Smilacina purpurea Wall.
Jocaste purpurea (Wall.) Kunth
Tovaria purpurea (Wall.) Baker
Smilacina pallida Royle
Veratrum hoffmeisteri Klotzsch
Smilacina oligophylla Elwes
Tovaria oligophylla (Elwes) Baker
Tovaria pallida (Royle) Baker
Smilacina zhongdianensis H.Li & Y.Chen
Maianthemum oligophyllum (Elwes) Karthik.
Maianthemum pallidum (Royle) Karthik.
Maianthemum purpureum is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant that can grow from 25 - 60cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
E. Asia - Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan and China (Tibet, Yunnan).
Forests and thickets; at elevations from 3,200 - 4,000 metres[
]. Dense Betula and Sorbus forests; at elevatios from 2,600 - 4,200 metres in Nepal[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Hardy to about -20°c[
Requires a deep fertile humus rich moisture retentive soil, neutral to slightly acid, that does not dry out in the growing season, and a shady position[
]. Does well in a woodland garden[
Plants were growing well at Kew in 1987 in the shade of a woodland garden and were carrying a good crop of fruit[
Tender young leaves and shoots - cooked as a vegetable[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be very slow to germinate, often taking 18 months. Stored seed should be sown in a cold frame as soon as possible, it may take 2 years or longer to germinate. Grow the seedlings on in a shady part of a greenhouse for their first year without pricking them out, giving them liquid or foliar feeds as required to ensure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Divide the young plants up into individual pots in the autumn when they are dormant, and grow them on for at least another year in a shady part of the greenhouse. When the plants have reached a sufficient size, plant them out in the autumn whilst they are dormant.
Division in spring or early autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.