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 3cm thick. Remove the outer layer to reveal the light green flesh and cut into thin slices. The stem is excellent raw, like celery, or lightly cooked in stir fries.