Herbs & Plants

Cryptotaenia canadensis

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Botanical Name : Cryptotaenia canadensis
Family: Apiaceae
Species: Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) DC.
Kingdom :Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Division: Magnoliophyta
Superdivision: Spermatophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Rosidae

Synonyms: Deringa canadensis – (L.)Kuntze.

Common Names: Honewort

Habitat :Cryptotaenia canadensis is native to Eastern N. America – Western New Brunswick to Manitoba and south to Alabama. Arkansas and Texas. Grows in rich woods and thickets. Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Cryptotaenia canadensis is a herbaceous perennial plant  growing to 1m by 0.6m.
It is hardy to zone 5. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

Flowers are in irregular flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 3 inches across, made up of 3 to 8 groups (umbellets) of 3 to 10 flowers each. Individual flowers are about 1/8 inch across with 5 white petals that are usually curled up, and 5 stamens with creamy yellow tips. The flower stalks in an umbellet are varying lengths and there is no bract at the base of an umbellet. A plant may have a few clusters at the top of the plant, and at the end of branching stems in the upper part of the plant.

You may click to see different pictures of Cryptotaenia canadensis 


Leaves are compound in groups of 3. Leaflets near the base of the plant are largest, to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide on long stems that are sheathed where they join the main stem. Leaves and their stems become smaller as they ascend the plant, with those near the flowers having little or no leaf stem. Leaflets are double toothed, with small teeth on the edges of larger teeth, have pointed tips, and taper abruptly at the base. The larger leaflets are often cleft or lobed in 2 or 3 parts. The main stem is light green and hairless.

Fruit is a 2-sectioned ribbed seed, about ¼ inch long, pointed at the tip. It ripens from green to dark brown.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

Succeeds in a rich moist soil, preferring to grow in dappled shade. Closely related to C. japonica, a species that is cultivated as a vegetable in Japan. This species is being cultivated in America to supply the Japanese market with a chervil-like herb. Slugs are extremely fond of this plant, especially when the new growth emerges in spring.

Seed – sow April in a greenhouse. Germination is usually rapid, prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. The ideal temperature for sowing is about 25°c, though seed does germinate at higher and lower temperatures. Seed can also be sown in early autumn. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Stem.

Young leaves, stems and flowers – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb or added to salads. A flavour that is somewhat like celery, if you use your imagination. Root – cooked. The seeds are used as a flavouring for cakes, breads and biscuits.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional herbalists in New England use an infusion as a diuretic and urinary tract tonic, to strengthen and cleanse the kidneys and to relieve frequent urination.  In the Orient it is held in especially high esteem to treat menstrual and puerperal diseases of women.  Honewort root has been prescribed for Chinese women who wish to conceive.

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


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