Smilacina hirta Maxim.
Smilacina japonica A.Gray
Smilacina rossii (Baker) Maxim.
Smilacina trinervis Miyabe & Kudô
Tovaria japonica (A.Gray) Baker
Tovaria rossii Baker
Vagnera japonica (A.Gray) Makino
Maianthemum japonicum is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a clump of unbranched stems from a creeping rhizome; the stems can be 30 - 60cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. The young shoots are often sold in local food markets in Korea[
E. Asia - Russian Far East (Primorye), China, Japan, Korea.
Woods and thickets in mountains all over Japan[
]. Forests, moist and shaded places, cliffs; at elevations from 900 - 2,000 metres[
Plants are 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[
Closely related to Maianthemum racemosa[
Young leaves - cooked[
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.