Celosia digyna Suess.
Celosia laxa Schumach. & Thonn.
Common Name: Silver Spinach
Flowering plant in native habitat
Photograph by: Scamperdale
Silver spinach is an erect annual plant growing up to 1.5 metres tall[
]. The stems can be branched or unbranched[
The plant is occasionally cultivated in western tropical Africa for its edible leaves[
]. A minor vegetable in Africa, where it is sometimes sold in local and city markets[
Tropical Africa - widespread.
Widespread as a weed of cultivation or disturbed ground on sandy, loamy or clay soils, also along watercourses (even in standing water), along forest tracks and in open woodland, on rocky ground, in grassland from near sea-level to about 2000 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Plants grow best in moist tropical and subtropical areas at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
]. They requires up to 2,500 mm annual rainfall and grow best with temperatures of 25 - 30°c[
]. They are intolerant of temperatures below 15°c[
For best leaf production, the plant requires a fertile, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[
], though it is tolerant of a range of soil types[
The first leaf harvest is about 8 weeks after sowing and up to 8 pickings of young shoots are possible in a period of 2 months before flowering reduces growth[
]. Cutting of side branches and stems at 5 cm above soil level encourages branching[
]. Plants take 90 - 120 days from sowing to seed maturity[
Young shoots - cooked as a vegetable, added to stews etc[
]. The slightly bitter leaves are popular amongst the Yoruba people in south-western Nigeria, where the plant is known as 'aje fo wo'[
The plant is used in traditional medicine[
]. Research has shown anthelmintic properties in humans and methanol extracts of the whole plant have shown acaricidal properties[
The plant is used in Africa to treat pustular skin eruptions, heart complaints and tapeworm[
The pulped leaves are used to treat costal pains, chest troubles, stomach-ache and urethral disorders[
The leaves and flowers are used to treat diarrhoea[
The plant is included in several medicinal preparations used to treat women’s disorders and diseases, including ovarian troubles and excessive menstruation[
Seed - sow in situ. The seed germinates freely 4 - 5 days after sowing[
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