Eleuthero: Where in the World
habitat and range for eleuthero

Eleuthero is native to Siberia, northern China, Japan and Korea, now naturalized in northwestern U.S. and British Columbia.

Eleuthero: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on eleuthero

Eleutherococcus senticosus is a small, woody shrub in the Araliaceae family. It grows 3 - 10 feet high. Its leaves are attached to a main stem by long branches. Both the branches and the stem are covered with thorns. Flowers, yellow or violet, grow in umbrella-shaped clusters, and turn into round, black berries in late summer. The root itself is woody and is brownish, wrinkled, and twisted.

common names & nomenclature
Common names like Devil’s Shrub and Devil’s Bush are in reference to the spiny branches.

Also known as:
ginseng root, eleuthero, devil's shrub, devil's bush, pepper brush, wild pepper, touch-me-not, wu jia pi, ciwujia

Eleuthero: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting eleuthero

Eleuthero grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. It is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade.

Eleuthero is adaptable to many soils, growing in sandy, loamy, and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral, or alkaline chemistry and including poor soils.

Sow seeds as soon as they are ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Seeds can be slow to germinate. Stored seed requires 6 months warm followed by 3 months cold. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. This plant may also be propagated by cuttings or division.

The roots are harvested in the autumn, cut and dried for later use. Dried root may also be ground in powder.

To harvest Echinacea roots, lift the plant and tip it back using a garden fork. Use a very sharp knife and clean-cut the portions of root that you want to harvest. Be sure to leave enough roots to sustain the plant. A good rule of thumb is to harvest about 20% of root if you intend to make annual harvests. Dry the roots (cut into small pieces) and leaves.

Store dried root pieces or powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.