Thursday, 4 August 2011

Number 28 - Abyssinian Shrivelfig

The Abyssinian Shrivelfig is a fictional plant from the Harry Potter series. It's Latin name could be Ficus Resilio, meaning 'Shrinking Fig'.

The fig holds shrinking qualities, which is why it is used in Shrinking Solutions. This potion has the ability to shrink the drinker into a infant form, and also works on animals and items. Neville's batch of Shrinking Potion also turns his toad into a tadpole, showing the age reversal techniques in animals.

The colour of the solution is important in indicating the safety of the mix: if the solution is green, it is drinkable. However, if it is orange, it is poisonous. This explains why the potion is only brewed by third years at Hogwarts.

(A successfully brewed Shrinking Potion. Image from one of the Harry Potter video games. Shrivelfigs and other content in this post is the creation of J.K. Rowling)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Number 27 - Fireweed

Also known as  Rosebay WillowherbEpilobium angustifolium has sprung up all over the UK this summer.

The plant has also been known as bombweed, due to the sudden rise in population of the plant next to railways and in craters made by bombs in World War II. The plant is also known in Scotland as Singerweed, due to its sprouting of the plants on the bombed land of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory.

The plant's shoots can be eaten as an addition to salads, and if preserved, contain Vitamin C and Pro-Vitamin A. It's leaves can be used to make Kapoori/Kaporie/Kapor tea. In North America, Fireweed jelly, sweets and ice cream are popular treats. Rosebay is taken to ease stomach and digestion issues, such as cramps and diaherra.

However, even though the shoots of the plants can be eaten like asparagus, they are incredibly bitter, and are an aquired taste.

Rosebay can be taken as Kapoori Tea, in salads, or as pills and tinctures.

(A jar of Alaskan Fireweed Jelly. Would you eat this with PJ? Product of Alaska Pure Berry)