Monday, March 10, 2014

Pigweed - Trianthema portulacastrum


I recently added two new garden beds to my yard, filling them with local horse manure. Needless to say I now have a few new weed species! This is one of them:

Trianthema is a pigweed from the AIZOACEAE family, and originates in Africa and South America, It is quite variable in appearance due to environmental factors. 

When I discovered it I was about to remove it from the garden, and as with all new plants I smelt and tasted a bit of the leaf, and this one was not only palatable, but quite tasty! I asked around and all agreed it was a 'pigweed'. Now, to me pigweeds belong in PORTULACAEAE family, so I could not find it at first, but coincidentally it's picture appeared near the PORTULACAEAE section in Stanley & Ross's Volume 1!

It is known for its edibility in Africa, and so I now have a new salad herb!

Additionally, this herb has medicinal uses. It is known as Bishkhapra in Ayurvedic medicine, and there are both a red-flowered, red-stemmed variant, and a white-flowered green-stemmed variant. It has been used for a wide variety of complaints ranging from edema to cancer to intestinal parasites. There is an in-depth article on it's medicinal properties here;