Velvet is an oligotypic genus of flowering plants, a representative of the Rutov family. This genus contains 10 species similar in biological characteristics that grow in East Asia. These are dioecious, deciduous trees, which have a delicate and spectacular crown with cirrus leaves, which also have a specific smell. The name of the genus goes back to the Greek words "phellos", which means "cork", and "dendron" - a tree.
This type of tree is considered relict plants that grew on the ground before the period of glaciation. So we can say that this kind of velvet is a real monument of nature, which needs careful consideration, protection and breeding.
Usually, the plant is found on well-drained, rich soils, in mixed and deciduous forests of the Primorsky and Khabarovsk territories, in China and Korea.
In the northern regions, the tree reaches 3-5 meters in height, in the Far East it grows much higher - about 25-30 meters. The bark has a dark gray color, in young trees - with a silver tint. Subsequently, the bark begins to darken, and in trees older than a hundred years, it becomes dark gray, almost black, and inside it is bright yellow with a cork layer. The leaves of Amur velvet consist of 5-13 leaves, opposite, unpaired, with an interesting smell. In the spring they are light green, in the summer they are dark green with a light lower part, and in the fall they turn yellow-orange or pale copper. His flowers are rather plain. Fruits are not suitable for food, black, in the form of a ball of drupes, which have a sharp tar smell. Often, the brush of berries persists all winter until spring. Amur velvet is a decorative tree throughout the year due to its beautiful and eye-catching wide-oval openwork crown, which has elegant, openwork cirrus leaves.
Amur velvet grows very quickly. He loves light, is demanding on the composition of soils, but is wind-resistant, since his root system is very deep and powerful. It also tolerates winter cold.
Thanks to its beautiful crown, it is often used for landscaping.
Japanese velvet and Sakhalin velvet
Both of these species have some similarities with Amur velvet. The differences are in a smaller size (average height - 15 m), dark and thin bark, as well as leaf morphology. Also, these species are less frost-resistant.
These types of velvet are also photophilous, demanding on the soil, but drought-resistant. Good for grafting, haircuts and pruning. Their life expectancy is about three hundred years. Velvet wood is very light, moderately strong, dries out a little, does not lend itself to decay for a long time, and also has a decorative texture and color.
Velvet tree is a valuable medicinal plant. Useful healing properties have its bark, which is harvested in the autumn or spring, its leaves, bast and fruits. Since ancient times, the leaves and bast of Amur velvet have been used in Chinese medicine as a tonic and appetite-enhancer, which also promotes good digestion, helps with depression, exhaustion, hepatitis, bacterial dysentery, and also as a hemostatic. Korean traditional medicine recommends eating 2-3 fresh berries every day if you have diabetes. In Tibetan medicine, it is believed that a decoction of velvet bark or bast helps with arthritis, allergies, dermatitis, diseases of the kidneys, lymph nodes and eyes.
Modern medicine has proved that the roots of the tree contain alkaloids and other nitrogen-containing substances, such as berberine, palmatine, iatroricin, coumarins and so on. In the cortex there are polysaccharides, alkaloids and steroids. Because bark extract is often used to treat cervical cancer. Also, a positive effect is observed in the treatment of tincture of the plant bark of ascites.
The good treatment of surgical wounds is facilitated by the use of velvet tree bark instead of rivanol. To prepare such a solution, it is necessary to insist 100 g of bark in 500 ml of distilled water. After 48 hours, heat the mixture over a fire, pour into a bottle, boil for 30 minutes in a water bath. Then you need to add 5 g of novocaine and 15 g of boric acid, and boil again, now 10 minutes. In the resulting liquid, it is necessary to soak a gauze cloth and attach to the wound.
Velvet leaves contain essential oil, vitamins C and P, beberine, tannins, coumarins, flavonoids. Essential oil obtained from leaves has bactericidal, anthelmintic, antiseptic properties, and leaf phytonicides also have bactericidal properties.
The fruits of the velvet tree in their composition have essential oil, carbohydrates, coumarins, alakaloids and tannins.
The bast revealed the presence of carbohydrates and related compounds, mucus, starch, alkaloids, saponins, cumanins, steroids, tannins. That is why the bast is highly recommended as a painkiller, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant. Also, its use will be useful in diseases of the lungs, flu, sore throat, bone tuberculosis, bruises and helminthiases. A decoction of external bast is used for eye and skin diseases, such as scrofula, eczema, as well as diseases of the oral mucosa. Broth is also known for its wound healing effect for bruises and burns.
Ornamental plants, Amur velvet
Velvet tree propagation
The most commonly used velvet tree propagation method is freshly picked seeds. For spring sowing, stratification is necessary, or soak them for three days in hot water, changing it three times in one day. Water temperature should reach +50 degrees Celsius. After sowing, it is necessary to mulch, loosen and weed, since the seedlings of this plant react very sharply to soil compaction. Grow seedlings 1-2 years in the conditions of an artificially created short day. This approach will increase the frost resistance of seedlings.