Originating in China and cultivated for its stem rather than its leaves. First described by Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) when introduced to Europe, probably by missionary botanists working in China. Harvest the stems 3-4 months after sowing, at around 30cm high and at least 3-8cm thick. Remove the outer layer revealing the light green flesh and cut into thin slices. The stem is excellent raw, like celery, or lightly cooked in stir-fries.