Herbs & Plants

Disporum trachycarpum

Botanical Name: Disporum trachycarpum
Family: Colchicaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Genus: Disporum

Common Name : Fairybells

Habitat: Disporum trachycarpum is native to Western N. America – British Columbia to N.E. Oregon and south along the Rockies.It grows on the wooded slopes, often by streams, or in aspen groves, to 3000 metres.

Disporum trachycarpum is a perennial mountain plant growing 9 to 24 inches with an angled stem, pale green above and reddish below. The delicate flowers, about half an inch long, with a three-lobed green stigma and yellow anthers, grow singly or in clusters of two or three, nodding shyly under the pretty leaves, which are dull above and very shiny on the under side, with oddly crumpled edges and set obliquely on the stem. The berry when unripe is orange color and suggested the name Drops of Gold, but becomes bright red when it matures in June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. Plants spread well by means of creeping rhizomes when they are grown in a leafy soil. This species is closely related to D. smithii.

Threough seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Use a lime-free compost and keep it moist. Stored seed requires 6 weeks cold stratification and should be sown as early in the year as possible. Germination usually takes place within 3 – 6 months or more at 15°c. 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. Division in spring.

Edible Uses: Fruits are eaten – raw. A sweet flavour. The fruit is up to 10mm in diameter and is leathery rather than pulpy.

Mediicinal Uses:
The seed has been used to clear foreign objects from the eye. A fresh seed was inserted and the eye closed then rubbed until the seed was watered out with the foreign object clinging to it. The seeds were also placed in the eye overnight and an infusion of the bark used as an eyewash to treat snow-blindness. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash for wounds whilst a poultice of the dampened bruised leaves has been applied to bleeding wounds.

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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