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Edible uses


Flowers - thoroughly boiled and then washed[1]. Eaten with oil and salt[2][3]. The flower petals are used to flavour and scent tea[3].


Material uses

The flowers are very fragrant, they are used in pot-pourri and to make perfumes[4][5][6]. The wood, after soaking in water, polishes to a brilliant black finish[7].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The flowers are sialagogue[7][8].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[9][10]. 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[11]. Germination is usually good, though it is often slow and erratic, and takes place in 2 months or more at 13°c[9][11]. 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[12].

Layering in spring[10] or in July/August[9]. Takes 9 months[9]. Fair to good percentage[9].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Chimonanthus praecox. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a good soil in a sunny sheltered position[11][10]. Badly drained or compacted soils may cause blotching or yellowing of the leaves[10]. Succeeds in most soils but it seems most at home on chalky ones[13].

A very ornamental plant[4], it is hardy to about -25°c[14]. It is best grown on a sunny wall, however, in order to protect the flowers and induce heavier flowering[12]. The flowers are very fragrant[15], but the plant can be very sparse flowering after cool summers[14]. Plants have a moderate rate of growth[16]. Plants take 5 - 12 years to flower from seed[15][10]. The var. 'Grandiflorus' comes true from seed and has larger flowers than the type[9]. Plants flower profusely when established and left unpruned[13], if any pruning is necessary then it is best done immediately after flowering[14][13]. The flowers are produced on the leaf axils of wood 3 - 4 years old[16]. The flowers emit a powerful sweet fragrance which can be smelt 50 yards away. The smell is like jonquil and violets[17]. When the fragrance is inhaled close to for any length of time the smell seems to disappear[17].

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[10].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Chimonanthus praecox. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Chimonanthus praecox.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Chimonanthus praecox
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Flowers (Unknown use)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Essential)
  • Unknown part (Wood)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Sialagogue)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    3 x 3 meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    4. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    7. ? Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    8. ? 8.08.1 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    9. ? Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers. MacMillan and Co (1948-00-00)
    10. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    12. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    13. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-00-00)
    14. ? Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30258-2 (1989-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos. Murray ISBN 0-7195-5043-2 (1992-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Davis. B. Climbers and Wall Shrubs. Viking. ISBN 0-670-82929-3 (1990-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    18. ? Wilson. E. H. Plantae Wilsonae. ()