Amur Velvet: Description Of The Tree, Planting And Care, Places Of Growth

The Amur velvet plant is found in natural conditions in the Far East. The bark of this plant, as well as its berries and leaves, has long been considered very valuable. The bark has special properties, for which the plant is also called a "cork tree". In Oriental (Korean and Chinese) medicine, various parts of Amur velvet are used to make a variety of medicinal potions. If you want, you can grow such an unusual tree in your garden.

It is a real ornament for any garden.

Peculiarities of Amur velvet

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

Amur velvet or velvet tree is scientifically called Phellodendron amurense. This plant is a relict plant, which means that it has been around since before the Ice Age. It is native to the Far East, which occupies a fairly vast territory. At the same time, it was almost impossible to see it in the middle latitudes until recently.

The velvet tree is a member of the Root family. Since its thick bark is particularly light, this plant is popularly referred to as a "cork tree". There are several species of this plant, but they all have similar characteristics:

  1. In natural conditions the plant can reach a height of about 28 meters. When grown in culture in the middle latitudes, its height usually varies from 6 to 10 meters.
  2. The trunk reaches 100 to 150 centimeters in cross-section.

    However, if the plant is old, the trunk may be thicker.

  3. The trunk is covered with thick, velvety and soft bark (a mature tree is about 70 mm thick) of grayish color with a beautiful silvery tint. Over time, the coloring of the bark becomes darker and furrows appear on its surface. The bark is characterized by a porous top layer that easily separates from the base, and has a distinct edge with a bast that is yellow in color.
  4. The umbrella-like, low and wide crown is formed from horizontally arranged branches.

    If velvet trees grow in groups, their branches extend upward. In this case, the crown shape will be pyramidal.

  5. The alternately arranged compound leaf laminae include several narrow laminae, the tips of which are pointed. The leaves open during the first days of summer, and by early October they all fall off. The foliage has a dark, bright green coloration.

  6. The first flowering of this plant is observed in 16-18 years, with flowers appearing on it in July. The small, brush-like inflorescences have a rich, specific fragrance. If you rub the leaf or flower between your fingers, the scent becomes stronger.
  7. Fruit formation is completed in the last days of August. The fruits are small, spherical, black berries that are 10 mm across.

    There are five seeds in each fruit. By the second half of October, the berries are fully ripe. As a rule, a very large number of fruits are formed (on one tree about 10 kilograms). They very often do not fall off the branches until winter.

  8. Strength and well developed roots go deep into the soil.

    The tree is therefore drought- and frost-resistant and does not fear powerful gusts of wind.

In favorable climatic conditions, the crop is capable of living for about three hundred years. Its average life span is 200 to 250 years.



Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

In nature, Amur velvet is most widely distributed in the Far East (Priamur'ye, Kuril Islands, Khabarovsk Territory, Sakhalin and Primory). It can also be found on the territory of China, Japan and Korea.

It is cultivated in various countries where it is used as an ornamental plant for gardens, parks and public gardens.

In China this plant is also called the "black pearl tree". This unusual name comes from a legend which says that once upon a time, a black pearl dropped during a stroll. It grew into a luxuriant tree, whose fruit is a reminder of the Emperor's lost ornament.

This tree prefers to grow in places with high humidity and plenty of light.

And it is highly drought-resistant. It is best suited to loamy soil. However, the tree will not grow on a plot with sandy soil.

Planning and care

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

The Amur velvet is quite unpretentious in care. This spectacular crop is capable of being an ornament to any garden.

Often gardeners use it to create group plantings, with the velvet tree most often combined with other deciduous trees as well as conifers and shrubs.


Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growthAmur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

If you decide to plant such a tree in your garden, you should consider that its appearance changes greatly with years. You should keep this in mind while still planting the seedling on the plot. How exactly the culture will develop and grow in a particular place, for the most part depends on how the gardener follows the following recommendations:

  1. When choosing a planting place, it is necessary to remember that a few years later a small bush will turn into a gorgeous tree with a wide crown. You should therefore choose a location that is at an optimum distance from buildings, houses and other large plants.

    It should also be remembered that the root system grows deep, so the site should be located away from underground utilities.

  2. Sapling planting is recommended in April or in the early fall period.
  3. Saplings aged 1-2 years take root best.
  4. The planting hole should be approximately 0.6 metres deep and wide.

  5. When the seedling is 7 days old the hole is filled with substrate consisting of soil, sand, sod and humus. During this time, the earth mixture should settle. After that, you can proceed to planting.

