Category Archives: Herbs

Bunga Telang Putih – Clitoria ternatea alba

clitoria-ternatea-alba-butterfly-pea

After successfully planting the blue clitoria ternatea or butterfly pea, last year I tried to plant the white variety I bought from an online seed seller.

This time I bought the double petals flower since the blue one I have earlier is the single petals. Malays call this flower, bunga telang. The blue one is commonly used in cooking nasi kerabu as the natural blue dye in the rice. I’m not sure what this white variety is used for, but from my research it is said to have more medicinal value than the blue one.

These are some info I gather from the Internet about bunga telang putih.

Genus: Clitoria
Species: ternatea
Variety: Double Flowered White
Family Name: Leguminosae/Fabaceae

Perfect vine! Blooms year-round, fast growing, easy, not invasive, controllable, not messy, curious bright blue flower – Clitoris-like flower shape, hence name of the plant. Fast-growing climber with fine foliage, pinnate leaves. Produces flat pods, up to 7″ long, beaked, with about 5 flat rounded seeds. Species: C. ternatea, C. mariana.

Besides being a great ornamental, this plant has some practical and medicinal value. The seed pods are edible, as well as the flowers. The flowers are used for blue food dye for rice and teas. It is also a nitrogen fixer and helps prevent E-coli.

As a legume, its roots form a symbiotic association with soil bacteria known as rhizobia, which transform atmospheric N2 into a plant usable form, therefore, this plant is also used to improve soil quality through the decomposition of N-rich tissue.

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

(perennials plants — you plant them once and they bloom year after year)

Pereskia bleo

After a brief research I realized that this is Pereskia bleo instead of my previous post as Pereskia sacharosa. Reason being, this has bright orange flower while sacharosa is supposed to have pink flowers.

pereskia-bleo-lh3

Info taken from desert-tropicals.com:

Pereskia is a genus of about 16 species of primitive cacti originating from Mexico to Brazil. Very primitive cactus, they have leaves and are generally not considered succulent. They are deciduous shrubs, small trees, or even climbers. They are named after Nicolas Fabre de Peiresc a French botanist of the 16th century.

pereskia-bleo-lh2

Some very interesting findings was found on an article published online for Pharmacognosy magazine: Acute oral toxicity of Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia in mice.

Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia, commonly known as ‘Jarum Tujuh Bilah’ in Malaysia belong to the botanical family Cactaceae.

Pereskia bleo can be easily confused with Pereskia grandifolia because they are vegetatively similar. However, they can be easily distinguished by the leaves, flowers, and spines.

Pereskia bleo has thinner, corrugated leaves, and orangish-red flowers, with shorter spines compared to Pereskia grandifolia. In contrast, Pereskia grandifolia has thicker, uncorrugated leaves, and pink to purplish-pink flowers, with longer and lesser spines.

pereskia-bleo-lh1

My next mission is to find Pereskia grandifolia for its pink purplish flowers :)

Italian Parsley

After a few failed attempt with chinese celery (daun sup), I bought seeds of Italian Parsley from Diana of kebunbahagiabersama.blogspot.com.

I planted the seeds and waited for the Italian parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) to grow. It certainly took a while because by the time I was in confinement, the herbs finally emerged and survived the period of negligence..haha!

I have no idea why I chose the seeds to grow in the first place because we never use flat-leaf Parsley at home. Now that I have many healthy stalks, I might have to try few dishes that use the herbs, oven roasted potato, anyone?

Aromatic Thai Basil

There are many types of basil, but this particular one is known as Thai basil or Ocimum basilicum ssp.

A friend gave me the plant several months ago. I’ve seen the leaves being used in Thai dishes but never like the taste and the smell of it.

Thai basil has purple stems and flowers and spear-like leaves. Since it is a tropical plant, it should be placed in a spot receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight a day.

From what I read, propagation can be done by sowing seeds and stem cuttings. Perhaps in days to come I will let the flowers dry and see whether there’s any seed to harvest.

However if you are into harvesting the leaves for cooking ingredient, you shouldn’t let the basil flower. Pinch the flower when it appears and trim the tip to make it bushy.

Thai basil is also a good companion plant if you are planting other type of vegetables. The strong aroma could help repel pests.

Jarum Tujuh – Pereskia sacharosa/saecnarosa

When I was given this plant (or rather the cutting of it) by MIL, she told me that it is called Jarum Tujuh and has the medicinal benefit to cure cancer. Since I collected herbal plants, I decided to try and plant it.

It does has sharp thorns along its thin stems, thus the name of Jarum Tujuh. It is said that there are 7 thorns or spines along one stem (which I can’t vouch for since I never check and count it..heh). Some people eat the crunchy leaves or make tea out of it to cure colon, nose and other type of cancer. It is also known as Bintang Tujuh, Cancer Plant and Chat Sim Chan.

