Nursery open 9-5 today and thanks to this wonderful rain this afternoon is looking like prime fall planting weather.
Photo: obligatory annual Schisandra harvest photos. New record for this vine, 18lbs! One of my favorite plants in my garden is this ‘Eastern Prince’ Schisandra. Schisandra is a very interesting plant in every way.
Medicinally: well loved in both eastern and western herbalism, used as a daily adaptogen. I have heard reports from a few older folks who say after starting daily schisandra tincture doses they feel years younger. In eastern herbalism I have heard it is also used as a diagnostic tool, but I don’t know the details.
Culinarily: the Chinese name for Schisandra is wǔ wèi zi, which translates to five flavor berry and that name is not wrong. Sour, sweet and spicy (like ginger is spicy) flavors dominate in my experience. I haven’t experimented too much with making Schisandra foods, but I’m excited to make a Schisandra cheese cake this year.
Botanically: Schisandra is ancient branch on the tree of life, having diverged earlier then all but 2 other genera. There is a very interesting (and short) article that you can find by searching for: schisandra arnoldia.
Horticulturally: Schisandra is very easy to grow in Maine, preferring good soil and sun to part shade but adaptable to many circumstances. The ‘Eastern Prince’ cultivar is reliably self fertile and has improved fruit in my opinion, but seedlings are great as well. Because of their complex pollination strategy it is a good idea to plant a few seedlings if you aren’t planting a self fertile clone. A strong trellis is a good idea, although they are not as vigorous/ heavy as a kiwi.
Seedling stock available now! Clones available next spring.
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