Caucasian Mountain Spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides)

Caucasian Mountain Spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides)

Description

Too new to have an agreed-upon common name, this plant has everything else. Originating in the Caucasus Mountains, it is a very hardy perennial, growing 6–9′ long for 2–3 months in the very early spring when few other edible greens have surfaced. It’s also tasty: both early shoots and subsequent leaves make a delicious and tender spinach-like vegetable without any bitterness. Young shoots can be eaten in early spring as well as pickings from the more mature leaves over the summer. Moreover, it’s beautiful, and was introduced into Sweden around 1870 as an attractive vine to screen houses with its heart-shaped leaves. Plants need something to scramble up and can reach 7-10 ft tall. And, finally, though it is best grown in sun to maximize its productivity, it will also do well in its native habitat, the understory of temperate forests. Foliage dies back and over the winter a crown of baby shoots that produce the next year’s growth will emerge. Once the plants are mature you can crop the early shoots and then leave the rest to start growing and climbing and harvest leaves throughout spring and summer. It is a good idea to plant two or more plants close to each other to ensure the plants produce viable seed. Slow in the first year, they really go for it in the second and third.

Product Description

Too new to have an agreed-upon common name, this plant has everything else. Originating in the Caucasus Mountains, it is a very hardy perennial, growing 6–9′ long for 2–3 months in the very early spring when few other edible greens have surfaced. It’s also tasty: both early shoots and subsequent leaves make a delicious and tender spinach-like vegetable without any bitterness. Young shoots can be eaten in early spring as well as pickings from the more mature leaves over the summer. Moreover, it’s beautiful, and was introduced into Sweden around 1870 as an attractive vine to screen houses with its heart-shaped leaves. Plants need something to scramble up and can reach 7-10 ft tall. And, finally, though it is best grown in sun to maximize its productivity, it will also do well in its native habitat, the understory of temperate forests. Foliage dies back and over the winter a crown of baby shoots that produce the next year’s growth will emerge. Once the plants are mature you can crop the early shoots and then leave the rest to start growing and climbing and harvest leaves throughout spring and summer. It is a good idea to plant two or more plants close to each other to ensure the plants produce viable seed. Slow in the first year, they really go for it in the second and third.