Evergreen hydrangea (Dichroa febrifuga)

 

Botanical Name :Dichroa febrifuga
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Genus: Dichroa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cornales

Common Name :Evergreen hydrangea

Habitat: Dichroa febrifuga is native to Nepal eastwards to southern China and into south-east Asia, where it grows at the forest edge.Shrubberies and damp places, often gregarious in clearings of oak forests, 900 – 2400 metres, from C. Nepal to China.

Description:

Dichroa febrifuga (Blue Evergreen Hydrangea) – A 3 to 7 foot tall by 5 foot wide, half-hardy evergreen shrub from the Hydrangea family. The 4 to 8 inch long dark green leaves resemble the foliage of Hydrangea with prominent veins and small serrations. The terminal end of the branches hold clusters of hydrangea-like flowers with white buds opening to bright blue flowers in spring and summer that are followed by metallic blue berries. As with the blue forms of Hydrangea the shade of blue of the flower is determined by soil pH (actually the availability of aluminum) and more acid soils produce bluer flowers. Plant in part sun to light shade with moderately moist soil. It is hardy and evergreen to 20-25 degrees F but defoliates much below these temperatures but plants knocked back by cold resprout from hard wood…

Click to see different pictures of Dichroa febrifuga :

It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Often called evergreen hydrangea, this hydrangea relative features attractive deep green foliage. Flower buds form on branch tips opening into pinkish to blue flowers that are followed by metallic blue berries. Likes regular water and protection from hot afternoon sun. Will tolerate quite a bit of shade.  Responds to pruning.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, succeeding in an open loamy soil. The flowers vary in colour according to the type of soil they grow in, the best blue colour is formed when plants are in very acid soils. One report says that this plant is probably not hardy outdoors in Britain whilst another says that some provenances tolerate temperatures down to about -5°c and another report says that the forms in cultivation are only fully hardy in southern Cornwall. This same report goes on to say that those forms probably do not belong to D. febrifuga in the strict sense. This plant is cultivated in Russia as an anti-malarial herb.

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Propagation
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring and only just covering it. Do not allow the compost to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings. No details are given, we suggest trying in August with almost ripe wood in a frame.

Medicinal Uses:

Antiperiodic;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Purgative.

This plant is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. The leaves are purgative. They are used in the treatment of stomach cancer. The juice of the leaves is used in Nepal to treat coughs, colds and bronchitis. A decoction of the stem bark is used in the treatment of fevers. a decoction of the leaves is used to treat malarial fever. The root contains several alkaloids and is emetic, expectorant, febrifuge and purgative. The juice of the root is used in Nepal to treat fevers and indigestion. This plant is 26 times more powerful than quinine in the treatment of malaria but causes vomiting. Substances in the plant are 100 times more powerful than quinine, but they are poisonous.

It is an important herb in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.

Click to see :Research Update of Dichroa febrifuga:  

Other Uses:
The wood is used as a fuel.

Known Hazards :  One report says that the plant is toxic but gives no more details.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.calfloranursery.com/pages_plants/pages_d/dicfeb.html
http://www.smgrowers.com/products/plants/plantdisplay.asp?plant_id=505
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichroa_febrifuga
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Dichroa+febrifuga
http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2005/08/dichroa_febrifu.php
http://www.rizreyes.com/Dichroa_febrifuga_UBC.html

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