Basella alba

Basella alba L.

Common Names: Country Spinach, Malabar Spinach

Family: Basellaceae

Habit: Basella alba grows as a succulent vine up to 10 m in length.  The leaves are arranged alternately, to 12 cm in length, oblong/ovate with an acute/obtuse leaf apex and cordate leaf base.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in spikes.  The flower is subtended by a bract.  The calyx has 5 fused green sepals.  The corolla has 5 fused, white to pink petals. There are 5, fused at the base, stamens.  The is superior with 1 locule and ovule.  The fruit is a purple/black drupe at maturity.

Habitat: Basella alba grows in Human Altered environments (farms, fields).

Distribution: Basella alba is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to south east Asia and the Indian subcontinent although its exact native range is not known. It is grown throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Basella alba is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan archipelago.

Basella alba is grown as a food crop. Its leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.