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Spikenard, California (Aralia californica), potted plant, organic


Family:  Ginseng (Araliaceae)
Hardy to Zones 3 to 9
(Elk Clover, California Ginseng, Aralia californica, Western Spikenard)
This is the largest herbaceous member of its family that occurs here in the US. The root, aromatic and dripping with sticky white oleoresin, is the part normally used, and it has a long history of effectiveness in treating upper respiratory complaints and as a partus preperatur in childbirth. The plant gives great strength to weakened parts (and weakened people). Preferring to grow near rushing streams in the part shade, California spikenard is nonetheless sufficiently robust and adaptable to be grown in regular garden conditions–it is probably the most forgiving, adaptable and easily grown of the “ginsengs.” Sow outdoors in cool, moist shade in the fall for germination in the spring. Alternatively, give 90 days refrigeration in moist potting soil in a plastic bag or jar and then plant outdoors in cool, moist shade. The plant is fast-growing and does well in rich soils in the part shade. It can even be container grown, although of course it doesn’t get as big if you restrict root development. Basically I’m in love with these and you can get a lot more information about California spikenard by reading my book “Making Plant Medicine.”   Space plants 3 feet apart.

Potted plant, certified organically grown


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  1. Question


    Which spikenard would you recommend for zone 3 in Wyoming, the Eastern or Calif? (I think both are listed as zone 3.)

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    • Mayche Cech

      Mayche Cech

      Hi Jody, Wyoming is a western state (barely) so I’d say the California version might work best. In terms of the plants that we have right now, I believe the California Spikenard are a bit older and a bit bigger than the Eastern ones. r

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