Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach

Plant Identification, Cultivation and History

Basella alba is an edible perennial vine in the family Basellaceae. It is found in tropical Asia and Africa where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable. It is known under various common names, including vine spinach, red vine spinach, climbing spinach, creeping spinach, buffalo spinach, malabar spinach and ceylon spinach among others.[1][2][3]

Basella alba is native to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia and New Guinea. It is reportedly naturalized in the China, Czech Republic(?), tropical Africa, Brazil, Belize, Colombia, the West Indies, Fiji and French Polynesia.[4]



Vinespinach, (basella), raw

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 79 kJ (19 kcal)


3.4 g


0.3 g


1.8 g


Vitamin A equiv.        (50%) 400 μg

Thiamine (B1)            (4%) 0.05 mg

Riboflavin (B2)          (13%) 0.155 mg

Niacin (B3)     (3%) 0.5 mg

Vitamin B6     (18%) 0.24 mg

Folate (B9)      (35%) 140 μg

Vitamin C       (123%) 102 mg

Trace metals

Calcium          (11%) 109 mg

Iron     (9%) 1.2 mg

Magnesium     (18%) 65 mg

Manganese      (35%) 0.735 mg

Phosphorus      (7%) 52 mg

Potassium        (11%) 510 mg

Zinc     (5%) 0.43 mg

Link to USDA Database entry


μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams

IU = International units

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Source: USDA Nutrient Database

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