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BOTANICAL NAME: Eleocharis dulcis
COMMON NAMES: chinese waterchestnut; apulid; haeo chin; cu nang; ma tai; ohkuru guai
FAMILY: Cyperaceae, the Sedge family

Waterchestnuts are a rush-like plant to 1m tall, native to swampy, tropical areas of Asia. There is a small variety native to the tropical wetlands of Australia.

Waterchestnuts arenutritious, containing B vitamins and can be eaten raw or cooked. They are a common ingredient in Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian dishes. To prepare; peel or scrub well, and slice thinly, add to stir-fry dishes and soups. To store; waterchestnuts will keep in the fridge for several weeks and can also be frozen. Do not freeze the corms you are saving to re-plant, only the ones for eating.

It is important to understand that waterchestnuts are not aquatic plants but rather swamp or edge plants. As you are growing a root crop it is important for a good yield to have sufficient depth of soil for good root growth. On a backyard scale a bathtub provides a useful deep waterproof container; on a larger scale a paddy can be constructed or a dam shaped to create a wide shelf below water level. Plant the corms in early spring 5 cm deep into your chosen spot. Plant 2 corms to the square metre, overcrowding the corms will dramatically reduce yield. A rich, sandy, well-limed loam with a pH of 6.5 to 7.2 is needed. Well composted animal manures or other organic fertilisers can be used to improve fertility. Keep the corms well watered and allow growth to reach around 10 cm high before flooding 7-10 cm deep. Maintain this depth for the whole growing season which should be at least 7 frost-free months. In late autumn, when the tops have browned off, drain completely to encourage hardening-off of corms. Leave 3-5 weeks to mature, corms should be a rich chestnut colour. Keep refrigerated until used, or until replanting next spring. In cooler areas of Australia waterchestnuts can be grown in glasshouses or poly tunnels.

The corms are ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow, then turn brown and dry off.

More info on edible waterplants...

SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered by residents of Norfolk Island, Tasmania and Western Australia. These restrictions are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock can be sent to South Australia. No tubestock can be sent to Northern Territory.
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