Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Chinese Japanese anemone

Species name: Anemone hupehensis

Common name: Japanese anemone

Location: Ontario

This species of Anemone is native to China (the common name is a bit tricky!), naturalized in Japan for the last few hundred years, and an incredibly popular ornamental plant in North America. It thrives in a variety of locations, but prefers areas that are at least partially protected by larger plants but still have a period of direct sunlight, and in well-drained soil. The plant is sensitive to conditions that are both too dry and too wet, and most gardeners end up killing their first-year anemonies by watering them too often. Once established, this plant species is very hardy, to the point of completely overtaking an area in a few years. Eradication of this plant is nearly impossible due to its tough rhizomes that spread much further underground than the plant does aboveground. This plant even manages to give Madagascar periwinkle (which you can read all about HERE) a run for its money!

The Chinese anemone, sometimes mistaken for this species although rarely planted outside of China, is a very important herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is used as, amongst other things, a sedative, a hypnotic, an anti-inflammatory, and an anti-spasmodic. To my knowledge there is no scientific evidence that actually shows it is effective against any medical condition, but it is widely available on the internet in an encapsulated form (one website I found was prepared to sell it 25 kg per order; that's a lot of anemone!).