Xanthoceras sorbifolium (yellowhorn, shiny leaf yellowhorn, goldenhorn, Chinese flowering chestnut) is a woody perennial in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, native to northern China in the provinces of Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Liaoning, Nei Monggol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, and Shandong.
It is a large shrub or small tree growing to 8 m tall. The fruit is an oval leathery capsule 5–6 cm diameter, which splits into three sections at maturity to release the 6–18 seeds; the seeds are black, 1.5 cm diameter, resembling a small horse chestnut seed.
The genus name means 'yellow horn'. The species name refers to the leaves, similar to those of rowans (Sorbus). It was originally spelled as sorbifolia, but this is a grammatical error that was corrected to sorbifolium under the ICBN.
The leaves, flowers, and seeds of yellowhorn are all edible.
Propagation is by seed soaked for 24 hours (sometimes 48 hours is necessary) and gently nicking the seed coat near the pore, slowly shaving it away until you see the barest glimmer of white, being very careful not to cut the embryo. Re-soak for 12 hours and sow in moist peat / sand / perlite mix. Germination will usually occur in 4 - 7 days.
S Usvy wrote:If this helps anyone looking for seeds (especially in Canada) - I got mine last fall from this seller. Out of 12 seeds, only 2 did not germinate. I used a piece of sandpaper to gently nick the seeds, then popped them in a plastic container with a moist paper towel, and shoved them in the fridge. They were germinating within 4-6 weeks. As soon as the first one germinated, I took the whole container out to make the process faster, and was planting them as germination was occurring. They're growing indoors now, seem to do really well - I've never seen a tree grow that fast from a seed. They do seem to like deep soil - I have mine planted in tall buckets, 2-3 plants per bucket, until it's summer time outside.
Jc Desj wrote:By the way, does someone know what time it takes the plants to go from seed to nut?
So I have a couple of 1.5' tall Xanthoceras on this photo. I also have 40 more germinating right now On my first batch I dug out all the ones that didn't germinate, and nicked them again, and back in the peet. Some took longer than others but they kinda all germinated.