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Meet the Plants (Part 3): The Newest Climbers!

July 9, 2012

Schisandra chinensis

Schisandra chinensis berries

Magnolia vine (Schisandra chinensis) is a woody vine climbing the trellis along the short wall in the garden. It is native to northern China and eastern Russia, but hardy in our local microclimate. In Chinese it is called “Five-flavor berry” because it posesses all five of the basic flavors in Chinese culture: salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and bitter. They are used in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, primarily for making tea. The berries are also dried and eaten as a medicinal and energy food, and are a staple for hunter-gatherer indigenous groups in China.

Hopefully in years to come we will be able to propagate new plants from the suckers that can come up from the root ball.

Akebia quinata

Akebia quinata “Shirobana”

Shirobana (Akebia quinata) is a beautiful climber native to Japan, and is currently working its way up the pergola. Sachiko, one of our amazing research team members from Spring 2012, was very excited when she got to plant this in the garden. She explained to me that Shirobana means “white flower” in Japanese, and that the plants grow all over in Japan, especially along forest edges. The fruits are seed pods containing edible pulp, and the husks are stuffed and fried.

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