Also known as “climbing spinach,” this ornamental summer vine, from the tropics of India, is not a true spinach but its thick, fleshy, slightly-crinkled, heart-shaped leaves and tender young shoot tips can be harvested as they grow and used as a hot-weather spinach substitute, eaten raw or cooked (though it is not as slick in texture as real spinach).
• Much more information can be found in The Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Book by Walter Reeves and Felder Rushing
It loves hot, humid weather, and makes an attractive vine that should be trellised to keep it off the ground.
Grown after all chance of frost has past in the spring, in nearly any kind of soil as long as it is kept moist – the plants make their best growth in rainy spells. Malabar spinach will even tolerate light shade. Plant seeds or short vine cuttings near a trellis or fence, or train the vine to grow over a doorway. There are two leaf types, red (rubra) and green (alba).