Schisandra chinensis is a deciduous, ornamental, woody, twining vine that produces edible fruit and is native to forests of Northern China and the Russian Far East. Commonly known as the Chinese Magnolia Vine, it is one of the most ornamental edible vines you could ever wish to grow. Scratch the bark and an intense, clean fragrance that's a combination of Daphne odora and lime peel will greet your nose. The leaves along the stem are solid green, grouped in threes and slightly heart shaped. The spring flowers are small and sweetly fragrant and are followed by dense grape-like clusters of shiny brilliant red berries ripening in late summer. It is very fast growing and can grow up to 25 feet in a single season. The species itself is dioecious, thus flowers on a female plant will only produce fruit when fertilized with pollen from a male plant. Known as Wu We Zi, translates to 'five flavour fruit' for the sweet, salty, sour, hot and bitter combined flavours of the little red morsels which are much loved by wildlife. Schisandra chinensis berries are one of the 50 essential ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. Fresh Schisandra berries are much better tasting than the dried fruit, although both fresh and dried fruit are packed with nutrition. That said, the fresh berries are an acquired taste. In China, a wine is made from the berries.
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