Common name: Indian Spinach, Malabar Spinach
Basella alba L. APNI*
Description: Perennial climber reaching to 9 m in warmer areas with stems to 1 m or more.
Leaves usually ovate to ovate-lanceolate, blades 5–15 long and 4–12 cm wide, shallowly cordate to truncate at the base; petiole to 3 cm.
Flowers bisexual in simple axillary spikes 7.5–15 cm long; flowers white or pinkish to red or pale purple. Perianth urceolate swelling to enclose the fruit; filaments erect in bud, style branches, stigmas 3; bracteoles 2.
Fruit black, sometimes red or white, glossy, spherical, c. 6 mm in diameter.
Flowering: Flowers summer.
Distribution and occurrence: Possibly naturalised on the North Coast, and a garden escape (self seeding in gardens) on the Central Coast. Probably native to Africa and SE Asia but distribution now pantropical.
NSW subdivisions: ?NC, *CC
Text by B.M. Wiecek
Taxon concept: The European Garden Flora Volume III
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.