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Toxic parts

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus that contains a number of very poisonous plants and so some caution is advised[K]. It is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[1].

Edible uses


Young leaves and stems - raw or cooked[2][3][4][5]. The leaves are also used as a seasoning in soups etc[6][7]. The flavour is reminiscent of carrots or parsley[8]. The young shoots that sprout from the root in winter are best[9][8]. A major vegetable in many parts of the Orient, the leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals (Analysis available)[1].

Root - cooked. Highly esteemed in Japan[9], the roots can grow up to 30cm long in water[7]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Seed is said to be edible[7].

Unknown part


Material uses

Spreading rapidly by means of suckers, it makes a good ground cover plant for wet situations. The variegated cultivar 'Flamingo' has been especially recommended[10].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The whole plant is depurative, febrifuge and styptic[11][12]. A decoction is used in the treatment of epidemic influenza, fever and discomfort, jaundice, haematuria and metrorrhagia[11]. The seed contains 3.5% essential oil. This is effective at large dilutions against pathogenic fungi[1].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is erratic[8]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Division in spring[8]. Large divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Layering[10].

Stem tip cuttings[10]. Any part of the stem roots easily[8].

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


Requires a wet fertile soil or shallow water and a sunny position[10].

This plant is quite possibly not hardy in Britain, [10] gives a hardiness zone of 10, which means that it is not frost tolerant. However [13] says that it grows in all areas of lowland Japan and this should include areas that do experience frosts and snow. Another report says that many forms of this species are not frost-hardy, though some forms have hardy roots[8]. There is also a lot of confusion over the correct name for this species. Some reports give O. stolonifera. DC. or O. stolonifera. Wall as the correct name whilst other reports say that these names are synonyms of O. javanica. [10] says that O. stolonifera japonica. (Miq.)Maxim. is a synonym of O. javanica. It is quite possible that both O. javanica and O. stolonifera are valid names and the uses listed here belong partly to each species. More research is required.

This species is occasionally cultivated for its edible root[7] or for its edible leaves according to another report[6], there are some named varieties[7]. There are two main forms of this species, a red form has edible shoots whilst a white form is grown for its medicinal root[12]. In Japan this plant and six other herbs are customarily boiled in rice gruel on January 7th[7]. The cultivar 'Su Zhou' is medium early and has few fibres plus an excellent taste[7].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Oenanthe javanica. 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 Oenanthe javanica.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Oenanthe javanica
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
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
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    1 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    6. ? Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    7. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables John Murray ISBN 0-7195-4781-4 (1991-00-00)
    9. ? Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2. Brooklyn Botanic Garden (1986-00-00)
    10. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    11. ? ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    12. ? Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    13. ? 13.013.1 Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)