Xanthoceras sorbifolium


Yellowhorn, a rare deciduous shrub or small tree native to Northern China, thrives in various soils but prefers sunny, warm, and dry locations with loamy soil. Ideal conditions include dry springs and warm summers, but protection from frost and cold winds is necessary to prevent damage to young growth from late spring frost. Summer heat is essential to stimulate flower bud production.

Characterized by spring-blooming white flowers with yellow throats that turn maroon as they mature, Yellowhorn is suitable for planting as a specimen or in small groups. Pruning after the spring bloom period is recommended, as blooming occurs on old wood.

All parts of the plant, including flowers, foliage, and seeds, are edible. Flowers and leaves are typically boiled, while the pea-sized seeds, with a sweet taste reminiscent of chestnuts, are husked, ground into powder, and boiled. Yellowhorn is an excellent choice for small landscapes where light pruning can control tree size, mimicking its native habitat on rocky slopes of hills and mountains.

The seeds are known to contain a good amount of protein as well as unsaturated fatty acids. The leaves are often used for tea and contain caffeine in similar amounts to a flower tea.

Extracts made from the husks of this plant are also being explored for medical applications and, Xanthoceraside, the extracted compound, is known to have anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.


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