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:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Flovering:
November
to March


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

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 13C. 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.