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Yellowhorn Xanthoceras sorbifolium

Previously known as:

  • Xanthoceras sorbifola
Description

Yellowhorn is a rare, deciduous shrub or small tree native to Northern China.  It will grow in a variety of soil types, but prefers loamy soil, in a sunny, warm and dry location.  This plant will perform at its best in a location that experiences dry springs and warm summers.  It needs to be protected from frost and cold winds, as a late spring frost can damage the young growth.  To stimulate the production of flower buds, summer heat is required.  That heat will help to fully ripen the wood and stimulate flower buds.  

Its spring-blooming white flowers bloom with white edges and yellow throats.  As the flower mature, the throat will turn to a deep maroon color.  Plant as a specimen or in small groups, in a border back, or near a patio.  Blooming takes place on old wood, so pruning should be accomplished after the spring bloom period.  

The flowers, foliage and seeds are edible.  The flowers and leaves are usually boiled.  The seed which is about the same size as a pea has a sweet taste, will remind you of a sweet chestnut.  The seed is husked and ground into a powder, then boiled.

An excellent choice for a small landscape, where light pruning can control the tree size.  

Its native habitat includes rocky slopes on hills and mountains.

Insects Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Coral spot fungus can occur, particularly when the wood is not fully ripened and the plant is exposed to a late frost.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#shade tolerant#edible flowers#deciduous shrub#cut flowers#low maintenance#flowering tree#showy fruits#disease resistant#edible seeds#edible leaves#deciduous tree#border back#broadleaf#damp soil tolerant#xeric
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#small tree#fragrant flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#shade tolerant#edible flowers#deciduous shrub#cut flowers#low maintenance#flowering tree#showy fruits#disease resistant#edible seeds#edible leaves#deciduous tree#border back#broadleaf#damp soil tolerant#xeric
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Xanthoceras
    Species:
    sorbifolium
    Family:
    Sapindaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern China
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds and bees.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    The flowers, foliage and seeds are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Tree
    Vegetable
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The 2.5" green fruits look like buckeyes. They can be either round or pear-shaped. The capsules contain large pea-sized seeds. When roasted, they are said to have a taste similar to macadamia nuts. The seeds are purplish-brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    1" star-shaped 5 petaled white flowers with red or yellow centers form on 6-10" racemes. The racemes reach lengths of up to 10".
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The dark green leaves that can grow up to 12" long have 9-17 leaflets that persist into the late fall. Each leaflet is 1.5-2" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    This specimen has a single trunk and is non-suckering.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Small groups
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Drought