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Gastrodia elata - Blume.

Common Name Tien Ma
Family Orchidaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woods in the mountains of N. Japan[58].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Gastrodia elata Tien Ma


Gastrodia elata Tien Ma

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Gastrodia elata is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or roasted[61, 178]. Large[178].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Analgesic  Antispasmodic  Aphrodisiac  Carminative  Cholagogue  Epilepsy  Sedative  Tonic


This species has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over 1,500 years[238]. The root contains a number of phenolic compounds with medicinal actions[279]. It is a sweet, acrid, herb that is analgesic, anticonvulsive, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, sedative and tonic[147, 174, 176, 238, 279]. It is used internally in the treatment of convulsive illnesses (such as epilepsy and tetanus), rheumatoid arthritis, vertigo and numbness associated with liver disharmony[238]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238]. The stem is aphrodisiac and tonic[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A saprophytic herb, it is without green parts and is entirely dependant upon a fungus for its nutriment[238]. This makes it very difficult to cultivate outside its native range. As well as its fungal host, it also requires a damp humus-rich soil in a sheltered woodland position[238]. The plants are very hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least -15°c[238]. This plant is becoming increasingly rare in the wild, due to over-collection as a medicinal plant[238]. Methods of cultivating it have now been devised in China[238]. Orchids are, in general, shallow-rooting plants of well-drained low-fertility soils. Their symbiotic relationship with a fungus in the soil allows them to obtain sufficient nutrients and be able to compete successfully with other plants. They are very sensitive to the addition of fertilizers or fungicides since these can harm the symbiotic fungus and thus kill the orchid[230].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow, preferably as soon as it is ripe, into the plants natural habitat near existing colonies, or onto a bed of Quercus wood inoculated with the fungus Armillaria mellea (introduce this fungus into your land with extreme caution since it kills trees and there is no known preventative[K]). The seed of this species is extremely simple, it has a minute embryo surrounded by a single layer of protective cells. It contains very little food reserves and depends upon a symbiotic relationship with a species of soil-dwelling fungus. The fungal hyphae invade the seed and enter the cells of the embryo. The orchid soon begins to digest the fungal tissue and this acts as a food supply for the plant. Division in autumn. The plant is very intolerant of root disturbance, any moving or dividing should be attempted in the autumn, keep a large ball of soil around the plant[1].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gastrodia cunninghamii Perennial1.0 -  LMHFSM20 
Gastrodia sesamoidesPotato OrchidPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNM200

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

Expert comment

Author

Blume.

Botanical References

58

Links / References

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Subject : Gastrodia elata  
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