Great Valley gumweed Facts

Great Valley gumweed Facts
Great Valley gumweed is flowering plant that belongs to the aster family. It natively grows in California and Baja California, but it can be also found in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts today. Great Valley gumweed inhabits dry banks, plains, rocky fields, woodlands and chaparral. It prefers sunny areas with sandy or loamy, well-drained soil. People cultivate Great Valley gumweed in medical and ornamental purposes and as a source of resin.
Interesting Great Valley gumweed Facts:
Great Valley gumweed has erect, multi-branched, semi-woody stem that can reach 4 to 8 feet in height. Entire plant emits odor of balsam.
Great Valley gumweed has lance-shaped or ovate leaves with serrated and wavy edges. Leaves are stiff, green colored and alternately arranged on the stem.
Great Valley gumweed produces large yellow flower head on top of the flowering stem. Flower head consists of dick florets (located centrally) surrounded with petal-like ray florets. Claw-shaped, green bracts (modified leaves) with pointed tips are located below the flower head. Great Valley gumweed produces flowers with both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Great Valley gumweed blooms from May to October. Flowers attract honey bees, flies and butterflies, which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Fruit of great Valley gumweed is small single-seeded achene. It is equipped with feathery tufts which facilitate dispersal by wind.
Great Valley gumweed propagates via seed.
Great Valley gumweed produces large quantities of sticky liquid (resin) in the special glands in the flower head and leaves, hence the name "gumweed".
Great Valley gumweed is especially rich in white resin at the beginning of the flowering season. Flower head is filled with white sticky liquid that can be used as a substitute for wood resin. This substance has application in the industry of adhesives, varnishes, paint, rubber and synthetic fuels.
Great Valley gumweed does not have natural enemies thanks to resin which repels insects and large herbivores (such as deer).
Leaves and flower heads of Great Valley gumweed contain substances with anti-inflammatory (prevent inflammation), antispasmodic (prevent spasms), pain-relieving and sedative properties.
Native Americans used Great Valley gumweed in treatment of bronchitis and skin rash.
Great Valley gumweed is still used to facilitate breathing and in treatment of bronchial asthma, whooping cough and other respiratory disorders associated with large quantity of phlegm in the airways. Other than that, Great Valley gumweed is used in treatment of eczema, burns, poison ivy rash and dermatitis.
Flower heads and fruit of Great Valley gumweed can be used as a source of yellow and green pigments.
Great Valley gumweed is often cultivated in wildflower meadows and butterfly gardens (gardens designed to attract butterflies).
Great Valley gumweed is perennial plant (life span: more than 2 years).

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