Top 40 Mushrooms

Top 40 Mushrooms

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       A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name “mushroom” is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word “mushroom” is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap. “Mushroom” describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word. Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as “puffball,” “stinkhorn,” and “morel,” and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called “agarics” in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term “mushroom” can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself.

  1. Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria) *Edible and Hallucinogenic
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           Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the southern hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The quintessential toadstool, it is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually deep red mushroom, one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture. Several subspecies, with differing cap color, have been recognized to date, including the brown regalis (considered a separate species), the yellow-orange flavivolvata, guessowii, and formosa, and the pinkish persicina. Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2008 show several sharply delineated clades which may represent separate species. Although it is generally considered poisonous, deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia and North America after parboiling. Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric was in fact the soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; since its introduction in 1968 this theory has gained both followers and detractors in anthropological literature. On October 18th 2011 Author Shamans Odin Hawk and Venus presented historic Vedic evidence before the MSSF (Mycological Society of San Francisco), identifying Amanita as ancient Soma.
    Links: Top Ten Psychedelic Drugs,
  2. Shitake Mushrooms *Edible and Medicinal

           The Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries, as well as being dried and exported to many countries around the world. It is a feature of many Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. In the East, the shiitake mushroom has long been considered a delicacy as well as a medicinal mushroom. Modern research has indicated shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess antibacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties, possibly through antiviral agents known as proteinase inhibitors. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an α-glucan-rich compound isolated from shiitake. In Japan, AHCC is the 2nd most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients and is metabolized via the CYP450 2D6 pathway. Research using animal models has shown that AHCC may increase the body’s resistance to pathogens as shown in experiments with the influenza virus, West Nile encephalitis virus and bacterial infection. Animal research and limited clinical trials suggest that AHCC may enhance immune function. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 21 people supported the idea that AHCC may enhance immune function. Studies have shown that AHCC may benefit patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and prostate cancer. Lentinan, a compound isolated from shiitake, is used as an intravenous anticancer agent in some countries. Studies have demonstrated lentinan possesses antitumor properties, and clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life, and lower recurrence of cancer.
    Links: Top Ten Anti-carcinogens, Top Ten Asian Recipes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shitake_mushroom,
  3. Magic Mushrooms *Edible and Hallucinogenic
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           Psilocybin mushrooms are fungi that contain the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin. There are multiple colloquial terms for psilocybin mushrooms, the most common being shrooms and magic mushrooms. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Agrocybe, Conocybe, Copelandia, Galerina, Gerronema, Gymnopilus, Hypholoma, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pluteus and Psilocybe. There are approximately 190 species of psilocybin mushrooms and most of them fall in the genus Psilocybe. Psilocybin mushrooms were used in ancient times, and were depicted in rock paintings. Many native peoples have used mushrooms for religious purposes, rituals and healing. In modern day society they are often used to evoke a “high,” which is sometimes described as spiritual experience and is often euphoric in nature. Sometimes however, the disorientation of psilocybin and psilocin’s psychedelic effects may bring on anxiety such as panic attacks, depression and paranoid delusions. However, recent studies done at the Imperial College of London and also at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine conclude that when used properly, psilocybin acts as an anti-depressant as suggested by fMRI brain scans.
    Links: Drugs, Top Ten Psychedelic Drugs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_mushrooms,
  4. Portabella (Agaricus bisporus) *Edible
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           Agaricus bisporus, known variously as the common mushroom, button mushroom, white mushroom, table mushroom, champignon mushroom, crimini mushroom, Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian brown, Italian mushroom, cultivated mushroom, or when mature, the Portobello mushroom, is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to grasslands in Europe and North America. Agaricus bisporus is cultivated in more than 70 countries and is one of the most commonly and widely consumed mushrooms in the world.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portabella_mushroom,
  5. Devil’s Tooth (Hydnellum pecki)
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    Hydnellum peckii is an inedible fungus, and a member of the genus Hydnellum of the family Bankeraceae. It is a hydnoid species, producing spores on the surface of vertical spines or tooth-like projections that hang from the undersurface of the fruit bodies. It is found in North America, Europe, and was recently discovered in Iran (2008) and Korea (2010). Hydnellum peckii is a mycorrhizal species, and forms mutually beneficial relationships with a variety of coniferous trees, growing on the ground singly, scattered, or in fused masses. The fruit bodies typically have a funnel-shaped cap with a white edge, although the shape can be highly variable. Young, moist fruit bodies can “bleed” a bright red juice that contains a pigment known to have anticoagulant properties similar to heparin. The unusual appearance of the young fruit bodies has earned the species several descriptive common names, including strawberries and cream, the bleeding Hydnellum, the bleeding tooth fungus, the red-juice tooth, and the Devil’s tooth. Although Hydnellum peckii fruit bodies are readily identifiable when young, they become brown and nondescript when they age.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydnellum_peckii,
  6. Red Cage (Clathrus ruber)
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    Clathrus ruber is a species of fungus in the stinkhorn family, and the type species of the genus Clathrus. It is commonly known as the latticed stinkhorn, the basket stinkhorn, or the red cage, alluding to the striking fruit bodies that are shaped somewhat like a round or oval hollow sphere with interlaced or latticed branches. The fungus feeds off decaying woody plant material, and is usually found alone or in groups in leaf litter on garden soil, grassy places, or on woodchip garden mulches. Although considered primarily a European species, C. ruber has been introduced to other areas, and now has a wide distribution that includes northern Africa, Asia, Australia and North and South America. The species was illustrated in the scientific literature during the 1500’s, but was not officially described until 1729. The fruit body initially appears like a whitish “egg” attached to the ground at the base by cords called rhizomorphs. The egg has a delicate, leathery outer membrane enclosing the compressed lattice that surrounds a layer of olive-green spore-bearing slime called the gleba, which contains high levels of calcium that help protect the developing fruit body during development. As the egg ruptures and the fruit body expands, the gleba is carried upward on the inner surfaces of the spongy lattice, and the egg membrane remains as a volva around the base of the structure. The fruit body can reach heights of up to 20 cm (7.9 in). The color of the fruit body, which can range from pink to orange to red, results primarily from the carotenoid pigments lycopene and beta-carotene. The gleba has a fetid odor, somewhat like rotting meat, which attracts flies and other insects to help disperse its spores. Although the edibility of the fungus is not known with certainty, its odor would deter most from consuming it. C. ruber was not regarded highly in tales in southern European folklore, which suggested that those who handled the mushroom risked contracting various ailments.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber,
  7. Veiled Lady (Phallus indusiatus) * Edible and Medicinal
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    Phallus indusiatus, commonly called the bamboo fungus, bamboo pith, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn or veiled lady, is a fungus in the family Phallaceae, or stinkhorns. It has a cosmopolitan distribution in tropical areas, and is found in southern Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia, where it grows in woodlands and gardens in rich soil and well-rotted woody material. The fruit body of the fungus is characterized by a conical to bell-shaped cap on a stalk and a delicate lacy “skirt,” or indusium, that hangs from beneath the cap and reaches nearly to the ground. Mature fruit bodies are up to 25 cm (10 in) tall with a conical to bell-shaped cap that is 1.5–4 cm (0.6–1.6 in) wide. The cap is covered with a greenish-brown spore-containing slime, which attracts flies and other insects that eat the spores and disperse them. An edible mushroom featured as an ingredient in Chinese haute cuisine, it is used in stir-frys and chicken soups. The mushroom, grown commercially and commonly sold in Asian markets, is rich in protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. The mushroom also contains various bioactive compounds, and has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Phallus indusiatus has a recorded history of use in Chinese medicine extending back to the 7th century AD, and features in Nigerian folklore.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veiled_lady,
  8. Honey Mushroom

           
    Honey fungus, or Armillaria or оpenky, is a genus of parasitic fungi that live on trees and woody shrubs. It includes about 10 species formerly lumped together as A. mellea. Armillarias are long lived and form some of the largest living organisms in the world. The largest single organism (of the species Armillaria solidipes) covers more than 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2 or 1,665 football fields) and is over 2,400 years old. Some species of Armillaria are bioluminescent and may be responsible for the phenomena known as foxfire and perhaps will o’ the wisp. As a forest pathogen, Armillaria can be very destructive. It is responsible for the “white rot” root disease of forests and is distinguished from Tricholoma (mycorrhizal) by this parasitic nature. Its high destructiveness comes from the fact that, unlike most parasites, it doesn’t need to moderate its growth in order to avoid killing its host, since it will continue to thrive on the dead material. In the Canadian Prairies (particularly Manitoba), the term “honey fungus” is unknown to many; due to the large presence of Ukrainian Canadians in this area, the fungus is often referred to as pidpenky, from the Ukrainian term, “beneath the stump.”
    Links: Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants, Top Ten Bioluminescent Animals,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_mushroom,
  9. Mycena

