ALAINN: “BEAUTIFUL, FINE, LOVELY”. (IRISH) OLD IRISH ÁLAIND‎

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(Castanopsis sclerophylla)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Castanopsis sclerophylla
Fagaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves are used to arrest puerperal haemorrhage and are also applied to chronic ulcers[218].

    The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[218].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw[61, 171]. Small but sweet, it tastes like the N. American chinquapin, Castanea pumila[109]. The seed can be crushed and converted into a paste known as ‘tou-fu’, it resembles bean curd[109]. (This probably means that the crushed seed is also fermented[K]).

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – requires a period of cold stratification and is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[138]. The seed has a short viability and should not be allowed to dry out. It can be stored for a few months if kept cool and moist (putting it in a plastic bag that is placed in the salad compartment of a fridge works well). Stored seed should be soaked in warm water for 24 – 48 hours prior to sowing[138]. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 months at 15¡c[138]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots and plant them out in mid summer if possible, otherwise grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring. Give the young plants some protection from cold for their first few winters outdoors.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it could succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a good deep medium to stiff loam[1]. Requires a sheltered position in semi-shade and a lime-free soil[138]. Although cold hardy in Britain, this species really requires a warm continental climate if it is to prosper and it does not do well in the maritime climate of this country[200]. The catkins have an unpleasant hawthorn-like smell to attract midges for their pollination[245].
E. Asia – E. and C. China.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.