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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Basella rubra

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Basella rubra
Basella rubra
Basella rubra
Basella rubra


  • Perennial
  • Edible landscaping plant - a fast-growing, soft-stemmed perennial vine.  Annual in cold areas.
  • Two vines are sufficient to supply a small family all summer and autumn.
  • Thick tender stems.
  • Leaves are almost heart-shaped, alternate, short petioled, thick, semi-succulent, colored from green to purple - have a mild flavor and mucilaginous texture.
  • Bisexual flowers are small, white, and tinged with pink and are borne  in small clusters on the end of short stems at the nodes.
  • Pea-size, dark purple, juicy fruits follow.
  • Can grow in a variety of moist garden soil (pH6.1 - 7.8).
  • Full sun/partial shade.
  • Responds well to pruning and nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Keep  trimmed and controlled.

Culinary Uses

  • Leaves are good both young and mature.
  • Delicate spinach taste - has somewhat the odor of Ocicmum basilicum.
  • Use fresh (raw) or cooked - mixed with stew or other vegetables.
  • Use to thicken soups or can be stir-fried with garlic and chili peppers.
  • An infusion of the leaves is used as tea.

Parts Used

  • Leaves.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • High in vitamin A and C, iron and calcium.
  • Low in calories by volume, and high in protein per calorie.
  • The succulent mucilage is a particularly rich source of soluble fiber, thought to remove mucus and toxins from the body.
  • Rich source of chlorophyll.

Other Uses

  • The purple juice, obtained from the crushed fruit, was used as a dye for stamps to imprint on documents, and as rouge to brighten cheeks.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff
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