    Mycena is a large genus of small saprotrophic mushrooms that are rarely more than a few centimeters in width. They are characterized by a white spore print, a small conical or bell-shaped cap, and a thin fragile stem. Most are gray or brown, but a few species have brighter colors. Most have a translucent and striate cap, which rarely has an incurved margin. The gills are attached and usually have cystidia. Some species, like Mycena haematopus, exude a latex when the stem is broken, and many have the odor of bleach. Mycenas are hard to identify to species and some are distinguishable only by microscopic features such as the shape of the cystidia. Some species are edible, while others contain toxins, but the edibility of most is not known, as they are too small to be useful in cooking. Mycena cyanorrhiza stains blue and contains the hallucinogen psilocybin and Mycena pura contains the mycotoxin muscarine. Over 33 species are known to be bioluminescent, creating a glow known as foxfire. These species are divided among 16 lineages, leading to evolutionary uncertainty in whether the luminescence developed once and was lost among many species, or evolved in parallel by several species. What, if any, benefit the fungus derives from the luminescence is uncertain. Alexander Smith’s 1947 Mycena monograph identified 232 species; the genus is now known to include about 500 species worldwide. Maas Geesteranus divided the genus into 38 sections in 1992, providing keys to each for all the species of the Northern Hemisphere. Many new species have been discovered since then, and four new sections have been proposed. Taxonomy is complex, as most sections are not truly homogeneous, and the keys fail for some species, especially those that satisfy some criteria for only part of their life cycle.
    Links: Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants, Top Ten Bioluminscent Animals,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycena,
  10. Rosy Veincap (Rhodotus)
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    Rhodotus is a genus in the Physalacriaceae family of fungi. It is a monotypic genus and consists of the single mushroom species Rhodotus palmatus, known in the vernacular as the netted Rhodotus, the rosy veincap, or the wrinkled peach. This uncommon species has a circumboreal distribution, and has been collected in eastern North America, northern Africa, Europe, and Asia; declining populations in Europe have led to its appearance in over half of the European fungal Red Lists of threatened species. Typically found growing on the stumps and logs of rotting hardwoods, mature specimens may usually be identified by the pinkish color and the distinctive ridged and veined surface of their rubbery caps; variations in the color and quantity of light received during development lead to variations in the size, shape, and cap color of fruit bodies.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodotus_palmatus,
  11. Bear’s Head Tooth Mushroom *Edible
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    Hericium abietis, commonly known as the bear’s head or the western coral hedgehog, is an edible mushroom in the tooth fungus group. It grows on conifer stumps or logs in North America, producing a cream white fruit body up to 10–75 cm (4–30 in) tall and wide. It fruits from after the start of the fall rains to mid-season.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hericium_abietis,
  12. Orange Spore Fungus (Favolaschia calocera)
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    Favolaschia calocera, commonly known as the orange pore fungus, is a species of fungus in the Mycenaceae family. First observed in Madagascar, it has recently spread around the world and is now known from New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Hawaii, Thailand, China, Kenya, Norfolk Island and Réunion Island. F. calocera is a wood-inhabiting saprotrophic fungus. It presents as a bright orange stalked fan, 5 mm–30 mm diameter, with prominent pores on the underside. It is uncertain whether F. calocera is native to Madagascar or was introduced to the island from Asia. Throughout much of its expanded range F. calocera is now considered an invasive species. It colonizes ruderal sites along transport routes and can become dominant in habitats disturbed by human activity. Mycologists fear that it may be displacing native fungi species as it spreads through the paleotropics.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Favolaschia_calocera,
  13. Octopus Stinkhorn
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    Clathrus archeri, commonly known as Octopus Stinkhorn, is indigenous to Australia and Tasmania and an introduced species in Europe, North America and Asia. The young fungus erupts from a suberumpent egg by forming into four to seven elongated slender arms initially erect and attached at the top. The arms then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interior covered with a dark-olive spore-containing gleba. In maturity it smells of putrid flesh. Recently, C. archeri var. alba with white tentacles or arms has been reported from the shola forests in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_archeri,
  14. Anemone Stinkhorn (Aseroe rubra)
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    Aseroe rubra, commonly known as the anemone stinkhorn, sea anemone fungus and starfish fungus, is a common and widespread basidiomycete fungus recognizable for its foul odor of carrion and its sea anemone shape when mature. Found in gardens on mulch and in grassy areas, it resembles a red star-shaped structure covered in brownish slime on a white stalk. It attracts flies, which spread its spores.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aseroe_rubra,
  15. Witches Butter and Tremella Fuciformis *Edible and Medicinal
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    Tremella mesenterica (common names include yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler, and witches’ butter) is a common jelly fungus in the Tremellaceae family of the Agaricomycotina. It is most frequently found on dead but attached and on recently fallen branches, especially of angiosperms, as a parasite of wood decay fungi in the genus Peniophora. The gelatinous, orange-yellow fruit body of the fungus, which can grow up to 7.5 cm (3.0 in) diameter, has a convoluted or lobed surface that is greasy or slimy when damp. It grows in crevices in bark, appearing during rainy weather. Within a few days after rain it dries into a thin film or shriveled mass capable of reviving after subsequent rain. This fungus occurs widely in deciduous and mixed forests and is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions that include Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America. Although considered bland and flavorless, the fungus is edible. Tremella mesenterica produces carbohydrates that are attracting research interest because of their various biological activities. Tremella fuciformis is a species of fungus; it produces white, frond-like, gelatinous basidiocarps (fruiting bodies). It is widespread, especially in the tropics, where it can be found on the dead branches of broadleaf trees. This fungus is commercially cultivated and is one of the most popular fungi in the cuisine and medicine of China Tremella fuciformis is commonly known as snow fungus, silver ear fungus, and white jelly mushroom. Tremella fuciformis is a parasitic yeast, and grows as a slimy, mucous-like film until it encounters its preferred hosts, various species of Annulohypoxylon (or possibly Hypoxylon) fungi, whereupon it then invades, triggering the aggressive mycelial growth required to form the fruiting bodies.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremella_mesentericahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremella_fuciformis,
  16. Morchella conica
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    Morchella conica is a species of fungus in the Morchellaceae family. It is one of three related species commonly known as the black morel, the others being M. angusticeps and M. elata. It was first described by mycologist Christian Hendrik Persoon in 1818. Despite being highly appreciated by the French and Spanish gourmets can not eat raw because it contains thermolabile hemolysins.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morchella_conica,
  17. Unidentified Inkcap Mushroom
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    This is an unidentified inkcap growing on a tree stump in August. It has an amber colored liquid oozing out of the caps rim and has a 35mm cap.
    Links: http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/fungi-te-henui/unidentified-mushroom.html,
  18. Cordyceps (Sinensis) Extracts *Edible
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    Ophiocordyceps sinensis is a fungus that parasitizes larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body valued as an herbal remedy. The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then the stalk-like fruiting body emerges from the corpse. It is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus, or by its more prominent foreign names: yartsa gunbu or yatsa gunbu (Tibetan), or Dōng chóng xià cǎo (Chinese: “winter worm, summer grass”). The moths in which O. sinensis grows are ambiguously referred to as “ghost moth,” which identifies either a single species or the genus Thitarodes, and the species parasitized by O. sinensis may be one of several O. sinensis is known in the West as a medicinal mushroom, and its use has a long history in Traditional Chinese, as well as Traditional Tibetan medicine. The hand-collected fungus-caterpillar combination is valued by herbalists and as a status symbol; it is used as an aphrodisiac and treatment for ailments such as fatigue and cancer, although such use is mainly based on traditional Chinese medicine and anecdote. Recent research however seems to indicate a variety of beneficial effects in animal testing, including increased physical endurance through heightened ATP production in rats. “Stamina. Well-known for centuries in Chinese herbal medicine, Cordyceps sinensis is a parasitic dried fungus that grows on caterpillar larvae native to high-altitude regions of China, Nepal and Tibet. Gross, right? But awesome when it comes to health and athletic performance. Pharmacologically anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-lipid (cholesterol lowering), studies indicate enhanced immune system functionality as well as improved stamina in endurance athletes via increased aerobic capacity and oxygen utilization as well as stabilized blood sugar metabolism. Chinese Olympic Track & Field athletes have been swearing by it for decades, and I can attest to their effectiveness. Another plus? Increased sex drive and functionality. The benefits of Cordyceps are enhanced when combined with the adaptogen rhodiola, as they are in Optygen and ShroomTech — both good recommended products.” — Tim Ferris
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiocordyceps_sinensis,  http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  19. Pink Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus djamor)
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    Pleurotus djamor, commonly known as the pink oyster mushroom, is a species of fungus in the family Pleurotaceae. It was originally named Agaricus djamor by the German-born botanist Georg Eberhard Rumphius, and sanctioned under that name by Elias Magnus Fries in 1821. It was known by many different names before being transferred to the genus Pleurotus by Karel Bernard Boedijn in 1959.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleurotus_djamor,
  20. Ramaria
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    The genus Ramaria comprises approximately 200 species of coral fungi. Several, such as Ramaria flava, are edible and picked in Europe, though they are easily confused with several mildly poisonous species capable of causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; these include R. formosa and R. pallida.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramaria,
  21. Cookeina
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    Cookeina is a genus of cup fungi in the family Sarcoscyphaceae, members of which may be found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Species may be found on fallen branches of angiosperms, trunks, and sometimes on fruits. The Temuans of Peninsular Malaysia are reported to use certain species from this genus as food, and also as a bait for fishing, where it is rubbed against the hook.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookeina,
  22. Lingzhi Mushroom *Edible and Medicinal
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    The lingzhi mushroom or reishi mushroom, literally, “supernatural mushroom,” encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma, and most commonly refers to the closely related species, Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma tsugae and Ganoderma sichuanense. G. sichuanense enjoys special veneration in East Asia, where it has been used as a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganoderma_lucidum,
  23. Oyster Mushrooms *Edible
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           Pleurotus is a genus of gilled mushrooms which includes one of the most widely eaten mushrooms, P. ostreatus. Species of Pleurotus may be called oyster, abalone, or tree mushrooms, and are some of the most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms in the world. Pleurotus fungi have been used in mycoremediation of pollutants such as petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Pleurotus means “side ear,” from Greek πλευρή (pleurē), “side” + ὠτός (ōtos), genitive of οὖς (ous), “ear.”
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyster_mushroom,
  24. Shelf Mushrooms *Edible and Medicinal
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           Ganoderma is a genus of polypore mushrooms which grow on wood and include about 80 species, many from tropical regions. Because of their extensive use in traditional Asian medicines, and their potential in bioremediation, they are a very important genus economically. Ganoderma can be differentiated from other polypores because they have a double walled basidiospore. They are popularly referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket mushrooms.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganoderma,
  25. Devil’s Cigar (Chorioactis)
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    Chorioactis is a genus of fungus that contains the single species Chorioactis geaster; the mushroom is commonly known as the devil’s cigar or the Texas star in the US, while in Japan it is called kirinomitake. This extremely rare mushroom is notable for its unusual appearance and disjunct distribution: it is found only in select locales in Texas and Japan. The fruit body, which grows on the stumps or dead roots of cedar elms (in Texas) or dead oaks (in Japan), somewhat resembles a dark brown or black cigar before it splits open radially into a starlike arrangement of four to seven leathery rays. The interior surface of the fruit body bears the spore-bearing tissue known as the hymenium, and is colored white to brown, depending on its age. Fruit body opening can be accompanied by a distinct hissing sound and the release of a smoky cloud of spores. In 2009, Japanese researchers reported discovering a form of the fungus missing the sexual stage of its life cycle; this asexual state was named Kumanasamuha geaster.
    Links: Top Ten Cigars, Top Ten Cigar Makers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorioactis_geaster,
  26. Hygroscopic Earthstar (Astraeus hygrometricus)
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    Astraeus hygrometricus, commonly known as the hygroscopic earthstar, the barometer earthstar, or the false earthstar, is a species of fungus in the Diplocystaceae family. Young specimens resemble a puffball when young and unopened. In maturity, the mushroom displays the characteristic earthstar shape that is a result of the outer layer of fruit body tissue splitting open in a star-like manner. The false earthstar is an ectomycorrhizal species that grows in association with various trees, especially in sandy soils. A. hygrometricus has a cosmopolitan distribution, and is common in temperate and tropical regions. Its common names refer to the fact that it is hygroscopic (water-absorbing), and can open up its rays to expose the spore sac in response to increased humidity, and close them up again in drier conditions. Research has revealed the presence of several bioactive chemical compounds in the fruit bodies. North American field guides typically rate A. hygrometricus as inedible.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astraeus_hygrometricus,
  27. Chanterelles *Edible
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    Cantharellus is a genus of popular edible mushrooms, commonly known as chanterelles. They are mycorrhizal fungi, meaning they form symbiotic associations with plants, making them very difficult to cultivate. Caution must be used when identifying chanterelles for consumption due to lookalikes, such as the Jack-O-Lantern species (Omphalotus olearius and others), which can make a person very ill. Despite this, chanterelles are one of the most recognized and harvested groups of edible mushrooms. Many species of chanterelles contain antioxidant carotenoids, such as beta-carotene in C. cibarius and C. minor, and canthaxanthin in C. cinnabarinus and C. friesii. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin D. The name comes from the Greek kantharos meaning “tankard” or “cup.”
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelles,
  28. Gypsy Mushroom (Cortinarius caperatus) *Edible and Medicinal
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    Cortinarius caperatus, commonly known as the gypsy mushroom, is a highly esteemed edible and medicinal (reduces the severity of diseases such as chickenpox or the herpes simplex virus) mushroom of the genus Cortinarius found in northern regions of Europe and North America. It was known as Rozites caperata for many years, before genetic studies revealed it lay within the large genus Cortinarius. The ochre-colored fruiting bodies appear in autumn in coniferous and beech woods, as well as heathlands in late summer and autumn. The gills are free and clay-colored and the smell and taste mild. Although mild-tasting and highly regarded, the gypsy mushroom is often infested with maggots.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortinarius_caperatus,
  29. Caesar’s Mushroom (Amanita caesarea) *Edible
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           Amanita caesarea, commonly known in English as Caesar’s Mushroom, is a highly regarded edible mushroom in the genus Amanita, native to southern Europe and North Africa. It has a distinctive orange cap, yellow gills and stem. Similar orange-capped species occur in North America and India. It was known to and valued by the Ancient Romans, who called it Boletus, a name now applied to a very different type of fungus.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar%27s_mushroom,
  30. Death Cap Mushroom (Amanita phalloides) *Poisonous
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           Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap, is a deadly poisonous basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Widely distributed across Europe, A. phalloides forms ectomycorrhizas with various broadleaved trees. In some cases, death cap has been introduced to new regions with the cultivation of non-native species of oak, chestnut and pine. The large fruiting bodies (mushrooms) appear in summer and autumn; the caps are generally greenish in color, with a white stipe and gills. Coincidentally, these toxic mushrooms resemble several edible species (most notably caesar’s mushroom and the straw mushroom) commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning. A. phalloides is one of the most poisonous of all known toadstools. It has been involved in the majority of human deaths from mushroom poisoning, possibly including the deaths of Roman Emperor Claudius and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. It has been the subject of much research, and many of its biologically active agents have been isolated. The principal toxic constituent is α-amanitin, which damages the liver and kidneys, often fatally.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_phalloides,
  31. Entoloma Hochstetteri
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    Entoloma hochstetteri is a species of mushroom found in New Zealand and India. The small mushroom is a distinctive all-blue color, while the gills have a slight reddish tint from the spores. The blue coloring of the fruit body is due to three azulene pigments. Whether Entoloma hochstetteri is poisonous or not is unknown. This species was one of six native fungi featured in a set of fungal stamps issued in New Zealand in 2002. It is also seen on the reverse side of the $50 bank note, issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 1990.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entoloma_hochstetteri,
  32. Hygrocybe Rubrocarnosa
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    Hygrocybe procera is a colorful indigenous Hygrocybe (waxcap) ground growing fungus. It is known from Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand growing in lowland podocarp broad-leaved forest. The fruit bodies of this fungus are brilliant red-orange or orange-yellow, fading with age with a cap up to 5 cm in diameter, and a 15–70 x 3–6 mm cylindrical stipe (stem) of uniform diameter (15-70 x`3-6 mm) or tapering towards its base. Its spores are white. It is saprobic fungi among litter of lowland podocarp broad-leaved forest. Saprobic fungi usually live on dead vegetable matter (sticks, leaves, logs…), as they are the only multi-celled organisms that can digest the structural proteins cellulose and lignin, the two major components of wood (and, in fact, the two major components of plants’ cell walls in general). They appear during February-June.
    Links: http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/fungi-te-henui/hygrocybe-procera.html,
  33. Austro Dripping Bonnet (Mycena austrororida)
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    Mycena austrororida, also commonly known as the Austro Dripping Bonnet is a fungal species in the genus Mycena. From the locations that it has been described, it is said that this species may have links to the ancient continent, Gondwana. Unlike when it generally comes to identifying Mycenas, this species has several distinguishing characteristics that make it easy to identify. Mycena austrororida forms small colonies on rotting and wet logs in eucalypt forests and sometimes even on rotting pine cones. This species was first described in Chile, and also New Zealand. In Australia it can be found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycena_austrororida,
  34. Lepista nuda *Edibal and Medicinal
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    Clitocybe nuda (also recognized as Lepista nuda and Tricholoma nudum, commonly known as the wood blewit or blue stalk mushroom), is an edible mushroom, found in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands. It is a fairly distinctive mushroom that is widely eaten, though there is some caution about edibility. Nevertheless it has been cultivated in Britain, the Netherlands and France.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepista_nuda,
  35. Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus) *Edible and Medicinal
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    Coprinus comatus, the shaggy ink cap, lawyer’s wig, or shaggy mane, is a common fungus often seen growing on lawns, along gravel roads and waste areas. The young fruit bodies first appear as white cylinders emerging from the ground, then the bell-shaped caps open out. The caps are white, and covered with scales—this is the origin of the common names of the fungus. The gills beneath the cap are white, then pink, then turn black and secrete a black liquid filled with spores (hence the “ink cap” name). This mushroom is unusual because it will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores. When young it is an excellent edible mushroom provided that it is eaten soon after being collected (it keeps very badly because of the autodigestion of its gills and cap). If long-term storage is desired, microwaving, sautéing or simmering until limp will allow the mushrooms to be stored in a refrigerator for several days or frozen. Processing must be done whether for eating or storage within four to six hours of harvest to prevent undesirable changes to the mushroom. The species is cultivated in China as food. The mushroom can sometimes be confused with the Magpie fungus which is poisonous.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinus_comatus,
  36. Indigo Milk Cap (Lactarius indigo) *Edible
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    Lactarius indigo, commonly known as the indigo milk cap, the indigo (or blue) Lactarius, or the blue milk mushroom, is a species of agaric fungus in the family Russulaceae. A widely distributed species, it grows naturally in eastern North America, East Asia, and Central America; it has also been reported in southern France. L. indigo grows on the ground in both deciduous and coniferous forests, where it forms mycorrhizal associations with a broad range of trees. The fruit body color ranges from dark blue in fresh specimens to pale blue-gray in older ones. The milk, or latex, that oozes when the mushroom tissue is cut or broken—a feature common to all members of the Lactarius genus—is also indigo blue, but slowly turns green upon exposure to air. It is an edible mushroom, and is sold in rural markets in China, Guatemala, and Mexico.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactarius_indigo,
  37. Purple Pouch Fungus (Cortinarius porphyroideus)
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    Cortinarius porphyroideus, commonly known as purple pouch fungus, is a secotioid species of fungus found in Australia and in beech forests of New Zealand. It was one of six species that appeared as part of a series depicting native New Zealand fungi on stamps, released in 2002.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortinarius_porphyroideus,
  38. Red Pouch Fungus (Leratiomyces erythrocephalus)
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    Leratiomyces erythrocephalus, commonly known as the red pouch fungus, is a species of fungus in the Strophariaceae family. First described scientifically as Secotium erythrocephalum by Louis René Tulasne in 1845 and later transferred to Weraroa by American mycologists Rolf Singer and Alexander H. Smith in 1958, it was given its current name in 2008. It is found in New Zealand.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leratiomyces_erythrocephalus,
  39. Lemon Honeycap (Armillaria limonea)
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    Armillaria limonea is a species of mushroom in the Physalacriaceae family. This plant pathogenic species is one of three Armillaria that have been identified in New Zealand (the others are A. novae-zelandiae and A. hinnulea).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armillaria_limonea,
  40. Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)
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    Auricularia auricula-judae, known as the wood ear, jelly ear or by a number of other common names, is a species of edible Auriculariales fungus found worldwide. The fruiting body is distinguished by its noticeably ear-like shape and brown coloration; it grows upon wood, especially elder. Its specific epithet is derived from the belief that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree; the common name “Judas’s ear” eventually became “Jew’s ear,” while today “jelly ear” and other names are sometimes used. The fungus can be found throughout the year in temperate regions worldwide, where it grows upon both dead and living wood. In the West, A. auricula-judae was used in folk medicine as recently as the 19th century for complaints including sore throats, sore eyes and jaundice, and as an astringent. Although it is not widely consumed in the West, it has long been popular in China, to the extent that Australia exported large volumes to China in the early twentieth century. Today, the fungus is a popular ingredient in many Chinese dishes, such as hot and sour soup, and also used in Chinese medicine. It is also used in Ghana, as a blood tonic. Modern research into possible medical applications have variously concluded that A. auricula-judae has antitumour, hypoglycemic, anticoagulant and cholesterol-lowering properties.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auricularia_auricula-judae,
  41. Gyromitra esculenta
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    Gyromitra esculenta, one of several species of fungi known as false morels, is an ascomycete fungus from the genus Gyromitra, widely distributed across Europe and North America. It normally sprouts in sandy soils under coniferous trees in spring and early summer. The fruiting body, or mushroom, is an irregular brain-shaped cap dark brown in color which can reach 10 cm (4 in) high and 15 cm (6 in) wide, perched on a stout white stipe up to 6 cm (2.4 in) high. Although potentially fatal if eaten raw, Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America. Although popular in some districts of the eastern Pyrenees, it is prohibited from sale to the public in Spain. It may be sold fresh in Finland, but it must be accompanied by warnings and instructions on correct preparation. Although it is still commonly parboiled before preparation, recent evidence suggests that even this procedure may not make the fungus entirely safe, thus raising concerns of risk even when prepared properly. When consumed, the false morel’s principal active agent, gyromitrin, is hydrolyzed into the toxic compound monomethylhydrazine (MMH). The toxin affects the liver, central nervous system, and sometimes the kidneys. Symptoms of poisoning involve vomiting and diarrhea several hours after consumption, followed by dizziness, lethargy and headache. Severe cases may lead to delirium, coma and death after 5–7 days.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyromitra_esculenta,
  42. Sticky Bun Fungus (Suillus luteus) *Some Parts Edible
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    Suillus luteus is a basidiomycete fungus, and the type species of the genus Suillus. It is a common fungus indigenous to coniferous forests of Eurasia and North America, and introduced to southern Australia and New Zealand. Commonly referred to as slippery Jack or sticky bun in English-speaking countries, its names refer to the brown cap, which is characteristically viscid in wet conditions. The fungus fruits abundantly in autumn, and is harvested for food. The slime coating, however, may cause indigestion if not removed.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suillus_luteus,
  43. Schizophyllum commune
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    Schizophyllum commune is a very common species of mushroom in the genus Schizophyllum. It is the world’s most widely distributed mushroom, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. Although European and US guidebooks list it as inedible, this is apparently due to differing standards of taste rather than known toxicity, being regarded with little culinary interest due to its tough texture. S. commune is, in fact, edible and widely consumed in Mexico and elsewhere in the tropics. And in North-East India, the state Manipur called it as “Kanglayen” and its one of the favorite ingredients for Manipuri-Pancake Style called Paaknam. The gills, which produce basidiospores on their surface split when the mushroom dries out, earning this mushroom the common name Split Gill. It has more than 28,000 sexes. It is common in rotting wood, but can also cause disease in humans.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophyllum_commune,
  44. Links: Plants, Top 100 Plants, Top Ten 100 Video Games, Top Ten Nintendo Games, Top Ten Super Mario Games,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushrooms,

