Malabar Spinach
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Malabar Spinach
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Ceylon spinach, Indian spinach, Malabar Spinach, Red vine spinach, Vine spinach • Hindi: Poi पोई • Manipuri: ꯎꯔꯣꯛ ꯁꯨꯝꯕꯜ Urok Shumbal • Konkani: Valchi Bhagi • Tamil: Vasalakkirai • Kannada: ಬಸಲೆ, ಬಸಳೆ Basale, ಪೋತಕಿ Potaki,ಮಂಥಗಾಲಿ Manthagaali, ಮಂದಕಾಲಿ Mandakaali, ಮಣ್ಮಡಕಾಳಿ Manmadakaali, ಪೋತಕಿ Potaki, ಉಪೋದಿಕೆ Upodike, ಉಪೋದಕಿ Upodaki • Marathi: Velbendi • Gujarati: Valchi Bhagi • Malayalam: Vasalaccira • Sanskrit: उपोदिका Upodika, पोतिका Potika • Bengali: Pui Shaak • Mizo: Nawi-nawk
Botanical name: Basella alba    Family: Basellaceae (Basella family)
Synonyms: Basella rubra, Basella lucida, Basella nigra, Basella volubilis

Malabar Spinach is not really a spinach at all, but the taste is similar and it is better suited to summer growing than real spinach. The large meaty,leaves are spinach-like in flavor and is very heat tolerant. The flowers, which are small, white, and tinged with pink, form in small clusters on the end of short stems at the nodes. Pea-size, dark purple, juicy fruits follow the flowers, which adds another ornamental dimension. The berries are fleshy and purplish black and the juice is sometimes used as a dye.This is a fast growing vine great to cover an ugly spot in a hurry, should be planted where it can climb. Will do fine in the shade but the leaves will not turn purple/red the stems will still get red but not as much as they do in full sun.

Identification credit: R.K. Nimai Singh, Supriya Saha Photographed in Delhi.

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