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Botanical Name : Aralia cordata
Synonyms : Aralia edulis, Aralia nutans
Common Names: Udo in Japanese, and also as Japanese spikenard or Mountain asparagus
Habitat : Aralia cordata is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows in thickets and thin woods, esp. by streams and ravines, all over Japan.
Aralia cordata is a perennial herb. It is classified as a dicot and a eudicot. The leaves are alternate, large, and double to triple pinnate with leaflets 7 to 15 centimetres (2.8 to 5.9 in) long, and 5 to 10 centimetres (2.0 to 3.9 in) broad. The flowers are produced in large umbels of 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 in) diameter in late summer, each flower small and white. The fruit is a small black drupe 3 millimetres (0.12 in) diameter, and may be toxic to humans.
In the wild, the plant achieves a height of 1.2 to 1.8 metres (3.9 to 5.9 ft). It has golden leaves in the spring and an abundance of large bright green ones in the summer. It has a hefty and plump root stock with shoots 60 to 90 centimetres (2.0 to 3.0 ft) in length. It can reach optimal growth when planted in rich soil. During the summer it produces loose flower bunches 90 centimetres (3.0 ft) in length, which are attractive to bees and flies, making it ideal for beekeepers. It can be grown using seed or propagated from cuttings.
It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a good deep loam and a semi-shady position. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are hardier when grown in poorer soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.0 to 7.4. Dormant plants are hardy to about -25°c. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. This is a commonly cultivated food crop in Japan, where it is grown for its edible shoots. There are several named varieties.
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 – 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 4 months at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.
Young branched shoots – cooked or raw. They can be up to 1.5 metres long and have a mild and agreeable flavour. They are usually blanched and are crisp and tender with a unique lemon-like flavour. They can be sliced and added to salads, soups etc. The shoots contain about 1.1% protein, 0.42% fat, 0.8% soluble carbohydrate, 0.55% ash. Root – cooked. Used like scorzonera.
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Shoots (Fresh weight)
•0 Calories per 100g
•Water : 0%
•Protein: 1.1g; Fat: 0.42g; Carbohydrate: 0.8g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.55g;
•Minerals – Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
•Vitamins – A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
Analgesic; Antiinflammatory; Carminative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Stimulant; Stomachic; Tonic.
The root is sometimes used in China as a substitute for ginseng (Panax species). It is said to be analgesic, antiinflammatory, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. The root contains an essential oil, saponins, sesquiterpenes and diterpene acids. It is used in Korea to treat the common cold and migraines.
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.