Top 100 Plants

Top 100 Plants

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  1. Cannabis and Hemp
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    Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative varieties, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fiber (hemp), for seed and seed oils, which among many other benefits is high in protein, for medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from Cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. Marijuana consists of the dried flowers of Cannabis plants selectively bred to produce high levels of THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids. Various extracts including hashish and hash oil are also produced from the plant. A synthetic form of the main psychoactive cannabinoid in Cannabis, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is used as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, including anticarcinogenic effects, glaucoma, AIDS wasting, neuropathic pain, treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, treatment of allergies, inflammation, infection, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorder, dependency and withdrawal, autoimmune disease, neuroprotection, fever, disorders of blood pressure, the list goes on and on. The Yanghai Tombs, a vast ancient cemetery (54,000 square m) situated in the Turfan district of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, have revealed the 2,700-year-old grave of a shaman. He is thought to have belonged to the Jushi culture recorded in the area centuries later in the Hanshu, Chap 96B. Near the head and foot of the shaman was a large leather basket and wooden bowl filled with 789g of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions. An international team demonstrated that this material contained tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis. The cannabis was presumably employed by this culture as a medicinal or psychoactive agent, or an aid to divination. This is the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent. Settlements which date from c. 2200-1700 BC in the Bactria and Margiana contained elaborate ritual structures with rooms containing everything needed for making drinks containing extracts from poppy (opium), hemp (cannabis), and ephedra (which contains ephedrine). “While we have no evidence of the use of ephedra among the steppe tribes, we have already seen that they did share in the cultic use of hemp, a practice that ranged from Romania east to the Yenisei River from at least the 3rd millennium BC on where its use was later encountered in the apparatus for smoking hemp found at Pazyryk.” Cannabis is first referred to in Hindu Vedas between 2000 and 1400 BC, in the Atharvaveda. By the 10th century AD, it has been suggested that it was referred to by some in India as “food of the gods.” Cannabis use eventually became a ritual part of the Hindu festival of Holi. In Buddhism, cannabis is generally regarded as an intoxicant and therefore a hindrance to development of meditation and clear awareness. In ancient Germanic culture, Cannabis was associated with the Norse love goddess, Freya. An anointing oil mentioned in Exodus is, by some translators, said to contain Cannabis. Sufis have used Cannabis in a spiritual context since the 13th century AD. In the Punjab, Cannabis or Sukha, “peace-giver,” is the term Sikhs use to refer to it. Initiated by the tenth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, cannabis or bhang was used to help in meditation and was also used before battles to aid as a painkiller, growing naturally all over Punjab. Narrated by many historical and native accounts cannabis is pounded by the Sikhs, especially during religious festivals like Hola Mohalla. Even today, Nihang Sikhs gather in their thousands at Anandpur, on the occasion of the festival of Hola Mohalla and display their martial skills and of course cannabis is pounded by the Nihang Sikhs. This tradition has been in place since the time of Guru Gobind Singh. Their fighting style is referred to as shastar vidiya, which is among the most intimidating and brutal martial art. The compositions from the Sri Dasam Granth are used in unison with the battle maneuvers. In modern times the Rastafari movement has embraced Cannabis as a sacrament. Elders of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, a religious movement founded in the US in 1975 with no ties to either Ethiopia or the Coptic Church, consider Cannabis to be the Eucharist, claiming it as an oral tradition from Ethiopia dating back to the time of Christ. Like the Rastafari, some modern Gnostic Christian sects have asserted that Cannabis is the Tree of Life. Other organized religions founded in the 20th century that treat Cannabis as a sacrament are the THC Ministry, the Way of Infinite Harmony, Cantheism, the Cannabis Assembly and the Church of Cognizance. Recent research also suggests that Cannabis may be the single greatest medicinal plant on Earth having the most widespread documented cures to illnesses of any single known substance.
    Links: Cannabis, Top 100 Cannabis StrainsGreat Bob Marley Songs, Great Jimi Hendrix Songs, Great Peter Tosh SongsTop Ten Songs to Spark Up To, Top 100 Symbolshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis,
  2. Cynobacteria (Blue-Green Algae)
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    Though technically part of the Bacteria kingdom, Cyanobacteria is a precursor to plants, which produces massive amounts of Earth’s oxygen. Cyanobacteria, also known as Cyanophyta, is a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. The name “cyanobacteria” comes from the color of the bacteria (Greek: κυανός (kyanós) = blue). Although often called blue-green algae, that name is a misnomer as cyanobacteria are prokaryotic and algae are eukaryotic. By producing oxygen as a gas as a by-product of photosynthesis, cyanobacteria are thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one, which dramatically changed the composition of life forms on Earth by stimulating biodiversity and leading to the near-extinction of oxygen-intolerant organisms. According to endosymbiotic theory, the chloroplasts found in plants and eukaryotic algae evolved from cyanobacterial ancestors via endosymbiosis.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_green_algae,
  3. Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias
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    Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae (formerly treated in Taxodiaceae). Common names include coast redwood, California redwood, and giant redwood. It is an evergreen, long-lived, monoecious tree living 1,200–1,800 years or more. This species includes the tallest trees living now on Earth, reaching up to 379 feet (115.5 m) in height (without the roots) and up to 26 ft (7.9 m) in diameter at breast height. Before commercial logging and clearing began by the 1850’s, this massive tree occurred naturally in an estimated 2,100,000 acres (8,500 km2) along much of coastal California (excluding southern California where rainfall is not sufficient) and the southwestern corner of coastal Oregon within the US. An estimated 95% or more of the original old-growth redwood forest has been cut down, due to its excellent properties for use as lumber in construction. The name sequoia—derived not, as was long believed, from the name of the Cherokee linguist Sequoyah, but from the Latin for “sequence”—sometimes refers to the subfamily Sequoioideae, which includes S. sempervirens along with Sequoiadendron (giant sequoia) and Metasequoia (dawn redwood).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redwood_trees,
  4. Ayahuasca
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           Ayahuasca is any of various psychoactive infusions or decoctions prepared from the Banisteriopsis spp. vine, usually mixed with the leaves of dimethyltryptamine-containing species of shrubs from the Psychotria genus. The brew, first described academically in the early 1950’s by Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, who found it employed for divinatory and healing purposes by the native peoples of the Amazonian Colombia, is known by a number of different names. A notable property of ayahuasca is that neither of the ingredients cause any significant psychedelic effects when imbibed alone; they must be consumed together in order to have the desired effect. How indigenous peoples discovered the psychedelic properties of the ayahuasca brew remains unknown.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca,
  5. Moringa (Olefiera)
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           Dubbed the “miracle tree” and the “world’s most nutritious plant species ever studied,” this amazing tree is native to regions of Africa/Asia but can grow almost anywhere due to its incredible ability to extract nutrients from the soil and air. Its leaves are an all-around green superfood; with more than 90 nutrients, moringa is like a utility baseball player that can excel in every position. High in a wide array of vitamins and minerals it’s anti-oxidant rich (46 anti-oxidants), anti-diabetes (reduces blood glucose) and promotes heart health (lipid lowering) among other benefits. Available in capsule and powder form, brew the powder into a tea or add to juice or your morning smoothie.” — Tim Ferris
    Links: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  6. Seanol (Ecklonia Cava)

           Seanol is an extremely rare seaweed extract from Ecklonia Cava, proven 100 times more powerful than any land based antioxidant and believed to reduce the effects of aging. Ecklonia cava is a species of brown alga found in the ocean off Japan and Korea. It is used as an herbal remedy in the form of an extract called Seanol, a polyphenol. Another phlorotannin-rich natural agent, Ventol, is also extract from E. cava. One of the phlorotannins component is called fucodiphlorethol G.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seanol,
  7. Lotus Flower
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           Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family Nelumbonaceae. This plant is an aquatic perennial. Under favorable circumstances its seeds may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China. A common misconception is referring to the lotus as a waterlily (Nymphaea), an entirely different plant as can be seen from the center of the flower, which clearly lacks the structure that goes on to form the distinctive circular seed pod in the Nelumbo nucifera. Native to Tropical Asia and Queensland, Australia, it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. The white and pink lotuses are national flowers of India and Vietnam, respectively.
    Links: Top Ten Indian Attractions, Temples, Top Ten TemplesTop Ten Indian Temples,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Flowerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_temple,
  8. Kale
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           Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide array of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale is also a good source of carotenoids.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale,
  9. Grapes
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    Grapes are loaded with phytochemicals, antioxidants that may help protect against cancer and heart disease. Two of those phytochemicals, anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin, may be especially good for your immune system.
    Links: Wine,
  10. Cocoa Nibs
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           Take cocoa beans, roast them, break them into small pieces and you have cacao nibs. They provide a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat, magnesium and antioxidants as well as serving to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add them to oatmeal, smoothies or fruit!
    Links: http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  11. Suma Root and Ginseng
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           “Adaptogen. Adaptogens are metabolic regulators that increase the body’s ability to – for lack of a better phrase – adapt to environmental stressors, both physical and emotional. Suma is a ginseng-like adaptogen extracted from a root native to Brazil that is linked to improved immune system functionality and hormonal regulation. Combine with (American) ginseng, Ashwaganda (Indian ginseng), and Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng) to create a potent combination that promotes longevity and stress management — normalizing and balancing emotional and physical energy levels. Take in capsules or brew into a tea.” — Tim Ferris
    Links: Top Ten Teashttp://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  12. Pine Trees

    There are 115 species of pine but only a select few are used for the amazing benefits from their pine pollen, including the Masson pine. Pine pollen has been found to restore proper hormone levels, strengthen the immune system, improve mental cognition, balances androgenic and estrogenic hormones, supports the liver, great for the skin and hair, protects the cardiovascular system, regulates weight by supporting the metabolism, increases energy and vitality, increases glutathione (the body’s master antioxidant), optimizes breast health in women and prostate health in men, improves endurance, is an aphrodisiac and helps supports a healthy sex life, may reduce pain and inflammation and I that wasn’t enough, it even helps with hangovers.
    Links:
  13. Peach Tree (Prunus persica)
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           For 3,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine has used peach kernels, also known as bitter almonds, which contain significant quantities of amygdaline, in the treatment of tumors.  Its effectiveness was so legendary that peaches are associated with immortality in Chinese culture. Zhang Guo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals associated with health and healing, is depicted carrying a Peach of Immortality. Since 1843, various forms of this substance have been used in western medicine in the treatment of human cancer.
    Links:
  14. Olive Trees
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    The olive is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, native to the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean Basin as well as northern Iraq, and northern Iran at the south of the Caspian Sea.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olives#Cultivation_and_uses,
  15. Mint Family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae; Includes Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Hyssop, Thyme, Lavender and Perilla)
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           The Lamiaceae or Labiatae (the mint or deadnettle family) are a family of flowering plants. The enlarged Lamiaceae contains about 236 genera and 6,900 to 7,200 species. The largest genera are Salvia (900), Scutellaria (360), Stachys (300), Plectranthus (300), Hyptis (280), Teucrium (250), Vitex, (250) Thymus (220), and Nepeta (200). The plants are frequently aromatic in all parts and include many widely used culinary herbs, such as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, thyme, lavender and perilla. Some are shrubs; trees, such as teak; or, rarely, vines. Many members of the family are widely cultivated, owing not only to their aromatic qualities but also their ease of cultivation: these plants are among the easiest plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Besides those grown for their edible leaves, some are grown for decorative foliage, such as coleus. Others are grown for food purposes, but seeds are utilized instead of leaves, such as with chia. The original family name is Labiateae, so given because the flowers typically have petals fused into an upper lip and a lower lip. Although this is still considered an acceptable alternative name, most botanists now use the name “Lamiaceae” in referring to this family. The leaves emerge oppositely, each pair at right angles to the previous one (called decussate) or whorled. The stems are frequently square in cross section, but this is not found in all members of the family, and is sometimes found in other plant families. The flowers are bilaterally symmetrical with 5 united petals, 5 united sepals. The herbs int he mint family have a number of health benefits including: Rosemary (protects against radiation, Antiseptic, Antibacterial, Cleansing and detoxes the body. Supports the liver and combats cirrhosis), Thyme (Effective against Anthrax and Tuberculosis), Sage (used in anxiety, nervous disorders, as astringent, in abdominal disorders, anti inflammatory), Oregano (powerful antibiotic and has been proven to be more effective in neutralizing germs than some chemical antibiotics. It has been effective against germs like Staphylococcus aureas, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.),  Marjoram (Anti-infectious, antibacterial, dilates blood vessels, regulates blood pressure, soothes muscles) and Basil (Powerful antispasmodic, antiviral, anti-infectious, antibacterial, soothes stomach).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamiaceae,
  16. Eggplant

           The eggplant, closely related to the tomato and potato, was domesticated in India from Solanum incanum. The fruit is botanically classified as a berry and contains numerous small, soft seeds which are edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids; this is unsurprising as it is also a close relative of tobacco. Eggplant is purportedly claimed to reduce the number of cancerous cells in humans.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant,
  17. Cherry Trees
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           The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit). The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium. Cherries contain anthocyanins, the red pigment in berries. Cherry anthocyanins have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Anthocyanins are also potent antioxidants under active research for a variety of potential health benefits. According to a study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute, presented at the Experimental Biology 2008 meeting in San Diego, rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet did not gain as much weight or build up as much body fat, and their blood showed much lower levels of inflammation indicators that have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. In addition, they had significantly lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry,
  18. Blueberry
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           Blueberries is often-cited as a superfruit is blueberries, which contain moderate-rich concentrations of anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber, pterostilbene (an undefined phytochemical under preliminary research) and low calorie content.
    Links: Top Ten Berries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfood,
  19. Avocado
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    The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruit (botanically a large berry that contains a single seed) of the tree, which may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical. Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, pear-shaped fleshy body that ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit. The fruit is not sweet, but fatty, and distinctly yet subtly flavored, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, as substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. Avocados have diverse fats. For a typical avocado: About 75% of an avocado’s calories come from fat, most of which is monounsaturated fat. On a 100 g basis, avocados have 35% more potassium (485 mg) than bananas (358 mg). They are rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K. Avocados also have a high fiber content of 75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber. High avocado intake was shown in one preliminary study to lower blood cholesterol levels. Specifically, after a seven-day diet rich in avocados, mild hypercholesterolemia patients showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. These subjects also showed a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels. Additionally a Japanese team synthesized the four chiral components, and identified (2R, 4R)-16-heptadecene-1, 2, 4-triol as a natural antibacterial component. Due to a combination of specific aliphatic acetogenins, avocado is under preliminary research for potential anti-cancer activity. Extracts of P. americana have been used in laboratory research to study potential use for treating hypertension or diabetes mellitus.
    Links: Top Ten Superfoods, Top Ten Avocado Recipes, Top Ten Aphrodisiacs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado,
  20. Banana Tree
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    Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants. They are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants. Its fruits, rich in starch, grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. They come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, soluble fiber, and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium. Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma. Banana ingestion may affect dopamine production in people deficient in the amino acid tyrosine, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bananas,
  21. Goji Berry Tree
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           Goji berry or wolfberry is the fruit of Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense, two very closely related species of boxthorn in the family Solanaceae (which also includes the potato, tomato, eggplant, deadly nightshade, chili pepper and tobacco). The two species are native to southeastern Europe and Asia. Goji berries have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and can be consumed in teas or in berry form. Wolfberries contain many nutrients and phytochemicals including; 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals,18 amino acids, 6 essential vitamins, 8 polysaccharides and 6 monosaccharides, 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols, 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll, as well as antioxidant properties.
    Links: Top Ten Berries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goji_berry,
  22. Tea (Camelia Sinensis Plant)
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           Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring boiling hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavor which many people enjoy. Consumption of tea (especially green) is beneficial to health and longevity given its significant antioxidant, flavanols, flavonoids and polyphenols content. Consumption of green tea is associated with a lower risk of diseases that cause functional disability, such as “stroke, cognitive impairment, and osteoporosis” in the elderly. Tea contains L-theanine, and its consumption is strongly associated with a calm but alert and focused, relatively productive (alpha wave dominant), mental state in humans. This mental state is also common to meditative practice. The phrase herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative phrases for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with “tea” as it is construed here.
    Links: Top Ten TeasTop Ten Tea Distributorshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea,
  23. Tulsi or Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
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           Ocimum tenuiflorum, Holy Basil (also tulsi, tulasī), is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. The two main morphotypes cultivated in India and Nepal are green-leaved (Sri or Lakshmi tulsi) and purple-leaved (Krishna tulsi). Tulsi is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes, and for its essential oil. It is widely known across South Asia as a medicinal plant and an herbal tea, commonly used in Ayurveda, and has an important role within the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism, in which devotees perform worship involving tulsi plants or leaves. Recent studies suggest tulsi may be a COX-2 inhibitor, like many modern painkillers, due to its high concentration of eugenol (1-hydroxy-2-methoxy-4-allylbenzene). One study showed it to be an effective treatment for diabetes by reducing blood glucose levels. The same study showed significant reduction in total cholesterol levels with tulsi. Another study showed its beneficial effect on blood glucose levels is due to its antioxidant properties. Tulsi also shows some promise for protection from radiation poisoning and cataracts. It has anti-oxidant properties and can repair cells damaged by exposure to radiation. The fixed oil has demonstrated antihyperlipidemic and cardioprotective effects in rats fed a high fat diet. Experimental studies have shown an alcoholic extract of tulsi modulates immunity, thus promoting immune system function. Some of the main chemical constituents of tulsi are: oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, eugenol, carvacrol, linalool, β-caryophyllene, β-elemene (c.11.0%), β-caryophyllene (about 8%), and germacrene D (about 2%). β-Elemene has been studied for its potential anticancer properties, but human clinical trials have yet to confirm its effectiveness.
    Links: Top Ten Anticarcinogens, Top Ten Hindu Deities, Top Ten Teas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsi,
  24. Peppers

