Japanese Raisin Tree
The Japanese Raisin Tree is also known as the Chinese Raisin Tree, Kenpo Nashi or by its true name: Hovenia dulcis.
This ornamental shade tree is well-suited to the home garden as well as urban spaces. It has traditionally been used in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean medicines to treat fever, parasitic infection, as a laxative, and a treatment of liver diseases, and as a hangover treatment.
It grows well with little care and attention. A deciduous tree, it grows to a height of 6 – 9 m with a spread of 4 m. It is suited to temperate and subtropical climates and is very hardy to cold. It also does well in Melbourne, and you can see one at the Melbourne Botanical Garden.
The stem is stout, erect and branching at the apex, with deeply fissured dark brown bark. The leaves are heart-shaped and the flowers are white and small. It produces copious quantities of sweet, raisin-like, edible fruit which are the stems of small berries. It is these stems (not the berries!) which are the edible part of the plant.