Chinese vegetable tree, Toona sinensis seeds

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Chinese vegetable tree, Toona sinensis seeds


Toona sinensis-Chinese vegetable tree is one of the species of T.sinensis commonly known as Chinese mahogany, Chinese toon or red toon. The plant has synonyms such as Toona Sinensis var.schensiana, Toona Serrata, Mioptrila odarata raf, Cendrela Sinensis juss, ailanthus mairei Gagnep among others. It is a variety of Meliaceae family species and genius toona. Origin can be traced back to southern Asia but has been naturalized in China, Nepal, Northern part of India, Myanmar, Thailand and parts of Indonesia. It is among the most cold-enduring species and the only member of maliaceae which has proven to be widely cultivated in northern Europe. Recently Cedrela has been widely planted in China hence the name Chinese toon.

The Toona Sinensis is characterised by frost Asian deciduous trees growing up to a height of 25meters, with a trunk of 70cm in diameter. Barks of this species is brown cracked with a grey colour covering the outer part which makes it scaly, especially on old trees. Chinese vegetable tree contains fresh pinnate leaves, with 30-40 cm leaflets, an average of 60cm broad. Sometimes terminal leaflets with serrated margins are absent and at times present. More importantly, during summer, flowers in panicles are formed. Most flowers are small with a diameter of 4-5mm. Its petals are pale pink in colour. The fruits of Toona Simensis form capsule up to 3.5 cm long. Leaves and shoots are rich in aromatic materials.

The plant performs best in sandy, rich fertile soil; however, it can tolerate some humid weather. Plant Ph is favourable with 5.5 Ph. Cedrela plant is exceptional in areas with annual temperature ranging between 80c and 100c.

Alternatively, the species seeds are quite difficult to germinate, however, proper soaking in warm water is recommended. Optimum temperature is needed. During germination, the soil should be kept moist by regularly spraying with water.

Leaves of Toona Sinensis are commonly used to prepare a paste that can be used as a condiment or served with plain rice porridge and other simple meals. Traditionally roots of Chinese toon, leaves and stems were used to cure diarrhoea, and to prevent bleeding. The tree barks are peeled and later used in purifying the blood. As a matter of fact, Toona Sinesis have also been noted to the lower blood sugar level in humans. Some regions in China use T. Sinensis as vegetables.

T. sinensis has been used often in Chinese literature representing the father in a mature tree, also in sending best wishes to friend or family.

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