    The term “peppers” encompasses a diverse group of plants, ranging from the popular sweet green or red bell pepper to the fiery hot habañero or the even more lethal Scotch bonnet. When Columbus tasted the small, hot red “berries” he found on his Caribbean voyages, he believed he had reached India, where Europeans obtained black pepper, and called them red pepper. In truth, the native peoples of the Americas had been growing and enjoying sweet and chili peppers for an estimated 7,000 years. Soon after Columbus’s ships brought them back to Spain, traders spread them around the world, transforming cuisines, and people’s preventive health prospects, from Morocco to Hungary, and India to China. Peppers, whether sweet bell or hot chili, are members of the plant genus “capsicum,” a term that comes from the Greek word kapto, which means “to bite.” All peppers contain compounds called capsaicinoids. This is especially true of chili peppers, which derive their spicy heat—as well as extraordinary anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, heart-healthy effects, from very high levels of capsaicinoids, the most common form of which is capsaicin. In addition to capsaicin, chilies are high in antioxidant carotenes and flavonoids, and contain about twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. Almost any dish, from homemade soups, stews and chili to stir-fries, salads and salsas, can benefit from small amounts of hot peppers.
    Links: http://www.oprah.com/health/Hot-Peppers-Dr-Perricones-Superfood-No-7-Superfood#ixzz2cjxYUM7m,
  25. Magic Mushrooms
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           Psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms, teónanácatl, teotlaquilnanácatl, xochinanácatl) are fungi that contain the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin. There are multiple colloquial terms for psilocybin mushrooms, the most common being shrooms or magic mushrooms. Biological genera containing psilocybin mushrooms include Agrocybe, Conocybe, Copelandia, Galerina, Gerronema, Gymnopilus, Hypholoma, Inocybe, Mycena, Panaeolus, Pluteus, Psilocybe and Weraroa. There are approximately 190 species of psilocybin mushrooms and most of them fall in the genus Psilocybe.
    Links: Top Ten Magic Mushroom Works of Art, Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_mushrooms,
  26. Amanita Muscaria
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    Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the southern hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The quintessential toadstool, it is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually deep red mushroom, one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture. Several subspecies, with differing cap color, have been recognized to date, including the brown regalis (considered a separate species), the yellow-orange flavivolvata, guessowii, and formosa, and the pinkish persicina. Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2008 show several sharply delineated clades which may represent separate species. Although it is generally considered poisonous, deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia and North America after parboiling. Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric was in fact the soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; since its introduction in 1968 this theory has gained both followers and detractors in anthropological literature. On October 18th 2011 Author Shamans Odin Hawk and Venus presented historic Vedic evidence before the MSSF (Mycological Society of San Francisco), identifying Amanita as ancient Soma.
    Links: Top Ten Psychedelic Drugs, Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita_muscaria,
  27. Soma
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            Soma (Sanskrit सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the subsequent Vedic and greater Persian cultures. It is frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, whose Soma Mandala contains 114 hymns, many praising its energizing qualities. In the Avesta, Haoma has the entire Yašt 20 and Yasna 9-11 dedicated to it. The Rigveda calls the plant the “God for Gods” seemingly giving him precedence above Indra and the other Gods (RV 9.42) It is described as prepared by extracting juice from the stalks of a certain plant. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the name of the drink and the plant are the same, and the three forming a religious or mythological unity. There has been much speculation concerning what is most likely to have been the identity of the original plant. There is no solid consensus on the question, although most Western experts outside the Vedic and Avestan religious traditions now seem to favor a species of Ephedra, perhaps Ephedra sinica.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma,
  28. Asparagus
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           Asparagus officinalis is a spring vegetable, a flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus. It was once classified in the lily family, like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have been split and the onion-like plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and asparagus in the Asparagaceae. Asparagus officinalis is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, and is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop. Recent studies suggest that Asparagus has the ability to cure forms of cancer when taken twice daily. For more on this check out the links below.
    Links: http://www.goodhealthwellnessblog.com/210/asparagus-cures-cancer/,
  29. Broccoli

           Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family, whose large flower head is used as a vegetable. The word broccoli, from the Italian plural of broccolo, refers to “the flowering top of a cabbage.” Broccoli is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors d’œuvre trays. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species. Broccoli was derived from cultivated leafy cole crops in the Northern Mediterranean in about the 6th century BC. Since the Roman Empire, broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians. Broccoli was brought to England from Antwerp in the mid-1700’s by Peter Scheemakers and was first introduced to the US by Italian immigrants, not becoming widely known until the 1920’s. Broccoli is high in vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber; it also contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, such as diindolylmethane and small amounts of selenium. A single serving provides more than 30 mg of Vitamin C and a half-cup provides 52 mg of Vitamin C. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are greatly reduced if the vegetable is boiled. Broccoli is also an excellent source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Boiling broccoli reduces the levels of suspected anti-carcinogenic compounds, such as sulforaphane, with losses of 20–30% after 5 minutes, 40–50% after 10 minutes, and 77% after 30 minutes. However, other preparation methods such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying had no significant effect on the compounds. Broccoli has the highest levels of carotenoids in the brassica family. It is particularly rich in lutein and also provides a modest amount of beta-carotene. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli consumption may also help prevent heart disease.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli,
  30. Gingko Biloba
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           Ginkgo, also spelled gingko and known as the Maidenhair Tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The tree is widely cultivated and introduced, since an early period in human history, and has various uses as a food and traditional medicine. Ginkgo is believed to have nootropic properties, and is mainly used as memory and concentration enhancer, and anti-vertigo agent. However, studies differ about its efficacy.
    Links: Top Ten Memory EnhancersTop Ten Treeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginkgo_biloba,
  31. Pomegranate
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           The pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall. Native to the geographic Kurdistan of modern day Iran and Iraq, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as well as the Himalayas in Northern India. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Syria, Spain, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, China, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Philippines, the drier parts of southeast Asia, the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, and tropical Africa. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production. The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate,
  32. Tomato

           The word “tomato” may refer to the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) or the edible, typically red, fruit that it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler climates. The tomato fruit is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces, and in drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes. Tomatoes contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. In some studies, lycopene, especially in cooked tomatoes, has been found to help prevent prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against harmful UV rays. A study done by researchers at Manchester and Newcastle universities revealed that tomato can protect against sunburn and help keeping the skin looking youthful. Natural genetic variation in tomatoes and their wild relatives has given a genetic plethora of genes that produce lycopene, carotene, anthocyanin, and other antioxidants. Tomato varieties are available with double the normal vitamin C (Doublerich), 40 times normal vitamin A (97L97), high levels of anthocyanin (resulting in blue tomatoes), and two to four times the normal amount of lycopene (numerous available cultivars with the high crimson gene). Tomato consumption has also been associated with decreased risk of breast cancer, head and neck cancers and might be strongly protective against neurodegenerative diseases. Tomatoes and tomato sauces and puree are said to help lower urinary tract symptoms (BPH) and may have anticancer properties. Tomato consumption might be beneficial for reducing cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatoe,
  33. Savi Tree
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           These little gems are the highest source of omega-3 on the planet… 17 times more than wild salmon! By eating the entire seed you also get beneficial plant-based protein and fiber. SaviSeeds are a satisfying snack and a great way to increase the amount of essential omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
    Links: Top Ten Nuts, http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  34. Macadamia Tree
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           Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to eastern Australia (seven species), New Caledonia (one species M. neurophylla) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (one species, M. hildebrandii). Compared to other common edible seeds such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein. They have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats of any known seed and contain approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to saturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
    Links: Top Ten NutsTop Ten Chocolateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macadamia,
  35. Cashews
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           The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. Originally native to Northeast Brazil, it is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew seeds and cashew apples. The fats and oils in cashew nuts are 54% monounsaturated fat (18:1), 18% polyunsaturated fat (18:2), and 16% saturated fat (9% palmitic acid (16:0) and 7% stearic acid (18:0)). Cashews, as with other tree nuts, are a good source of antioxidants. Alkyl phenols, in particular, are abundant in cashews. Cashews are also a good source of dietary trace minerals copper, iron and zinc. The cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), a byproduct of processing cashew, is mostly composed of anacardic acids (70%), cardol (18%) and cardanol (5%). These acids have been used effectively against tooth abscesses due to their lethality to a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria. Many parts of the plant are used by the Patamona of Guyana medicinally. The bark is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal; it also yields a gum used in varnish. Seeds are ground into powders used for antivenom for snake bites. The nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.
    Links: Top Ten Nuts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew,
  36. Shitake Mushrooms

           The Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many Asian countries, as well as being dried and exported to many countries around the world. It is a feature of many Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai. In the East, the shiitake mushroom has long been considered a delicacy as well as a medicinal mushroom. Modern research has indicated shiitake mushroom may stimulate the immune system, possess antibacterial properties, reduce platelet aggregation, and possess antiviral properties, possibly through antiviral agents known as proteinase inhibitors. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an α-glucan-rich compound isolated from shiitake. In Japan, AHCC is the 2nd most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients and is metabolized via the CYP450 2D6 pathway. Research using animal models has shown that AHCC may increase the body’s resistance to pathogens as shown in experiments with the influenza virus, West Nile encephalitis virus and bacterial infection. Animal research and limited clinical trials suggest that AHCC may enhance immune function. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 21 people supported the idea that AHCC may enhance immune function. Studies have shown that AHCC may benefit patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and prostate cancer. Lentinan, a compound isolated from shiitake, is used as an intravenous anticancer agent in some countries. Studies have demonstrated lentinan possesses antitumor properties, and clinical studies have associated lentinan with a higher survival rate, higher quality of life, and lower recurrence of cancer.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, Top Ten Asian Recipeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shitake_mushroom,
  37. Allium Family: Garlic, Onions, Leeks and Chives

    Garlic, onions, leeks and chives contain flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione (the tripeptide that is the liver’s most potent antioxidant). Glutathione enhances elimination of toxins and carcinogens, putting the allium family of vegetables at the top of the list for foods that can help prevent cancer. Here are just a few benefits from members of this family.
    Garlic:
    – Lowers total cholesterol (but raises HDL—”good”—cholesterol)
    – Lessens the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
    – Lowers blood pressure
    – Reduces the risk of blood clots (cause of the majority of strokes and heart attacks)
    – Destroys infection-causing viruses and bacteria
    – Reduces the risk of certain cancers, in particular, stomach cancers
    – Produces more “natural killer” cells in the blood to fight tumors and infections
    – Helps fight against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s
    – Enhances detoxification by reducing toxins
    – For optimum effect, eat garlic raw. Cooking can destroy some of the allicin compound, which is the active constituent.
    Links: http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Allium-Family-Dr-Perricones-No-2-Superfood#ixzz2cjyOiXIm,
  38. Apple Trees
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    The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apples grow on small, deciduous trees. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have been present in the mythology and religions of many cultures, including Norse, Greek and Christian traditions. In 2010, the fruit’s genome was decoded, leading to new understandings of disease control and selective breeding in apple production. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, fresh eating and cider production. Domestic apples are generally propagated by grafting, although wild apples grow readily from seed. About 69 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, and China produced almost half of this total. The US is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. Turkey is 3rd, followed by Italy, India and Poland. Apples are often eaten raw, but can also be found in many prepared foods (especially desserts) and drinks. Many beneficial health effects are thought to result from eating apples; however, two forms of allergies are seen to various proteins found in the fruit.
    Links: Top Ten Apples, Top Ten Physicists, Top Ten Paintings by Albrecht Durer, Top Ten Paintings of Adam and Eve,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple,
  39. Orange Trees
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    The orange is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus × sinensis in the family Rutaceae. The fruit of the Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from that of the Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The orange is a hybrid, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata), cultivated since ancient times. Probably originating in Southeast Asia, oranges were already cultivated in China as far back as 2,500 BC. Arabo-phone peoples popularized sour citrus and oranges in Europe; Spaniards introduced the sweet orange to the American continent in the mid-1500’s. Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit, which can be eaten fresh or processed to obtain juice, and for the fragrant peel. They have been the most cultivated tree fruit in the world since 1987, and sweet oranges account for approximately 70% of the citrus production. In 2010, 68.3 million metric tons of oranges were grown worldwide, particularly in Brazil and in the US states of California and Florida.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit),
  40. Cinnamon
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    Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savory foods. While Cinnamomum verum is sometimes considered to be “true cinnamon,” most cinnamon in international commerce is derived from related species, which are also referred to as “cassia” to distinguish them from “true cinnamon.” Cinnamon is the name for perhaps a dozen species of trees and the commercial spice products that some of them produce. All are members of the genus Cinnamomum in the family Lauraceae. Only a few of them are grown commercially for spice.  It has also been shown that 99.9% of viruses and bacteria can not live in the presence of cinnamon, which makes it a great antibacterial and antiviral weapon.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamon,
  41. Seaweed
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    As with other algae, seaweed is not technically a plant, being scientifically classified as embryophytes, from which the ‘higher’ plants emerged. Seaweed is a loose colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae. Seaweeds can also be classified by use (as food, medicine, fertilizer, filtration, industrial, etc.). Seaweeds may have curative properties for tuberculosis, arthritis, colds and influenza, worm infestations and even tumors. In Japan, seaweed eaten as nori is known as a remedy for radiation poisoning.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaweed,
  42. Chia Seeds (Runner’s Fuel)

    Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia or runner’s fuel, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested that it was as important as maize as a food crop. Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One pilot study found that 10 weeks ingestion of 25 grams per day of milled chia seeds, produced high blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 long-chain fatty acid considered good for the heart, while having no effect on inflammation or disease risk factors. According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein. The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese, similar in nutrient content to other edible seeds such as flax or sesame. The seeds are often consumed by runners before marathons and long distance events as it improves endurance. Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, yogurt, made into a gelatin-like substance, or consumed raw.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chia_seeds,
  43. Wheat
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    Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East and Ethiopian Highlands, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2010, world production of wheat was 651 million tons, making it the 3rd most-produced cereal after maize (844 million tons) and rice (672 million tons). Wheat was the 2nd most-produced cereal in 2009; world production in that year was 682 million tons, after maize (817 million tons), and with rice as a close third (679 million tons). This grain is grown on more land area than any other commercial food. World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined. Globally, wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein in human food, having a higher protein content than other major cereals, maize (corn) or rice. In terms of total production tonnages used for food, it is currently second to rice as the main human food crop and ahead of maize, after allowing for maize’s more extensive use in animal feeds. Wheat was a key factor enabling the emergence of city-based societies at the start of civilization because it was one of the first crops that could be easily cultivated on a large scale, and had the additional advantage of yielding a harvest that provides long-term storage of food. Wheat contributed to the emergence of city-states in the Fertile Crescent, including the Babylonian and Assyrian empires. Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereal, pasta, noodles, couscous and for fermentation to make beer, other alcoholic beverages, or biofuel. Wheat is planted to a limited extent as a forage crop for livestock, and its straw can be used as a construction material for roofing thatch. The whole grain can be milled to leave just the endosperm for white flour. The by-products of this are bran and germ. The whole grain is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, and protein, while the refined grain is mostly starch.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat,
  44. Coffee
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    “Fat Loss. Similar to green tea and grape seed extract, organic raw (green) coffee beans have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties effective in combating free radical damage. Benefits in weight management are due to two active compounds, caffeine (lower in green beans) and chlorogenic acid (which is destroyed by roasting) [TIM: Also found in my perennial fave, yerba mate]. The caffeine releases fatty acids into the bloodstream from stored body fat, while the chlorogenic acid increases efficiency of metabolizing these fats while inhibiting sugar (glucose) absorption by the blood stream. Simply grind the green beans and prepare in a French Press like normal coffee. Alternatively, place the ground beans in water in the sun to brew iced coffee. However, don’t expect it to taste like coffee – it doesn’t. Slightly bitter and somewhat flavorless, try adding erythritol to sweeten. Nor will it give you a boost; its caffeine content is significantly lower than roasted beans.” — Tim Ferris
    Links: Top Ten Coffees, Top Ten Coffee Growing Regions, http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  45. Sunflowers
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           These tiny seeds are acceptable forms of monounsaturated fat if you are allergic to nuts. Plus, they pack a good punch of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and folate.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  46. Camu Camu Trees
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           “A sour lemon-sized orange-purple fruit indigenous to Amazonian lowlands, camu camu contains an impressive array of phytochemicals, bioflavonoids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals like beta-carotene and potassium. Most importantly, camu camu boasts the highest natural vitamin C density of any food on the planet — anywhere from 20-50 times the level of vitamin C in a typical orange, and scores extremely high on the “ORAC” (“oxygen radical absorbance capacity”) scale, a method of quantifying the anti-oxidant capacities of biological samples. Camu camu also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and facilitates the uptake of serotonin. In other words, it will make you happy. Available in supplement form, I like Navitas Naturals Organic Camu Powder. Add a teaspoon to juice or smoothie (taste is tart, a bit like orange juice itself).” — Tim Ferris
    Links: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  47. Rice
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    Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn. Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. Genetic evidence has shown that rice originates from a single domestication 8,200–13,500 years ago, in the Pearl River valley region of China. Previously, archaeological evidence had suggested that rice was domesticated in the Yangtze River valley region in China. From East Asia, rice spread to Southeast and South Asia. Rice was introduced to Europe through Western Asia, and to the Americas through European colonization. Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems. The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice,
  48. Maize (Corn)
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    Maize, known in some English-speaking countries as corn, is a large grain plant domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain the grain, which are seeds called kernels. Maize kernels are often used in cooking as a starch. Corn is also one of the most diversely used industrial plants manufactured into everything from plastics, chewing gum, fuel, explosives, alcohol, adhesives, antibiotics, paper, etc.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize,
  49. Cotton Plant
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           Gossypium is the cotton genus, belonging to the tribe Gossypieae, in the mallow family, Malvaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions from both the Old and New World. The genus Gossypium comprises around 50 species. The name of the genus is derived from the Arabic word goz, which refers to a soft substance. Cotton is the primary natural fiber used by modern humans. Cultivated cotton is also a major oilseed crop, as well as a main protein source for animal feed. Cotton plants thus have an enormous weight in the world economy and are of great importance for the agriculture, industry and trade of many tropical and subtropical countries in Africa, South America and Asia. The origin of the genus Gossypium is dated to around 5-10 million years ago. The seeds are contained in a capsule called a “boll,” each seed surrounded by fibers of two types. These fibers are the more commercially interesting part of the plant and they are separated from the seed by a process called ginning. Many varieties of cotton have been developed by selective breeding and hybridization of these species. Experiments are ongoing to cross-breed various desirable traits of wild cotton species into the principal commercial species, such as resistance to insects and diseases, and drought tolerance.
    Links: Clothing and Apparel, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossypium,
  50. Bird of Paradise
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           Strelitzia is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the UK. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower, because of a supposed resemblance of its flowers to the bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower. The species S. nicolai is the largest in the genus, reaching 10 m tall, with stately white and blue flowers; the other species typically reach 2 to 3.5 m tall, except S. caudata which is a tree of a typically smaller size than S. nicolai. The leaves are large, 30–200 cm long and 10–80 cm broad, similar to a banana leaf in appearance but with a longer petiole, and arranged strictly in two ranks to form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage. The flowers are produced in a horizontal inflorescence emerging from a stout spathe. They are pollinated by sunbirds, which use the spathe as a perch when visiting the flowers; the weight of the bird on the spathe opens it to release the pollen onto the bird’s feet, which is then deposited on the next flower it visits.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strelitzia,
  51. Flame Lily
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           Gloriosa is a genus of five or six species in the plant family Colchicaceae, from tropical Africa and Asia. The most common English names are flame lily, fire lily, gloriosa lily, glory lily, superb lily, climbing lily, and creeping lily. They are tender, tuberous rooted deciduous perennials, adapted to summer rainfall with a dormant dry season. Their native range is Africa, Southeastern Asia and parts of Malaysia, but they are now widely cultivated. All parts of the plant contain colchicine and related alkaloids and are therefore dangerously toxic if ingested, especially the tubers; contact with the stems and leaves can cause skin irritation. Various preparations of the plant are used in traditional medicines for a variety of complaints in both Africa and India. Gloriosa superba is the national flower of Zimbabwe (where it is a protected plant). It is also the state flower of Tamil Nadu state in India, and was the national flower of Tamil Eelam, and as such was displayed during Maaveerar Day.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flame_lily,
  52. Titan Arum
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           The titan arum or Amorphophallus titanum is a flowering plant with the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world. The titan arum’s inflorescence is not as large as that of the Talipot palm, Corypha umbraculifera, but the inflorescence of the Talipot palm is branched rather than unbranched. Due to its odor, which is reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal, the titan arum is characterized as a carrion flower, and is also known as the “corpse flower,” or “corpse plant.” For the same reason, the title “corpse flower” is also attributed to the genus Rafflesia which, like the titan arum, grows in the rainforests of Sumatra.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Arum,
  53. The Moustrap (Nepenthes Spathulata)
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    Nepenthes spathulata is a tropical pitcher plant native to Java and Sumatra, where it grows at elevations of between 1,100 and 2,900 m above sea level. The specific epithet spathulata is derived from the Latin word spathulatus, meaning “spatula shaped,” and refers to the shape of the lamina. These amazing plants can grow up to five meters high and feed off of small rodents, even being able to digest the teeth and bones.
    Links: Top Ten Carnivorous Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepenthes_spathulata,
  54. Venus Fly Trap
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           The Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the US. It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within 20 seconds of the first strike. The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against a waste of energy in trapping objects with no nutritional value. Dionaea is a monotypic genus closely related to the waterwheel plant and sundews, all of which belong to the family Droseraceae.
    Links: Top Ten Carnivorous Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_fly_trap,
  55. Bladderwort
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           Utricularia, commonly and collectively called the bladderworts, is a genus of carnivorous plants consisting of approximately 233 species (precise counts differ based on classification opinions; one recent publication lists 215 species). They occur in fresh water and wet soil as terrestrial or aquatic species across every continent except Antarctica. Utricularia are cultivated for their flowers, which are often compared with those of snapdragons and orchids, especially amongst carnivorous plant enthusiasts. All Utricularia are carnivorous and capture small organisms by means of bladder-like traps. Terrestrial species tend to have tiny traps that feed on minute prey such as protozoa and rotifers swimming in water-saturated soil. The traps can range in size from 0.2 mm to 1.2 cm. Aquatic species, such as U. vulgaris (common bladderwort), possess bladders that are usually larger and can feed on more substantial prey such as water fleas (Daphnia), nematodes and even fish fry, mosquito larvae and young tadpoles. Despite their small size, the traps are extremely sophisticated. In the active traps of the aquatic species, prey brush against trigger hairs connected to the trapdoor. The bladder, when “set,” is under negative pressure in relation to its environment so that when the trapdoor is mechanically triggered, the prey, along with the water surrounding it, is sucked into the bladder. Once the bladder is full of water, the door closes again, the whole process taking only 10 to 15 thousandths of a second. Bladderworts are unusual and highly specialized plants, and the vegetative organs are not clearly separated into roots, leaves, and stems as in most other angiosperms. The bladder traps, conversely, are recognized as one of the most sophisticated structures in the plant kingdom.
    Links: Top Ten Carnivorous Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bladderwort,
  56. Rafflesia
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           Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants. It contains approximately 28 species (including four incompletely characterized species as recognized by Willem Meijer in 1997), all found in southeastern Asia, on the Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand and the Philippines. Rafflesia was found in the Indonesian rain forest by an Indonesian guide working for Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818, and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition. It was discovered even earlier by Louis Deschamps in Java between 1791 and 1794, but his notes and illustrations, seized by the British in 1803, were not available to western science until 1861. The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. It is an endoparasite of vines in the genus Tetrastigma (Vitaceae), spreading its absorptive organ, the haustorium, inside the tissue of the vine. In some species, such as Rafflesia arnoldii, the flower may be over 100 centimeters (39 in) in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lb). Even the smallest species, R. baletei, has 12 cm diameter flowers. The flowers look and smell like rotting flesh, hence its local names which translate to “corpse flower” or “meat flower.” The vile smell attracts insects such as flies, which transport pollen from male to female flowers. Most species have separate male and female flowers, but a few have bisexual flowers. Rafflesia is an official state flower of Indonesia, also Sabah state in Malaysia, as well as for the Surat Thani Province, Thailand. The name “corpse flower” applied to Rafflesia is confusing because this common name also refers to the Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) of the family Araceae. Moreover, because Amorphophallus has the world’s largest unbranched inflorescence, it is sometimes mistakenly credited as having the world’s largest flower. Both Rafflesia and Amorphophallus are flowering plants, but they are still distantly related. Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest single flower of any flowering plant, at least when one judges this by weight. Amorphophallus titanum has the largest unbranched inflorescence, while the Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera) forms the largest branched inflorescence, containing thousands of flowers; this plant is monocarpic, meaning that individuals die after flowering.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafflesia,
  57. Strawberry
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           Fragaria × ananassa, commonly known as strawberry, is a hybrid species that first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750’s via a cross of Fragaria virginiana from eastern North America and Fragaria chiloensis, which was brought from Chile by Amédée-François Frézier in 1714. One cup (236 g) of strawberries contains approximately 45 kilo-calories (188 kJ) and is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids. This fruit is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of folate and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, and manganese One serving of about eight strawberries provides more vitamin C than an orange. The strawberry is among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity.
    Links: Top Ten Antioxidants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry,
  58. Raspberries
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           Berries, especially raspberries and strawberries, contain ellagic acid, another phytochemical that may help protect against cancer-causing agents in the diet and the environment.
    Links: Top Ten Berries, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-super-foods,
  59. Walnut Tree
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           Walnuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants and a very good source of manganese and copper. Other minerals provided by walnuts include calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, zinc and some vitamin B6 in limited amounts. Walnuts also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
    Links: Top Ten Nuts, http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  60. Coconut Palm
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           Historically, coconut oil was thought to be unhealthy because it is high in saturated fat. We now know that it is actually rich in medium chain triglycerides which are readily burned for fuel in the liver, bypassing fat storage. Always look for virgin coconut oil instead of refined versions (which can be partially or fully hydrogenated, thereby eliminating any positive health benefits). Coconut oil can also withstand high heats without oxidizing – making it an ideal cooking oil for any frying you need to do.
    Links: http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  61. Almond Trees
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           Rich in protein and monounsaturated fat, just one ounce of almonds also provides 35% of your daily needs of antioxidant vitamin E. Swap out your peanut butter for almond butter without sacrificing the nutty taste.
    Links: Top Ten Nuts, http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  62. Tumeric
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    “Anti-Oxidant/Anti-Inflammatory. A plant native to South India and Indonesia, if you like curry or mustard, you’re already familiar with this yellow food. What you might not know is that turmeric — due in large part to curcumin, tumeric’s primary active ingredient — is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories on the planet. The majority of foods we eat, including low fat diets, promote arterial inflammation, which is a leading (and often underrated) cause of heart disease. In the fitness context, exercise-induced physiological stress causes inflammation, which impedes muscular repair. In a general sense, the more quickly the inflammation subsides, the more quickly one recovers from training. Foods like turmeric reduce inflammation, thus expediting recovery (and circulatory health). Extrapolated over time, an athlete on a nutritional regimen high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric (buttressed by a predominantly alkaline-forming diet) will in turn be able to train harder, more effectively and more efficiently in a given time period while simultaneously taking out an insurance policy against the primary culprits that foil even the most conscientious athletes — undue fatigue, overtraining and illness. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that there is some evidence to suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast, prostate, lung, colon and skin cancers. Curcumin can be taken in capsule form, but it is not the most bio-available substance in extract form. Personally, I prefer to drink turmeric in a tea – 1/2 spoonful dissolved in hot water does the trick.” — Tim Ferris
    Links: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2012/05/23/10-uncommon-superfoods-from-the-world-of-ultra-endurance/,
  63. Soy
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           The soybean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. Soybeans produce significantly more protein per acre than most other uses of land. Traditional nonfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, and from the latter tofu and tofu skin. Fermented foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh, among others. The oil is used in many industrial applications. The beans contain significant amounts of phytic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, isoflavones and has a fat content of roughly 20%. Soybeans are also considered by many agencies to be a source of complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body’s inability to synthesize them.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy,
  64. Herba Mate
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    Mate plant, or Yerba mate is a species of holly (family Aquifoliaceae), well known as the source of the mate beverage. Though the plant is called yerba in Spanish, it is a tree and not an herbaceous plant. It is native to subtropical South America in northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It was first used and cultivated by the Guaraní people, and also in some Tupí communities in southern Brazil, prior to the European colonization. It was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895. The mate plant, Ilex paraguariensis, is a shrub when young and a tree when adult, growing up to 15 m tall. The leaves are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese), both of which mean “herb”. They contain caffeine and related compounds and are harvested commercially. In an investigation of mate antioxidant activity, there was a correlation found between content of caffeoyl-derivatives and antioxidant capacity (AOC). Among a group of Ilex species, Ilex paraguariensis antioxidant activity was the highest.
    Links: Top Ten TeasTop Top Ten Antioxidants, Top Ten Physicists, Top 100 Scientists,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerba_mate,
  65. Peyote (Mescaline)
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           Lophophora williamsii, better known by its common name Peyote (from the Nahuatl word peyotl), is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline. It is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico. It is found primarily in the Chihuahuan desert and in the states of Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi among scrub, especially where there is limestone. Known for its psychoactive properties when ingested, it is used world wide as an entheogen and supplement to various transcendence practices including meditation, psychonautics and psychedelic psychotherapy. Peyote has a long history of ritualistic and medicinal use by indigenous Americans. It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given. Anhalonium lewinii was new to science, however to the Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest it was a friend of immemorially long standing. Indeed, it was much more than a friend. In the words of one of the early Spanish visitors to the New World, “they eat a root which they call peyote, and which they venerate as though it were a deity.”
    Links: Top Ten Peyote Works of Arthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peyote,
  66. Brazil Nut Trees
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           Not only are Brazil nuts a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat but they are rich in the antioxidant mineral selenium, which provides a powerful defense against free radical damage.
    Links: Top Ten Nuts, http://thriveforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/05-Macronutrients-2-Ref-Top-Ten-Healthy-Fats.pdf,
  67. Flax Plants
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           Flax is a food and fiber crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. Flax fibres are taken from the stem of the plant and are two to three times as strong as those of cotton. As well, flax fibers are naturally smooth and straight. Europe and North America depended on flax for vegetable-based cloth until the 19th century, when cotton overtook flax as the most common plant used for making linen paper. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient China and ancient Egypt. Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
    Links: Top Ten Seeds, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flax_seeds,
  68. Elephant Tree (Bursera Microphylla)
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           Bursera microphylla, known by the common name elephant tree, is a tree in genus Bursera. It grows into a distinctive sculptural form, with a trunk resembling that of an elephant. The elephant tree is quite rare. Its existence was confirmed in 1937 with samples found in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park region. The Cahuilla Indian people of the Colorado Desert region of California, according to legend, used the red sap of the elephant tree as a panacea, which is a remedy that supposedly cures all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.
    Links: Top Ten Incenseshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bursera_microphylla,
  69. Echinacea
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    Echinacea is a genus, or group of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The nine species it contains are commonly called coneflowers. They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echino), meaning “sea urchin,” due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines (boosts white blood cell production, immune system support, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, good for colds, flu and infection) and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern. Note: Use no more than two weeks at a time. Do not use if you are allergic to sunflowers or related species.
    Links: Top 100 Flowershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacia,
  70. Lemon Trees
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    The lemon is a small evergreen tree native to Asia, and the tree’s ellipsoidal yellow fruit. The fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, though the pulp and rind (zest) are also used in cooking and baking. The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade. The low pH of juice makes it antibacterial, and in India, the lemon is used in Indian traditional medicines Siddha Medicine and Ayurveda. Is known for its antiseptic properties, Essential Science Publishing says that: According to Jean Valnet, M.D. the vaporized essence of lemon can kill meningococcal bacteria in 15 minutes, typhoid bacilli in one hour, Staphylococcus aureus in two hours and Pneumococcus bacteria within three hours. Lemon also improves micro-circulation, promotes white blood cell formation, and improves immune function.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemons,
  71. Pumpkins
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           Pepita is a Spanish culinary term for the pumpkin seed, the edible seed of a pumpkin or other cultivar of squash (genus Cucurbita). The seeds are typically rather flat and asymmetrically oval, and light green in color inside a white hull. The seeds have a 50% fat content and are also good sources of protein, as well as iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. 25 grams of pepitas can provide over 20 percent of the recommended daily iron intake. Furthermore, just one-fourth cup of pepitas provides approximately 185 mg of magnesium, nearly 50% of the Recommended Daily Intake.  Sesame is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum with wild relatives occurring in Africa and a smaller number in India. Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3,000 years ago. It was a major summer crop in the Middle East for thousands of years, as attested to by the discovery of many ancient presses for sesame oil in the region. Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and has a fat content of 61%.
    Links: Top Ten Seeds,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumpkin_seedshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_seeds,
  72. Spinach
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           Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and especially high in lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. Polyglutamyl folate (vitamin B9 or folic acid) is a vital constituent of cells, and spinach is a good source of folic acid. Boiling spinach can more than halve the level of folate left in the spinach, but microwaving does not affect folate content. Vitamin B9 was first isolated from spinach in 1941.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach,
  73. Honey Mushroom

