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Schisandra chinensis - (Turcz.)Baill.                
                 
Common Name Wu Wei Zi
Family Schisandraceae
Synonyms S. japonica. Kadsura chinensis. Maximowiczia chinensis. Sphaerostema japonicum.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mixed forests, especially on the margins, also by streams and brooks, usually on sandy soils[74].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of climber
Schisandra chinensis is a deciduous Climber growing to 9 m (29ft 6in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. 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)The plant is not self-fertile.


USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Schisandra chinensis Wu Wei Zi


Schisandra chinensis Wu Wei Zi
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Schisandra_chinensis_berries_w5rub.jpg
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; North Wall. By. East Wall. By.
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Gum.

Fruit - raw or cooked[183]. Usually dried and used on journeys, it is very sustaining[74]. Rich in sugars[74], it has a sweet/sour flavour[178]. In Russia a paste made from the fruit is mixed with Actinidia arguta in order to counteract the insufficient acidity of that species[183]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and is borne in a grape-like bunch about 10cm long[200]. Young leaves - cooked and used as a vegetable[105, 177, 183].
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.

Antirheumatic;  Antitussive;  Aphrodisiac;  Astringent;  Cancer;  Cardiotonic;  Cholagogue;  Expectorant;  Hepatic;  Lenitive;  Nervine;  
Pectoral;  Sedative;  Stimulant;  Tonic.

Wu Wei Zi is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs[218]. It is an excellent tonic and restorative, helping in stressful times and increasing zest for life[254]. It is considered to be a substitute for ginseng and is said to be a tonic for both the male and the female sex organs[238]. The fruit is antitussive, aphrodisiac, hepatic, astringent, cardiotonic, cholagogue, expectorant, hypotensive, lenitive, nervine, pectoral, sedative, stimulant and tonic[174, 176, 178, 218]. Low doses of the fruit are said to stimulate the central nervous system whilst large doses depress it[218]. The fruit also regulates the cardiovascular system[218]. It is taken internally in the treatment of dry coughs, asthma, night sweats, urinary disorders, involuntary ejaculation, chronic diarrhoea, palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, hyperacidity, hepatitis and diabetes[238]. Externally, it is used to treat irritating and allergic skin conditions[238]. The fruit is harvested after the first frosts and sun-dried for later use[238]. The fruit contains lignans[254]. These have a pronounced protective action on the liver. In one clinical trial there was a 76% success rate in treating patients with hepatitis, no side effects were noticed[254]. The seed is used in the treatment of cancer[218]. The plant is antirheumatic[218]. A mucilaginous decoction obtained from the branches is useful in the treatment of coughs, dysentery and gonorrhoea[218].
Other Uses
Gum;  Hair;  Size;  Wood.

A viscid mucoid material is obtained from the fruit and the branches, it is used as a size for paper and as a hair dressing[178]. The dried wood is charmingly fragrant[11].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a rich well-drained moisture retentive soil[11, 200]. Prefers a slightly acid soil but tolerates some alkalinity if plenty of organic matter is added to the soil[200]. Requires some protection from the most intense sunlight[200]. Plants succeed in quite deep shade and are suitable for north-facing walls[219]. Plants are intolerant of drought[K]. The fully dormant plant is hardy to about -17°c, though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants climb by twining around supports. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring[219]. The flowers are sweetly scented[245]. The leaves are also aromatic[245]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in the autumn in a cold frame[200, 238]. Pre-soak stored seed for 12 hours in warm water and sow in a greenhouse in the spring[238]. Germination can be slow and erratic. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for their first 2 years. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, August in a frame. Overwinter in the greenhouse and plant out in late spring[11, 78]. Good percentage[78]. Layering of long shoots in the autumn[200].
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Turcz.)Baill.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1174266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

