Mesona chinensis is a species of plants belonging to the genus Mesona of the mint family. The species grows extensively in East Asia such as south east China and Taiwan preferring ravines, grassy, dry, and sandy areas. The plants are from 15–100 cm high with hairy stems and leaves. The leaves are tear-drop shaped and serrated.
The plants are referred to as xiancao (仙草, 仙人草, 仙草舅, 涼粉草) in Mandarin Chinese, sian-chháu in Taiwanese, and leung fan cao (涼粉草) in Cantonese, sương sáo in Vietnamese, หญ้าเฉาก๊วย in Thai and primarily cultivated and used in making grass jelly.
Cultivation and processing
M. chinensis is cultivated on flat ground or areas with a slight slope. In Taiwan, this plant is often grown under fruit trees in fruits orchards as a secondary crop. The plant is processed by harvesting all the aerial portions above the root. The portions are then partially dried and piled up in order to allows them to oxidize until they have darkened. After the oxidation, they are then thoroughly dried for sale.
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