Hovenia dulcis

A unique and very, very fast growing, no-care fruit tree with medicinal qualities. Sounds almost too good to be true, this Livingseeds introduction is something seldom seen in South Africa. We hope to change this.

The Japanese Raisin tree is a deciduous, extremely hardy tree to about 10m in height. It can grow as fast as Eucalyptus spp. under the correct conditions, reaching six meters in as little as three to four years, and it can fruit at three meters high!
The fine-grained wood is of high quality, making this species of special interest in craft wood, agro-forestry, but this is truly the least of this multi-facetted sustainability champion.
The tree bears huge quantities of the strangest looking “fruit” in autumn and early winter. Looking like a tangle of succulent, soft brown twigs with hard berries on the end, these are swollen receptacles, and are one of the sweetest things you have ever tasted! The flavour is somewhere between haanepoot raisins and dates with a sugar content of up to 42%!
Fruit can be dried and stored, baked into the literally best sweet bread types imaginable (such as “date” bread”), used as a substitute to both raisins and dates in almost any recipe (they replace sugar in malva pudding gorgeously for instance), can be boiled down to a syrup, used to brew and infuse traditional medicinal wines and liquors etc. etc.
Extracts of the young leaves and seed can be processed into a honey substitute, and various plant parts and extracts of the tree are known to have  antidiabetic, anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective activity in Chinese traditional medicine, and is especially prized in alcoholic intoxication and hangover treatment. Dried green whole fruiting bodies are brewed into a tea for this last, famous as Hovenia tea, the active ingredient, dihydromyricetin being a potent detoxification agent.

Seeds can be sown in summer after soaking overnight in warm water. Seed can take a little while to germinate and its best to sow when night temperatures are reliably about 15C and soil temperatures are warm. A germination heating pad will greatly assist in getting this amazing tree off to a good start.
The trees grow fast but should be established in pots for their first season before planting out. Young trees need protection from frost until the wood in their main stem hardens, then the tree is hardy to -25C!
The hard-shelled berries connected by thin stalks to the infructescence (a fancy word for the “fruit”) contains the seed. You crack them open to reveal small, hard shelled orange seed. Trees produce a lot of seed.
The species grows best in moist, fertile soil but requires very little care once established. We have noticed no pests or diseases of the tree in South Africa, about the only problem we can imagine you could encounter is what to do with all the fruit in season!

Standard Packet Only:
~ 10 seeds

Write a review

Please login or register to review

Japanese Raisin Tree

  • Product Code: 352-0020
  • Availability: In Stock
  • R33.06

Tags: raison tree, hovenia, japanese,

Newsletter Subscription


* E-Mail:

* First Name: