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Cephalotaxus fortunei - Hook.                
                 
Common Name Chinese Plum Yew
Family Cephalotaxaceae
Synonyms C. filiformis. C. mascula. C. pendula.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woodlands, especially in limestone regions[109]. Mixed, coniferous, and broad-leaved forests, thickets and roadsides at elevations of 200 - 3700 metres[266].
Range E. Asia - E. and C. China.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Cephalotaxus fortunei is an evergreen Shrub growing to 6 m (19ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Oct to November. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.The plant is not self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 6-9


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cephalotaxus fortunei Chinese Plum Yew


Cephalotaxus fortunei Chinese Plum Yew
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover; Hedge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Fruit[2]. Fairly large, it is about 30mm x 15mm[200]. We have no further details, though it is closely related to C. harringtonia, the fruit of which is edible raw if fully ripe[K]. The fruit does not always ripen in Britain, before full ripeness it has a disgusting resinous flavour that coats the mouth and refuses to go away for hours[K]. It is quite possible that the seed of this species is also edible[K].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Cancer.

Substances from the plant have shown anticancer activity[218].
Other Uses
Hedge;  Hedge.

Some forms of this species are procumbent in habit and can be used as ground cover in shady places[200]. Very tolerant of pruning, this plant makes a very good hedge in shady positions[200].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a moist well-drained sandy soil but succeeds in most soils though it dislikes dry gravelly or chalky soils[1, 200]. Prefers a position in semi-shade but tolerates full shade[11, 81] and it also succeeds but does not usually thrive in full sun[200]. It grows very well in the mild wet coastal region of W. Scotland where it succeeds even in full sun[200]. Requires a humid sheltered site[200], strongly disliking very exposed positions[1]. Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. The Chinese plum yew is a very slow growing shrub or small tree[185] that has excellent potential as a nut crop in Britain. It usually fruits regularly and well in most parts of the country[K] and does well in Cornwall[59]. Trees growing in the shade of other conifers fruit regularly and heavily at Kew Botanical gardens and, unlike most nut trees there, the seeds do not get eaten by the squirrels[K]. Although we have seen no records of edibility for the seed of this species, the closely related C. harringtonia does have edible seed[K]. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value[200]. 'Grandis' is a long leafed female form[200]. 'Longifolia' is male but otherwise similar to 'Grandis'[200]. 'Prostrata' (syn 'Prostrate Spreader') is a procumbent ground-covering plant that arose as cuttings from a side-shoot of a normal plant[200], a plant of this cultivar was seen with a very heavy crop of immature fruit in mid September 1994 at Hillier Arboretum[K]. Plants are dioecious, but female plants sometimes produce fruits and infertile seeds in the absence of any male plants[11]. However, at least one male plant for every five females should be grown if you are growing the plants for fruit and seed. Plants have also been known to change sex[81]. Male cones are produced in the axils of the previous year's leaves, whilst female cones are borne at the base of branchlets[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[113], it should then germinate in the following spring[K]. A hard seedcoat can delay germination, especially in if the seed is not sown as soon as it is ripe[81, K]. Stored seed should be cold-stratified and sown in a cold frame in the spring[200]. Germination can take 18 months or more. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter under cover. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Greenwood cuttings of terminal shoots, August/September in a humid cold frame[1, 200]. Difficult[113].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Hook.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
11200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[59]Thurston. Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall.
Trees and shrubs that succeed in Cornwall based on the authors own observations. Good but rather dated.
[81]Rushforth. K. Conifers.
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
[109]Wilson. E. H. Plantae Wilsonae.
Details of the palnts collected by the plant collector E. H. Wilson on his travels in China. Gives some habitats. Not for the casual reader.
[113]Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
[185]Mitchell. A. F. Conifers in the British Isles.
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
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