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Plants newsletter #4.
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What's new with Plants app

   

Plants 1.1 will support Spotlight search and Handoff

Spotlight support means that you can search for plant and pest names, as well as your gardening places and notes by swiping down from the home screen, while Handoff allows you to seamlessly pick up where you left off when switching between devices. This will allow you to jump from the home screen (search) straight into the appropriate plant info card or to list the plants in your collection.

 

More external references

Plants version 1.0 provided a link from a plant info card to a corresponding Wikipedia page. With version 1.1 we are enhancing this functionality by adding an open-ended list of external references. Common sites like Wikipedia or The Royal Horticultural Society of UK are also recognised and marked appropriately. Following such links you can open the page in Safari, and after finishing the article, jump back to Plants.

 
 
 


Plants app on Twitter and Facebook

During the past months we collected a lot of data about different plants for different horticultural interest groups. This is time and labour intensive work that needs to be done by plant specialists. Now we are entering the phase of preparing plants data for Plants app. Version 1.1 of the app will group plants data in four distinct categories: compatibility with Plants version 1.0, selected easy to grow or popular plants for the beginner, and selections of indoor and balcony plants.

Every time we prepare a plant for the Plants app collection, we will tweet this plant together with one or more photos. We will also share this information on Plants app Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see the growing collection of plants. We will appreciate your feedback as well as your suggestions for your beloved green friends or exotic catalogue suggestions.

On Twitter we are @PlantsApp

 
 
 


Plants app beta testers are now welcome

In the coming weeks we will start beta-testing version 1.1 of Plants app. This will give also a wider group of people the chance to provide us with valuable early feedback. If you'd like to participate in the beta-testing, please subscribe to the special Plants tester mailing list.

 
 
 


Plant of the month - Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrop

With its delicate white hanging flowers Galanthus nivalis is one of the most popular bulbous plants. It is easy to grow and exhibits numerous popular cultivars with large or specially tinted flowers. Millions of plants are sold each year in garden centres.

Galanthus nivalis was described by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum in 1753, and given the specific epithet nivalis, meaning snowy (Galanthus means with milk-white flowers).

Galanthus are dwarf bulbous perennials with linear or strap-shaped leaves, and solitary, often honey-scented, nodding flowers with 3 white outer petals and 3 smaller inner ones, often marked with green.
It is found at 100-1400 m (300 - 4600 feet) altitude (although it most commonly occurs at 300–600 m (900-2000 feet), from the Pyrenees eastwards to the Ukraine, and from Germany and Poland southwards to Southern Italy, Albania and Northern Greece.

 

How to grow

Snowdrops grow best in dappled shade. The soil should be well-drained, but not completely dry in summer. Snowdrops love humus-rich soil that often could be found under deciduous trees and shrubs. Divide the bulbs after flowering, when foliage dies. When bulbs are planted in grass, do not cut the grass until after the leaves die.


Use in medicine

Common snowdrop contains an alkaloid, galanthamine, which has been approved for use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in a number of countries. Galanthamine is also used in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the nervous system. Galanthus nivalis is also an emmenagogue, and as such it stimulates or increases menstrual flow and so can induce an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy.
Snowdrop lectin (GNA; Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) is being studied with regard to its potential activity against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Note: snowdrops and their bulbs are poisonous to humans and can cause nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting if eaten in large quantities.


Links: Galanthus nivalis in Wikipedia
          Galanthus nivalis in RHS


 
 
 

Seasonal task - repotting orchids

Right after the orchid ends flowering it can be repotted. The plant needs repotting if:

• The roots are overflowing the pot
• The plant itself is going over the edge of the pot
• Potting material is getting soggy and drains poorly
 

1. Necessary materials: orchid barks and a pot, semi-transparent if possible.
 

2. Uproot the orchid from the old pot. Be careful not to break the roots. Remove any dry or rotten roots. Use clean sharp knife for cutting roots and leaves.
 

3. Carefully clean the orchid's stem base from any bark or moss.
 
4. Remove any yellowing or dry leaves. Cut them near the base.
 

5. Fill in the pot to 1/3 with the new barks.
 
6. Gently roll all air roots and place them in the pot. Fill in the pot with barks.
 

7. Carefully fill in the space surrounding the roots with barks. With your fingers gently push bark pieces to fill any large air-pockets.
 
8. Place the pot in a larger container. Pour clean water until the water level in the container reaches 1/3 of the pot's height. Leave for 20 mins to allow the roots to absorb moisture.
 

9. Lift the pot from the water and drain well. If water remains in the pot it could cause rotting of the roots.
 
10. The plant is sufficiently watered when its roots are light green in colour, and the barks are dark and evidently moist. Water again when the orchid's roots change colour to light grey. Water once every 10-15 days.
 
 
 
 
For more information visit Plants App website


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