    Honey fungus, or Armillaria or оpenky, is a genus of parasitic fungi that live on trees and woody shrubs. It includes about 10 species formerly lumped together as A. mellea. Armillarias are long lived and form some of the largest living organisms in the world. The largest single organism (of the species Armillaria solidipes) covers more than 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) and is thousands of years old. Some species of Armillaria are bioluminescent and may be responsible for the phenomena known as foxfire and perhaps will o’ the wisp. As a forest pathogen, Armillaria can be very destructive. It is responsible for the “white rot” root disease of forests and is distinguished from Tricholoma (mycorrhizal) by this parasitic nature. Its high destructiveness comes from the fact that, unlike most parasites, it doesn’t need to moderate its growth in order to avoid killing its host, since it will continue to thrive on the dead material. In the Canadian Prairies (particularly Manitoba), the term “honey fungus” is unknown to many; due to the large presence of Ukrainian Canadians in this area, the fungus is often referred to as pidpenky, from the Ukrainian term, “beneath the stump.”
    Links: Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants, Top Ten Bioluminscent Animals, Top 40 Mushrooms,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_mushroom,
  74. Mycena

    Mycena is a large genus of small saprotrophic mushrooms that are rarely more than a few centimeters in width. They are characterized by a white spore print, a small conical or bell-shaped cap, and a thin fragile stem. Most are gray or brown, but a few species have brighter colors. Most have a translucent and striate cap, which rarely has an incurved margin. The gills are attached and usually have cystidia. Some species, like Mycena haematopus, exude a latex when the stem is broken, and many have the odor of bleach. Mycenas are hard to identify to species and some are distinguishable only by microscopic features such as the shape of the cystidia. Some species are edible, while others contain toxins, but the edibility of most is not known, as they are too small to be useful in cooking. Mycena cyanorrhiza stains blue and contains the hallucinogen psilocybin and Mycena pura contains the mycotoxin muscarine. Over 33 species are known to be bioluminescent, creating a glow known as foxfire. These species are divided among 16 lineages, leading to evolutionary uncertainty in whether the luminescence developed once and was lost among many species, or evolved in parallel by several species. What, if any, benefit the fungus derives from the luminescence is uncertain. Alexander Smith’s 1947 Mycena monograph identified 232 species; the genus is now known to include about 500 species worldwide. Maas Geesteranus divided the genus into 38 sections in 1992, providing keys to each for all the species of the Northern Hemisphere. Many new species have been discovered since then, and four new sections have been proposed. Taxonomy is complex, as most sections are not truly homogeneous, and the keys fail for some species, especially those that satisfy some criteria for only part of their life cycle.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants, Top Ten Bioluminscent Animals,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycena,
  75. Salvia
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           Salvia is the largest genus of plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, with approximately 700-900 species of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and annuals. It is one of several genera commonly referred to as sage. When used without modifiers, sage generally refers to Salvia officinalis (“common sage”), however, it is used with modifiers to refer to any member of the genus. The ornamental species are commonly referred to by their genus name Salvia. The genus is distributed throughout the Old World and the Americas, with three distinct regions of diversity: Central and South America (approx. 500 species); Central Asia and Mediterranean (250 species); Eastern Asia (90 species).
    Links: Top Ten Salvia SpeciesTop Ten Salvia Works of Arthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia,
  76. Thorn Apple/Jimson Weed/Datura (contains tropane alkaloids)
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           Datura is a genus of nine species of vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are known as angel’s trumpets, sometimes sharing that name with the closely related genus Brugmansia, and commonly as daturas. They are also sometimes called moonflowers, one of several plant species to be so. Its precise and natural distribution is uncertain, owing to its extensive cultivation and naturalization throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the globe. Its distribution within the Americas, however, is most likely restricted to the US and Mexico, where the highest species diversity occurs. All Datura plants contain tropane alkaloids such as scopolamine, hyoscyamine, and atropine, primarily in their seeds and flowers. Because of the presence of these substances, Datura has been used for centuries in some cultures as a poison and as a hallucinogen. Datura is a complex and powerful psychedelic and getting the dose right is critical as the wrong dose can have adverse health effects. Many report mystical experiences described in terms of a ‘rebirth,’ while others find Datura experiences overly powerful and frightening.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura,
  77. Madagascar Periwinkle
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           The Madagascar periwinkle is key in the treatment of leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, Top Ten Madagascar Attractions,
  78. St. John’s Wort
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    Hypericum perforatum, also known as St John’s wort, is a flowering plant species of the genus Hypericum and a medicinal herb that is sold over-the-counter as a treatment for depression. Other names for it include Tipton’s weed, rosin rose, goatweed, chase-devil, or Klamath weed. With qualifiers, St John’s wort is used to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. Therefore, H. perforatum is sometimes called common St John’s wort or perforate St John’s wort to differentiate it. Hypericum is classified in the family Hypericaceae, having previously been classified as Guttiferae or Clusiaceae. Approximately 370 species of the genus Hypericum exist worldwide with a native geographical distribution including temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Middle East, India and China.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Johns_Wart,
  79. Opium Poppy
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           Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are derived. Opium is the source of many narcotics, including morphine (and its derivative heroin), thebaine, codeine, papaverine and noscapine. The Latin botanical name means the “sleep-bringing poppy,” referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates. The poppy is the only species of Papaveraceae that is an agricultural crop grown on a large scale. Other species, Papaver rhoeas and Papaver argemone, are important agricultural weeds, and may be mistaken for the crop. The plant itself is also valuable for ornamental purposes, and has been known as the “common garden poppy,” referencing all the group of poppy plants. Poppy seeds of Papaver somniferum are an important food item and the source of poppyseed oil, a healthy edible oil that has many uses.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_poppy,
  80. California Poppy
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           Eschscholzia californica (California poppy, golden poppy, California sunlight, cup of gold) is a species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceae, native to the US and Mexico, and the official state flower of California.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, Top Ten Californian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_poppy,
  81. Dragon’s Blood Tree

