Malabar Spinach is native to tropical Asia, probably originating in India or Indonesia. Today, it is grown widely in the tropics as a perennial and in warmer temperate regions as an annual. Malabar Spinach plants are green (Basella alba) or purplish (Basella rubra) vines with thick, fleshy leaves exhibiting one of two leaf forms: closely spaced oval to rounded leaves; or, more widely spaced heart-shaped leaves. Most authors agree, however, that the two color forms of Malabar Spinach are not separate species. Perhaps both would best be treated as forms of Basella rubra.
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A review of the taxonomy, ethnobotany, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Basella alba (Basellaceae)
A Review on a New Exotic Vegetable for Turkey: Malabar Spinach (Basella alba L. or Basella rubra L.)