Further reading, I found out that Pereskia is a genus of about 25 tropical species and varieties of cacti that do not look much like other types of cacti. Pereskia is the only cactus genus that has persistent non-succulent leaves. It is believed that this is the origin of other cacti.

It propagates through cuttings and seeds. Since the leaves are non-succulent, they drop easily if they don’t get enough water or if it is too hot or dry but can grow back quickly once they get sufficient watering.

UPDATED 25th June 2010: The correct name for this plant is Pereskia bleo.

Taken from a Pharmacognosy journal online:

Pereskia bleo and Pereskia grandifolia, commonly known as ‘Jarum Tujuh Bilah’ in Malaysia belong to the botanical family Cactaceae. Pereskia bleo can be easily confused with Pereskia grandifolia because they are vegetatively similar. However, they can be easily distinguished by the leaves, flowers, and spines. Pereskia bleo has thinner, corrugated leaves, and orangish-red flowers, with shorter spines compared to Pereskia grandifolia. In contrast, Pereskia grandifolia has thicker, uncorrugated leaves, and pink to purplish-pink flowers, with longer and lesser spines.

Pegaga – Centella asiatica

I grow this bunch of pegaga plants in a pot since 3 years ago. I am not sure what type of pegaga it is because I’m very sure this is not the one that you make kerabu or eat as ulam.

pegaga1.jpg

The pegaga I grow have thicker leaves and although some relatives told me it can be blended into juices, I just don’t feel like eating my decorative plants even though by right it belongs to herbs category..heh!

Since it grows in a pot with water inside, for the past few months it becomes the water indicator for my garden. Usually if the weather is very hot and I am unable to water the plants for 2 days in a row, all the leaves will start to droop and dry out. That’s how I know that all the plants in the garden really need the splash of water..huhu!

I’m still trying to plant the type that people eat for ulam since people says eating pegaga could help maintain the youthfulness..haha!

Kunyit – Turmeric


This is what happen when you bought too much fresh turmeric for cooking. In the end all the fresh rhizomes start to grow on their own and I have no choice but to plant them in pots. At the moment I have like 3 pots of turmeric plants.

kunyit1.jpg

This time I think my turmeric leaves are all save from being eaten by grasshoppers like last time. But it seems after few weeks there is some pest problem on the leaves side. Maybe lack of water spraying and the unstable climate of hot, dry and wet leads to such problem.

I have moved the plants to some place that accessible to rain so that in case I am too busy to water them, they won’t be in a draught for many days. If all manage to grow well I think I will repot them all into one big pot for easy maintenance.

Curry Leaves

I have this curry leaves plant for almost 4 years now. By right, it should have grown taller and bigger than this but I don’t know, maybe because I planted it in pot rather than on the ground.

curryleaves.jpg

But I am grateful that it is still alive after all these years. I hardly use the leaves except occasionally when I need to fry squid or make some Indian fritters from dhall. But I think it would be a lost if it dies because curry leaves is a common herbs in Malaysian cooking.

Since I simply use a few leaves each time to cook, it would be a hassle to buy a whole lot from the sundry shop everytime I feel like cooking something that has to use it as part of the ingredients.

So my curry plant, grow well and never die, OK! haha!

New Pandan Plants


I have been very busy with my other obligation that I neglect my garden and my gardening blog. Wish I have more time to devote to it. It’s sad to realize how much unloved and uncared for all my plants have been ever since I have been busy.

About 2 months ago my big pandan plant died. I used the leaves mostly for cooking chicken rice and making sweet delicacy. I think pandan leaves is like vanilla pod. You use them for the smell and aroma not really eating the leaves (unless in certain delicacy, you blend the leaves to get the strong fragrant plus the green essence).

pandanplant.jpg

So I finally found a nursery that sell herbs plants and I was going crazy with all the plants they have. I almost spent all the money in my wallet buying those flowering plants and herbs I have been dreaming to own for so long.

Now I know where to look for to add to my garden collection. Together with this pandan plants, I bought cempaka and kesidang. (I will take their pictures once they start flowering again) Those two are plants with strong fragrance flowers. Oh, there is another one but I can’t remember the local name.

I have to check the list that the nursery owner gave me. They even prepared a list of all available tropical herbs and plants. Next time I have to tick which one I already bought for easy reference..haha!

Lemongrass – Serai


Sometimes I thought my lemongrass plants are part of the weeds or lalang that grow on the yard.

Until I take a closer look and see that the lower portion of the thick grass is really serai that you can used in cooking..haha! Should have mowed my lawn more often, huh!

pokokserai11.jpg

Take a closer look, I never realized it can grow so big.

This serai stalk is sold in KL for 50sen for 2 stalks (unless you go to the big wet market -pasar borong to buy in bulk). That’s why I plant my own lemongrass since for certain dishes you need up to 10-20 stalks.

pokokserai2.jpg

I had another bunch of serai plant but I think that one is dying. So I plant another bunch for easy use later. Hope this one will survive longer.

Related Posts with Thumbnails