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Basella alba 'Rubra'

Spinach of Malabar

Epinard de Malabar rouge / Baselle

Also known as Ceylon spinach and climbing spinach, Malabar is not a true spinach, although the dark green leaves can trick you into thinking it is. Native to India and the tropics, this is a tropical vining plant that can be grown in colder climates as an annual. It prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil, and plants should be trellised. Its uses in the kitchen are like those of spinach, with the added possibilities created by the leaves’ thick, mucilaginous texture - a good source of fibre as well as soup thickener. It supports many popular dishes in cuisines from the Philippines to Bengal, as well as China and Vietnam. Although the plant dies in winter, it will generally re-seed itself. It is highly resistant to disease and pests. Keep the earth moist – tropical in origin, it is much better than spinach, chard, and kale at handling a hot summer!

Plant details
Vegetables and Herbs
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