Chusan Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

T. excelsus. Chamaerops fortunei. C. excelsus.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Chusan Palm
Trachycarpus fortunei

The fibres cloaking the trunk are used to make ropes and cloth[11, 46, 61]. The fibres from within the leafstalk are used for making brushes, ropes, coarse cloth etc[231].

A matting is made from the bark admixed with some of the stem fibres[178].

The leaves are woven into hats, rough coats and fans[46, 61, 178].

  • Medicinal Use

    The flowers and the seed are astringent and haemostatic[147, 218].

    The root or the fruit is decocted as a contraceptive[147, 218].

    The ashes from the silky hairs of the plant are haemostatic[147, 218]. Mixed with boiling water they are used in the treatment of haemopytsis, nose bleeds, haematemesis, blood in stools, metrorrhagia, gonorrhoea and other venereal diseases[147].

  • Edible Use

    Young flower buds – cooked[2, 105, 178]. Used like bamboo shoots[183]. The fresh flowers and terminal bud are also apparently consumed[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Scarify or pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water then sow in a cold frame in mid to late winter. Bring into the greenhouse about 4 – 6 weeks later and the seed should germinate in about 4 – 8 weeks at 25¡c[133]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on 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. Consider giving the plants some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Pot up suckers in late spring and plant out in their permanent position 12 months later.
Requires a rich moist but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[188, 231], especially from the cold drying winds of the north and east[11]. Individual leaves live for about 3 years and, if they are damaged by wind will make the plant look very shabby as well as reducing its potential for photosynthesis[231]. This species is generally hardy in the southern and western part of Britain. When mature, plants have been known to survive occasional temperatures as low as -18¡c[11, 231, 260] though younger plants are more tender and can be damaged by temperatures down to about -8¡c, especially if the plant is not sheltered from cold winds[200, 260].Very young plants should be given some protection during their first winter or two outdoors[11] . A fairly slow-growing plant, though it self-sows in S.W. England[11]. Widely cultivated throughout China, Japan and S.E. Asia for the fibres within the leaf stalk[231]. Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[231]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[231]. Palms can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established – removing many of the leaves can also help[231]. The flowers are sweetly scented[231]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
E. Asia – C. and E. China.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*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.