Schisandra chinensis is a flowering and fruit bearing vine native to China and the berries are often used in herbal and homeopathic medicine to improve a range of maladies and induce wellness, according to Purdue University. The schisandra plant is outdoor hardy in climates as cool as USDA zone 4 with the vines blooming in the spring and the cerise clusters of edible berries maturing for harvest in late summer. Schisandra can be propagated by seed or sold as an established vine plant, much like other berry species. Dried schisandra berries can also be purchased in several forms according to preference and end use.
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Purchase schisandra plants from an exotic plants or speciality fruit nursery online, from a mail order catalogue or from a bricks and mortar nursery in your region that deals in rare or edible plants and/or herbs. (see Resources)
Look for established plants with woody but still flexible canes with moist, living tissue visible when the cambium is scraped away from the cane, if you are in any doubt.
Buy the healthiest plants possible looking for leafed out plants in the spring, summer and fall. The leaves should be a mid-tone green with serrated edges and monochromatic, uniformly green veining. Inspect the leaves for insect damage or signs of disease before purchasing.
Acquire schisandra in sets of at least two plants for each planting location, one male and one female. The species is dioecious and plants must be cross-pollinated in order to ensure flower pollination and fruit set, as they are not capable of self-pollinating, according to the University of Massachusetts.
Source your schisandra seeds for planting from a reputable seed catalogue, speciality fruit or speciality herb dealer for the best quality seeds with the highest germination rates. There are several online storefronts that specialise in more exotic or hard to find seeds. (see Resources)
Use a reputable online or mail order catalogue source that can verify and will guarantee that the berries we're either grown organically without chemical pesticides or are safe to eat and were legally sourced.
Buy the dried berries for eating whole or for use in homemade remedies from herbal or nutrition retailers or Asian markets either in small quantities or in bulk.
Shop for dried and ground schisandra berry powder in capsule form or in bulk for use in filling custom supplement capsules or for dissolving into liquids from herbal and health food stores. Online and mail order speciality nutrition and herb retailers are most likely to stock this version of the berry. (see Resources)
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