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Thymelaeaceae, Edgeworthia chrysantha, paperbush, mitsumata (Japanese)

March 21, 2012

Native to the Szechaun province in China, where it can be found growing in forests, shrubby slopes, dry sandy soil; from coastal areas to stream sides in mountain valleys, Edgeworthia is used to manufacture very high quality paper, including ornamental Japanese wallpaper and calligraphy paper. Historically, Japanese bank notes were made from this species and renowned for being the finest quality notes in the world.  Edgeworthia species are still grown in Japan for paper making, but today most Japanese bank notes are made from Manila hemp (Musa textilis – a relative of banana).

Edgeworthia was most likely introduced to Japan and Korea where it has been cultivated since the 16th century. Flowers are very fragrant. In China, the flowers, bark and roots are used in traditional medicine. The bark and roots have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and the flower buds are used to treat eye diseases.

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