The Temperate Database is in the process of being updated, with new records being added and old ones being checked and brought up to date where necessary. This record has not yet been checked and updated.
Polygonatum cirrhifolium is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.20 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, some members of this genus are believed to have poisonous fruits and seeds.
E. Asia - China to the Himalayas.
Forests, shrubberies and open slopes, 1500 - 3700 metres westwards from Himachel Pradesh[
We do not have much information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. It is closely related to P. verticillatum. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Prefers a fertile humus rich moisture-retentive well-drained soil in cool shade or semi-shade[
]. Plants are intolerant of heat and drought but they tolerate most other conditions[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[
The young shoots are very attractive to slugs[
Hybridizes with other members of this genus[
Tender leaves and young shoots - cooked as a vegetable[
]. They can be used as an asparagus substitute.
Polygonatum cirrhifolium is one of a group of eight plants, known collectively as 'Astavarga' in India, whose underground parts are seen in Ayurveda as general tonics that can strengthen the vital force in the body, improve cell regeneration capacity and boost the immune system. They can each be used on their own, and they are also used in the preparation of different types of rejuvenating tonics in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. One of the most important of these is 'Chyavanprash', a polyherbal formulation comprising more than 50 different plant ingredients, which is widely used in India as a general tonic, energy booster, immune system strengthener and aphrodisiac[
The roots are cardiotonic, sialagogue, stimulant and tonic[
The roots are used in Tibetan medicine where they are said to have a sweet taste and a neutral potency[
]. Antitussive, carminative and tonic, they promote bodily heat and dry up serous fluids[
]. They are used in the treatment of loss of vigour, pain in the kidneys and hips, swelling and fullness in the abdominal region, accumulation of fluids in bone joints, skin eruptions and coughs[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early autumn in a shady part of a cold greenhouse[
]. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. Germination can be slow, they may not come true to type[
] and it takes a few years for them to reach a good size. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position 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 early spring or early autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.