Malabar Spinach is also known as Ceylon spinach, Buffalo spinach, Indian spinach, Red vine spinach, Vine spinach. In Kannada it is known as Basale Soppu, in Sanskrit it is known as Upodika, and in Hindi it is known as Poi.
The botanical name is Basella alba and belongs to Basellaceae (Basella) family. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and New Guinea.
The plant is a fast-growing edible perennial creeper. It can grow up to 33 feet. The stem is fibrous, and the tender part are edible. The leaves are dark green, heart-shaped, thick and succulent. It has a flavor like Spinach. There are two types of Malabar Spinach, one is with red stalks and the other is with green stalks.
The flowers are small, whitish pink and blooms in clusters on stems at each of the nodes. The fruits are pea-sized, dark purple.
Consuming Malabar Spinach is good for health as it is an antioxidant and contains iron, calcium, vitamins A and C.
Plant the plant in full sunlight and provide support for it to grow. In Karnataka, it grows best during the monsoon season (June to September).
Recipes using Malabar Spinach: