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Winter hardy / Five-flavour-fruit (Schisandra chinensis)

Five-flavour-fruit (Schisandra chinensis)
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The red berries of this plant taste sweet, sour, salty, pungent (spicy) and bitter all at once. They are known as 1 of 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine.

Expected processing time

2 days

€ 3,50
Price per 20 seeds


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Family: Schisandraceae
Scientific name: Schisandra chinensis
Common name: Magnolia-vine / Five-flavour-fruit
Origin: Northern China

The Magnolia-vine or Five-flavour-fruit produces red berries that possess all five basic flavours. The berry itself is sweet-sour, the seed is salty, pungent (spicy), and bitter. In China the berries are known as 1 of 50 fundamental herbs of traditional Chinese medicine. The berries are used as a cure for a variety of maladies like common colds and sea-sickness, and drinking of the tea is supposedly also energizing and stress-diminishing. In Russia fruits are processed into juice, wine and sweets, but the berries can also be eaten fresh or dried.

Originally the plant grows in forests in northern China, where it climbs in trees or other vegetation. The species is hardy, and a stand against a wall, fence or tree in the garden is therefore recommended. Because the species is dioecious, both a male and a female plant are needed for the formation of fruits. Only when plants start to flower the difference in gender can be seen, so it’s recommended to grow several plants at once.

Sowing description: Let the seeds soak in lukewarm water for several hours, then sow the seeds in sowing mix. Put the seeds away in the fridge for 2-3 months, and keep the soil constantly moist during this period (cover with foil). Let the seeds germinate at 20 degC after this period. Germination can be very irregular.

Sowing time: November – may
Difficulty: Intermediate
Minimum temperature: -20 degrees Celsius

Picture 1: Vladimir Kosolapov (CCA-3.0 Wikipedia)
Picture 3: Tatters via Flickr 

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