Flowers - raw or cooked. An aromatic flavour, they are also used in jellies and preserves. Remove the bitter white base of the petals before using them. Young shoots - cooked and used as a potherb. Harvested as they come through the ground in spring and are still tender. The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground into a powder and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement. Be sure to remove the seed hairs.A pleasant tasting fruity-flavoured tea is made from the fruit, it is rich in vitamin C. A tea is also made from the leaves.
The flowers act on the spleen and liver, promoting blood circulation. They are used internally in the treatment of poor appetite and digestion, and menstrual complaints arising from constrained liver energy. The root is used in the treatment of coughs.The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring. High percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 - 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.Layering. Takes 12 months.
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Plants are said to withstand temperatures down to -50°c without damage. The foliage is said to resist disease. A very ornamental plant, it suckers freely but these are fairly easily controlled[K]. There are a number of named varieties. 'Scabrosa' is said to be larger in all its parts, including the fruit, though it has not proved to be much larger with us[K]. The flowers have a clove-like perfume. Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins. Dislikes boxwood. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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