Barkhammer Amur. Planting and care

Care for Amur velvet

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

Care only requires young plants that are not two years old.

Amur velvet will also need care if there is a prolonged drought. Caring for this tree is very simple: It needs regular nourishment and watering. The plant responds best to the following fertilizers:

  • Fall time - complex mineral fertilizers;
  • Spring time - organics (manure, compost and urea).

Young specimen needs one bucket of nutrient solution, and mature specimen needs approximately five buckets.

For roots to receive optimal quantity of water and oxygen, the surface of rooting circle should be regularly loosened.

And to slow the evaporation of water from the ground, the surface of the root zone should be covered with a layer of mulch (pine or turf).

Young plants have considerable growth from the first year of life. In just the first 12 months, the tree grows about half a meter in height. And after two years, it will grow two or even three times faster.

Cut only when you really need it.

For example, if there is too little branching. The branches should be cut very carefully and the cut areas should be treated with a garden varnish. You should also remember to trim dry or injured shoots in time.

If the velvet tree is planted not only as a garden decoration but also for berry picking, then at least 2 trees of different sexes should be planted next to each other.

This plant is frost-resistant.

However, while it is young, it is recommended to protect it from winter frosts with a good quality shelter. It also needs to be protected from wind gusts. The mature tree does not need to be covered.

Propagation methods

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

Growing from seed

Seeds of Amur velvet are collected in the fall. It is stored in a cool and well-ventilated place for three months.

If the seed is not subjected to stratification, it is soaked in hot water and left for a few days before sowing. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the open ground or in a container with substrate (humus, garden soil and peat). The seeds are buried in the soil at 30-50 mm. During 2 years, the seedlings are provided with timely watering and feeding, as well as weeding and loosening the soil surface. Before frosts set in, the surface of planting circles should be covered with a layer of mulch, and the seedlings themselves covered with breathing material.

My way of Amur velvet sowing.


Taking cuttings is performed in the last days of spring or first days of summer. For the shoots to produce roots, they should be buried for a few days in moist soil. To improve the result, you can use a product that stimulates root growth.

Inexperienced gardeners most often use the method of cuttings to propagate a velvet tree, as it is easier and faster.

Also, this method allows you to grow a tree exactly the sex you need. If the cuttings were cut from a male plant, they will all be the same. The same goes for a female tree.

Diseases and pests

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

Amur velvet is very resistant to diseases and pests. However, cracks form on the bark surface of the trunk during severe frosts.

It is recommended to coat them with garden varnish.

Application and value of Amur velvet

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

Amur velvet is used very widely. It is often used in non-conventional medicine:

  1. Lub. It has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. It is also used to make a variety of ointments, tinctures and powders that are used during the therapy of respiratory diseases, inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract, a variety of infections (dysentery, hepatitis).

  2. Fruits. They are used to prepare decoctions and infusions used to treat diseases of the respiratory system (pleurisy, pneumonia and tuberculosis), as well as diabetes.
  3. Berry, foliage or bast can be brewed all together or each component separately. A tincture is also prepared and used to gargle the mouth as well as for hypertension, cholecystitis, and other ailments.

Please note that any part of the velvet tree contains toxic substances.

Therefore, allergic reactions, dizziness, nausea and suffocation may result if too much is taken.

The Amur velvet's wood is not used anywhere but its thick bark is highly valued as it is similar to cork: flexible, light and airtight. It is very widely used for making wine stoppers, haberdashery, decoration materials and shoes. The bark is also used as a filler for life jackets.

The flowers of this crop are rather unsightly, but they are very attractive to bees.

Honey from Amur velvet has a greenish hue, as well as high taste qualities. It is considered an effective anti-tuberculosis remedy.

🌿Amur velvet. Herbalism. Tatiana Hegai

Amur velvet in landscape design

Amur velvet: description of the tree, planting and care, places of growth

The Amur velvet tree is a long-lived tree that is unpretentious and spectacular in appearance.

It is often used for landscaping gardens and recreation areas in cities because:

  1. His dense crown provides ample shade.
  2. As it grows, the tree's trunk can take on a fanciful shape. It can branch and curve, so the garden or park can have a unique "exhibit".
  3. This tree is very big. So even a solitary tree looks very impressive especially in combination with a well kept green lawn.

    It can be used as a starting point when shaping the landscape of a plot.

  4. It is very suitable for group plantings together with oaks, maples, birches and low shrubs (thuja, barberry and juniper).

The velvet tree gives a homely and unusual atmosphere in a garden or park and will last for many years because it can live for around three hundred years.

This plant has a very long life span..

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