Hovenia dulcis - Thunb.
Common Name Japanese Raisin Tree
Family Rhamnaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Plains and mountains to 2000 metres in W. China[109]. Secondary forest[266].
Range E. Asia - China to the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.


Hovenia dulcis Japanese Raisin Tree

Hovenia dulcis Japanese Raisin Tree
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Hovenia dulcis is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 7 m (23ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

H. acerba. H. inequalis.

Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Sweetener.

Fruit - raw or cooked[2, 11, 158]. They can be dried when they have the sweet flavour and texture of raisins and can be used similarly[183]. The fruit is sweet and fragrant[105, 147] with a pear-like flavour[218]. Dry and sub-acid[61]. It is not a true fruit but a swollen receptacle[200]. The fruit is up to 3cm long[2], it contains 11.4% glucose, 4.7% fructose and 12.6% sucrose[218]. A sweet extract of the seed, boughs and young leaves is used as a substitute for honey[183]. The seed contains 15% protein and 7.8% fat[218].
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.

Antispasmodic;  Febrifuge;  Laxative.

Antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative[147, 178]. The fruit is antispasmodic, febrifuge, laxative and diuretic[218]. The seeds are diuretic and are used in the treatment of alcohol overdose[218]. The seeds are used to relieve intoxication due to wine[240]. The stem bark is used in the treatment of rectal diseases[218].


Other Uses

The wood is hard and fine grained. It is good for making furniture[266].
Cultivation details
Grows well in a fertile sandy loam in a sunny position[200]. Although the dormant plant is hardy to at least -15°c in Britain, it really prefers a continental climate to fully ripen its wood, it is then hardy to about -25°c[200]. The shoot tips are sometimes damaged by winter frosts in Britain[1] and the young growth in spring can also be damaged by late frosts[K]. The Japanese raisin tree is said to grow well in Cornwall[59], though our experience of this plant so far (1995) is that it is very difficult to establish. Perhaps older plants are as hardy as the reports above suggest, but younger plants are quite tender and often die in their first few winters outdoors[K]. The Japanese raisin tree is cultivated for its edible fruit in Japan. The small white flowers are scented and are produced in terminal cymes[245].
Seed - germinates freely if sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[200]. Stored seed should be scarified and sown in early spring[113], it may not germinate for a year. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when large enough to handle and grow on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some winter protection for their first couple of years outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Cuttings of mature wood, late autumn in a frame[200].
Other Names
Found In
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


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
monica   Mon Dec 26 2005
do you have any charts, graphs, and pictures?
Bryan   Wed Feb 8 2006
I am growing a Japanese Raisin Tree in Seattle, USA (48DEG North-- cool mediterranean type climate: wet winters, dry summers). I received this 2 year-old tree from a nursery. If anyone is interested to know how it goes, I'd be happy to respond. Email [email protected] :)
Egon   Sun Apr 9 2006
Hi Bryan, I would like to know whether you got any fall color there in Seattle. We have quite many Japanese Raisin Trees here in zone 10A and they show very poor fall color, usually a golden mixed with the remaining green. My email is [email protected]
Alejandro B. Hernandez   Fri Apr 27 2007
I need to know how or were I can buy the extract of the Hovenia tree.
Denny Luby   Tue Jan 22 2008
Do you get fruit? I have had a Hovenia dulcis for 5 years with no fruit. Three years ago I grafted scion from a fruiting tree now I have had heavy fruiting since the first year if the graft.
Steve   Thu Nov 19 2009
Is there any company selling the Hovenia Dulcis Extract? If you do or know, please send me a line to [email protected] I prefer U.S origin since I live U.S. I want this for exporting outside of country.
Paul Barney   Thu Dec 31 2009
I have planted Hovenia dulcis outside in a couple of locations in Berkshire. The trees grow away very quickly. The tree in the nursery is 8m in just 5 years. As yet no fruit has set.
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Hovenia dulcis  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.