Gledichia is a genus of large deciduous plants, one of the representatives of the legume family. There are about 15 species distributed in the subtropical climate of Asia, South and North America, and in the Far East. Most of them have a picturesque appearance. Plantings are used for gardening cities, and the fruits and leaves - in traditional medicine.
The glaciers are powerful tall trees, reaching a height of 30–40 m. The trunks of adult specimens are covered with a thick, wrinkled bark with many cracks. The root system has central rods deep in the earth and several side branches. The shoots are slightly oblate, branched, diverging widely to the sides, forming dense spreading crowns. The branches of the trees are articulated, rather fragile, easily broken. A characteristic feature is the presence of long, thick, lignified spines under the kidneys, of a shiny, reddish-brown or gray color.. In many species, they are branched, reaching a length of 15–20 cm.
The leaves of the glaciers are similar to the acacia greens: they are pinoperous or twice paropureous, about 14–20 cm long. Located on short stalks in small bunches. Leaf blades are small, elliptical or lanceolate, pointed, slightly pubescent on the reverse side. Dissolve in late April.
Glyadchiy flowers - axillary, fragrant, small, greenish or yellow, gathered in cylindrical hanging brushes up to 8 cm in length, do not differ in great decorativeness. In most species, they are same-sex. The flowering period of plants - from May to July.
Fruits, like all legumes, large, elongated to 15–40 cm, hanging pods of a lanceolate shape, slightly curved or twisted by spirals. The peel of the fruit is smooth, leathery. Inside are solid lenticular beans about 1 cm in size, arranged in a row. Fruits ripen in deep autumn, can hang on the branches until next spring. Greens and shoots of trees contain a poisonous alkaloid and can cause severe intoxication when ingested.
Gledichi are distinguished by drought resistance, good adaptive qualities, resistance to high air temperatures, insensitivity to gas and dusty air. This genus of trees does not have high cold resistance, however, some species are able to develop in temperate climates if winter temperatures do not fall below -20 ° C.
Distribution and classification
Depending on the place of origin, types of glaciation differ in height, shape of leaves, fruits, type of spines, resistance to adverse climatic conditions.
- Gleditsia aquatic (Gleditsia aquatica). North American view. Straight tree about 12–18 m tall with dark brown bark, pale green pinnate leaves. Spines about 10 cm long, white flowers.
- Gledichia Caspian (Gleditsia caspica). A rare species of the genus, preserved in several parts of East Asia. Low trees or shrubs up to 10 m high. Leaves elliptical, pinnate, larger than those of other species, bluish-green shade, light. Spines simple, bisexual flowers. Pods about 18 cm long, shiny, curved. The Caspian glacier tolerates the conditions of semi-deserts, is drought-resistant.
- Gleditsia japanese (Gleditsia japonica). Far Eastern species of plant up to 20 m high, with twin-colored bright green leaves and reddish pods. One of the most cold-resistant rocks.
- Gleditsia Chinese (Gleditsia sinensis). High straight-stemming tree with spreading crowns and reddish-brown bark. Flowers are white. Thermophilous species, distributed in southern China.
- Gleditsy three-pod or common (Gleditsia triacanthos). The most common type. It grows on the Black Sea coast, in the Krasnodar Territory, in the Caucasus, Ukraine. A powerful tree up to 35–45 m high, crowns wide, densely branched, carved. The leaves are double-pinnate, spines 6–10 cm long, growing in bunches of 3 pieces each. Pods are large, up to 50 cm long, brown-black. The cold resistance of the species is relative, the tree tolerates subtropical winters well, but freezes over in a temperate zone.
- Gleditsia trianganthos (Gleditsia triacanthos). Externally, the tree resembles a three-leaved glacier, but with a smaller trunk height of up to 20 m. The shoots are dark brown, without thorns, the leaves are dark green, complex-leaved. Hooked fruit up to 25 cm long, blackish. Frost tolerance is moderate.
For cultivation in gardens and parks, many cultural forms were created based on Japanese and ordinary geledichii. These are shrubs and neat trees with a height of no more than 8–12 m with pyramidal, weeping or umbrella crowns. They can be grown as hedges, in group or single plantings. From the outside, the plants look as if entangled with barbed wire, but attract the eye.. Decorative carved foliage and hooked long fruits add exoticism to trees.
