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Blue Sausage Fruit | A Delectable Ornamental


Blue Sausage Fruit | A Delectable Ornamental

By MPF – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Decaisnea fargesii, which is commonly known as blue sausage fruit, dead man’s fingers or blue bean plant, is a large deciduous shrub that originates from the western Himalayan regions of east Asia (Nepal, Tibet, India and China). Decaisnea is a member of the Lardizabalaceae family and can easily be grown in USDA Zones 6-9. Decaisnea shrubs can reach a height and spread of 20ft if given the appropriate growing conditions. During early summer, Decasisnea produces bell shaped, yellow/greenish flowers (they are especially fragrant during the evenings) followed by dark blue, long, pod like fruit in early fall (which I think is it’s redeeming feature). The fruit contains a large number of small black seeds and pulp which is gelatinous but edible (the skin and the seeds however are not). The fruit’s pulp is sweet and has a subtle flavor of cucumber and watermelon.

By Daderot – Own work, CC0,

Decaisnea fargesii prefers full sun but can accept dappled shade. It thrives in organic loamy, moist and well-draining soil. Decaisnea can handle cold temperatures as low as 5 °F, however, it should be sheltered from cold winds. In the spring, if the shrub produces early blooms, they can easily become damaged by frost. Decaisnea cannot handle hot climates or drought conditions. The soil will need consistent moisture. Decaisnea fargesii does not suffer from any destructive diseases or pests and does not require pruning.

Decaisnea fargesii can be propagated from cuttings or sown from stored seeds indoors in late winter. I usually will take several months to germinate. The transplants can be placed outdoors in spring after the last frost. Keep in mind, it will take 2-3 years to produce fruit.

Decaisnea fargesii fruit is widely cultivated and used for its culinary properties in its native regions but is not widely used for its edible qualities in the United States. Perhaps, in the next several years, it will be included vastly in permaculture gardens or food forests. It also has a special ornamental quality and will certainly provide interest to a food or woodland garden.

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