Herb: Metake

Latin name: Pseudosasa japonica

Synonyms: Arundinaria japonica, Bambusa metake

Family: Gramineae (Grass Family)

Medicinal use of Metake:

Anthelmintic, antivinous, stimulant, tonic.

Description of the plant:


4.5 m
(15 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Woodland and damp places, forming thickets in open country, C. and S. Japan.

Edible parts of Metake:

Young shoots - cooked. Harvested in the late spring when about 8 - 10cm above ground level, cutting the stems 5cm or more below soil level. They have a rather bitter flavour. Seed - used as a cereal. Small quantities of seed are produced in many years but it is seldom viable.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants can be grown along the river edge to protect the banks from erosion. Canes are fairly thin walled but make very good plant supports. Smaller canes can be plaited together and used as screens or as lathes for walls and ceilings. Tolerant of maritime exposure, it can be grown as a screen or windbreak hedge in very exposed positions. The culms make an excellent wind filter, slowing its speed without creating turbulence. The leaves may look somewhat tattered by the end of the winter but plants will soon produce new leaves.

Propagation of Metake:

Seed - if possible, surface sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse at about 20C. Stored seed is best sown as soon as it is obtained. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination usually takes place fairly quickly so long as the seed is of good quality, though it can take 3 - 6 months. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a lightly shaded place in the greenhouse until they are large enough to plant out, which might take a few years. Plants only flower at intervals of several years and so seed is rarely available. Division in late spring as new growth commences. Very easy, single canes of the current years growth can be used. Pot them up in light shade in a greenhouse. Make sure the foliage is not allowed to dry out - misting 2 - 3 times a day for the first couple of weeks following division can be very helpful. Plant out in the summer once they are growing away strongly. Cane layering in May. Detach individual canes and lay them horizontally in trenches 15cm deep. New shoots should arise from each joint. Rhizome cuttings.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woodland and damp places, forming thickets in open country, C. and S. Japan.

Known hazards of Pseudosasa japonica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.