Basella (Basella) - a small genus of vines, uniting 5 species of plants of the family Basella. Three of them grow in Madagascar, one in East Africa, the most widely spread is white basella from Southeast Asia. The latter species fell into the era of great travels from the Malabar Islands to England and was called Malabar spinach there, since it was widely used as a leaf vegetable in the homeland. The Latin name of the plant - Basella - is derived from its Indian name. Also, basella is called Indian spinach, Philippine spinach, Ceylon spinach.
How to grow basella
The basell plant is thermophilic, so it is grown in temperate latitudes as an annual plant. In a year, a vine grows to 2 m. Basella spins around a support, for which you can use a pergola, a fence. Obelisks entwined with basella look very beautiful. It can grow in a container with a limited amount of soil, in the presence of vertical support.
Soils for basella are best used sandy, moist, fertile, although in nature it happens to grow in dry places, in the shade and in poor soils. The acidity range is quite wide: it grows both on strongly acidic, and neutral and alkaline soils. If you find a sunny, warm place for the basella, provide watering, then it will develop well.
Basella is propagated by seeds, sown in April for seedlings in a room with a temperature of 20 degrees, and at the end of May in open ground. For quick germination of seeds for a day, as advised, soaked in warm water. You can also propagate the plant using cuttings, as the basell plant is well rooted.
When planting, plants are placed at a distance of 30 cm, and supports are installed.
In autumn, basella is transplanted into a pot (if the plant is small) or young plants are obtained from cuttings. Liana is transferred to the house on the windowsill, can be left in the greenhouse for the winter. Basella perfectly tolerates home, room conditions, if it is abundantly watered, sprayed with water. But winter watering is less common than in summer.
Basella family basel
Basella white - the most common type
White Basella (Basella alba) is a perennial climbing vine growing up to 9 m. It has fleshy stems.
The leaves have a mucous consistency, alternate, ovoid, sometimes heart-shaped, the tip is pointed, the length of the leaf is up to 12 cm, have a mild aroma. Carl Linnaeus, describing the plant, called Basella hearty.
White flowers or pink-colored same-sex, bloom in the axils of the leaves. The fruits formed after flowering have a diameter of 6 mm, ripen by September, are painted in purple-black. By the color and shape of the fruit, the plant also received such names as Red grape spinach, Malabar nightshade.
Fast growing vines
Useful properties of basella
Basella leaves are rich in vitamins, calcium, various nutrients. In Bangladesh, they are recommended for food to those who are deficient in vitamin A.
Since ancient times, Southeast Asian ethnomedicine has used basella as a diuretic, sedative, astringent, mild laxative. It was also used to heal wounds externally with ulcers, abscesses, swelling. Basella is known in China as an antipyretic and a neutralizing poison. The whole plant has healing properties: from the roots to the fruits.
In the cuisine of Africa and Southeast Asia, the liana also won a prominent place. The leaves are very similar to spinach to taste, have a delicate aroma. They are put raw in sandwiches, added to salads.
They are also brewed instead of tea. Soups are cooked with leaves, mashed, and added to vegetable dishes.
The fruits are used as a food coloring in baking and making sweets, and the effect is enhanced by adding a small amount of lemon juice.
The coloring properties of fruits were used in the manufacture of paints for seals, women used them as a blush.
Creepers in our garden
Undoubtedly, the liana is a beautiful ornamental plant that will decorate the garden, gazebo, balcony.