Xanthoceras sorbifolium

Xanthoceras sorbifolium is native to Northern China and grows about 8 meter tall. Seeds look like small chestnuts and are edible. The seed and capsule combined has 40% oil content. Seed alone has 72%.

Prefers a good loamy soil[1], but succeeds in most well-drained fertile soils in a sunny position[184, 200]. Prefers a warm dry situation[184]. Requires protection from cold winds[202]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c[184]. They grow best in areas with warm summers and dry springs without late frosts[184], the young growth can be damaged by late spring frosts[1, 11]. They require summer heat in order to fully ripen their wood and to stimulate the production of flower buds[11, 200]. They are subject to attacks by ‘coral spot’ fungus, particularly if the wood is not fully ripened and is then damaged by winter cold[11]. Flowers are produced on the previous year’s wood[202]. Plants are usually slow to become established[202].


Seed – 3 months cool stratification improves germination rates[113] so the seed is probably best sown in a cold frame in the autumn[K]. Another report says that the seed can be sown in a warm greenhouse in February or March[78], probably after stratification[K]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. Grow the on in a lightly shaded position in a greenhouse for their first winter then plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Consider giving them some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Root cuttings, 3cm long planted horizontally in pots in a frame in December or January. Good percentage[78]. Division of suckers in the dormant season[200]. They can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

• Yellow-Horn can live for over two hundred years.
• Crop yields reach 95 percent by year five of age.
• It grows in areas with precipitation as low as 6 inches annually.
• It matures in height to 22 feet and 14 feet wide.
• With proper nutrition and moisture fruit yield can be 8 tons per acre.
• Average oil yield is about 850 gallons per acre. Higher yields are possible.
• The pericarp of the fruit contains 12.2 percent furfural.
• The seed and capsule combined has 40% oil content. Seed alone has 72%.
• Yellow Horn is USDA approved for entry, and is non-evasive.
• The leaves are alternate, pinnate, 6″-8″ in length with an odd number of leaflets.
• Leaflets are approximately 2″ to 2 1/2″ in length.
• Flowers cluster in panicles on terminal ends of branches & lateral branches.
• Individual flowers are white, and approximately 1 inch across.
• The throat is initially yellow then turns red in maturing.
• Flowering occurs in early to middle April and lasts for about 10 days.
• Fruit is a 3 valve capsule containing 3 seeds 1/4 to 3/8 inches diameter.
• Fruit matures in July or August.
• Flowering can commence in the second year of age
Information from
Georgia Reedy

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