I'm fascinated by the blooms of the water spinach. Belonging to the same family as the Morning Glory, the blooms of both these plants look similar.The botanical name of the water spinach is "Ipomoea Aquatica". Googling , I came up with several other names such as Swamp Morning Glory, Chinese water spinach and swamp cabbage. The flowers are generally white, pink and mauve. The wetland near our house has this plant thriving amongst the colacasia and myriad tangle of weeds. The flowers stand out in their beauty amidst such surroundings.
The water spinach is an aquatic or semi-aquatic plant. It is found in all tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. In the right conditions, the plant can be 8 to 10 ft long. The stems are hollow which enables it to stay afloat on water. Due to the hollow stem the Chinese word for this vegetable translates into "hollow heart vegetable".
As you can see from the photographs, the leaves are shaped like arrowheads. The stems have a milky sap and roots form at the nodes, so propagation is easy. Either seeds or stems are used. Although this plant is native to south-east Asia, it is found in many parts of the world where the conditions are right.It is popular in our parts too. The vegetable markets here, always have fresh green bundles. Although every part is edible, tender stems and leaves are preferred. Like many green vegetables, the water spinach is rich in iron and has a pleasant taste. Stir fries are delicious!
I was surprised to find out that the water spinach is considered a threat/noxious weed in southern U.S. states, mainly Texas and Florida.The reasons are that it elevates mosquito breeding, impedes boat traffic and clogs drainage canals. It is also considered a threat to rice fields.
But here in my backyard I'm growing it in a small patch.....The sight of the blooms is enough to uplift my spirits on any day!!
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau