100-200 Codonopsis seeds, C. pilosula, Dang shen, TCM herb
Codonopsis pilosula Open-pollinated vine. AKA 'Poor Man’s Ginseng' and dang shen in China. Used in Chinese medicine like ginseng, but considerably easier to grow than true Panax ginseng.
Perennial to Zone 4. Twining and vining perennial native to China, with small ovate leaves growing to 3–4 feet long by their second year. Mature vine about 5–6 feet long. Buds look like green peas, swell to little green balloons, flower as green bells with purple veining, then mature to five-sided-balloon seed pods. Also fun to grow as a novel ornamental.
Harvest long firm sweet roots with tight skins in autumn at 4–6 years. The roots are crunchy, very sweet, quite delicious. Protect from gophers.
Used to support energy levels, digestion, immune response, and to clear excess mucus from the lungs: builds chi and tonifies the blood.
Full sun to part shade, well-drained soil. A soft and pretty climber with bell-shaped blossoms.