The variety Basella rubra has red flowers and a bright purple- red stem; both alba and rubra are edible but the green leaved cultivars that are commercially cultivated, belong to the Basella alba. Leaves usually ovate to ovate-lanceolate, blades 5–15 long and 4–12 cm wide, shallowly cordate to truncate at the base; petiole to 3 cm. It is also known as Ceylon spinach, vine spinach, creeping spinach or … Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. Growth Form: Short-lived perennial creeping or climbing vine with stems up to 2-6 m long. Description. Red Malabar spinach is the darker, red cousin. Description of Values. Daily consumption of Indian spinach (Basella alba) or sweet potatoes has a positive effect on total-body vitamin A stores in Bangladeshi men. The glossy, thick leaves look like spinach but with mild Swiss chard-like taste. Basella alba. Planting and Growing Guide for Malabar greens (Basella alba) Description. 2010, Baksh-Comeau et al. Description Excellent. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. 3 Culture: Basella alba grows well under full sunlight in hot, humid climates 3 Annual; This member of the Madeira vine family is a frost-tender perennial, grown as an annual in cold areas. Basella alba, commonly called Malabar spinach, is native to the East Indies. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. Other names include basella, ceylon spinach, climbing spinach, Surinam spinach, Indian spinach, slippery vegetable, Malabar nightshade, vine spinach, and vine vegetable. It is an annual or biennial herb made up of soft, succulent stems 3 to 5 m (10 to 16 ft) long that are much-branched, vine-like and twining, climbing up and over vertical structures. Its pigment components and bioactivities deserve particular attention and investigation. Latin name: Basella alba Synonyms: Basella rubra Family: Basellaceae Medicinal use of Indian Spinach: Astringent - the cooked roots are used in the treatment of diarrhoea. Young leaves and tips are used like spinach in cooking and salad. This profile is a stub. Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 m in length. Laxative - the cooked leaves and stems are used. / Am J Clin Nutr. Description. Value Class Food Uses. Malabar Spinach or Basella alba is a vigorous climbing Asian vine, and will flourish in heat and humidity. It is a vigorous, climbing, tropical vine that may be grown in St. Louis as (1) an annual leafy vegetable for cultivation of its edible spinach-like stems and leaves or (2) as an ornamental foliage vine. Files are available under licenses specified on their description page. The plants can also be used as an ornamental, eye-catching addition to the garden. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra' is reddish-purple. Basella alba L. APNI* . Foliage: Leaves are ovate to cordate (egg-shaped to heart-shaped) with a slightly wavy leaf margin (5-15 cm long, 4-10 cm wide). Malabar Spinach is an edible fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine that can reach 10m in length. Full Description. Enjoy raw or cooked. Young leaves have a sweet earthy taste. This vigourous and hardy plant produces dense textured green coloured leaves that are both nutritious (rich in mucin) and tasty. May be grown on a trellis or as … 2004 Sep;80(3):705-14. Prefers moist, well-drained, rich loamy soils of pH 4.5 - 7.0. Click below on a thumbnail map or name for species profiles. Basella alba "Red Malabar" L. Common Name: Malabar Spinach Family: Basellaceae Moq.-Tand. Soil and Climate Requirements Malabar spinach is a frost tender perennial vine grown as an annual in cooler climates. 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