Re: [pfaf] Re:help with identifying mystery plant
Mucuna pruriens is a different species to Basella alba.
Mucuna pruriens is in the bean/pea family and the species is covered with very annoying urticating hairs (stinging or seriously itching). Mucuna pruriens v utilis is a non-urticating variety. Mucuna pruriens beans are roasted and milled to make a drink known as Nescafe (since before Nestlé started making instant coffee) or Cocoa. The taste is somewhere between peanuts, chocolate and coffee.
Mucuna pruriens is said to contain a wide range of fairly serious chemicals, different studies seem to disagree about what they might be. The species has been used medicinally for 1,000s of years.
I am growing Mucuna pruriens v utilis, and red and green Basella alba.
Another neat plant, a bit like Basella alba, is Anredera cordifolia (no photo although this is growing in my %@#! garden) this has edible leaves and grows aerial and underground edible tubers, if the tubers are underground they can survive short sharp frosts to -12°C or so. (If you dig them up and keep somewhere cool over winter, you can replant them in the spring.)
All the best,
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 2/3/10 2:06 PM
Subject: [pfaf] Re:help with identifying mystery plant
I know it as Malabar Spinach, also known as Mucuna.
There are two varieties, one has a red stem. I grew the red-stemmed variety
last year, though it winter kills in my climate.
The whole plant is edible, including the root. It's a perennial native to
India, if I remember correctly.
The black seeds (Mucuna Seed) are growing in popularity for their positive
effect on Parkinson's Disease.
Of course, double check this information, but I'm pretty sure that's what it
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