Chimonanthus Praecox Also known as: Wintersweet, Japanese Allspice, Ice Flower
An unusual evergreen deciduous shrub native to China, that has been cultivated for more then 1,000 years. It grows in a upright fountain shape, 10-15’ x 10-15’. Highly scented, waxy yellowish flowers are borne on short stalks in winter and spring before the leaves appear. It has rough, opposite, small dark green leaves, and the fruit is an elliptic dry capsule 3–4 cm long.
Many parts of the plant are rich in essential oils and are also used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The flowers are used as a folk medicine in China for treating measles, coughs, tonsillitis and pharyngitis. Much scientific research has been undertaken, especially in China, on the medicinal (especially anti-fungal) properties. Its essential oils are used in cosmetics, perfumery and aromatherapy. The flowers are used to flavor herbal teas, and are also added to potpourri mixtures.
Grows well in a sheltered position, particularly against a warm wall in full sun or in a sunny place in warm climates, in moist, but well-drained soil. It can be grown in most soils, but does best in chalky ones. Hardy down to USDA zone 7, protect in temps under 10F.
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