I fell in love with this cat, Maru. He loves boxes....all sorts, and all sizes of boxes. He also loves this "silvervine" stick.
He is so taken with it, that I wanted a silvervine stick for my cat Dude. So, I went on the internet to find out what I could about this "silvervine". I wanted to find, if possible, a place to purchase one (or maybe the plant on which it grows).
What I Found....
Silver Vine (Actinidina Polygama - a member of the botanical family Actinidiaceae) is a non-toxic, climbing vine, kin to the common kiwi fruit. Originating in the mountainous areas of China and Japan, it is available here in the United States, having a USDA hardiness zone tolerance of 4 to 9. It is a fast grower and can grow to fifteen feet sometimes more. Because of its size and weight it needs strong support; making it great for hiding a fence or trained on a trellis. Although the plant requires moist well drained soil, it is drought tolerant, and is disease and insect resistant.
Silver Vine produces small white aromatic flowers with bright yellow anthers (usually in clusters of 3 or 4, scattered along vine) from late June to early July. The oblong 3 to 5 inch long leaves, when they open, are bronze in color which quickly turn to green during the flowering season.
They then become randomly splotched with white and silver; which is where the plant gets it's name. The flowers last approximately 2 to 3 days, followed by yellow to yellow-red, egg shaped, multi-seed fruit. The fruit matures through the months of September and October. When cut open, the fruit resembles that of the common grocer bought kiwi, but is orange in color.
I am now thinking I would like to purchase the plant. We have a fence out back that I have been thinking about hiding behind bushes and trees. Might I dare grow this silver vine out there as well? The area gets full sun and is well drained. I read on and found that I will need a male plant as well for pollination, if I want my female to bare the fruit. So maybe I will purchase one female and one male and plant them at opposite ends of the fence.
I went on to find that the fruit that this vine bares contains ten times more vitamin C than is found in most green tea and surpasses the vitamin C of strawberries and blueberries. It is also rich in potassium, calcium, antioxidants, a number of other vitamins and fiber. The plant itself has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat the pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Through studies with mice, it has been found that A. Polygama lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and has had positive results in the treatment of some forms of cancer. It is also being used today in many anti-aging skin creams to promote skin translucency. "...the ingredient is designed to brighten the skin by inhibiting protein carbonylation in the horny layer, thus promoting skin translucency..."
But what about Maru and his Silver Vine stick? Well, it turns out that A. Polygama gives off a sent that attracts cats. Cats tend to rub up against the plant, sometimes licking it. It is the sent of the plant, working on the olfactory system of the cat that sends them into a euphoric state; much like that of catnip.....but only greater. This can last for 5 to 30 minutes at which the cat may return for more. In studies, the cats weren't interested in eating the plant so much as rubbing and rolling in it. Even if the cat were to eat or lick the plant, it is non-toxic....safe for the cat to enjoy.
If you would like to purchase a Silver Vine or two (you will need both male and female to bare fruit) and haven't a nursery that carries it, there are a few on-line nurseries that carry an assortment of A. Polygama.
If you are not interested in growing the vine(s), yet would like to get some Silver Vine sticks for your cat, you might try here:
I also came across this in my searchs and , if you have a cat, you might find it of interest:
Although I have read that it is widely consumed in Asia, I couldn't find silver vine tea for sale in the U.S. But I did find catnip tea!
I feel it is just a matter of time and we will be seeing silver vine tea in herbal shops and then on our grocer's shelves.
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And while you're at it, take the time to check out Sandi's fabulous roses over on Rose Chintz Cottage
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