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Plant Information customized to the ECHO Asia Seed Bank.   These seeds are available from the Asia Seed Bank only for shipment within Asia.  

Please go to The ECHO Asia Seed Bank for more information on ordering.

58 Issues in this Publication (Showing issues 197 - 155) |

Helianthus annuus

General description and special characteristics – The sunflower is an upright annual plant that varies in height from 1-4 m. The sunflower is a North American species. Evidence shows that its cultivation by Native Americans, in what is now the Western United States and central  highlands of Mexico, dates back to 900 B.C. Domestication encouraged unbranched plants bearing single large flowering heads that produce larger seeds.

Varieties - 

  • Black Seed (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นสำหรับสกัดน้ำมันเมล็ดสีดำ): Local Northern Thai variety with kernels black in color. Can grow between 2-3 m in height. 
  • Chiang Dao (พันธุ์ท้องถิ่นสำหรับกินเมล็ด): A local variety that averages in 2.5 m in height. The flowers are around 15 cm across and petals are yellow in color. The seeds have a striped pattern and the kernel is quite tasty.

Hibiscus acetosella

General description and special characteristics – A striking and colorful African perennial with red to maroon leaves resembling a maple leaf in shape. Tends to grow straight and tall without pruning, but can be formed into a bush or shrub. The leaves are pleasantly tart to eat.

Variety – ‘ECHO’

Hibiscus sabdariffa

General description and special characteristics – Roselle.  A tall, slightly bushy perennial plant with red stems, leaves and succulent calyces.

Varieties –

  • Burmese (พันธุ์ทั้องถิ่นพม่า):  A hardy, red-stemmed roselle that produces many calyces. 90 days from seed to flower.  With edible leaf shoots, an excellent vegetable variety.     
  • Bhutanese (พันธุ์ภูฏาน): Bigger fruits, dark edible leaves, and thicker calyxes good for making drinks

Indigofera zollingeriana syn. I. teysmannii

General description and special characteristics – Large indigo is an erect shrub which can grow into a small tree between 3-5 meters within 2 years. It has been observed up to 12 m in height. Its branches and leaves have white hairs. The leaf is 20 cm long and composed of 11-17 leaflets. The fruit is a legume, with pods 35-45 mm long and indehiscent (do not split open), each containing about 10 round, flat seeds stacked like a roll of coins in the pod.

Variety – Philippine

Lablab purpureus (field)

General description and special characteristics – Field varieties of lablab are drought-resistant summer annuals or short-lived perennials. Compared to vegetable lablab varieties, such field varieties are shorter and somewhat erect (although vines can reach lengths of 1 m (3 ft.) or more). Also, field lablab produces shorter fibrous pods that give off a characteristic strong, oily smell. The crop is grown for fodder, cover crop and/or for pulse production.

Varieties –

  • Chiang Dao: Drought tolerant, very viny green manure cover crop; white seeds.
  • Highworth: Pods are non-shattering; quick maturing, and yields well; black seeds.

Lablab purpureus (vegetable)

General description and special characteristics – A climbing, perennial (or semi-perennial) legume; grown in gardens for edible purple pods.

Variety – Chiang Dao

Lactuca indica L.

General description and special characteristics – Tropical lettuce is an erect, self-seeding, semi-perennial originally from China that grows to 2 m (6 ft) in height and is cultivated for its long, succulent leaves. The leaves are somewhat bitter – a desirable quality for certain Asian dishes. The stem or stalk of the plant contains a milky sap and the main rib or vein in each of the leaves is often red. 

Variety – ECHO Tropical

Lactuca sativa L.

General description and special characteristics  -  Khasi Green is a looseleaf type of lettuce (as opposed to head and stem lettuce varieties). 

Varieties - 

  • Celtuce (ผักสลัดต้น พันธุ์ท้องถิ่น): Variety is similar to Khasi Green in maintenance but different in use. Young leaves can be eaten as well as the hardy stem at the base of the mature plant. A strong plant. 
  • Khasi Green (ผักสลัด/ผักกาดหอม พันธุ์สีเขียว):  From northeast India.  Light green leaves usually eaten raw.
  • Red Oak (ผักสลัด/ผักกาดหอม พันธุ์สีแดง): Beautiful local variety. Deep red and maroon in color. Leaves have wavy edges.

Lagenaria siceraria

General description and special characteristics – A vining annual that grows up to 9m (30 ft) in length, it is grown throughout Asia for its edible shoots, leaves and fruit. The mature fruit dries to produce a gourd with a hard woody shell that can be used as water bottles, ladles and cups. The fruit can be 7.5-15.2 cm (3-6 in) long and varies in shape, from oval to bottle-shaped. 

Varieties -

  • Om Koi: Edible fruit up to 60 cm (24 in.) long.
  • Burmese: Produces very large fruit up to 50 cm (20 in.) long.
  • ECHO: Light green fruit; 15 cm (6 in.) long. Mature fruits can be made into bottles or bird houses when dry.

Leucaena diversifolia

General description and special characteristics Leucaena diversifolia is a multipurpose tree species originally found in Central America. It is a leguminous tree or erect shrub from 3-20 m tall. It bears reddish-brown pods 10-13 cm long, 1-6 per flower. It can be distinguished from the more common L. leucocephala by its extremely small leaflets.

Variety – UHDP