           One of the planet’s most isolated landforms of continental origin, the Socotra Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean off the Horn of Africa, has a unique and spectacular endemic flora that rivals that of the better known Galapagos Islands. However, the archipelago’s remoteness makes it a difficult destination for ecotourism. More than one-third of its plant species are found nowhere else, making it one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. Socotra’s most eye-catching plant is the dragon’s blood tree, an umbrella-shaped tree with red sap, once much sought after as a medicine.
    Links: Top Ten Trees,
  82. Wormwood
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           Artemisia absinthium (absinthium, absinthe wormwood, wormwood, common wormwood, green ginger or grand wormwood) is a species of wormwood, native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa. It is a herbaceous, perennial plant with a hard, woody rhizome. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m (rarely 1.5 m) tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands; the basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long petioles, with the cauline leaves (those on the stem) smaller, 5–10 cm long, less divided, and with short petioles; the uppermost leaves can be both simple and sessile (without a petiole). Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields.
    Links: Top Ten AbsinthesTop 100 Vintage Postershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_absinthium,
  83. Safflower
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           Safflower is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual plant. It is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil extracted from the seeds. Safflower is native to arid environments having seasonal rain. It grows a deep taproot which enables it to thrive in such environments. There are two types of safflower that produce different kinds of oil: one high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and the other high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid).
    Links: Top 100 Flowershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safflower,
  84. Lavender
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    Lavandula (common name Lavender) is a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia is often referred to as lavender, and there is a color named for the shade of the flowers of this species.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavender,
  85. Peruvian Torch Cactus
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           Peruvian Torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana syn. Trichocereus peruvianus) is a fast-growing columnar cactus native to the western slope of the Andes in Peru, between about 2,000-3,000 meters above sea level. The Peruvian Torch (Trichocereus peruvianus) grows high in the Andean mountain deserts of Peru and Ecuador and is similar to the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi) which is found in the same region. The human use of the cactus dates back thousands of years to the northern coast of Peru and the monks of a pre-Inca culture known as Chavín (900 BC to 200 BC). They prepared a brew called “achuma,” “huachuma” or “cimora” which was used during ritualistic ceremonies to diagnose the spiritual links to a patient’s illness.
    Links: Top Ten Cacti, Top Ten Drug Related Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peruvian_Torch,
  86. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
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           Achillea millefolium, or yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. In New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo, or “little feather,” for the shape of the leaves. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herbal militaris, for its use in staunching the flow of blood from wounds. Other common names for this species include common yarrow, gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man’s pepper, devil’s nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, thousand-leaf (as its binomial name affirms) and thousand-seal. Yarrow has seen historical use as a medicine, often because of its astringent effects. Decoctions have been used to treat inflammations, such as hemorrhoids, and headaches. Confusingly, it has been said to both stop bleeding and promote it. (Depending on the form it is administered it can do both, which is why when dabbling in using herbs for medicine it is proper to contact an herbalist or other expert. Achillea Millefolium has been used with great success in promoting blood flow, as well as staunching blood flow when properly used.) Infusions of yarrow, taken either internally or externally, are said to speed recovery from severe bruising. The most medicinally active part of the plant is the flowering tops. They also have a mild stimulant effect, and have been used as a snuff. Today, yarrow is valued mainly for its action in colds and influenza, and also for its effect on the circulatory, digestive, excretory and urinary systems. In the 19th century, yarrow was said to have a greater number of indications than any other herb. It is believed that anti-allergenic compounds can be extracted from the flowers by steam distillation. The flowers are used to treat various allergic mucus problems, including hay fever. Flowers used in this way are harvested in summer or autumn, and an infusion drunk for upper respiratory phlegm or used externally as a wash for eczema. The dark blue essential oil, extracted by steam distillation of the flowers, is generally used as an anti-inflammatory or in chest rubs for colds and influenza. The leaves encourage clotting, so it can be used fresh for nosebleeds. The aerial parts of the plant are used for phlegm conditions, as a bitter digestive tonic to encourage bile flow and as a diuretic. The aerial parts act as a tonic for the blood, stimulate the circulation, and can be used for high blood pressure. Also useful in menstrual disorders, and as an effective sweating remedy to bring down fevers. Yarrow intensifies the medicinal action of other herbs taken with it, and helps eliminate toxins from the body. It is reported to be associated with the treatment of the following ailments: Analgesic Amenorrhea, antiphlogistic, anti-inflammatory, bowels, bleeding, blood clots, blood pressure (lowers), blood purifier, blood vessels (tones), catarrh (acute, repertory), colds, chicken pox, circulation, contraceptive (unproven), cystitis, diabetes treatment, digestion (stimulates)gastro-intestinal disorders, choleretic dyspepsia, eczema, fevers, flu, gastritis, glandular system, gum ailments, heartbeat (slow), influenza, insect repellant, inflammation, emmenagogue, internal bleeding, liver (stimulates and regulates), lungs (hemorrhage), measles, menses (suppressed), menorrhagia, menstruation (regulates, relieves pain), nipples (soreness), nosebleeds, piles (bleeding), smallpox, stomach sickness, toothache, thrombosis, ulcers, urinary antiseptic, uterus (tighten and contract), gastroprotective varicose veins, vision, may reduce autoimmune responses. The salicylic acid derivatives are a component of aspirin, which may account for its use in treating fevers and reducing pain. Yarrow was also used in traditional Native American herbal medicine. Navajo Indians considered it to be a “life medicine,” chewed it for toothaches, and poured an infusion into ears for earaches. Several tribes of the Plains region of the US used common yarrow. The Pawnee used the stalk for pain relief. The Chippewa used the leaves for headaches by inhaling it in a steam. They also chewed the roots and applied the saliva to their appendages as a stimulant. The Cherokee drank a tea of common yarrow to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarrow,
  87. Ephedra
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           Ephedra is a genus of gymnosperm shrubs, the only genus in its family, Ephedraceae, and order, Ephedrales. Ephedra grows in dry climates over wide areas of the northern hemisphere, including southwestern North America, Europe, north Africa, and southwest and central Asia, and, in the southern hemisphere, in South America south to Patagonia. In temperate climates, most Ephedra species grow on shores or in sandy soils with direct sun exposure. Common names in English include Joint-pine, Jointfir, Mormon-tea or Brigham Tea. The Chinese name for the Ephedra species is mahuang (literally “cannabis yellow”). Ephedras is also sometimes called sea grape (from the French raisin de mer), a common name for the flowering plant Coccoloba uvifera. Plants of the Ephedra genus, including E. sinica and others, have traditionally been used by indigenous people for a variety of medicinal purposes, including treatment of asthma, hay fever and the common cold. The alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are active constituents of E. sinica and other members of the genus. These compounds are sympathomimetics with stimulant and decongestant qualities and are related chemically to the amphetamines. Pollen of Ephedra spp. was found in the Shanidar IV burial site in Iraq, suggesting its use as a medicinal plant dates to over 60,000 years ago. It has been suggested that Ephedra may be the Soma plant of Indo-Iranian religion. This is reflected in its Sanskrit name “somalata.”
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_sinica,
  88. Açaí Palm
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           The açaí palm is a species of palm tree in the genus Euterpe cultivated for its fruit and superior hearts of palm. Its name comes from the Portuguese adaptation of the Tupian word ïwaca’i, ‘[fruit that] cries or expels water.’ Global demand for the fruit has expanded rapidly in recent years, and açaí is now cultivated for that purpose primarily. Euterpe edulis (juçara) is a closely related species which is now the primary source of hearts of palm. Eight species are native to Central and South America, from Belize southward to Brazil and Peru, growing mainly in swamps and floodplains. Açaí palms are tall, slender palms growing upwards of 25+ meters (82 feet), with pinnate leaves up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) long.
    Links: Top Ten Most Nutritious Fruits, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acai,
  89. Portabella (Agaricus bisporus)
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           Agaricus bisporus, known variously as the common mushroom, button mushroom, white mushroom, table mushroom, champignon mushroom, crimini mushroom, Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian brown, Italian mushroom, cultivated mushroom, or when mature, the Portobello mushroom, is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to grasslands in Europe and North America. Agaricus bisporus is cultivated in more than 70 countries and is one of the most commonly and widely consumed mushrooms in the world.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portabella_mushroom,
  90. Myrrh
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           Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin (natural blend of an essential oil and resin) of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. Myrrh resin is a natural gum. Myrrh gum is yellowish, and may be either clear or opaque. It darkens deeply as it ages, and white streaks emerge. Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia. Another farmed species is C. momol. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula, is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead, also known as Balsam of Mecca. The oleo gum resins of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species are also used as perfumes, medicines (such as aromatic wound dressings), and incense ingredients. A lesser quality myrrh is bled from the tree Commiphora erythraea. Commiphora gileadensis (syn C. opobalsamum) oleo gum resin is known as Opopinax, a name it shares with the gum resin bled from a species of parsnip, Pastincea opobalsamum. Fragrant “myrrh beads” are made from the crushed seeds of Detarium microcarpum, an unrelated West African tree. These beads are traditionally worn by married women in Mali as multiple strands around the hips. The name “myrrh” is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata, otherwise known as “cicely” or “sweet cicely.” In traditional Chinese medicine, myrrh is classified as bitter and spicy, with a neutral temperature. It is said to have special efficacy on the heart, liver, and spleen meridians, as well as “blood-moving” powers to purge stagnant blood from the uterus. It is therefore recommended for rheumatic, arthritic, and circulatory problems, and for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and uterine tumors. Its uses are similar to those of frankincense, with which it is often combined in decoctions, liniments, and incense. When used in concert, myrrh is “blood-moving” while frankincense moves the Qi, making it more useful for arthritic conditions.
    Links: Top Ten Incenses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrh,
  91. Frankincense
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           Frankincense resin is edible and often used in various traditional medicines in Asia for digestion and healthy skin. Edible frankincense must be pure for internal consumption, meaning it should be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier because it is a resin. In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata), commonly referred to as “dhoop,” has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system, and purifying the atmosphere from undesirable germs. The use of frankincense in Ayurveda is called “dhoopan.” In Indian culture, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health. Burning frankincense repels mosquitoes and thus helps protect people and animals from mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever. Standardized preparations of Indian frankincense from Boswellia serrata are being investigated in scientific studies as a treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and osteoarthritis. Initial clinical study results indicate efficacy of incense preparations for Crohn’s disease. For therapy trials in ulcerative colitis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis there are only isolated reports and pilot studies from which there is not yet sufficient evidence of safety and efficacy. Similarly, the long-term effects and side effects of taking frankincense has not yet been scientifically investigated. Boswellic acid in vitro anti-proliferative effects on various tumor cell lines (such as melanoma, glioblastomas, liver cancer) are based on induction of apoptosis. A positive effect has been found in the use of incense on the accompanying specimens of brain tumors, although in smaller clinical trials. The main active compound of Indian incense is viewed as being boswellic acid. As of May 2008 FASEB Journal announced that Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have determined that frankincense smoke is a psychoactive drug that relieves depression and anxiety in mice. The researchers found that the chemical compound incensole acetate is responsible for the effects. In a different study, an enriched extract of “Indian Frankincense” (usually Boswellia serrata) was used in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of patients with osteoarthritis. Patients receiving the extract showed significant improvement in their arthritis in as little as seven days. The compound caused no major adverse effects and, according to the study authors, is safe for human consumption and long-term use. In a study published in March 2009 by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center it was reported that “Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability.”
    Links: Top Ten Incenses, Top Ten Incense Holders, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense,
  92. Cassava
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           ‘Manihot esculenta,’ also called Cassava, manioc, yuca, balinghoy, mogo, mandioca, kamoteng kahoy, tapioca (predominantly in India) and manioc root, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. Cassava contains B17 (laetrile), which helps eliminate cancerous cells but must be properly prepared before consumption, as it can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia or partial paralysis if not properly prepared.
    Links: Top Ten Anticarcinogens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava,
  93. Ginger Plant (Zingiber officinale)
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    Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom and galangal. The distantly related dicots in the Asarum genus have the common name wild ginger because of their similar taste. Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger has been found to help nausea, motion sickness and vomiting, is useful for circulatory problems, good for indigestion, as well as an effective antioxidant.
    Links: Top Ten Healing Herbs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger,
  94. Peanut Plant
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           The peanut, or groundnut, is a species in the legume or “bean” family (Fabaceae). The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients, and are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein. Peanuts are a good source of niacin, and thus contribute to brain health and blood flow. Recent research on peanuts has found antioxidants and other chemicals that may provide health benefits, rivaling the antioxidant content of many fruits. Roasted peanuts rival the antioxidant content of blackberries and strawberries, and are far richer in antioxidants than carrots or beets. Peanuts are also a significant source of resveratrol, a chemical associated with but not proven to cause a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The average amount of resveratrol in one ounce of commonly eaten peanuts (15 whole peanut kernels) is 73 μg.
    Links: Top Ten Anticarcinogens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut,
  95. Pistachio Tree
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           The pistachio is a small tree originally from Central Asia and the Middle East. In research at Pennsylvania State University, pistachios in particular significantly reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) while increasing antioxidant levels. Pistachios are also a great source of protein with a protein content percentage of over 21%.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistachios,
  96. Sesame Plant
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           Sesame is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum with wild relatives occurring in Africa and a smaller number in India. Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3,000 years ago. It was a major summer crop in the Middle East for thousands of years, as attested to by the discovery of many ancient presses for sesame oil in the region. Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed and has a fat content of 61%.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame_seeds,
  97. Coca Plant
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    Coca is any of the four cultivated plants which belong to the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant is a cash crop in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It also plays a role in many traditional Andean cultures as well as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Coca is known throughout the world for its psychoactive alkaloid, cocaine. The alkaloid content of coca leaves is low, between 0.25% and 0.77%. This means that chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea does not produce the intense high (euphoria, megalomania, depression) people experience with cocaine. Cocaine-free coca leaf extract was used in Coca-Cola products starting use of cocaine in their products in 1885, and near limiting use of the drug in their products around 1929.
    Links: Drugs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca,
  98. Tobacco
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           Tobacco is a plant within the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. There are more than 70 species of tobacco. The chief commercial species, N. tabacum, is believed to be native to tropical America, like most nicotiana plants, but has been so long cultivated that it is no longer known in the wild. N. rustica, a species producing fast-burning leaves, was the tobacco originally raised in Virginia, but it is now grown chiefly in Turkey, India and Russia. In consumption, it most commonly appears in the forms of smoking, chewing, snuffing, or dipping tobacco. Tobacco had long been in use as an entheogen in the Americas, but upon the arrival of Europeans in North America, it quickly became popularized as a trade item and a widely abused drug. This popularization led to the development of the southern economy of the US until it gave way to cotton. Following the American Civil War, a change in demand and production techniques allowed for the development of the cigarette. This new product quickly led to the growth of tobacco companies. The usage of tobacco is an activity that is practiced by some 1.1 billion people, and up to 1/3 of the adult population. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in developed countries, but continue to rise in developing countries. Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).
    Links: Top Ten Cigarshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco,
  99. Nerium Oleander
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            Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is most commonly known as oleander, from its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive Olea, but has many other names. It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though southwest Asia has been suggested. The ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco took its name from the old Latin name for the flower. Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants.
    Links: Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arali,
  100. Nitella Plant
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           Nitella flexilis is a freshwater species of characean algae that is used as a model organism for its large cell size and relative ease of cultivation in the laboratory. Drs. K. S. Cole and H. J. Curtis reported having discovered that the long single cells of the fresh-water plant nitella, used frequently in goldfish bowls, are virtually identical with those of single nerve fibers. Furthermore, they found that nitella fibers, on being excited, propagate electrical waves that are similar in every way, except velocity, to those of the nerve fibers in animals and man. The electrical nerve impulses in the plant were found to be much slower than those in animals. This discovery was therefore seized upon by the Columbia workers as a means for taking slow-motion pictures of the passage of the electrical impulses in nerves. The nitella plant thus may become a sort of Rosetta stone for deciphering the closely guarded secrets close to the very borderland of mind and matter.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitella_flexilis,
  101. Hydnora africana
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    Hydnora africana is an achlorophyllous plant native to southern Africa that is parasitic on the roots of members of the Euphorbiaceae family. The plant grows underground, except for a fleshy flower that emerges above ground and emits an odor of feces to attract its natural pollinators, dung beetles and carrion beetles. The flowers act as temporary traps, retaining the beetles that enter long enough for them to pick up pollen.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydnora_africana,
  102. Flypaper Plant (Pinguicula gigantea)
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           Pinguicula gigantea is a tropical species of carnivorous plant in the family Lentibulariaceae. Its native range is within Mexico. P. gigantea’s flower is usually a purple color with the occasional light blue also seen. P. gigantea was once classified as Pinguicula ayautla. This Pinguicula was discovered by Alfred Lau and described by the botanist Hans Luhrs. P. gigantea has a few different forms, such as the ‘white flower’ form or the ‘blue flower’.
    Links: Top Ten Carnivorous Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinguicula_gigantea,
  103. Ferns
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    A fern is any one or more of a group of roughly 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem (making them vascular plants). They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants. Ferns reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. Most ferns have what are called fiddleheads. The fiddleheads expand into what are called fronds, which are each delicately divided. By far the largest group of ferns is the leptosporangiate ferns, but ferns as defined here (also called monilophytes) include horsetails, whisk ferns, marattioid ferns, and ophioglossoid ferns. The term pteridophyte traditionally refers to ferns and a few other seedless vascular plants, although some recent authors have used the term to refer strictly to the monilophytes. Ferns first appear in the fossil record 360 million years ago in the Carboniferous but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago in the early Cretaceous (after flowering plants came to dominate many environments). Ferns are not of major economic importance, but some are grown or gathered for food, as ornamental plants, for remediating contaminated soils, and have been the subject of research for their ability to remove some chemical pollutants from the air. They also play a role in mythology, medicine, and art.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fern,
  104. Witches Butter
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    Tremella mesenterica (common names include yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler, and witches’ butter) is a common jelly fungus in the Tremellaceae family of the Agaricomycotina. It is most frequently found on dead but attached and on recently fallen branches, especially of angiosperms, as a parasite of wood decay fungi in the genus Peniophora. The gelatinous, orange-yellow fruit body of the fungus, which can grow up to 7.5 cm (3.0 in) diameter, has a convoluted or lobed surface that is greasy or slimy when damp. It grows in crevices in bark, appearing during rainy weather. Within a few days after rain it dries into a thin film or shriveled mass capable of reviving after subsequent rain. This fungus occurs widely in deciduous and mixed forests and is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions that include Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America. Although considered bland and flavorless, the fungus is edible. Tremella mesenterica produces carbohydrates that are attracting research interest because of their various biological activities.
    Links: Top 40 Mushrooms, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremella_mesenterica,
  105. Strangler Fig
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    Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species, including some banyans and unrelated vines, including among many other species: Ficus aurea, also known as the Florida Strangler Fig; Ficus barbata, also known as the Bearded Fig; Ficus benghalensis; Ficus burtt-davyi; Ficus citrifolia; Ficus craterostoma; Ficus tinctoria; Ficus macrophylla; Ficus oblique; Ficus virens; and Ficus watkinsiana. They all share a common “strangling” growth habit that is found in many tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus. This growth habit is an adaptation for growing in dark forests where the competition for light is intense. These plants begin life as epiphytes, when their seeds, often bird-dispersed, germinate in crevices atop other trees. These seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree while also growing upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy. An original support tree can sometimes die, so that the strangler fig becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangler_fig,
  106. Waterwheel Plant (Aldrovanda Vesiculosa)
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    Aldrovanda vesiculosa, commonly known as the waterwheel plant, is the sole extant species in the flowering plant genus Aldrovanda of the family Droseraceae. The plant captures small aquatic invertebrates using traps similar to those of the Venus Flytrap. The traps are arranged in whorls around a central, free-floating stem, giving rise to the common name. This is one of the few plant species capable of rapid movement. While the genus Aldrovanda is monotypic, up to 19 extinct species are known to have existed. While the species displays a degree of morphological plasticity between populations, A. vesiculosa possesses a very low genetic diversity across its entire range. A. vesiculosa has declined over the last century to only 50 confirmed extant populations worldwide. These remain spread across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
    Links: Top Ten Carnivorous Plants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrovanda_vesiculosa,
  107. Silver Torch Cactus
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    Cleistocactus strausii (silver torch or wooly torch) is a perennial cactus of the family Cactaceae. It is native to high mountain regions of Bolivia and Argentina, above 3,000 m (9,843 ft). Its slender, erect, grey-green columns can reach a height of 3 m (10 ft.), but are only about 6 cm (2.5 in) across. The columns are formed from around 25 ribs and are densely covered with areoles, supporting four yellow-brown spines up to 4 cm (2 in) long and 20 shorter white radials. The cactus prefers free draining soils, strong sunlight, but not high temperatures — in fact it can withstand hard frosts down to -10°C. In its natural habitat it receives plenty of water during the summer, but almost none over the winter. In cultivation, watering too much in winter often leads to root rot. Older cactuses, over 45 cm (18 in) tall, produce deep red, burgundy, flowers in late summer. The 6 cm (3 in) long cylindrical flowers protrude horizontally from the columns. In common with other cacti in the genus Cleistocactus, the flowers hardly open, with only the style and stamens protruding. Cultivated plants often flower freely. In the UK, this plant is usually grown under glass, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
    Links: Top Ten Cacti, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_torch_cactus,
  108. Lithops Julli
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    Some plants use toxins to avoid being eaten. Some use thorns, or turn into carnivores. The Lithops Julli survives by pretending to be a rock. If you’re into picking up rocks in South Africa, chances are you’ll pick one of these up, too. The disguise seems useless because they’re flowering plants. Nope, even the flowers are disguised with abstract lines and colors. The colors of everything about the plant are atypical for this very reason.
    Links: http://cydro.hubpages.com/hub/10-Most-Wacky-Plants-of-the-World,
  109. Victoria Amazonian “Vitoria Regia”
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    Victoria amazonica is a species of flowering plant, the largest of the Nymphaeaceae family of water lilies.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_amazonica,
  110. Dancing Plant (Desmodium Gyrans)
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    Codariocalyx motorius, known as the telegraph plant or semaphore plant, is a tropical Asian shrub, one of a few plants capable of rapid movement; others include Mimosa pudica and the venus flytrap. It is widely distributed throughout Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. It can even be found on the Society Islands, a remote chain of islands in the South Pacific. It produces small, purple flowers. Telegraph plant contains small amounts of tryptamine alkaloids in its leaves, stems and roots, namely DMT and 5-MeO-DMT. This plant reproduces using seeds. This plant is famous for its movement of small, lateral leaflets at speeds rapid enough to be perceivable with the naked eye. This is a strategy to maximize light by tracking the sun. Each leaf is equipped with a hinge that permits it to be moved to receive more sunlight, but the weight of these leaves means the plant must expend a lot of energy in moving it. To optimize its movement, each large leaf has two small leaflets at its base. These move constantly along an elliptical path, sampling the intensity of sunlight, and directing the large leaf to the area of most intensity. The common name is due to the rotation of the leaflets with a period of about three to five minutes; this was likened to a semaphore telegraph, a structure with adjustable paddles that could be seen from a distance, the position of which conveyed a message in semaphore, hence the common names. The plant is described in detail in Charles Darwin’s 1880 The Power of Movement in Plants.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmodium_gyrans,
  111. Welwitschia Mirabilis
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    Welwitschia is a monotypic gymnosperm genus, comprising solely the very distinct Welwitschia mirabilis. The plant is commonly known simply as Welwitschia, and has various common names in local languages, for example kharos or khurub in Nama, tweeblaarkanniedood in Afrikaans, nyanka in Damara, and onyanga in Herero. It is the only genus of the family Welwitschiaceae and order Welwitschiales, in the division Gnetophyta. Informal sources commonly refer to the plant as a “living fossil.” Welwitschia mirabilis is endemic to the Namib desert within Namibia and Angola.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welwitschia_mirabilis,
  112. Elephant Foot Yam
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    Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, the Elephant foot yam or Whitespot giant arum or Stink lily, is a tropical tuber crop, found in wild form in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. In India it is grown mostly in West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa. In West Bengal , these yams are eaten as fried or as yam curry. The plant body of elephant foot yam is also eaten in West Bengal as green vegetable. As per Indian Medicinal Plants dictionary by C.P. Khare, published by Springer, the Elephant-foot yam has several medicinal benefits and widely used in Indian medicine including Ayuverda, Siddha and Unani. Corm is prescribed in bronchitis, asthma, abdominal pain, emesis, dysentery, enlargement of spleen, piles, elephantiasis, diseases due to vitiated blood, rheumatic swellings. It can be consumed after it is washed well and boiled in tamarind water or butter milk.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amorphophallus_paeoniifolius,
  113. Bonus: Tree of Life
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           The concept of a tree of life has been used in science, religion, philosophy and mythology. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in the evolutionary sense. The term tree of life may also be used as a synonym for sacred tree. The tree of knowledge, connecting to heaven and the underworld, and the tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, and are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree.
    Links: Top 100 Sumerian Artifacts, Top 100 Symbols, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life,
  114. Links: Plants, Top Ten Superfoods, Top 100 Seeds,

Top Ten Carnivorous Plants

Top Ten Carnivorous Plants

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When plants attack.

