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Edible Portion: Leaves, Tender Stems, Vegetable

An annual or perennial climbing herb with thick fleshy leaves. The vine is smooth and juicy and can be 10 m long. It branches freely. The vine and leaves can be red or green. The leaves are fleshy and pointed at the tip. They can be 8-18 cm long and 8-10 cm across. They are carried alternately along the vine. Leaves can be heart shaped or oval. It has white, pink or red flowers in short spikes which are in the axils of the leaves. Flowers have both sexes. The fruit are round and soft. They can be red, white or black and are 6-8 mm across. The seeds are round and black. They are 3 mm across. (Often the ones with heart shaped leaves are called Basella cordifolia, the ones with a red stem Basella rubra and the short day flowering dark green kind called Basella alba.)