Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Toona Sinensis, Chinese Cedar/mahogany/chestnut

£0.79

The young leaves of Toona sinensis (xiāngchūn) are extensively used as a vegetable in China; they have an onion-like flavour. Plants with red young leaves are considered of better flavour than those where the young leaves are green.

The timber is hard and reddish; it is valuable, used for furniture making and for bodies of electric guitars. Being a "true mahogany", it is the most sought after replacement for Swietenia mahogany ("genuine mahogany") which is now commercially restricted from being sourced natively.

Wood - very durable, easily worked, takes a good polish. It is a very valuable timber, resembling mahogany, and is used for making furniture, window frames etc. 

The wood is delicately scented and is burnt in temples as an incense.

Outside of its native region Toona sinensis is valued more as a large ornamental tree for its haggard aspect.

It is by far the most cold-tolerant species in the Meliaceae and the only member of the family that can be cultivated successfully in northern Europe.

Edible uses:

Young shoots and leaves - cooked. This is a highly esteemed food in China, it is said to resemble onions in flavour and is usually boiled. Rich in vitamin A, the leaves also contain about 6% protein, 1% fat, 6.6% carbohydrate, 1.5% ash. The leaves can be used as a tea substitute.

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