LONICERA HILDEBRANDIANA

LONICERA HILDEBRANDIANA

FAMILY :: CAPRIFOLIACEAE
GIANT BURMESE HONEYSUCKLE: This honeysuckle is spectacular, but it’s not reliably hardy where temperatures drop below freezing often, although mature specimens have survived short temperature dips to the low 20ºs.

The evergreen leaves are leathery, dark green and up to 6″ long. The flowers are sweetly fragrant, white to yellow to orange and up to 7″ long in pairs along the stems. It has black 1″ diameter fruit. Actually, this honeysuckle looks more like a tree than a vine. It thrives in rich soil in part shade or sun in the tropics or subtropics and even in coastal or Southern California and other near subtropical regions. Origiannly from Southeast Asia.

LONICERA JAPONICA ‘Halliana’

LONICERA JAPONICA ‘Halliana’

FAMILY :: CAPRIFOLIACEAE
HALL’S HONEYSUCKLE, JIN-YIN-HUA: Called the “silver and gold flower” in China, this hardy, easily grown evergreen vine or ground cover has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 1500 years. “Hall’s” variety was developed in New York in 1862 by George Hall as a more vigorous variety of this species.

Medicinally, a tea of the flowers is considered febrifuge, astringent, depurative, antidiarrhetic and diuretic. In practical terms, it is widely used in China to treat colds and the flu. As with most honeysuckles, it grows quite well in sun or part shade in relatively moist, acid soil, although it will survive almost anywhere. It flowers all summer with multitudes of very sweetly scented 1½” white turning yellow (or silver turning gold) flowers in pairs along the stem. The black berries are somewhat poisonous.

SAMBUCUS NIGRA

SAMBUCUS NIGRA

“The whole plant has a narcotic smell and it is not prudent to sleep under its shade.”
— Good’s Family Flora, 1854

FAMILY :: CAPRIFOLIACEAE
BLACK ELDER, RIXUS, IXUS, AKTE: A hardy shrub or small tree (growing to a maximum height of 15-30′) employed in medicine and magic since the days of ancient Egypt.

It has been used popularly as a diaphoretic, laxative, antispasmodic, diuretic and emollient. Practically, it has been used to make wine (from the berries and flowers), as a skin wash, in cosmetics, as a fine wood. All parts of the plant are said to have valuable uses. 8″ white flower clusters in mid-spring. The fruit, though small, is edible. Prefers rich, moist soil. Used in witchcraft. Also used in non-witchcraft. A great plant.

In selling poisonous, drug or witchcraft plants, I have often been criticized by “moralistic” members of the religious right and left, and have developed a considerable intolerance for the ignorance and hypocrisy of these people and their doctrines of superficial abstinence, apocalyptic license, martyred suffering and banal prudishness.

Perhaps I should explain a little further: In my life I have seen no evidence of the existence of a sentient superior being that commands worship. I believe that all beings are equal in a right to life and death. Beyond this, life can be a bitch… or not.

We are all being propelled blindly through space on this huge chunk of rock called Earth. Sometimes when I go to the top of a mountain and lie down, with my back to the earth, I feel like I need to hang on not to be spun off into space.

Religion, to me, is a coward’s approach to life: “If I make enough rules, then life will have meaning or at least easily recognizable guideposts and I won’t have to think any longer or figure it out for myself.” The tree of knowledge has been chopped down and burned to roast marshmallows.

It certainly wasn’t put to fire for the light.

It truly amazes me that throughout history, man (or woman) has constantly worshiped his/her “true” god(s) or goddess’ only to have it (or them) replaced by others as the previous are proven false. This has happened over and over. Apparently, there’s a lot of money to be made in religion.