seeds of Basella rubra, Malabar spinach or Red vine spinach

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Basella rubra Samen
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Basella rubra, more commonly known as Malabar spinach or Red vine spinach, is a vine species of the family Bacellaceae. The vine also goes by the name of Basella lucida L., Basella oleracea Landw and Basella cordifolia. Original to New Guinea and India, the plant is now widely cultivated in Belize, West Indies, Africa, China and Fiji. Basella rubra can grow to a length of 10m. The plant has a soft reddish-purple stem and thick green leaves that are heart-shaped and succulent. The leaves also have a touch of flavour and texture best described as mucilaginous. The stem, on the other hand, releases a robust scent when it’s crushed. Basella rubra is one of the fastest growing vine species. Flowers are small and are either white or pink. In addition to having antioxidant properties, the plant also has high levels of calcium and vitamins. Moreover, the plant has plenty of fibre which makes it a very nutritious addition to many different cuisines. Filipino people cook the leaves with rice when making a dish called ‘Utan.’ Bengali cuisine also makes use of the leaves in preparing both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The leaves are cooked with fish in the former and cooked with pumpkin in the latter. People living in the Karavali region also use Basella rubra in the making of curry. Malabar spinach thrives in humid areas that have plenty of sunlight. The soils, which should ideally be sandy-loamy and fertile, should be located at altitudes that don’t exceed 500m. The best way to plant Basella rubra is through stem cuttings rather than through seeds. The advantage of such a method is that the plant grows faster and is more formidable. The cuttings should ideally be 20 cm long. It will take 35 to 45 days for the plant to mature enough to allow for harvesting of the leaves and the stem.
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