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African spider-flower | by arian.suresh
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African spider-flower

Cleome gynandra, Family: Cleomaceae


Cleome gynandra is a species of Cleome that is used as a green vegetable. It is known by many common names including Shona cabbage, African cabbage, Spiderwisp, and Cat's whiskers. It is an annual wildflower native to Africa but has become widespread in many tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. It is an erect, branching plant generally between 25 cm and 60 cm tall. Its sparse leaves are each made up of 3-5 oval-shaped leaflets. The flowers are white to rose pink. The seed is a brown 1.5mm diameter sphere. The leaves are edible.


The leaves form an important part of diets in Southern Africa, and nutritional analysis has found it to be high in certain nutrients including amino acids, vitamins and minerals.


In Thailand the leaves are a popular food item fermented with rice water as a pickle known as phak sian dong.

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Taken on March 5, 2016