Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Talinum (Talinum triangulare)

I've been thinking about doing a series on edible weeds. Partly because finding wild plants in your garden and pretending you are taking care of them actually is a good step to developing a sense of being a gardener. You can cook them for your friends and say "I grew that! Farm fresh, baby."

So when you spot a talinum or water leaf plant, also supposedly known as Philippine spinach, you can make a little barbeque-stick fence around it and water it lovingly. It grows pretty fast, and after a short time, it will have pink flowers that fold up and attract butterflies.

You can eat the leaves just as you would spinach, or add a few leaves randomly to any dish to get a dose of vitamin A. Or just eat the leaves as salad for some energy (hence the other nickname, leaf ginseng). Last week I added some of them to a pesto-ish sauce with sesame oil.

Growing these things is a breeze. You can snap the stems off like this:

Then stick them in the ground, water some, and soon they will be alive. Soon they will multiply like gremlins and you won't have any excuses not to eat veggies.

I personally spend some of my idle time just planting cuttings (or snappings) in random places. It grows in pretty bad soil, like that stuff that accumulates inside the holes of hollow blocks when you don't use them.


Shareena said...

Hi...I've been looking for Talinum seeds to grow here in the States. Where can I find some? I remember eating those green leafy spinach that my Grandmother used to grow!

Bea said...

I'm having a tough time looking for sites that sell it-- and I haven't seen a single talinum plant in the States either.

Where in the US do you live? Maybe next time I come over I can bring some. Otherwise, try http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/exseed/ to see if anyone can save you some.