Botanical Name: Alternanthera sissoo
Some other names: Sissoo spinach, Samba lettuce
How to grow it: Brazilian spinach is a low growing perennial that will extend over a large area if allowed. It’s very easy to control though through regular harvesting of the tips.
Will survive in full sun, but prefers shade. A good plant for understory situations, or around the house where it won’t get too much sun.
In warmer areas it will provide leaves & stems all year round, in colder climates it may die back in winter, but will normally sprout as soon as the frost has passed. In very cold climates it will need to replanted from seed.
Likes a regular supply of water, but will hold it’s own in drought conditions – leaf production will slow down.
Propogation is by tip cuttings which root easily, or the plant can be divided at the base
Grows really well in pots – just make sure it doesn’t dry out too much or you won’t get much to pick
Nutrition: There’s not much information on Brazilian spinach other than it’s high protein content. It’s likely to be a good source of vitamins and minerals just like most other greens.
Using it in the kitchen:
The most notable thing about the leaves would be the crunchy texture which survives even with a little cooking. Has a milder flavour than most greens like it.
Remove all stems and add it to salads or sandwiches for a bit of crunch.
Leaves can also be added to stir fries, soups, curries & casseroles just like you would any other spinach.
Brazilian spinach is a good survival food as it’s available for most of the year and handles shade better than most plants like it.