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Itching for Iwanashi 岩梨

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Linton starts with ...
Itching for Iwanashi!
Japanese delicacy 岩梨

Need your help! I have been trying to grow the Japanese plant, Epigaea asiatica for a number of years now without success. This plant produces a small berry like fruit called Iwanashi which are considered a delicacy in Japan. However the seeds of the plant are described as being difficult to germinate and I have found that to be the case after many failed attempts. Since I have been itching to try these delicate fruits for so long, I ended up buying some bottled ones and the experience of savoring them has been something else.

If someone is by chance growing the Iwanashi plant, I appeal for some advice as to how these are best raised. Any suggestions, besides the use of GA3, to successfully break the dormancy of the seeds would be so greatly valued.
Pictures - Click to enlarge

Picture: 1

Picture: 2

Picture: 3
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Linton
NOBLE PARK,3174,VIC
24th November 2020 3:58pm
#UserID: 2286
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jakfruit etiquette says...
Hi Linton, the plant is in the Ericaceae, often bog and heath plants. You could check at methods to germinate plants in that family. They often have complex dormancy.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice by Norman C. Deano is a good resource for difficult seed.

Is it a wild plant or garden ornamental in Japan.
Maybe you could get help to search Japanese websites?
It looks like an interesting plant, are the fruit pics yours?
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jakfruit etiquette
gotham city,3000,Vic
25th November 2020 9:50pm
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Linton says...
Dear J.E.

Thanks for your suggestions, interesting about the Seed Germination Book, I looked at the free download version. It is about 250 pages and a bit too technical for a novice like myself but I will study it some more over time.

Epigaea asiatica grows wild in the mountain regions of Japan. The fruits are only foraged from plants in the wild where it grows on cliffs and rock faces. I read that it belongs to the Azalea family.

I was sent some information from Japan about germinating the seeds but it was very cloudy suggesting that only a few seeds might germinate after 2 years. I also contacted some people in the rock garden clubs overseas who are successfully growing it but the information provided was scant and it was not very clear how they achieved their success.

I wish I had grown the Iwanashi fruits in the pictures, but those are photos I took myself of the ones I bought from a shop already bottled. Those Iwanashi fruit have an exquisite taste a bit like pears with a light and delicate flavour.

Thanks for listening!
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Linton
NOBLE PARK,3174,VIC
27th November 2020 8:49am
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TareqMelb1 says...
Hi Linton,

I must say I have no experience of this plant. However, searching online I found this "Ground Laural and Mayflower seeds (and other Epigaea members) should be sown outdoors using fresh seeds (mid summer) at a depth of about 6 mm into a sterile soil that is acidic in nature (pH 4 to 5) and gritty." Source: https://www.gardenershq.com/Epigaea-Mayflower.php

Based on this information, I suggest you use the azalea potting mix and even add some iron to it (a strategy used to better propagate seedlings of garcinias)
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TareqMelb1
CHELTENHAM,3192,VIC
27th November 2020 9:25pm
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jakfruit etiquette says...
I think Tareq is on the right track, there are also other Epigea species, so you might find more info about those. The germination strategies might include cold stratification, heat incubation, light stimulation, scarification, bird ingestion.
It is in the Ericaceae, a lot of those need strategies to germinate. Epigea does seem difficult.

It is also called trailing Arbutus. Arbutus is the Strawberry tree, so you can probably see the connection with the fruit and flowers.
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jakfruit etiquette
gotham city,3000,Vic
29th November 2020 9:32am
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