Common Names: Waterleaf, Surinam Purslane, Philippine spinach, Florida spinach
Origin: South America, now widespread in the tropics
A fast growing perennial bush to 60 cm high with
soft main stem and branches to 30 - 100 cm high, forming an attractive, clumping plant. The small pink edible flowers are pretty enough for it to be grown in the flower border. The bright green leaves are broad and fleshy in texture and delicious in salads. It self-sows very readily. Abundant in the tropics, it will go dormant during winter in the subtropics. Revered throughout Asia for its medicinal uses similar Panax ginseng for blood building and rejuvenating tonic properties.
Uses:The crunchy, tangy, nutritious leaves are high in protein and rich in Vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium. The leaves can be eaten raw in salads or lightly cooked as a green vegetable in stir-fries. It is high in oxalic acid, so consumption should be avoided or limited by those suffering from kidney disorders, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. New research suggests it protects the liver and reduces cholesterol.
Planting Details: It is very easy to propagate from cuttings during the wet season or spring. Cuttings 10-25 cm long can be rooted easily in a glass of water or just pushed into moist soil. Strip the leaves off the bottom half of the stems and bury to half their length, Spacing 60 cm apart.
Soil: It prefers a moderate to rich loam
Sun: Partial Shade
Water: Keep moist
This is one of the plants that will be explored in more detail in the IncrEDIBLE edible Tropical Superfood Workshop!