Herb: Winter Sweet
Latin name: Chimonanthus praecox
Synonyms: Calycanthus praecox, Chimonanthus fragrans, Meratia praecox
Family: Calycanthaceae (Sweetshrub Family)
Medicinal use of Winter Sweet:The flowers are sialagogue.
Description of the plant:
(9 3/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Cliffs in glens and gorges of Ichang province, 30 - 3000 metres. Also found in Sichuan, Hubei and Chekiang.
Edible parts of Winter Sweet:Flowers - thoroughly boiled and then washed. Eaten with oil and salt. The flower petals are used to flavour and scent tea.
Other uses of the herb:The flowers are very fragrant, they are used in pot-pourri and to make perfumes. The wood, after soaking in water, polishes to a brilliant black finish.
Propagation of Winter Sweet:Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Pre-soak stored seed in tepid water for two hours, keep warm and moist for 3 days then chill for 5 - 8 weeks and sow in a cold frame. Germination is usually good, though it is often slow and erratic, and takes place in 2 months or more at 13°C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Extremely difficult to root. Layering in spring or in July/August. Takes 9 months. Fair to good percentage.
Cultivation of the herb:Cliffs in glens and gorges of Ichang province, 30 - 3000 metres. Also found in Sichuan, Hubei and Chekiang.
Known hazards of Chimonanthus praecox:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.