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Beautiful Bunium Bulbocastanum-Earth Chestnut

A really beautiful edible plant native to western and southern Europe. Earth Chestnut looks great in both an ornamental or kitchen garden. It produces lovely, white lacey flowers, held above the lush green parsley like foliage. The flowers are also great beneficial insect attractors.

The entire plant is edible. Leaves can be used as you would parsley, and can be eaten raw or cooked. Seeds of the Earth Chestnut are highly valued as a culinary spice. You can use the dried seeds as a cumin substitute in recipes. Earth Chestnut also makes tasty little underground tubers, that are edible raw or cooked, with a flavour like sweet chestnuts. Once a widely wild harvested plant for both food and medicine, now it is another almost forgotten useful vegetable and spice.

As for growing Earth Chestnut in my Australian garden, I have them growing in one of my vegetable patches. In Maitland, NSW, where I live, the climate is warm temperate. The weather can get to over 40 degrees Celsius in the summer months, and it has gotten to as cold as -2 degrees Celsius in the winter, and we experience some blanket frosts. The Earth Chestnuts have grown well through these conditions. The plants in the garden, with morning sun and afternoon shade, did go dormant through the height of summer, but shot back once the weather began to cool. My nursery stock plants, which are grown in 50% shade, have never gone dormant, remaining lush and green and actively growing throughout most of the year. There is some slowing of growth over the winter. Earth chestnuts require to be watered regularly when the weather is dry.

I often have Earth Chestnut plants for sale on my website.


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