wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica

Publié le 14 Juillet 2022

wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)

wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)

wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)
wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)

wolf’s bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica (Arnica montana)

Here is a plant that you all know from having seen it in the mountains. It is rare and easily confused with others. Roland

Scientific name: Arnica montana L., 1753

Origin of the name: the name has been deformed and probably comes from the Greek “ptamirca”, “which makes you sneeze, one of the properties of this plant and from “montana”, “mountain” as its living environment.

Other common French names: Tabac des Vosges, Souci des Alpes, Plantain des Alpes, Herbe aux prêcheurs, Herbe aux chutes , Bétoine des montagnes  …there are probably many more.

Dialect / German common name: Wolferley, Wolfstöterin

English names: wolf's bane, leopard's bane, mountain tobacco and mountain arnica,

 Date of observation: plant seen on July 8 on the heights of Metzeral (68).

Plant family: Asteraceae (formerly Compositae) such as daisy, cornflower, dandelion, centaury. This family of plants is special because the flower is in fact a set of flowers united in a tight head, we say a capitulum. It is a highly evolved family of plants. It signals itself to insects as a single large flower. The insect visits several flowers on each flower head and several flower heads. The flowers are often equipped with aigrettes or parachutes that the wind carries away. The number of flowers and the pappus give a great capacity for dissemination. Land occupation by these plants is faster than by most other plants. This is why many Asteraceae, of exotic origin, are invasive.

Category: Perennial plant with rhizome, aromatic, with large leaves and large yellow daisy-like flowers

Height: 20 to 50 cm Stems and roots: tomentose plant with straight stem

Leaves: simple, not toothed. A rare feature, the pair or pairs of small leaves along the stem are opposite, while almost all the leaves of Asteraceae are alternate. The basal leaves are spread out in a rosette and have a fine felting formed by glandular and fragrant hairs. They are stalkless.

Flowering: June to July.

 

Color: This plant has a few large flower heads (6 to 8 cm) grouped in a compact cluster at the top of the stems. These flower heads, yellow-orange, are organized like those of daisies. They have tightly packed tubular florets in the center, and ligulate or tongue-like florets at the periphery.

The center flowers have 5 fused petals. The stamens emerge above the petals.

The bracts, these small green scales that surround the flower head are arranged in 1 row and equal.

 

Confusion: plant easy to recognize once you remember the two small opposite leaves on the stem. There are different varieties, a mountain subspecies and an Atlantic variety. It is confused by inattentive people with plants of similar appearance but with alternate leaves such as Doronic Groundsel or Austrian Doronic.

Fruits: the fruits are achenes of 2 to 3 mm. The white egret (or parachute) opens in dry weather. Seed dispersal is done by wind and animals.

 

Habitat: this plant is an excellent marker of mountains and acid soils, but also of poor soils such as stubble and meadows up to 2900 m. It is thus found in the Vosges, the Pyrenees, the Massif Central and the Alps, but also in the Nordic countries and in southern Russia.

Its genetics have been well studied. It revealed a great plasticity of Arnica and for example a possibility of ‘adapting to increases in temperature of the order of 2°C.

 

Natural and other crops:

Mountain Arnica is parasitized by a fly, Tephritis arnicae, which is already developing in the flower bud. The larvae feed on the seeds in formation and their last metamorphosis gives a small pupa which shelters this parasite all winter and allows it to repeat its cycle in the spring.

Sheep grazing has a destructive effect on arnica populations, which can disappear in two years, as happened in the Monts du Forez. Sheep droppings alkalize the soil and arnica disappears very quickly.

 

On the contrary, extensive grazing by cattle promotes the spread of arnica because they do not graze this plant (study by Serge Muller from 1998-2001).

Moderate picking without destroying the rhizome can stimulate the plant to sprout new stems. In most cases we are witnessing rather an overexploitation of the sites, difficult to moderate the picking? The dates and times of picking were strictly regulated but with the scarcity of this plant we are moving towards a general ban on picking.

Alternatives to Arnica montana have been found, in particular a closely related species: Arnica chamissonis subsp. foliosa. It is considered by German and European pharmacology as equivalent from a therapeutic point of view. This species is much easier to grow and more productive.

 

 

Protection status: Uncommon plant in France. It is classified as critical in the Center and Champagne-Ardenne regions and endangered in Burgundy. Its picking is regulated or prohibited almost everywhere.

It is protected in many countries where its trade is therefore prohibited, such as Germany and Hungary. The European Union recommends measures to regulate direct debits.

 

 

Medicinal uses: (from Wikipedia).

This plant has always been used for its painkiller and anti-irritant properties on small traumas. All these properties are not proven by solid studies.

The composition of Arnica and its richness in components classifies it as a toxic plant as it can have allergenic and harmful effects for the body.

Wikiphyto gives the following composition:

Pseudoguaianolide-type sesquiterpene lactones: helenalin, dihydro-helenaline,

Flavonoids: astragaloside, isoquercitroside, quercetol-3-glucogalacturonide, luteolin-glucoside

Phenolic acids, tannins

Triterpene alcohols: arnidiol and faradiol

Buttery essential oil: fatty acids (palmitic acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid, linolenic acid) and n-alkanes, polyins

Coumarins: umbelliferone, scopoletol

Polysaccharides: arabinogalactans (arabino-3,6-galactan) and fucogalactoxyloglucan

Phytosterols and Carotenoids

 

 

Plant properties

 Anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic

 Topical analgesic

 Muscle relaxer

 Anti-ecchymotic

 Healing close to Echinacea

 Antibacterial and antifungal

 Immunostimulant (polysaccharides) on cell cultures

 Spasmolytic with respect to histamine

 Improves heart function and coronary circulation at low dosage

 Optimal oral efficacy is at low or homeopathic doses

 

As always, and before any use, you should consult a doctor to be warned of possible adverse effects as well as possible interactions with conventional medications.



Text and photos Roland Gissinger and Bernard Weinzaepflen (Anab)

Rédigé par ANAB

Publié dans #English files

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