Mengmeng Gu, Ph.D., is an Extension Specialist-Ornamental working at Mississippi State University. She conducts applied research on ornamental plants and teaches Greenhouse Management, a undergraduate/graduate level class.

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Edible Chrysanthemum
by Mengmeng Gu       #Edibles   #Hot Plants

Every family in the Gu's village where I spent my childhood had a row of edible chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum nankingense) along the north side of their house and very close to the wall. Starting in early summer we pick the tender tips, about 1 inch long, and use them in stir-fry or soup. It has a very refreshing taste. This continues until early or midfall, depending on whether we want flowers. Picking encourages more growing tips (and flowers later on) and keeps the plant short and rounded. It flowers in late fall if picking stops around early fall. In late fall, tons of tiny, 1/2 inch golden yellow flowers cover and fill the plant.  Edible chrysanthemum is the most shade-tolerant and pruning-tolerant chrysanthemum that I have ever seen. It not only flowers on the outside, but also the inside of the plant canopy, probably because of its shade tolerance. I have never observed insect damage on it and the only disease I've seen was powdery mildew when grown in a greenhouse with very high humidity. Powdery mildew did not affect flowering but instead made it resemble Chrysocephalum 'Flambe Yellow'. The pollen production is proliferous because of numerous stamens and special care is needed when handling the plants in flower.

Common Name: Edible chrysanthemum

Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum nankingense

Type: Perennial, Zones 5-9

Size: 3-5 feet high by 2-4 feet wide

Bloom Time: Late fall

Exposure: Full shade to full sun

Moisture: Tolerates a wide range of moisture

Soil: Tolerates a wide range of soils

Uses: Edible landscape, border planting, container, perennial bed

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Posted: 11/04/10   RSS | Print

 

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