Herb latin name: Hydrangea serrata thunbergii

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Edible parts of Hydrangea serrata thunbergii:

The young leaves, after fermentation, become very sweet and are used to make a sweet tea called "tea of heaven", it is used in Buddhist ceremonies. The leaves contain phellodulcin (its chemical formula is C16 H14 O), a very sweet substance that can be used as a sugar substitute. The older leaves can be dried, powdered and used as a flavouring on foods. The young leaves and shoots are also eaten cooked.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Montane woodlands and by mountain streams all over Japan.

Other uses of Hydrangea serrata thunbergii:

Can be grown as a low hedge, it is quite wind tolerant.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - surface sow in a greenhouse in spring. Cover the pot with paper until the seed germinates. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the 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, 8cm long, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring. Cuttings of mature wood in late autumn in a frame. Mound layering in spring. Takes 12 months. Leaf-bud cuttings of the current seasons growth in a frame.

Cultivation of Hydrangea serrata thunbergii:

Montane woodlands and by mountain streams all over Japan.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Hydrangea serrata thunbergii:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.