Common Name: Indian spinach, Malabar spinach. Tamil Name: Vasalakkirai
Indian spinach is succulent, edible green climber with a watery sap. The plant is native to Indian sub-continent. It coils around surrounding vegetation and can grow to around 9 meters in length. The plant is extremely fast growing and often planted in home gardens. The leaf color is dark green, the leaf color changes to purple with age; on the lower side of the leaf the purple leaf veins are prominently exposed. The leaf length size is highly variable and can be 8-13 cm. The leaf shape is oval, leaf base cordate and apex acuminate. The inflorescence is an axillary spike which can extend to 15 cm in length. The flowers are white with a pink shade. The fruit is black or deep purple in color and contain a single seed. The name of the plant can be misleading, this species does not belong to spinach family- although named so in common parlance. Malabar spinach is a popular green sold in markets in India. It can be easily propagated via cuttings and even grown in balconies.