Flowers - raw or cooked. The petals are thick and crunchy, making very pleasant eating raw, with a nice sweetness at the base because of the nectar[K]. The flowers can also be dried and used as a thickener in soups etc. In this case, they are picked when somewhat withered and closed. A rich source of iron. Flower buds - raw or cooked. A pea-like flavour. Can be dried and used as a relish. The dried flower contains about 9.3% protein. 25% fat!?, 60% carbohydrate (rich in sugar), 0.9% ash. It is rich in vitamin A.Tubers - raw or cooked. A nutty flavour. Young tubers are best, though the central portion of older tubers is also good.
The flowers are anodyne, antiemetic, antispasmodic, depurative, febrifuge and sedative. In China they are used as an anodyne for women in childbirth. An extract of the flowers is used as a blood purifier. The rhizome has shown antimicrobial acivity, it is also tuberculostatic and has an action against the parasitic worms that cause filariasis. It is used in Korea to treat oppilation, jaundice, constipation and pneumonia. The juice of the roots is an effective antidote in cases of arsenic poisoning. The root also has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer - extracts from the roots have shown antitumour activity.A tea made from the boiled roots is used as a diuretic.
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This species is hardy to about -20°c. Plants take a year or two to become established after being moved. The roots have spindle-shaped swellings and spread freely, the plant can become invasive. A very ornamental plant, it is cultivated in China and Japan for its edible flowers and leaves, there are many named varieties. Individual flowers are short-lived, opening in the morning and withering in the evening. The plant, however, produces a succession of flowers over a period of about 6 weeks. The sterile cultivar 'Kwanzo' has double flowers, it has been especially mentioned for these flowers which are said to be crunchy with a nutty aftertaste. 'Flore Pleno' is another form with double-flowers that have a delicious taste[K]. The sterile cultivar 'Europa' is very vigorous, with long stolons, and each piece of root is capable of growing into a new plant. This cultivar, which is the form usually supplied from nurseries, succeeds in lawns and has even been known to grow through tarmac. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Many forms of this plant are sterile triploids, probably of garden origin, and do not set seed. The pollen, however, is fertile and can be used to fertilize other plants.The plants are very susceptible to slug and snail damage, the young growth in spring is especially at risk.
Problems, pests & diseases
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Polycultures & Guilds
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