Botanical name: Gynura bicolor
How to grow it: Okinawa spinach is simple to grow and makes an attractive, sprawling plant which would be at home amongst your ornamental plants.
Grows all year round in warm climates, and will die back in winter in the cooler climates – generally will reshoot in spring. It’s better suited t the tropics/subtropics.
Will handle a bit of shade, but thrives in full sun with plenty of water
Really simple to propagate – any piece of stem seems to strike, and if you allow it to spread, you can usually find a rooted piece of stem to replant.
Great for container growing- looks like an ornamental and produces plenty of leaf for the kitchen.
Medicinal value: Okinawa spinach is rich in protein, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin A and has many uses in traditional medicine.
Using it in the kitchen: Fresh leaves make a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, juices or smoothies. The purple underside of leaves can be quite appetizing.
Also used as spinach, in stir fries or omelettes. I particularly enjoy the growing tips added at the last minute to stir fries.
Really versatile vegetable – I tend to throw a few leaves into just about any dish that requires some greenery.
Easily qualifies as a survival plant as it’s so easy to grow and incorporate into your diet.