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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Plant of the week with Alexander McCowan ]

Plant of the week with Alexander McCowan

Dense wood leads to a host of uses

Name: False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Otherwise known as: Black Locust Tree
Habitat: a deciduous tree member of the Leguminosea family, growing up to 25m in well drained woodlands in the world’s temperate areas. A native to North America, the plant has typical acacia ovate leaf forms with clusters of pendulous, fragrant, white flowers that become the traditional leguminous bean pod, on very thorny stems. The bark is grey/brown, furrowed and twisted. True acacias, wattles and mimosas, are also members of this family, but are in a different genus: Acacia.

What does it do: The generic name, Robinia, honours the famous French botanist, Jean Robin, who brought the seeds from North America and planted them in the Jardin de Plantes in Paris. The bark, seed and roots contain the toxic albumins robin and fazin, that can clot the red corpuscles in mammals, and which possess powerful emetic and purgative properties. Strangely, while lethal in large doses and leading to heart failure, the Native Americans used weak tinctures from the bark to combat cases of poisoning by Datura Stramonium.

The flowers contain glycosides and an essential oil and extracts are used to treat muscular spasms associated with disorders of the nervous system and to relax the abdominal muscles following childbirth. In addition, the flowers were made into fritters, jams and perfumes, while the seeds were processed into a pale red dye for textiles. However the tree, while ever popular as an ornamental in European cities, is best known for its highly durable properties that have made it a favourite of the timber and farming industry. False Acacia is a rapidly growing tree and yields one of the toughest woods, in fact it becomes more durable after cutting and is harder, closer grained and denser than oak. It was greatly valued by North American shipbuilders, providing the wooden nails (trenails) used to secure planking and is still used for fence-posts, police batons, wheel axles and barrack room flooring. In Europe, False Acacia, which is very invasive, is grown to bind loose soils and form secure hedges.

The tree will grow very easily from seed, which can be found all over Nicosia and Paphos, and providing they are kept in reasonably moist conditions, can be easily propagated.

Next week Great Lettuce

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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