Petasites japonicus

Discussion in 'Botany Photo of the Day Submissions' started by Weekend Gardener, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Petasites japonicus is one of the earliest flowering plants in the our garden, competing with the likes of the snow drops, hellebores and sarcococcas. But Petasites hybridus, as in the Botany Photo of the Day, seems more decorative.

    Petasites 16Jan08 (5) 1200.JPG

    Petasites 16Jan08 (8) 1200.JPG

    Petasites 16Jan08 (1) 1200.JPG
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    These are also a food item.

    The flowerbuds have a slightly bitter yet agreeable flavor and are prized as a vegetable and condiment in Japan. They are eaten while still green with miso or boiled down in soy sauce

    --Facciola, Cornucopia II (1998, Kampong Publications, Vista)
     
  3. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I agree. Also called "Coltsfoot", "Butterbur" or "Japanese Rhubarb", it is used in Japan, the long leaf stalk being peeled and pickled to make fuki. The stalks are boiled in salt water for 5-7 minutes, then removed and plunged into call water. The tough outer skin is then peeled. It is said to have a fragrance to it - like celery. The flower bud is referred to as "fuki no tou." This is what Ron refers to - it's boiled or pan fried dressed with miso soup. Sometimes, it's deep fried in batter to make "fuki no tou temmpura".

    Interesting, there is some research done in mice which suggest that an extract from this plant may have neuroprotective effect against oxidative damage. The protective effect may be due to a furfuran lignan, petaslignolide A.

    On the other hand, it also has a number of pyrrolizidine alkaloid toxins, the latest to be identified being Fukinotoxin and Petasitenine. These alkaloids are known to be potentially carcinogenic and has been associated with liver toxicity. Of course, as with everything else, it boils down to consuming things in excess - case reports of toxicity are invariably due to prolonged and excessive exposure,often in the form of herbal extracts. I understand that oral preparations of herbs containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids are banned in the US.
     

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