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

[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.
[74]Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[174]Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants.
A good Japanese herbal.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[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.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
William Bruneau Mon Nov 20 2006
I have been using Schisandra for about a year. I find it a very good general tonic rivalling ginseng. The particular values I have noticed are improved concentration (it has improved my go game significantly), reaction time, and as a male sex tonic.
Elizabeth H.
D. Brown Sun May 6 2007
"http://www.onegreenworld.com//product_info.php?cPath=6_157&products_id=2112" One Green World Nursery (in Oregon, USA) There IS a self-fertile variety of this vine, called Eastern Prince.
Elizabeth H.
Werner Rettig Sat Mar 31 2007
My brother in Germany told me about Wu Wei Zi,he said he saw it in Poetschke's catalog where they have plants for sale. From what I have been reading this is a plant that schould be in every garden. I live in BC Canada and have been unable to find a source so far. Is there anybody out there that can help? Hopfully Werner Rettig
Elizabeth H.
manavella philippe Wed Sep 19 2007
hello I would like to buy a schisandra chinensis eastern prince but it is very difficult to find. I live on the french riviera, in Toulon, and I 'd prefer to buy one in a European nursery. Do you have addresses ? Anyway,I would like to tell you that your web site is a gold mine for botanic "amateurs". Each time we have something to buy, we consult your advices. Thank you very much Philippe Manavella
Elizabeth H.
M. Piehl Sun Feb 10 2008
I have grown it many yrs in W. Va., zone 6, and have seen it in Wis., zone 4, USA. I could supply a few plants picked up at place, W. Va. Seed forms well, but not recommended for propagation. Is deciduous in winter. Mine are field grown, not in containers.
Elizabeth H.
Bruce Van Tassell Wed Jan 23 2008
I also live in BC Canada in the Southern Interior and very interested in the Eastern Prince would it grow here and is it available in BC that you may know of. Read the other E mail asking for the black prince did they have any luck finding and or growing. I can provide the woodland setting for it. Thank you
Elizabeth H.
kate Fri Feb 8 2008
why not add some pictures of those flowers? I appreciate that.
Elizabeth H.
christine Hindle Sun Feb 24 2008
I live in South England and would like to plant a Schisandra chinensis against the North facing wall of my garden. Where can I buy such a plant? I am too impatient to grow from seeds. Thank you Christine Hindle
Elizabeth H.
kenneth Su Thu Mar 20 2008
I live in Thailand and would love to buy some of these plants or seeds for personal consumption. Can anyone please advise where I can obtain them? Kenneth
Elizabeth H.
Trent Sun Apr 13 2008
You can get seeds for Schisandra chinensis from Richters Herbs in Ontario - www.richters.com. They don't always have them, but keep on trying. There is also advice for germinating them in the Q & A section of the website. Bottom line is you need to deal with the hard seed coat eitehr with acid, or maybe try delicately scarifying the seed coat, or knicking a bit off. I am experimenting presently with germiantion, after buying 100 grams of seeds, and will try to let you know how my experiments go. 90 days of cold stratification will also help, or leaving them outside over a winter or two, dug into the ground in flats.

Richters Herbs Schisandra seed source

Elizabeth H.
Linda Nunis Thu Jun 5 2008
I have just started some Schisandra seeds and am hopeful that they will sprout. I live in zone 7 at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, USA. I'll keep you posted on sprout and planting progress! Thanks for a great site! Linda N.
Elizabeth H.
victor chou Sat Nov 15 2008
we can supply schisandraberry ,both organic and conventional.

Elizabeth H.
Emma Lee Sun Nov 23 2008
To-Victor Chou, Do you have a link or how can we order these?
Elizabeth H.
david n Sun Nov 23 2008
B and T world Seeds are the worlds largest seed supplier, they have seed of this plant www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com I also found dried berries with seed in a Chinese Medicine Shop but couldn't get them to grow.
Elizabeth H.
courtney breed Sat Feb 14 2009
There is actually a self fertile variety of Schisandra the variety "Eastern Prince". Check out the One Green World Link below for more details. Happy planting!

One Green World a great mail order nursery in snowy Oregon, USA

Elizabeth H.
Elizabeth Thu Feb 26 2009
I live in South Korea where I have access to fresh Schisandra chinensis berries. They are used to make the famous Korean " omija" tea. Anyone interested in seeds, please drop me a line.
Elizabeth H.
Kevin Song Wed Mar 11 2009
Bioworld Organics owns the biggest Organic and GAP certified Schisandra Berry base in northeast China, which makes us to become the first bulk high quality organic schisandra berries supplier in China, to ensure the quality of the products, we have built up a series of strict Quality Control System in accordance with the organic production standards of EEC2092/2091 of EU, NOP of USA and JAS of Japan ranging from the planting, harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation to the sales, in the mean while, we also established other 6 organic herb bases all over the Country, all the bases enjoy fertile soil, unpolluted air and clean water - the ideal conditions for sustainable organic agriculture, these bases enables us to provide our clients with over 800 tons of more than 160 different organic products annually. cnorganic@gmail.com

www.Tradekey.com Supply High Quality Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra Berries)

Elizabeth H.
Pete Tue Jul 14 2009
Do try growing from seed if you can't source a cutting. I started some seed in February, in damp tissue in a plastic tray with a loose lid at room temp for a week, then in the fridge for two months, then into a heated propagator at around 20c until germination, this took another three to five weeks as germination was eratic. Ended up with 7 plants which are now 4 four to eight inches tall, under the cucumbers in the greenhouse. Lancashire (North West England).
Elizabeth H.
kevin Sat Aug 22 2009
I live in China and I can supply the high quality organic schisandra berries and seeds,please contact me: schisandras@gmail.com

bioworld organics supply good quality schisandra berries

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