The roots of the glacier enrich the soil with nitrogen, and the leaves emit phytoncides that clean the air. In spring, the flowers of the trees emit a delicate aroma, attracting bees. They are excellent honey plants, can compete with the famous linden and other nectar plants. In autumn, green leaves turn bright golden, enhancing the charm.
Glade wood belongs to the sound rocks, has a beautiful light brown, reddish or wine-cherry color with a contrasting pattern. It is similar in properties to oak: dense, durable and heavy, well withstands shock loads, does not rot for a long time. It is used in the furniture industry, construction, as a raw material for the manufacture of finishing panels and plywood. This is an excellent ornamental material: it lends itself well to all types of processing, holds paintwork.
Use in medicine
Alkaloid triakantin contained in the green parts and seeds of plants, has a pronounced vasodilator and spasmolytic effect, facilitates breathing, lowers blood pressure. This substance is part of the drugs for the treatment of hypertension, antispasmodic conditions, bronchial asthma.
Gledichiya not included in the official pharmacopoeia, its leaves, beans and fruit leaves are used in traditional medicine. They are used to prepare decoctions for the treatment of gastric, lung diseases, to improve the bowels.
Cultivation and care
In order to quickly get your own beautiful trees, it is recommended to purchase 3-year-old seedlings. In this case, already in 5–7 years, the geledia will begin to blossom and bear fruit. For planting choose well-lighted elevated or flat areas. Sandy, calcareous soils, even scanty salt marshes are suitable. Heavy acidic and waterlogged soils are undesirable.
Work carried out in the spring, at a temperature of soil above +5 ° C. When planting in the soil, you can make a complex mineral fertilizer. In the early years, herosics are good in growth, adding 40–60 cm in each season. Trees begin to branch only in 3-4 years.
You can germinate the culture of the seeds. To do this, they are soaked for several hours in hot water until swelling, then they are deepened into containers with a mixture of peat, garden soil and sand. For seedlings care for 1-2 years, then transferred into the open ground.
Trees do not require frequent fertilizing. With slow growth, organic solutions can be added to the wells from time to time. Watering seedlings only in the first year of planting, and container sprouts - once a week.
The soil near the young plants regularly need to loosen, removing weeds. It is best to mulch the area around the roots with straw to prevent the earthen clod from drying out. In winter, young trees should be covered with burlap.
When the trees begin to grow, it is recommended to cut them. Sanitary haircut is carried out annually, getting rid of frosting shoots. With decorative purpose, they often form standard cultures, removing the entire lower part of the branches. Processing must be carried out carefully and only with gloves. Scratches, which can cause spikes, are very painful and do not heal for a long time. Usually after pruning, trees react by accelerating growth.
Pests and diseases
Parasites rarely attack gledichia. Phytoncides in the composition of the leaves perfectly protect plants from any infections. If, however, the shoots become a victim of garden bugs or other pests, it is enough to spray them several times in a season with insecticide solution.
The benefits of glaciation
The wood of the glacier is very durable; one can also see a rather beautiful pattern on it. That is why the glass is often used for the manufacture of furniture and other household items. Fruits can be used as the main feed for pigs. They are useful in the treatment of some chronic inflammatory diseases. The plant is considered nitrogen-fixing, therefore it plays a large role in the nitrogen cycle.
Basic medicinal propertiesGledichiya ordinary - poisonous plant. Fruits are not suitable for therapeutic use. However, the leaves are considered very useful raw materials. From them receive alkaloid triakantin. For the preparation of medicines using hydrochloric acid salt. In laboratories it is obtained from alkaloid. Doctors recommend such means to relieve spasms in diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Alkaloid use also to relieve the spasms of the smooth muscles of certain organs and blood vessels. The greatest effectiveness is seen in relation to the bronchi, intestines, as well as to the stomach. By itself, triacantine is able to improve blood circulation in all coronary vessels. In action, it is very similar to papaverine. The main difference is minor toxicity.
Special decoctions are made from ripe fruits and leaves. They are used as an additional tool in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. Bean husk contains vitamin K and many tannins. Apply broth in such cases:
- for relieving muscle spasms,
- to activate the respiratory center,
- for dilating blood vessels
- in the treatment of hypertension,
- with cholecystitis,
- for the treatment of gastric ulcer.
It is also necessary to know that the decoctions prepared from the leaves of the glacier, is much weaker than from the fruit.