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Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana - (Nakai.)Rehder.                
                 
Common Name Japanese Plum Yew
Family Cephalotaxaceae
Synonyms C. nana. Nak.
Known Hazards None known
Habitats An understorey shrub in woodlands[109, 200]. In deciduous forests from near sea level to elevations of 600 metres[275].
Range E. Asia - N. Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana is an evergreen Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 3 m (9ft) 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) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana Japanese Plum Yew


Cephalotaxus harringtonia nana Japanese Plum Yew
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Oil;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Oil;  Oil.

Fruit. - raw or cooked. Plum-like and very sweet with a hint of pine in its flavour[183]. The fruit is about 2cm long[200]. This sub-species is said to produce the best fruit[200]. 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]. Seed - raw or cooked[81, 105]. Oily[1]. The seed has a firm texture with a slightly resinous flavour[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.



None known
Other Uses
Oil;  Oil.

An oil obtained from the seed is used as an illuminant[105].
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]. The dwarf Japanese plum yew is a very slow growing plant[185] with an excellent potential as a food crop in Britain. The fruit and the seed are often eaten in Japan. In addition, the seeds seem to be immune to the predations of squirrels, the seed on trees growing at Kew Botanical gardens being untouched even though virtually every other nut tree there has its crop destroyed[K]. This sub-species is a small spreading shrub to 2 metres, spreading by means of suckers[81, 200]. It is said to have the best fruit of this genus[200], It is also a very frost-resistant plant, succeeding as far north as S. Sweden and Nova Scotia[200]. 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]. Division of self-layered stems and suckers in early autumn or mid-spring.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Nakai.)Rehder.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1158200
                                                                                 
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]).
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[275] Flora of Japan
An on-line version of the flora - an excellent resource.

Readers comment                                         
 
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