Other names: Chinese Toon shoots, Chinese toon buds, Chinese toon leaves, Chinese cedar, Chinese mahogany cedar, Xiang Chun (Ya), Xiangchun (ya), Hsiang Tsun.
Chinese toon is a perennial hardwood, which is a member of the Meliaceae family. The young leaves and shoots can be used as a vegetable called Hsiang Chun Ya (Xiang Chun Ya ). In China, Chinese toon is known as a "tree vegetable" . The fresh young leaves / shoots contain 84% water, 9.8% protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, and are rich in aromatic substances. They're uniquely aromatic and therefore excellent for stir fry ( especially with egg ), salad, fry, pickling, seasoning, etc. This plant is a native of China. China is the only country where Chinese toon young leaves / shoots are used as a vegetable. Chinese toon is also used in Chinese traditional medicine. So Chinese toon is widely planted in China. Basically, there are two kinds of Chinese toon. One is called Purple Chinese toon where the young leaves/ buds are a purple or dark red color, the skin is gray brown and the branches stretch out. The young shoots are strongly aromatic, rich in lipid with less fibrous. Green Chinese toon is another one. The plant stands up,the skin is greenish gray, the young shoots are less aromatic and contain less lipid. Chinese toon is suitable for sandy but fertile soil. Tolerant to humidity to some extent. The favorable pH is pH 5.5-pH 8.0. It is good for areas with an annual average temperature between 8 C°/ 46 F° and 10 C°/ 50 F°. Its tolerance to cold increases with its age. During the last decade, protective cultivation of Chinese toon (e. g. plastic tunnel, greenhouse) was developed and widely used. So, that the fresh Chinese toon vegetable can be supplied in the winter, especially during Chinese New Year holidays. An increasing portion of Chinese toon products (pickled, canned, dehydrated, but not fresh ) are exported overseas. Chinese toon seeds can also be used for sprouting. Chinese toon sprouts are a nutritional, healthy gourmet vegetable and are more popular in China. Seed pre-treating and germination: As the seeds are somewhat difficult to germinate, it is recommended the seeds be soaked in warm water (around 25C°/ 77 F° ) for 24 hours. Change the water 4 times during the soaking period. Optimum germination temperature is 25C°/ 77 F°. Direct seeding is possible, however the germination may not be good. Seed depth: 0.5 cm. Keep the soil moist by spraying it with water when necessary. Seed storage: Chinese toon seeds must be kept dry and at low temperature. We recommend using the seeds as soon as possible when you get them, since the seeds lose viability rapidly.