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 Idesia polycarpa subsp. var.  
Idesia polycarpa leaves and fruit
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Salicaceae > Idesia polycarpa var. , Maxim.

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Idesia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Salicaceae (formerly placed in the family Flacourtiaceae), comprising the single species Idesia polycarpa. It is native to eastern Asia in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.[1]

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree reaching a height of 8-21 m, with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter with smooth greyish-green bark. The shoots are greyish-brown, stout, with a thick pith core. The leaves are large, heart-shaped, 8–20 cm long and 7–20 cm broad, with a red 4–30 cm petiole bearing two or more glands; the leaves are dark green above, glaucous below, and have a coarsely serrated margin. The flowers are small, yellowish green, fragrant, and born in panicles 13–30 cm long. It is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate trees; the male flowers are 12–16 mm diameter, the female flowers 9 mm diameter. The fruit is a berry 5–10 mm diameter, ripening orange to dark purple-red, containing several 2–3 mm brown seeds, and often persisting until the following spring.[1][2]

The species is occasionally grown as an ornamental tree in other temperate regions including Europe.[2] The fruit is edible either raw or cooked.[3]

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Idesia (Yobrants ides, Dutch traveler in China). Flacourtiaceae. Ornamental tree grown for its handsome large foliage and also for the attractive orange- red berries.

Deciduous: lvs. alternate, long-petioled. 3-5-nerved at the base, crenate-serrate; stipules small, caducous: fls. dioecious, in large terminal panicles; sepals 5 (3-6); petals wanting; stamens, numerous, with villous filaments; ovary 1-celled, with 3-6 spreading styles: fr. a many-seeded berry.—One species in S. Japan and Cent, and W. China.

This is a handsome tree with close grayish white bark and spreading branches forming a low broad head; the rather large lustrous leaves are borne on long reddish stalks; the flowers are not showy, but the orange- red berries, borne in pendulous racemes sometimes 10 inches long, are very conspicuous, particularly after the leaves have fallen. The plants raised from seeds recently introduced from Central China have proved hardy at the Arnold Arboretum, at least in favorable positions, while the Japanese plant introduced about fifty years ago is not hardy north of Philadelphia; otherwise there is no difference between the Japanese and the Chinese plant. The tree grows quite rapidly while young and does not seem particular as to the soil. Propagation is by seeds, which germinate readily, and by greenwood and root-cuttings.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases




  1. 1.0 1.1 Flora of China: Idesia (genus page), Idesia polycarpa (species page)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
  3. Tanaka, T. (1976). Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing.

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