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Glycyrrhiza uralensis

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Latin Name: Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Common Name: Licorice, Chinese Licorice, Sweet Root

Chinese Name: Gan Cao

Sanskrit Name: Yashti-madhu, Yashti-madhuka


Family: Fabaceae

Energy: Moist, Slightly Warm

Taste: Sweet, Slightly Bitter

Parts Used: Root

Habitat: Native to Central Asia. Licorice grows in sandy soil usually near a stream for ample water. Glycyrrhiza glabra, which is very similar medicinally, comes from the Mediterranea region.

Varieties: There is a native American licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota, but it does not have as intense a flavor as the Chinese species and may not be equivalent medicinally.

Type: Perennial shrub.

Size: 3' x 5', shorter and more spreading than G. glabra.

Spacing for Production: 2', roots will grown down to 4'.

Site and Zone: Full-sun, well-drained soil, rots if it sits in water. G. uralensis is supposedly not as cold tolerant as G. glabra and will not tolerate a freeze, Z9, Z10, Z11, but I plan to try it in Z8. I chose this one to plant at our farm because we have acid-soil. The true Licorice (G. glabra) is said to prefer alkaline soils.

Soil: Produces a large underground root system that fixes nitrogen. Likes rich-soil, sandy-soil, well-drained soil, hates to sit in water but likes to have consistent moisture, especially early in the season. Does very well near a stream. Heat-loving. Hates-clay.

Will it Grow in Texas?: Yes.

Propagation: Root cuttings or seeds.

Bugs & Problems: Sometimes confused with licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolatum) at nurseries, so be careful.

Bloom time: Blue flowers.

Landscaping: Nice plant near a pond or stream. Will grow in pots.

Collection: Harvest the roots at 3 to 4 years.

Seed Sources: Seedlings2012Dec--Horizon Herbs seeds dated for 2013, said to need to be scarified. Sandpapering itty bitty seeds doesn't seem like any fun. Instead, I poured boiling water over them and let them soak for 4 hours. Since they require light for germination, I planted them in 4" pots on the surface and tamped down, then placed the pots on top of the heating coils in the greenhouse beds.

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