearance, Habitat and Photos for Others: (Adiantum aleuticum) Adiantum aleuticum – Western maidenhair, Aleutian maidenhair- Stems short-creeping or suberect; scales bronzy deep yellow, concolored, margins entire. Leaves lax-arching to stiffly erect or pendent, often densely clustered, 15–110 cm. Petiole 0.5–3 mm diam., glabrous, often glaucous. Blade fan-shaped to funnel-shaped, pseudopedate, 1-pinnate distally, 5–45 × 5–45 cm; proximal pinnae (1–)2–7-pinnate; rachis straight, glabrous, often with glaucous bloom. Segment stalks 0.2–0.9(–1.3) mm, dark color entering into segment base or not. Ultimate segments oblong, long-triangular, or occasionally reniform, ca. 2.5–4 times as long as broad; basiscopic margin straight to oblique, or occasionally excavate; acroscopic margin lobed, lobes separated by narrow to broad incisions 0.2–3 mm wide; apex acute to obtuse, obtuse apices divided into ± angular lobes separated by sinuses 0.6–4 mm deep, margins of lobes sharply denticulate. False indusia transversely oblong to crescent-shaped, 0.2–3.5(–6) mm, glabrous. Spores mostly 37–47 µm diam. Sporulating summer–fall. Wooded ravines, shaded banks, talus slopes, serpentine barrens, and coastal headlands (uncommon); 0–3200 m; Alta., B.C., Nfld., Que.; Alaska, Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Maine, Md., Mont., Nev., Oreg., Pa., Utah, Vt., Wash., Wyo.; Mexico in Chihuahua. Adiantum aleuticum is disjunct in wet rock fissures at high elevations in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico in Chihuahua, and it is disjunct on serpentine in Newfoundland, Quebec, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Although the western maidenhair has traditionally been interpreted as an infraspecific variant of Adiantum pedatum , the two taxa are reproductively isolated and differ in an array of morphologic characteristics. Therefore, they are more appropriately considered separate species (C. A. Paris and M. D. Windham 1988). Morphologic differences between A . pedatum and A . aleuticum are subtle; the two may be separated, however, using characteristics in the key. Adiantum aleuticum occurs in a variety of habitats throughout its range, from moist, wooded ravines to stark serpentine barrens and from coastal cliffs to subalpine boulder fields. Although morphologic differences exist among populations in these diverse habitats, they are not consistent. Consequently, infraspecific taxa are not recognized here within A . aleuticum .

(Adiantum jordanii Adiantum jordanii – California maidenhair- Stems short-creeping; scales reddish brown, concolored, margins entire. Leaves arching or pendent, clustered, 30–45 cm. Petiole 1–1.5 mm diam., glabrous, not glaucous. Blade lanceolate, pinnate, 20–24 × 8–10 cm, gradually reduced distally, glabrous; proximal pinnae 3(–4)-pinnate; rachis straight, glabrous, not glaucous. Segment stalks 1–4 mm, with dark color ending abruptly at segment base. Ultimate segments fan-shaped, not quite as long as broad; base truncate or broadly cuneate; margins of fertile segments unlobed but very narrowly incised, sterile segments with margins lobed, denticulate; apex rounded. Indusia transversely oblong, 3–10 mm, glabrous. Spores mostly 40–50 µm diam. Sporulating early spring–midsummer. Seasonally moist, shaded, rocky banks, canyons, and ravines; 0–1000 m; Calif., Oreg.; Mexico in Baja California. Adiantum jordanii occasionally hybridizes with A . aleuticum where their ranges overlap in northern California, yielding the sterile hybrid Adiantum × tracyi C. C. Hall ex W. H. Wagner. Adiantum × tracyi , morphologically intermediate between its parental species, can be distinguished from A . jordanii by its broadly deltate leaf blade that tapers abruptly from the 4(–5)-pinnate base to a 1-pinnate apex. It is best separated from A . aleuticum by leaf blades with a strong rachis, and by ultimate blade segments that are less than twice as long as broad. Adiantum × tracyi shows 59 univalents at metaphase; its spores are irregular and misshapen (W. H. Wagner Jr. 1962).
(Now for Michael Moore who covers Adiantum aleuticum, A. capillus-veneris and A joranii.)

Appearance and Habitat: A delicate fern, hard to mistake when it is found. The fronds sprout from a scaly root, usually just below the mulch or moss. The stems almost appear black and the individual leaflets are separated by black stems. All are interchangeable as to medical uses and A. capillus-venus the most widespread. They are rarely found above 7,000 feet and rarely encountered below 3,000 feet, the exception is the coastal ranges of California. In the west, it is found in warm, lower canyons. Look for it around springs or northern slopes and wet crevices in the rock. Adiantum jordanii is found in canyons from Baja California to southern Oregon. Adiantum pedatum is common from mid way through California to British Columbia to the northern Rocky Mountains. Adiantum capillus-venus is found world-wide.
Medicinal Uses : Collect the leaves by making small bundles, 1/2 inch in diameter, and dry them in a dark room in paper bags. The root requires splitting into sections, length-wise, and drying in cheese cloth. Hang the cheese cloth up, making a pocket and hang it in the shade. It makes an excellent treatment for upper respiratory problems and suppressed menstruation. Like Horsetail, the plant contains silica at a ratio of 12,000 to 20,000 parts/million. The silica content makes it useful to treat connective tissues of the lungs and kidneys. Chronic conditions require strong cup of tea on a daily basis for a month. Use at least a tablespoon full per cup in hot water. For acute conditions, make a standard infusion and drink 1-3 ounces 3 times daily. Combine 32 parts water, with one part dried fronds (by weight) bring slowly to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes, cool until warm and strain. It is also useful to treat bronchial infections, sore throats and laryngitis. To make a cough syrup combine two parts honey, one part water, and two parts of finely chopped leaves. To improve the taste, ginger can be added. To regulate menstruation, boil 1/2 ounce of the dried root in a pint of water for twenty minutes and drink it through the day.
Other Uses : It can be used as hair rinse that will add both body and shine to your hair. Use, somewhat less than a 1/2 cup of the dried plant in a cup of boiling water and use as a final rinse.
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore, pages 153-155, Publisher: Museum of New Mexico Press, Copyright 2003, ISBN 0-89013-454-5

Reproduced, in part, (as well as previous postings under this title) in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.