Fo-ti / Ho-shou-wu: Where in the World
habitat and range for fo ti

Fo ti is native to native to central and southern China, also grown in Japan and Taiwan.

Fo-ti / Ho-shou-wu: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on fo ti

Fo ti is a herbaceous perennial vine of the Polygonaceae family that grows to 2–4 m tall from a woody tuber. The leaves are 3–7 cm long and 2–5 cm broad, broad arrowhead-shaped, with an entire margin. The flowers are 6–7 mm diameter, white or greenish-white, produced on short, dense panicles up to 10–20 cm long in summer to mid autumn. The fruit is an achene 2.5–3 mm long.

common names & nomenclature
The Mandarin Chinese word for fo ti is he shou wu, which means, “black-haired man.” This name is in reference to the Chinese herbalist, Li Ching Yuen.

Also known as:
ho-shou-wu, fo-ti-tieng, chinese knotweed, flowery knotwood, climbing knotweed, fallopia multiflora

Fo-ti / Ho-shou-wu: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting fo ti

Fo ti grows along the banks of streams and in valley shrub thickets in sun or part shade.

Fo ti grows in an ordinary garden soil but prefers a moisture retentive not too fertile soil.

Sow seeds in spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually easy. When they are large enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into individual pots and plant them in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, over winter in a cold frame and plant out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Propagate by division in spring or autumn.

Fo ti roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 3-4 years old, and are dried for later use as slices or a powder.

Store dried Fo ti powder or dried Fo ti slices in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Fo-ti / Ho-shou-wu: The Rest of the Story
fo ti history, folklore, literature & more

Please note: Our Fo-Ti Slices and powder have been cured by simmering in a black bean liquid. These are not unprocessed roots.

Fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum), also known as fo-ti-tieng and Chinese knotweed, is a vine native to China, Japan and Taiwan. In fact, the Mandarin Chinese word for fo-ti is he shou wu, which means, “black-haired man.” This name is in reference to the Chinese herbalist, Li Ching Yuen, who allegedly consumed fo-ti daily and lived until the age of 132 years—or 197, or 256, depending on which version of the story you care to subscribe to. Although it is clearly established that Li left this world on May 6, 1933, exactly how long he inhabited remains a mystery. Some Imperial Chinese government records show his birth occurring in 1677, although Li maintained that he wasn’t born until 1736. Yet, the man was photographed while visiting the home of Chinese General Yang Sen in 1927, which prompted the general to record the event in a document titled, A Factual Account of the 250 Year-Old Good-Luck Man.

Several articles appearing in Time magazine and The New York Times in the 1920s and 1930s reported on Li’s secrets to long life, which included keeping a tranquil mind, sitting like a tortoise, walking spritely like a pigeon and sleeping like a dog.