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Aralia cordata, Japanese Spikenard

Aralia cordata

Japanese Spikenard
Family: Araliaceae
Origin: China, Korea, Japan
USDA Zone: 5-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall plant 2-5 ftSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEdible

Aralia cordata, better known as Japanese Spikenard, is a large evergreen shrub native to China, Japan and Korea. Growing up to 5-10 ft tall and 2-5 ft wide, this deciduous, perennial shrub does well in semi-shade environments and prefers regular watering. As a bonus, this plant also produces edible black drupes that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It can be grown in USDA Zones 5-10, with moderate to high water requirements.

The black drupes produced by Aralia cordata are not only edible but they are also packed with vitamins, minerals and other beneficial components that benefit human health. Remarkably, this plant is capable of producing hundreds of drupes each year, providing a great source of nourishment to those who consume them. The drupes are typically eaten raw and have a crunchy texture, but they can also be used in cakes, pies and jams.

When growing the Aralia cordata in the Northern regions, it's best to grow it in a container to prevent it from freezing during the cold winter months. It should be placed in an area that receives partial sun exposure, and watered well during the summer months. In the winter, the frequency of watering should be reduced, but not completely stopped. When caring for this plant, it's important to not overwater it as it will not tolerate standing water.

Aralia cordata, Japanese Spikenard
Aralia cordata, Japanese Spikenard

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Aralia elata, Japanese Angelica Tree

Aralia elata

Japanese Angelica Tree
Family: Araliaceae
Origin: China, Korea
USDA Zone: 4-9?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterPink flowersWhite, off-white flowersEthnomedical plant.
Plants marked as ethnomedical and/or described as medicinal, are not offered as medicine but rather as ornamentals or plant collectibles.
Ethnomedical statements / products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We urge all customers to consult a physician before using any supplements, herbals or medicines advertised here or elsewhere.Deciduous plantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEdibleThorny or spinySubtropical, mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

In Japan, the shoots (taranome) are eaten in the spring.

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Araucaria sp., Monkey Puzzle, Bunia Pine, Parana Nut
Araucaria heterophylla

Araucaria sp.

Monkey Puzzle, Bunia Pine, Parana Nut
Family: Araucariaceae
Origin: New Caledonia, Australia, South America
USDA Zone: 7-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapBig tree taller than 20 ftFull sunSemi-shadeModerate waterOrnamental foliageEdibleThorny or spinySubtropical, mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Araucaria is a genus of coniferous trees. There are 19 species in the genus, with a highly disjunct distribution in New Caledonia (where 13 species are endemic), Norfolk Island, eastern Australia, New Guinea, Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil.

Fossil evidence indicates that ancestral araucaria forests resembling the present-day Monkey Puzzle date back to the age of dinosaurs.

Some of the species are relatively common in cultivation because of their distinctive, formal symmetrical growth habit. Several species are economically important for timber production and the edible seeds.

See article about Araucaria.

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Arbutus andrachne, Grecian strawberry tree

Arbutus andrachne

Grecian strawberry tree
Family: Ericaceae
USDA Zone: 7?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunSemi-shadeModerate waterWhite, off-white flowersEdible

Arbutus andrachne is a small tree native to the Mediterranean, typically growing to a height of between 10-20 feet. It prefers full sun but is tolerant of semi-shade and moderate watering. In spring, it produces off-white and white flowers. These flowers are then followed by small, strawberry-like fruit which are a red/yellow color when ripe. Though they are edible, they are not particularly palatable, so are generally not consumed, however they are known to have many health benefits. Native to USDA Zone 7-10, it is relatively hardy to temperatures below freezing, however it should have some protection in its first winter outdoors.

This tree is a slow-grower which is why it's important to be sure you've found the right spot for it before planting, as it doesn't do well if transplanted. It requires a nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and will happily reward you with beautiful flowers in the spring and plenty of fruit in the summer. Though Arbutus andrachne hails from warm climates, it can still be grown successfully in colder regions, in pots and containers as long as you take extra care to protect it from cold weather with mulch and insulation.

Once established, the Grecian strawberry tree is drought tolerant and can produce an abundance of fruit in the peak of summer. The fruit itself can be used to make jams, jellies and syrups, as it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Eating the fruit can help ward off infections, boost the immune system, improve digestion and even help protect against heart disease.

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Arbutus sp., Strawberry Tree, Madrone

Arbutus sp.

Strawberry Tree, Madrone
Family: Ericaceae
Origin: Mexico, North America, Mediterranean region
USDA Zone: 7-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapCan be used for bonsaiLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterPink flowersWhite, off-white flowersAttracts butterflies, hummingbirdsEdible

This group consists of beautiful, evergreen trees or shrubs. They grow wild in North, South and Central America, Mexico, Asia Minor, southern Europe and the Canary Islands. They only grow from 10 to 20 feet high. A. andrachnoides is a hybrid small tree with attractive cinnamon-red branches that are covered with green leaves slightly edged with red.

Varieties: Arbutus andrachne;

Arbutus andrachnoides;

Arbutus canariensis;

Arbutus glandulosa

Arbutus menziesii;

Arbutus unedo;

Arbutus xalapensis

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