Monday, 20 June 2016

Basella alba

Basella alba is an edible perennial vine in the family Basellaceae. It is found in
tropical Asia and Africa where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable. It is native to the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and New Guinea. It is reportedly naturalized in China, tropical Africa, Brazil, Belize, Colombia, the West Indies, Fiji and French Polynesia.

Basella alba is known under various common names, including vine spinach, red vine spinach, climbing spinach, creeping spinach, buffalo spinach, Malabar spinach and Ceylon spinach among others.

Basella alba is a fast-growing, soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 metres (33 ft) in length. Its thick, semi-succulent, heart-shaped leaves have a mild flavour and mucilaginous texture. The stem of the cultivar Basella alba 'Rubra' is reddish-purple.

Basella alba grows well under full sunlight in hot, humid climates and in areas lower than 500 metres (1,600 ft) above sea level. The plant is native to tropical Asia. Growth is slow in low temperatures resulting in low yields. Flowering is induced during the short-day months of November to February. It grows best in sandy loam soils rich in organic matter with pH ranging from 5.5 to 8.0.

Basella alba is usually referred to as the "spinach" equivalent of a certain country in English, even though it is not related to the true spinach (Spinacia oleracea). Examples include "Malabar spinach", "Ceylon spinach", "Indian spinach", "Surinam spinach", "Chinese spinach", or "Vietnamese spinach". Other common names include "vine spinach", "red vine spinach", "climbing spinach", "creeping spinach", "buffalo spinach", "Malabar nightshade", and "broad bologi".

In South Asia, it is known as pui shak (পুঁই শাক) in Bengali; poi ni bhaji in Gujarati; basale soppu(ಬಸಳೆ ಸೊಪ್ಪು) in Kannada; valchi bhaji or vauchi bhaji in Konkani; vallicheera (വള്ളിച്ചീര ) in Malayalam; mayalu (मायाळू) in Marathi; poi saaga (ପୋଈ ଶାଗ) in Odia; vel niviti (sudu) in Sinhalese; kodip pasaLi (கொடிப்பசலை) in Tamil; bachhali (బచ్చలి) in Telugu; and basale in Tulu.

In Southeast Asia, it is known as kubay in Ibanag; libatu in Kapampangan; and alugbati in Tagalog and the Visayan languages of the Philippines. It is known as pag pang (ผักปั๋ง) in Thai; and mồng tơi in Vietnamese.

In East Asia, it is known as 木耳菜、落葵, 蚕菜, being saan choy, xan choy, shan tsoi, luo kai, shu chieh, and lo kwai some of the pronunciations in Cantonese; and tsurumurasaki (つるむらさき) in Japanese.

In Latin America, it is known as espinaca china ([espiˈnaka ˈtʃina], "Chinese spinach") or espinaca de Malabar ([espiˈnaka ðe malaˈβar], "Malabar spinach") in Spanish, and bertalha ([beʁˈtaʎɐ], etymology is tentatively "creepy green", "dense green") or espinafre indiano ([ispiˈnafɾ ĩdʒiˈɐ̃nu], "Indian spinach") in Portuguese.

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