Diplycosia semi-infera C.B.Clarke
Gaultheria semi-infera is an erect, evergreen shrub usually growing 50 - 100cm tall in cultivation, but occasionally reaching 250cm in the wild[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
E. Asia - southwest China, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, northern Myanmar
Pinus forest margins, thickets on slopes; at elevations from 2,000 - 2,700 metres, occasionally reaching 3,500 metres[
Gaultheria semi-infera is not very tolerant of cold, generally being harmed if temperatures fall to around -5°c for anything other than short periods[
Prefers a cool moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade[
]. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The purple-blue, ellipsoidal to globose fruit is 3 - 8mm in diameter[
]. As with most Gaultherias, it is actually the swollen, fleshy calyx that is eaten[
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist[
]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[
]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, mid summer in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[
]. A good percentage usually take.
Division in spring when new growth is about 7cm tall. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.