Botanical descriptionA. quinata grows to 10 metres or more in height and has compound leaves with five leaflets. The inflorescences are clustered in racemes and are chocolate-scented, with three or four sepals. The fruits are sausage-shaped pods which contain edible pulp.
The stems are anodyne, antifungal, antiphlogistic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, galactogogue, resolvent, stimulant, stomachic and vulnerary. Taken internally, it controls bacterial and fungal infections and is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lack of menstruation, to improve lactation etc.
The plant was ranked 13th in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China.
Plants have sometimes been used as a ground cover.
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Surface sow in a light position. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c. Stored seed should be given 1 month cold stratification and can be very difficult to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. The cuttings can be slow to root. Cuttings can also be taken of soft wood in spring. Root cuttings, December in a warm greenhouse.
Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c but they can be somewhat tender when young. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. This species grows very well in S.W. England. Plants are evergreen in mild winters. Resentful of root disturbance, either grow the plants in containers prior to planting them out or plant them out whilst very young. Plants are not normally pruned, if they are growing too large they can be cut back by trimming them with shears in early spring. The flowers have a spicy fragrance, reminiscent of vanilla. Plants are shy to fruit, they possibly require some protection in the flowering season, hand pollination is advisable. Plants are probably self-sterile, if possible at least 2 plants should be grown, each from a different source.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
The medicinal part of the plant is the woody stem which is sliced in transverse sections and prepared as a decoction. The stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
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