Herbs & Plants

Hemerocallis altissima

Botanical Name: Hemerocallis altissima
Family: Asphodelaceae
Subfamily: Hemerocallidoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Hemerocallis

Habitat: Hemerocallis altissima is native to E. Asia – S. China. Forest margins, grassy fields and slopes along valleys, from near sea level to 2000 metres.

Hemerocallis altissima is a perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Succeeds in most soils, including dry ones, preferring a rich moist soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in short grass if the soil is moist. Succeeding in sun or shade, it produces more flowers in a sunny position though these flowers can be shorter-lived in very sunny positions. Prefers a pH between 6 and 7. According to the Flora of China, this species is no more than a synonym for H. citrina. It is, however, seen as a distinct species in other treatments and so is maintained here as a separate species. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. The plant forms pseudobulbs, these stand vertically in the ground. Individual flowers are very short-lived, they open in the late afternoon and fade in the following morning. Plants take a year or two to become established after being moved. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. The plants are very susceptible to slug and snail damage, the young growth in spring is especially at risk.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots are edible – cooked and eaten. They must be consumed when very young or else they become fibrous. Flowers and flower buds – raw or cooked. The tubular flowers are about 5cm long and 7.5cm in diameter. The flower buds contain about 43mg vitamin C per 100g, 983 IU vitamin A and 3.1% protein. Root – raw or cooked. The taste is somewhat like radishes but not so sharp.

Medicinal Uses: The juice of the roots is an effective antidote in cases of arsenic poisoning. A tea made from the boiled roots is used as a diuretic.

Other Uses: The tough dried foliage is plaited into cord and used for making footwear.

Known Hazards : Large quantities of the leaves are said to be hallucinogenic. Blanching the leaves removes this hallucinatory component. (This report does not make clear what it means by blanching, it could be excluding light from the growing shoots or immersing in boiling water.

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


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