Udo, Aralia cordata, Japanese Spikenard, Mountain Spikenard, Mountain Asparagus, Jiu Yan Du Huo. Native to Japan, Korea and China, this ginseng relative and cousin to our local California spikenard can be found growing along the forested banks above creeks and waterways. The young shoots are much prized as an edible delicacy and are actually cultivated in Japan in underground tunnels where they are added to a variety of traditional dishes including Miso soup with a taste similar to asparagus, with a hint of fennel. In the wild, the shoots are harvested only when young and tender and the immature leaves are enjoyed as well. In Japan the plant is highly prized for Udowormy tea, which is made from Udo leaves infested with the pupae of the Japanese beetle. The tea made from the leaves is valued as a remedy for stress and anxiety. Traditionally, the roots have been used in TCM to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief for chronic arthritis, back pain, toothache, etc. The root has also been used for respiratory ailments such as asthma, tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis. Udo prefers a partly shady to full shade location with plenty of moisture and room to grow. It can reach 4 feet in height and width and will make an eye catching addition to that shady corner of your garden. Hardy Perennial. Zones 4-9.
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