Plant uses

hunter_gatherer(3b)January 4, 2010

This is my first posting so I hope ya'll can answer a few q's or point me in the right direction.

We have Salt Cedar and Russian Olives locally that are considered invasive species and treated as noxious weeds.

1)I'm curious if the salt, in Salt Cedar, is NaCl or another chemical salt.

2)Although the Russian Olive isn't a true olive, does it contain volatile oils that could be extracted & used in a lamp designed for olive oil?

Thanks in advance.

HG

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

1. The salts found in Tamarix species vary considerably depending on the composition of the soil/environment in which they grow. A wide range of salts can be secreted. I think you will find lots of information, like that found at http://www.jstor.org/pss/2441362 , by googling 'Tamarix sodium' or similar key words.

2. I don't know, but I would think the amount of oil obtainable would be very small and would require considerable work to refine.

Unusual questions...can I ask why you are pondering such mysteries?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 1:25AM
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gardengal48

I did find some references to tamarix being 'mined' for salt but no details on how this would actually be accomplished. Since apparently the foliage and roots seem to have the largest concentration of salt content, a distilling process using these parts would seem to be feasible. I would think you'd need quite a lot of plant material :-)

The only connection between Russian olive and a true olive is the appearance of the fruit. However, it would probably make equal sense to call this plant "Russian cherry" as the fruit is more like a cherry both in content and taste than it is an olive. There is no reference to the plant or the fruit containing any volatile oils. It and its cousin autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) contain high levels of lycopene, a strong antioxident, and there's been some study into making use of these invasive plants as a commercial food crop for their juice.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:47AM
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pineresin

"However, it would probably make equal sense to call this plant ..."

Makes even more sense not to use inaccurate names at all - call them Tamarisk (not a cedar Cedrus) and Oleaster respectively. That way, confusing and untrue expectations are avoided.

Resin

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 5:08AM
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gardengal48

There's nothing inaccurate at all about those references - they are merely just common names.

As to "confusing and untrue expectations", the etymology of Elaeagnus is from the Greek elaia, meaning "olive" and agnos, "pure" or "chaste", so it is pretty simple to understand the derivation of the common appellation of "olive" to members of this genus and from that to extrapolate that they might possess other, olive-like properties. Even the other popular common name of oleaster is derived from the Latin word for olive, olea.

The common name of "saltcedar" for the Tamarix refers to this plant's thin, cedar-like foliage and its ability to draw salt from soils and water.

Seems to me like the expectations of what these plants could be used for based on either their botanical or common names are entirely reasonable.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:36AM
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hunter_gatherer(3b)

Thank all of you for the help.
Brandon, short answer: I'm one of those bad, evil survival nuts. Long answer: I'm one of those bad, evil survival nuts.

We've forgotten so many things, that our uncouth ancestors took for granted.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 10:52AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

That makes sense (except maybe for the bad, evil part)! The two things seemed to have nothing in common, but now I understand. I see some strange questions in this forum from time to time, and I guess I was expecting another. LOL

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 8:04PM
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hunter_gatherer(3b)

How you like Knoxville? I spent 14yrs in Lawrenceburg TN, at the junction of US43 & US64. My neighbors & friends were Amish.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:01PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Sometimes Knoxville can be frustrating because it doesn't offer some of the things one might expect in a city this size, but it is home. I guess it has some advantages over smaller and larger cities. The climate here is pretty good. Were just NE of the "nursery capital of the world". We have lots of wonderful people here, but also a few "rednecks".

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 1:22AM
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pineresin

"There's nothing inaccurate at all about those references - they are merely just common names"

That absurd dogma that common names, like popes, are infallible, raises its ugly head again . . . complete rubbish, and very unhelpful.

Resin

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 5:46PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Resin ready for the windmill:

(Just having some fun. I couldn't resist. LOL)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 8:59PM
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