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About Syrian willow - its forgotten benefits and growing in the garden

Essential oil, rubber and more ...

Syrian cotton wool

This plant, as well as most of the genus of wadders, is widespread in North America. It got to Europe in the late 17th - early 18th centuries. It spread rather quickly in England, Germany, France and Finland. At the beginning, cotton wool was introduced to Europe as a technical culture. The stems were used to produce fibers for coarse fabrics, ropes, stuffing for upholstered furniture and toys.

Syrian cotton wool (Asclepias syriaca) is one of the most cold-resistant and drought-resistant species of the genus Vatochnik (Asclepias)... It was grown mainly as a pleasant smelling, but, in general, it is not clear what a useful plant is. Indeed, its flowers, collected in globular inflorescences, have a delightful aroma of hyacinth. In the Nikitsky Botanical Garden in the 30-50s, it was studied as an essential oil plant. Of the 26 studied species of the genus Asclepias L. (so "medically" the genus is called in Latin), it turned out to be the most promising. The yield of flower raw materials was 40-50 c / ha, however, at a very low, only 0.05-0.1%, the content of essential oil. But it is obtained by extraction, which makes it possible to obtain a substance containing not only volatile substances, the so-called concrete.

The essential oil was obtained from the inflorescences. Therefore, the fleece belongs to the group of floral raw materials. On the fourth day, from the opening of the first buds, more than 90% of the flowers bloom in the inflorescence. It is at this moment that the content of the concrete is maximal, and its perfumery assessment is the highest.

In all parts of the flower, the content of concrete ranges from 0.34 to 0.54% of the raw mass of raw materials; pedicels, calyxes, corollas also have a different smell. For example, corollas and inflorescences have a strong heliotropic odor, the calyx is slightly heliotropic, and the pedicels have a resinous-terpineol shade.

The concrete of the Syrian willow from the inflorescences is a yellow-gray solid with a very pleasant resinous-hyacinth smell with a note of heliotrope. The inflorescences are extracted with petroleum ether for 30 minutes. followed by rinsing. After distillation, a hardening concrete is obtained.

Syrian cotton wool

In the 30s, this plant was studied in detail for various purposes - it was proposed to use the fluff from leaflets with seeds to warm the clothes of polar explorers (the Arctic was then in vogue) instead of eider down. Indeed, it practically does not get wet and holds the volume well. Something like a modern padding polyester.

Vatochnik was used as an anti-erosion plant, since its horizontally diverging rhizomes and roots are located in several tiers and fix large volumes of soil. Recommended for landscaping.

Another direction of its then study was the production of rubber. All parts of the plant secrete milky juice, and the USSR in the 30s was in dire need of rubber. And as its source, they studied the Central Asian dandelions kok-sagyz and tau-sagyz, and, at the same time, cotton wool. He still has more mass.

The whole plant contains triterpene saponins, which have an irritating effect, flavonoid glycosides, lignans, milky juice contains poisonous glucoside asclepiadin, seeds - a brown dye, up to 20% fatty oil, which was tried to be used in the textile industry, to obtain solid fats, to make protective coatings.

Vatochnik is an excellent melliferous plant, the productivity of one hectare is 600 kg of honey, which has a strong aroma and is not sugar-coated during storage.

And now only the decorative function remains.

Botanical portrait

Syrian cotton wool

Syrian cotton wool (Asclepiassyriaca) L. from the gusset family (Asclepiadaceae) - a perennial herbaceous rhizome plant with a height of 0.7 to 1.8 m.The core root penetrates to a depth of 3-4 m and has a system of horizontal roots that branch off from the main one is almost at right angles and are located in the soil in tiers in an amount from 3 to 5. The first is at a depth of 8-10 cm, the second is 16-18 cm, the rest are deeper. A large number of buds are formed on the core part and lateral branches, from which upright stems develop.

Leaves are entire, oblong-elliptical in shape, short-pointed, rounded, with a thick midrib, whitish below from dense tomentose pubescence, covered with scattered hairs above, short-petiolate.

The flowers are collected in dichasia with strongly shortened internodes and form a cymose inflorescence - a false umbrella. Each flower sits on a peduncle attached to a flower-bearing stem, the length of which is 4-8 cm. Both pedicels and flower-bearing stems are densely pubescent. Inflorescences are located in internodes, mainly in the upper part of the stem. The flowers are large, white to purple in color. Although I personally came across only plants with dirty pink flowers.

The fruit is a polyspermous elliptical leaflet 6-10 cm long and 1.5-2.5 cm wide, slightly extended towards both ends, whitish from dense, short and soft pubescence. Seeds are flattened, ovate, with a wide wrinkled edge and with elongated, keeled, darker tubercles on both sides.

Cultivation and reproduction of Syrian cotton wool

Syrian cotton wool

Vatochnik grows on slightly acidic dry sandy and sandy loam soils, develops better on alkaline, well-aerated, worse - on moist heavy. This should be taken into account when choosing a place on the site. It is better to choose a sunny place. It is advisable to grow in one place for 10-15 years. Before planting, it is necessary to clear the soil from weeds and apply mineral and organic fertilizers. In summer, the site should be kept free from weeds.

For sowing, it is better to use the seeds with a one-year shelf life, then their germination rate is 80% and higher. From the emergence of seedlings to the formation of the first pair of true leaves, an average of 10-12 days pass. By the end of the vegetative period, the Syrian wadder has one stem 20-40 cm high with 8-11 pairs of leaves. One-year-old plants develop a taproot extending down to 30 cm, a system of horizontal rhizome lashes (3-4) 25-30 cm long and small suction roots (up to 60) with a diameter of 0.5 mm.

In October-November, the leaves completely fall off. The underground part of the plant hibernates, on which the buds of renewal are located.

When breeding segments of rhizomes less hassle than using seeds. The rhizomes are cut into pieces 5-10 cm long with 2-3 nodes on each. The best time for planting rhizomes is October-November. Their rooting rate ranges from 62 to 100%, depending on the length of the segment. In general, it is better not to make the segments too small, greed is not appropriate here. In spring, good results were obtained when planting with rhizome segments 7-10 cm long. The seeding depth is determined by the type and moisture content of the soil and should be at least 10 cm.

Rhizomes are planted in moist soil. The row spacing is 70 cm, the distance between plants in the rows is 40-50 cm. The cotton wool is responsive to organic fertilizers.

Vatochnik begins to grow at an air temperature of + 11 + 13оС. It grows most intensively in the third decade of May and early June, and when budding and flowering begins, growth stops.

Duration of flowering of one inflorescence is 4-8 days. But there are many inflorescences, therefore, in general, the flowering duration is long.

In some years, the fleece can be affected by dry spotting, a fungus from the genus Alternariatenuis, fusarium, mushroom Fusarium sp. Fungal diseases are not widespread and usually do not require any measures.

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