BACKGROUND, ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION
This is a slightly succulent herb introduced native to South America, now accepted and widely cultivated throughout the tropics.
The Talinum genus consists of about fifty species.
USES AND ETHNOBOTANY
The leaves and stems are used chopped in salads, they have a slightly sour taste, and a bitter, lingering aftertaste. The leaves also have a relatively high content of oxalic acid (1-2 percent) suggesting that they shouldn’t be eaten in excess. Upon cooking lightly any bitterness is absent.
PROPAGATION AND CULTIVATION
The plant is easily propagated from seeds or cuttings. Left in the right environment the plant will spread itself, although I have never seen it reach “invasive” proportions. If you know what you’re looking for this is a plant you will find growing out walls, cracks, potholes, vacant lots, throughout the city, along with purslane, a close relative.
The edible leaves are rich in Vitamins A and C as well as iron and calcium. This species is grown in west Africa, south and south east Asia, warmer areas of north america and throughout central and south America. It is reported to be one of the most important leafy vegetables in Nigeria.