Giâp Cá, Fish Mint (Houttuynia cordata)

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The highly ornamental Giâp Cá grows edible, heart-shaped leaves that range in color from green to bronze and red. This is the green non-variegated variety.  Fish Mint lets off a distinctive aroma described as something between citrus and fish in scent- hence why it’s been named Fish Mint, Fish Plant, and other Fish-forward titles!

Traditionally used in Vietnam for its many immunity benefits, the astringent Giâp Cá is a staple in Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisine.  The tender shoots are commonly consumed raw or cooked. Dried, the leaves can be made into healing herbal tea, often enjoyed in Japan. The peppery roots, referred to as Zhe'ergen, can be juiced for indigestion.

The Giâp Cá plant grows quickly and stakes its claim wherever it grows. The minute spikey flora seed and spread vigorously, and, once established, tend to work in unison with their rhizomes to fill out little-by-little, resilient to uprooting. Lovely and useful, the water-loving Giâp Cá is a shade-loving delight suitable for any damp environment. 

Common Names: 
Giâp Cá, Dokudami, Zhe'ergen, Fish Mint, Fish Leaf, Fish Wort, Rainbow Plant, Heart Leaf, Chinese Lizard Tail, Chameleon Plant

Traditional Uses:
Leaves used externally for treatment of wounds and certain snakebites. Diuretic root used as laxative. Rhizomes associated with secretion of active bacillus, beneficial for female health. 

Native Region:
Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan

Plant Type:
Perennial Deciduous Herb

Harvest Season:
Year-round

Mature Size:
Up to 2 ft.

Soil & Moisture:
Rich, well-draining soil. The Chameleon Plant is not drought-tolerant.
It can be grown successfully as a water plant!

Light Requirements:
Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
Takes on a reddish hue if grown in shade, and grows greener with longer sun exposure. 

Self-Fertile: 
Yes

Growth Rate: 
Fast

Zone Hardiness: 
Outdoors 4-11 as an annual, 9-11 as a perennial; Patio/Greenhouse 4+ 

Propagation: 
Grown from cuttings, division, or ground-layer and capable of harvesting now/this growing season.

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