  1. The Moustrap (Nepenthes Spathulata)
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           Nepenthes spathulata is a tropical pitcher plant native to Java and Sumatra, where it grows at elevations of between 1,100 and 2,900 m above sea level. The specific epithet spathulata is derived from the Latin word spathulatus, meaning “spatula shaped,” and refers to the shape of the lamina. These amazing plants can grow up to five meters high and feed off of small rodents, even being able to digest the teeth and bones.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepenthes_spathulata,
  2. Venus Fly Trap
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    The Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the US. It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within 20 seconds of the first strike. The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against a waste of energy in trapping objects with no nutritional value. Dionaea is a monotypic genus closely related to the waterwheel plant and sundews, all of which belong to the family Droseraceae.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_fly_trap,
  3. Cobra Lilly or California Pitcher Plant (Darlingtonia Californica)
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    Darlingtonia californica, also called the California pitcher plant, cobra lily, or cobra plant, is a species of carnivorous plant, the sole member of the genus Darlingtonia in the family Sarraceniaceae. It is native to Northern California and Oregon, growing in bogs and seeps with cold running water. This plant is designated as uncommon due to its rarity in the field. The name “cobra lily” stems from the resemblance of its tubular leaves to a rearing cobra, complete with a forked leaf – ranging from yellow to purplish-green – that resemble fangs or a serpent’s tongue. The plant was discovered in 1841 by the botanist William D. Brackenridge at Mount Shasta. In 1853 it was described by John Torrey, who named the genus Darlingtonia after the Philadelphian botanist William Darlington (1782–1863).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlingtonia_californica,
  4. Bladderwort
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    Utricularia, commonly and collectively called the bladderworts, is a genus of carnivorous plants consisting of approximately 233 species (precise counts differ based on classification opinions; one recent publication lists 215 species). They occur in fresh water and wet soil as terrestrial or aquatic species across every continent except Antarctica. Utricularia are cultivated for their flowers, which are often compared with those of snapdragons and orchids, especially amongst carnivorous plant enthusiasts. All Utricularia are carnivorous and capture small organisms by means of bladder-like traps. Terrestrial species tend to have tiny traps that feed on minute prey such as protozoa and rotifers swimming in water-saturated soil. The traps can range in size from 0.2 mm to 1.2 cm. Aquatic species, such as U. vulgaris (common bladderwort), possess bladders that are usually larger and can feed on more substantial prey such as water fleas (Daphnia), nematodes and even fish fry, mosquito larvae and young tadpoles. Despite their small size, the traps are extremely sophisticated. In the active traps of the aquatic species, prey brush against trigger hairs connected to the trapdoor. The bladder, when “set,” is under negative pressure in relation to its environment so that when the trapdoor is mechanically triggered, the prey, along with the water surrounding it, is sucked into the bladder. Once the bladder is full of water, the door closes again, the whole process taking only 10 to 15 thousandths of a second. Bladderworts are unusual and highly specialized plants, and the vegetative organs are not clearly separated into roots, leaves, and stems as in most other angiosperms. The bladder traps, conversely, are recognized as one of the most sophisticated structures in the plant kingdom.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bladderwort,
  5. Flypaper Plant (Pinguicula gigantea)
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    Pinguicula gigantea is a tropical species of carnivorous plant in the family Lentibulariaceae. Its native range is within Mexico. P. gigantea’s flower is usually a purple color with the occasional light blue also seen. P. gigantea was once classified as Pinguicula ayautla. This Pinguicula was discovered by Alfred Lau and described by the botanist Hans Luhrs. P. gigantea has a few different forms, such as the ‘white flower’ form or the ‘blue flower’.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinguicula_gigantea,
  6. Waterwheel Plant (Aldrovanda Vesiculosa)
    Unregistered RawShooter essentials 2005 1.1.3 build 15bUnregistered RawShooter essentials 2005 1.1.3 build 15
           Aldrovanda vesiculosa, commonly known as the waterwheel plant, is the sole extant species in the flowering plant genus Aldrovanda of the family Droseraceae. The plant captures small aquatic invertebrates using traps similar to those of the Venus Flytrap. The traps are arranged in whorls around a central, free-floating stem, giving rise to the common name. This is one of the few plant species capable of rapid movement. While the genus Aldrovanda is monotypic, up to 19 extinct species are known to have existed. While the species displays a degree of morphological plasticity between populations, A. vesiculosa possesses a very low genetic diversity across its entire range. A. vesiculosa has declined over the last century to only 50 confirmed extant populations worldwide. These remain spread across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrovanda_vesiculosa,
  7. Cape Sundew
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    Drosera capensis, commonly known as the Cape sundew, is a small rosette-forming carnivorous species of perennial sundew native to the Cape in South Africa. Because of its size, easy to grow nature, and the copious amounts of seed it produces, it has become one of the most common sundews in cultivation. D. capensis produces strap-like leaves, up to 3.5 cm long (not including the petiole) and 0.5 cm wide, which, as in all sundews, are covered in brightly colored tentacles which secrete a sticky mucilage that traps arthropods. When insects are first trapped, the leaves roll lengthwise by thigmotropism toward the center. This aids digestion by bringing more digestive glands in contact with the prey. This movement is surprisingly fast, with completion in 30 minutes. The plant has a tendency to retain the dead leaves of previous seasons, and the main stem of the plant can become quite long and woody with time.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_sundew,
  8. Drosera falconeri and Drosera burmannii
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    Drosera falconeri is a carnivorous plant in the genus Drosera. It is endemic to the Northern Territory in Australia. Drosera burmannii, the tropical sundew, is a small, compact species in the carnivorous plant genus Drosera. It normally spans only 2 cm (0.8 in) in diameter. It is one of the fastest trapping sundews as well, and its leaves can curl around an insect in only a few seconds, compared to the minutes or hours it takes other sundews to surround their prey. In nature, D. burmannii is an annual, but in cultivation, when grown indoors during the cold months, it can live for many years. Since D. burmannii is an annual, it produces large amounts of seed. Drosera burrmannii has been considered a powerful rubefacient in Hindu medicine. Drosera burmannii is an herb that produces very short stems and leaves in a rosette. Each wedge-shaped leaf is typically 8–10 mm long and 5–6 mm wide. White flowers are produced in groups of 3 to 10 on 6–15 cm (2–6 in) tall racemose inflorescences, of which there can be one to three per plant. The first brief description of the species was written by Paul Hermann and published after Hermann’s death by William Sherard in Musaeum Zeylanicum. It was described in more detail by Johannes Burman in his 1737 publication on the flora of Ceylon.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosera_falconerihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drosera_burmannii,
  9. Trumpet Pitchers (Sarracenia)
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    Sarracenia is a genus comprising 8 to 11 species of North American pitcher plants, commonly called trumpet pitchers. The genus belongs to the family Sarraceniaceae, which also contain the closely allied genera Darlingtonia and Heliamphora. Sarracenia is a genus of carnivorous plants indigenous to the eastern seaboard, Texas, the Great Lakes area and southeastern Canada, with most species occurring only in the south-east US (only S. purpurea occurs in cold-temperate regions). The plant’s leaves have evolved into a funnel in order to trap insects, digesting their prey with proteases and other enzymes. The insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the lip of pitchers, as well as a combination of color and scent. Slippery footing at the pitchers’ rim, aided in at least one species by a narcotic drug lacing the nectar, causes insects to fall inside, where they die and are digested by the plant as a nutrient source.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarracenia,
  10. Byblis
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    Byblis is a small genus of carnivorous plants, sometimes termed the rainbow plants for the attractive appearance of their mucilage-covered leaves in bright sunshine. Native to western Australia, it is the only genus in the family Byblidaceae. The first species in the genus was described by the English botanist Richard Anthony Salisbury in 1808. Seven species are now recognized. Byblis species look very similar to Drosera and Drosophyllum, but are distinguished by their zygomorphic flowers, with five curved stamens off to one side of the pistil. These genera are in fact not closely related; modern classifications place Byblis in the Lamiales, while the sundews and Drosophyllum are now placed in the Caryophyllales.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byblis_(plant),
  11. Corkscrew Plants (Genlisea)
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    Genlisea is a genus of carnivorous plants also known as corkscrew plants. The 27 or so species grow in wet terrestrial to semi-aquatic environments distributed throughout Africa and Central and South America. The plants use highly modified underground leaves to attract, trap and digest minute microfauna, particularly protozoans. Although suggested a century earlier by Charles Darwin, carnivory in the genus was not proven until 1998. The generic name Genlisea honors the late Stéphanie Félicité Ducrest de St-Albin, comtesse de Genlis, a French writer and educator. Two members of the genus, G. margaretae and G. aurea, possess the smallest and second smallest known genomes of all flowering plants.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genlisea,
  12. Links:

Plants

Plants

FlowFlow1FlowRMNFMNVMPGardTApsBerrNutsCactBonz

Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants

Top Ten Bioluminescent Plants

A sequence of three pictures showing the effect of shining a light on a cluster of fan-shaped mushrooms growing on a log. When the lights hits the mushroom cluster, it glows green; when the light is moved away, the glow disappears.

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, microorganisms and terrestrial invertebrates. Some symbiotic organisms carried within larger organisms produce light.

  1. Honey Mushroom

           
    Honey fungus, or Armillaria or оpenky, is a genus of parasitic fungi that live on trees and woody shrubs. It includes about 10 species formerly lumped together as A. mellea. Armillarias are long lived and form some of the largest living organisms in the world. The largest single organism (of the species Armillaria solidipes) covers more than 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) and is thousands of years old. Some species of Armillaria are bioluminescent and may be responsible for the phenomena known as foxfire and perhaps will o’ the wisp. As a forest pathogen, Armillaria can be very destructive. It is responsible for the “white rot” root disease of forests and is distinguished from Tricholoma (mycorrhizal) by this parasitic nature. Its high destructiveness comes from the fact that, unlike most parasites, it doesn’t need to moderate its growth in order to avoid killing its host, since it will continue to thrive on the dead material. In the Canadian Prairies (particularly Manitoba), the term “honey fungus” is unknown to many; due to the large presence of Ukrainian Canadians in this area, the fungus is often referred to as pidpenky, from the Ukrainian term, “beneath the stump.”
    Links: Top Ten Mushroomshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_mushroom,
  2. Mycena

           Mycena is a large genus of small saprotrophic mushrooms that are rarely more than a few centimeters in width. They are characterized by a white spore print, a small conical or bell-shaped cap, and a thin fragile stem. Most are gray or brown, but a few species have brighter colors. Most have a translucent and striate cap, which rarely has an incurved margin. The gills are attached and usually have cystidia. Some species, like Mycena haematopus, exude a latex when the stem is broken, and many have the odor of bleach. Mycenas are hard to identify to species and some are distinguishable only by microscopic features such as the shape of the cystidia. Some species are edible, while others contain toxins, but the edibility of most is not known, as they are too small to be useful in cooking. Mycena cyanorrhiza stains blue and contains the hallucinogen psilocybin and Mycena pura contains the mycotoxin muscarine. Over 33 species are known to be bioluminescent, creating a glow known as foxfire. These species are divided among 16 lineages, leading to evolutionary uncertainty in whether the luminescence developed once and was lost among many species, or evolved in parallel by several species. What, if any, benefit the fungus derives from the luminescence is uncertain. Alexander Smith’s 1947 Mycena monograph identified 232 species; the genus is now known to include about 500 species worldwide. Maas Geesteranus divided the genus into 38 sections in 1992, providing keys to each for all the species of the Northern Hemisphere. Many new species have been discovered since then, and four new sections have been proposed. Taxonomy is complex, as most sections are not truly homogeneous, and the keys fail for some species, especially those that satisfy some criteria for only part of their life cycle.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycena,
  3. Bitter Oyster
    The undersides of a cluster of about two dozen variously sized light brown-yellow, roughly fan-shaped mushroom caps growing on a piece of rotting wood. Each cap has about 2–3 dozen lightly colored thin lines of various lengths, closely spaced and arranged radially around the stem, which is connected to one side of the mushroom cap. The stem is whitish, with a width of between roughly one-third to one-fifth the diameter of the cap, and attaches the cap to the wood.A cluster of bright green glowing mushroom caps growing on a log. The remainder of the photo is dark, but suggests there are trees around.A sequence of three pictures showing the effect of shining a light on a cluster of fan-shaped mushrooms growing on a log. When the lights hits the mushroom cluster, it glows green; when the light is moved away, the glow disappears.
           
    Panellus stipticus, commonly known as the bitter oyster, the astringent panus, the luminescent panellus, or the stiptic fungus, is a species of fungus in the family Mycenaceae, and the type species of the genus Panellus. A common and widely distributed species, it is found in Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America, where it grows in groups or dense overlapping clusters on the logs, stumps and trunks of deciduous trees, especially beech, oak and birch. During the development of the fruit bodies, the mushrooms start out as tiny white knobs, which, over a period of one to three months, develop into fan- or kidney-shaped caps that measure up to 3 cm (1.2 in) broad. The caps are orange-yellow to brownish, and attached to the decaying wood by short stubby stalks that are connected off-center or on the side of the caps. The fungus was given its current scientific name in 1879, but has been known by many names since French mycologist Jean Bulliard first described it as Agaricus stypticus in 1783. Molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed P. stipticus to have a close genetic relationship with members of the genus Mycena. Panellus stipticus is one of several dozen species of fungi that are bioluminescent. Strains from eastern North America are typically bioluminescent, but those from the Pacific regions of North America and from other continents are not. The luminescence is localized to the edges of the gills and the junction of the gills with the stem and cap. Bioluminescence is also observable with mycelia grown in laboratory culture, and the growth conditions for optimal light production have been studied in detail. Several chemicals have been isolated and characterized that are believed to be responsible for light production. Genetic analysis has shown that luminescence is controlled by a single dominant allele. The luminescent glow of this and other fungi inspired the term foxfire, coined by early settlers in eastern and southern North America. Modern research has probed the potential of P. stipticus as a tool in bioremediation, because of its ability to detoxify various environmental pollutants.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panellus_stipticus,
  4. Jack-O’-Lantern Mushroom

           
    Omphalotus olearius, commonly known as the jack-o’-lantern mushroom, is an orange- to yellow-gill mushroom that to an untrained eye appears similar to some chanterelles, and is most notable for its bioluminescent properties. Unlike the chanterelle, the jack-o’-lantern mushroom is poisonous. While not lethal, consuming this mushroom leads to very severe cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Complicating its toxicity is the fact that it smells and looks very appealing, to the extent that there are reports of repeat poisonings from individuals who were tempted to try them a second time.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalotus_olearius,
  5. Ghost Fungus
    two funnel-shaped white mushroomsmushrooms with glowing green gills in darkness
           
    Omphalotus nidiformis, or ghost fungus, is a gilled basidiomycete mushroom most notable for its bioluminescent properties. It is known to occur primarily in southern Australia and Tasmania, but was reported from India in 2012. The fan- or funnel-shaped fruit bodies are up to 30 cm (12 in) across, with cream-colored caps overlain with shades of orange, brown, purple or bluish-black. The white or cream gills run down the length of the stipe, which is up to 8 cm (3 in) long and tapers in thickness to the base. The fungus is both saprotrophic and parasitic, and its fruit bodies are generally found growing in overlapping clusters on a wide variety of dead or dying trees. First described scientifically in 1844, the fungus has been known by several names in its taxonomic history. It was assigned its current name by Orson K. Miller, Jr. in 1994. Its scientific name is derived from the Latin nidus “nest,” hence ‘nest shaped.’ Similar in appearance to the common edible oyster mushroom, it was previously considered a member of the same genus, Pleurotus, and described under the former names Pleurotus nidiformis or Pleurotus lampas. Unlike oyster mushrooms, O. nidiformis is poisonous; while not lethal, its consumption leads to severe cramps and vomiting. The toxic properties of the mushroom are attributed to compounds called illudins. O. nidiformis is one of several species in the cosmopolitan genus Omphalotus, all of which have bioluminescent properties.
  6. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalotus_nidiformis,
  7. Links: Top 100 Plants, Top Ten Bioluminescent Animals,