Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)

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MikeHardman

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The photos show cuttings from a small plant (about 15cm tall, 30cm across) growing in a pot on an outside window sill in Polis, Cyprus.
The owners have been picking and eating the leaves raw for some while.

Other info:
They say it does not flower.
The leaves are up to 12cm long incl. petiole; they are slightly succulent in nature.
Apparently it roots readily in water (hence me trying these pieces).
It does not smell of anything, or (so they tell me) taste of much.

Any pointers gratefully received,
Mike
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 09:07:18 AM by Alisdair »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Joanna Savage

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Re: well, it is a plant, but I need a bit more help!
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 06:23:50 PM »
Hello Mike, perhaps your plant could be a Vietnamese coriander, or Laksa plant, one of the Persicarias? There is a great variety of leaf coloration and flowers are usually insignificant. But I am not sure about the 'slightly succulent' feature. Joanna

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MikeHardman

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Re: well, it is a plant, but I need a bit more help!
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 10:02:38 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion, Joanna,

I've gone through Polygonum, etc. without finding a match.
The leaves are slightly but distinctly succulent, along the lines of purslane (Portulaca oleracea).

Maybe I see hints of Caryophyllaceae, eg. Celosia, but I have not found a match, but then there are many genera...

Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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John J

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Re: well, it is a plant, but I need a bit more help!
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 06:49:36 AM »
Mike, your plant looks like one that was being grown by the owner of the aquaponics that the Branch visited last year (see TMG No 84). It's known as Longevity Spinach and is believed to lower blood pressure and sugar levels, botanical name, Gynura procumbens. Take a look and see what you think.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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MikeHardman

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John,

Fantastic!
I'm almost certain that's the one. The only issue is that the original plant does not climb/twine/sprawl - but that may just be because it is perpetually being nipped back for consumption by its owners (hence also the lack of observed flowering).

It certainly seems to be a wonder plant medicinally, judging by:
'Gynura procumbens: An Overview of the Biological Activities'
Hui-Li Tan,1 Kok-Gan Chan, Priyia Pusparajah, Learn-Han Lee and Bey-Hing Goh
Frontiers in Pharmacology, 2016; 7: 52.
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791373/

Plenty of other online info, too, eg:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XN5m3-jdBo
- http://www.ashitabaplant.com/2015/12/gynura-procumbens.html (skip the bit about Ashitaba at the start)

I've tried eating a leaf today, now I know it is safe! It has a pleasant very mild taste. I shall be eating it more often once I've got it going.

cheers,
Mike
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 09:46:58 AM by MikeHardman »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Joanna Savage

  • Sr. Member
Re: Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2017, 12:45:10 PM »
John and Mike, that's an excellent piece of sleuthing , John. Who would ever have thought of Asteraceae?

Now I see scope for confusion with its fellow Asteraceae, Cynara, globe artichoke, and Gynura. It would be interesting to know who did the naming and why those names were chosen, for one or both plants.

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JTh

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Re: Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2017, 02:45:27 PM »
I don't think there is any connection between those who named these two plants. The genus Cynara comes from the Greek word  'kynara', whicjh means artichoke. I'm not able to find anything about the origine of the name Gynura, but the genus is endemic to Asia.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 03:48:16 PM »
Jorun, I think you'll find that Gynura comes from Greek also, that is gyne (female) and oura (a tail). Apparently this is due to them having a long stigma. Who'd believe the workings of the minds of these early plant-namers?  ???
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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JTh

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Re: Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2017, 05:30:34 PM »
Thank you, John, that sounds logical, where did you find that information?
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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John J

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Re: Sprawler ID'd by John Joynes as Gynura procumbens (longevity spinach)
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2017, 07:11:23 PM »
From William T Stearn and his Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)